The Email That Helped Me Get A Joe Nichols Cut

Man vs Row

Recently, I posted a lesson called, “Here’s Why Music Biz Professionals Aren’t Emailing You Back” (read it here).  Today, I want to look at an email that resulted in a phone call, a hold, and eventually a Joe Nichols cut.

A few years back, I wanted to get my song, “Crickets,” to Joe Nichols.  I just thought it’d be perfect for him. But how do I get it to him?  I didn’t have a personal connection with anyone in his camp.  However, I did happen to get the email address of the owner of Joe’s label (thanks to a sungplugger friend of mine).  I decided it was worth a cold email.

(Note: Normally, I wouldn’t send a song to a label owner.  But I know this particular owner actively listens to songs through email and has a say in what end up on his artists’ albums.  See my post “The Big Yes.”)

Not knowing the owner, this is how I worded my email:


Song for Joe Nichols: “Crickets” (Baxter, Shaffer, Whyte)


Mr. Brown,

I’m a songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson (“Monday Morning Church”), Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, and others.  Here’s a song for Joe.  Thanks for listening!


(Brent Baxter, Lisa Shaffer, Bill Whyte)

Lyric and mp3 attached.

God Bless,

Brent Baxter



Sometime later (maybe a day or two, maybe weeks), I got a call from the owner.  He said he loved the song and wanted to hold it for Joe.  Eventually, they cut it and it became the title track to Joe’s debut album on Red Bow Records.


Okay, let’s break down the email and see what we can learn.

I was proactive and pitched my own song.

I didn’t wait for someone else to make my dreams come true.  See my post, “10 Reasons Songwriters Should Pitch Their Own Songs.”

I used an appropriate communication channel.

This was an email address that the owner regularly uses to listen to songs.  It wasn’t his wife’s personal email or some other inappropriate email.  I was conducting business through a business email address.

The subject line is very clear and professional.

No hype.  No bull.

I kept the message very brief and to the point.

One quick glance at the message isn’t a turn-off.  He could read it very quickly, so he was more likely to actually read it.  Long emails are intimidating and look like too much work.

I presented pro credentials briefly and in the beginning.

I opened with a few choice cuts to set myself as a pro in his mind.  It increased the chance that he’d take my email seriously and expect a good song.  If you don’t have these, just get to who the song is for.  It’s better to skip this completely than say how you won a local talent show.  Your song may be killer, but if you’ve only has small success (so far), they might think you only have small talent.

I provided contact info both in the email and on the lyric sheet.

He called be back partly because I made it easy for him to find me.

I provided both the mp3 and the lyrics.

Some folks don’t look at the lyric when they listen.  Some do.  I don’t take chances.  I want them to have everything they might need.

The song was well-written and a good fit for the artist.

The email was written to get the song heard.  But getting the song heard doesn’t help if the song itself isn’t good or isn’t a good fit for the artist.

What about you?  Have you had any success with cold emails?  How did you word them?

Pro songwriters know how to act professionally.  And if YOU want to become a pro, you need to think like a pro, too.  In my FREE e-book, “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” I not only reveal several of the mindsets which separate the pro songwriter from the amateur, but also…

  1. How to get on a music publisher’s radar
  2. How the pros know who is looking for songs
  3. Six simple ways to make your songs more commercial
  4. And more!

To get your FREE, INSTANT download of “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” just click on the image below, or CLICK HERE!

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God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,


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.

Man vs Row

18 thoughts on “The Email That Helped Me Get A Joe Nichols Cut”

  1. hi Neent! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Question for you: ever since I moved to town it’s been hammered into my head over and over again never to send a song to someone unless they gave you explicit permission to do so, because it puts the receiver in a sticky legal situation. Certainly not trying to accuse you of breaking the law of the land or anything, I’m really really genuinely interested – did you know this guy before sending him a song? Or am I missing something completely when it comes to cold emailing MP3s to people? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hey, Sarah! No, I didn’t know him beforehand. It was a calculated risk. I knew he used that email to listen to songs. Didn’t consider the legal thing because a) I know I’m not a lawsuit risk b) the song was published by legit publishers. Oh, and I only sent ONE song.

      Hope that helps!

      It was a gamble. But it paid off. Most gambles don’t, though.

  2. Excellent!! Thank you, brother.
    I take the liberty at learning and listening to the abundant and free copywriting information on the net; and your marketing strategies are aligned with those skills. The Holy Spirit is indeed my mysterious leverage.
    In Christ,

  3. Of course you got thru to him…you already had cuts by major artists! While your general message here is somewhat commendable, you must realize that it will do absolutely nothing for songwriters who do not already have large successes on their resume. You were able to “drop names,” but most songwriters can’t.

    1. Hi, Ron.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

      Yes, being able to start my email with “cuts by” is a definite help. That helped me get a listen, I’m sure. But there are other tips in here that are helpful, too. Especially when taken along with my last post about email mistakes.

      I don’t provide any “silver bullet tips” on Man vs. Row that can guarantee a cut. Because I don’t think that any one thing CAN guarantee a cut.

      I think of it more like making a good soup. It takes more than one ingredient for a soup to come out right. This email advice helps with one ingredient. Other posts on here help with other ingredients. Timing is important. Some posts help the more advanced. Some are more for beginners. Just because it may not be helpful for you YET doesn’t mean it’s not helpful for someone else.

      God bless,


    2. Ron…
      I wholeheartedly see and agree with your point because it is sensible and real. 99.99% of us and more would never even get our email opened, because our name aint known. We aint JACK! Lol!! Baxter is subtley basking in his success simultaneously with explaining detailed steps and skills that just might give somebody a little more leverage. Baxter is sharing a blessing that was given to him, I think.

      1. I’d say (as I did earlier) that having some cuts in the email body probably helped get it listened to. Maybe it would’ve gotten a listen either way, but I can’t say. However, I’d be SHOCKED if the label owner opened it because of my name. I’ve had some success, but my name is far from widely known, especially by label heads.

        I shared this particular success story for a couple of reasons. 1) My successes are the only ones I can really share with authority. I often don’t know other writers’ stories well enough to pull definite lessons from them. 2) I want to bring my lessons into the real world when I can. Theory is one thing. But I think it’s more valuable when there’s a lesson drawn from a real-world example. “This worked” beats “I think this would work.” 3) A lot of writer’s have to rely on pitching through email, so it’s a relevant topic. 4) I’ve seen a lot of email mistakes, so I think folks can benefit from this example.

        Sorry if it came off as “basking.” While the example is from my life, Man vs. Row isn’t about ME. It’s about YOU. It’s about helping YOU turn pro. If/when I talk about me, it’s my hope that it’s either to draw out a helpful lesson, to inspire you, or to reassure you that I’m not just making all this up- it’s stuff I’ve done or am doing (or have messed up on).
        God Bless,

        1. Brent,

          I wanted to offer another example of success following your steps in sending a “cold” email. I have had a few cuts, but none that would be of any benefit to mention. But I sent an email to the biggest indie publisher in Nashville asking for a meeting. He answered in less than 20 minutes, and the meeting took place last Monday.
          I now have a deal in place with this publisher, because I studied him, his company, and his history.
          I didn’t mention any of the Pro’s I write with, any successes, nothing. I just did my homework, and delivered the goods when I got the chance.
          So, the moral of the story is, while I’m certain that your past successes didn’t hurt, I think the fact that you were professional in your methods got you just as far. I know for a fact that it worked for me.

          Thanks for being a part of the solution man. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in without you, and many others who are sharing the info that counts. I chose to think of all the reasons it would work, instead of all the reasons it wouldn’t.

          Glad I listened to your advice.


  4. Which of these tips would you say hold up when sending a cold email as a singer/songwriter/artist?
    Also, if an artist is having trouble getting attention, would you say it’s better to sit on song releases until the attention/Fanbase is there… Or to continuously released new material knowing the Fanbase is small but in hopes to grow it? I ask because I’ve released an album and a handful of demos I thought might help me get out there, but to no avail really. Afterword it feels like a waste of a release at all. So now I’m sitting on dozens of songs that keep building up to go nowhere lol

    1. Adam..
      I certainly have absolutely no experience in dealing with entertainment bigwigs/big shots, however, for me, personally, I keep pressing forward in the positive things I am passionate about because my spirit is willing…though sometimes my flesh stumbles. My faith in GOD is my song, and HE is my production manager my publisher, my everything.

    2. Hi, Adam.
      Well, I’ve never pursued the artist side of things, so I can’t speak from experience (disclaimer). Rick Barker has a great community for aspiring artists at Music Industry Blueprint. So does Johnny Dwinnel at Daredevil Production. They’re more up on the fanbase-building and deal-getting. But my general advice is that releasing music doesn’t build a fan base, not starting out. Engaging with people builds a fan base. You gotta find a way to connect. Hope that helps!
      God Bless,


  5. Thanks for posting. This is great news except for one minor detail…not everyone has access to the label owner’s email address like you did. 🙂

  6. Hi Brent:

    I love the honesty and your fearless when it comes to promotion too and it’s great that you engage with your students and respond to their emails and attempt to inspire them to learn to be professional like you in their song pitching. Most people just write a book and hope someone learns from it and unfortunately most people forget what they read in a few weeks so this blog was needed to really help folks on a continuing basis.

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