It’s hard to get a cowrite with a pro songwriter if none of them know you exist.
Last time, I wrote about a few people who can connect you to a pro songwriter (to read that post, CLICK HERE). The last item on that list was simply titled “You.” Today, I want to dive into some ways that you can reach out to a pro songwriter directly – how to get on a pro’s radar.
1. Industry Events
ASCAP, BMI, NSAI and other organizations host events which are open to the public or to their members. These events are good places to bump into pro songwriters. It may be a #1 party, a workshop, or a Christmas party. Show up, smile, and be friendly.
2. Songwriter Workshops
NSAI, Global Songwriters Connection and other groups often host workshops featuring pro songwriters as teachers, song evaluators, guests, etc. This is one of the few places where your song can be your first impression. That’s a great opportunity- if you have a great song! (To read more about how a great song is the best first impression you can make… READ HERE.)
3. Songwriter Rounds / Shows
Nobody likes to play to an empty room. Putting your smiling face in the crowd and giving the songwriter an honest compliment after the show will put you in the plus column.
Okay, I wasn’t going to add this one, because it felt self-serving. But Andrew Cavanagh called it out in the comments last week, and it does work. Coaching/mentoring with a pro songwriter, whether paid or not, is a good way to get their attention. After all, the pro is focused on you (or your small group) for the length of the session. However, it does NOT guarantee anything more than the hour or whatever of feedback/help the pro and you both signed up for. Anything extra is a bonus. A coaching session rarely leads to anything else, so don’t expect it.
Does the pro have a blog? Is he or she active on social media? Retweeting, liking, sharing, and leaving relevant (non-spammy) comments on their stuff helps you get your name and face in front of them in a positive way. Again… don’t spam. Don’t lead with “listen to my song” or “check out my website” or “download my song.”
6. Social Circles
If you live near a major music center (like Nashville, New York or LA), you may have a pro songwriter in the stands at your kid’s ballgame, volunteering at the same charities, or sitting in the pew in front of you at church (but PLEASE don’t choose your place of worship based on which industry people go there). These places allow you to connect as people first. And that’s a great way to start. Let the songwriting stuff come up later.
Okay, so now you’re breathing the same air as pro songwriters. Congratulations! Now you have the chance to go from them not knowing you exist to them possibly hating your guts and wishing they’d never laid eyes on you.
That’s right- you’re now in the perfect position to make a bad impression. Next time, we’ll discuss how to avoid that.
What about you? Have you had any success connecting with a pro at these events? Are there other places where you’ve connected? 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.