Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
I’m blessed to have a cowrite on Ruthie Collins’ debut project on Curb Records. Here’s the inside story on how it made the record.
I wrote with a developing artist (early).
Ruthie was just coming off Season One of CMT’s “Can You Duet.” We got introduced at NSAI, and I started writing with her. That was back in August of 2008. Eventually, Ruthie got a record deal on Curb. Thanks to our friendship and writing history, I was able to bypass the gatekeepers at her publishing company and label (both Curb) and continue to book cowrites directly with her. I didn’t get blocked out, as sometimes happens when cowriters get deals.
I brought in the right title.
Knowing Ruthie loves all things vintage, I thought she’d like the title. I kept it in my “Ruthie Collins Ideas” file on my laptop. One day we hit a wall on another song we were writing, and we decided to move on to something else. I mentioned, “Vintage” and Ruthie lit up like a Christmas tree.
The timing was right.
The song sat unfinished for probably a year while Ruthie finished up her debut album and I had to go get a day job. I did have one song on there called, “Always Open.” What I didn’t know was that they basically scrapped the whole album she’d recorded, and she was now headed in a different direction. It was a direction that “Vintage” fit perfectly. Ruthie rediscovered the worktape and said, “We HAVE to finish this!” Boy, am I glad she did!
We served the song, generously.
Ruthie and I can write a good song on our own, and we know it. Almost all of our cowrites were just the two of us. But Ruthie really wanted to make sure we got it right, and she thought her good friend and cowriter, Jessica Roadcap, would be a great fit. In terms of ownership (and potential money) this brought us each down from 50% to 33.33%. But we’d rather have 33.33% of a cut than 50% of nothing. And it was a good call. Jessica brought great value to the song. (Plus, it gave me a new friend in the music biz and in Ruthie’s camp.)
We positioned the song to win.
Ruthie could’ve just played the worktape for Curb, but she really wanted to put “Vintage” in the best light possible. So she and Jessica demoed it. They even went back and did several tweaks to the demo to get it just right.
Ruthie championed the song.
Ruthie believed in the song. She knew it really fit her brand, and she didn’t sit around hoping her label and marketing team would happen to come to the same conclusion. She actively brought them ideas around the “Vintage” concept. “Vintage,” both the song and the style, summed up her brand.
Right idea, written right, with the right artist at the right time. Easy and predictable… right?
You can check out Ruthie at: ruthiecollinsmusic.com
You can get the EP on iTunes <HERE.>
THE PRO KNOWS
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