Trying to connect with pro songwriters in towns like Nashville can feel like standing knee-deep in a river and dying of thirst.
Pros are all around you- you see them at the coffee shop, walking up and down the sidewalks of Music Row, out at lunch in midtown, and out at songwriter nights. But how do you connect?
Maybe someone can introduce you.
I know. Easier said than done. But here are some people who have the possibility of connecting you to a pro. By “connecting,” I don’t necessarily mean booking a cowrite. I mean anything from “Bill Hitmaker, this is Manny Row,” to “Bill, you and Manny should write sometime!” to “Manny, let me book you with Bill.”
1. Your PRO Rep
If you’re a member of ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI, try to get a meeting with your rep. If you can make a fan out of him (or her), he might connect you with some other up and coming songwriters. Absolutely blow your rep’s mind, and he might connect you to a pro.
2. A Music Publisher
If a publisher really digs what you do, he/she might book you with some pro cowrites. Of course, connecting with a publisher isn’t easy. But I’ve written about that before. CLICK HERE to learn how to get on a music publisher’s radar.
3. Industry Contacts
Pro songwriters know people at organizations like NSAI. They hang out there sometimes. As these folks at these places get to know you (and become a fan of your writing and of you as a person), they may just grab you one day and say, “I want you to meet Bill Hitmaker. Bill, this is Manny Row…” Those kind of personal introductions are great.
4. Other Songwriters
Who do your current cowriters and songwriting friends know? Who are their cowriters? Maybe you can arrange a lunch or (better yet) a cowrite between the three of you. But don’t just expect your cowriters to just do you a favor. Make it easy on them by presenting an amazing idea or melody that you want to write with a pro. It could be pretty attractive for your cowriter to hook up your amazing idea/melody with an established pro who has connections. Your cowriter wins by bring both sides value and being in the room, too. And “great idea” + “pro songwriter” increases his chance of a cut, so he should be happy to get all three of you together.
5. Personal Relationships
If you live in Nashville, odds are you know somebody who knows a pro. Don’t abuse your friendships, but do be on the lookout for opportunities to meet those pros. Maybe it’s their kid’s birthday party. Maybe it’s at a Christmas party. You never know.
That’s right, YOU can introduce yourself to pro songwriters. There are several ways to do this. As a matter of fact, it’s worth it’s own post. And that’s exactly what we’ll discuss next Monday.
Please remember that all of these people don’t just exist to solve your problems and make you happy (you don’t even exist for the sole purpose of solving your problems, but that’s for more of a theological post…). You have to be patient. Don’t just walk in these folks’ doors and expect them to pick up the phone and call a pro on your behalf. It’s a big compliment for someone to make a professional introduction. Treat it- AND THEM- with respect. Build a relationship.
Hopefully, these folks will become a fan of both you and your songs. If it’s not happening, keep working to write better songs. Also, take a look at how you present yourself. Are you coming off as too aggressive, too negative, too desperate, too unprofessional, etc.? Every time a person makes a contact/recommendation on your behalf, it’s a reflection on them. Do your best to make them look good by introducing people to you!
What about you? Did I miss anyone? Have you used any of these avenues to meet & connect with a pro? Have you used different avenues? I’d love to hear your comments!
By the way…
Want some personalized help and guidance for your songwriting journey? I’ve just opened up some spots for 1-to-1 coaching. I’m happy to be your “personal pro”- to give feedback on your songs, answer any questions I can, help you develop your song ideas, and discuss goals and “next steps.” I also have some coach-writing spots open. This is when you and I actually write a song together! If you’re interested, CLICK HERE.
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.