How To Make A Bad 1st Impression On A Pro Songwriter

Man vs Row

Here’s the good news. A lot of you probably don’t need to read this. You’re already making a horrible first impression on pro songwriters- and you don’t even know it.

My last few posts have been “6 People Who Can Introduce You To Pro Songwriters” <READ HERE> and “How YOU Can Connect With A Pro Songwriter” <READ HERE.>  So, today, I’d like for us to discuss how to totally blow it when you finally DO connect with a pro songwriter.  Along the way, we might even pick up a couple tips that’ll help you make a good first impression

1. Be an ask-hole

Immediately focus on your needs and what the pro can do for YOU.  Right off the bat, ask him to walk outside with you and listen to your song in your car out in the parking lot.  The thought of getting mugged or stabbed and stuffed in your trunk will be too much for him to resist.  Ask him to take your CD and keep up with it for the rest of the night.  Ask her for a cowrite.  (I know, I know.  You’re really doing the pro a favor by offering to write with her, but she might not see it that way.)  Ask for an introduction to their publisher or other pros.  Or to artists.  They’ll looove that.

2. Grumble, grumble, complain, complain.

If you’re not sucking in favors like a black hole, be sure and spew negativity.  Complain about the biz.  Complain about what’s on the radio.  Complain about the “good ‘ol boy” system.  Complain about how hit songwriters have sold out.  Yeah.  That’ll really make the pro want to spend quality time with you.

3. You’re awesome, and the world should know it.

If confidence is good, overconfidence is even better, right?  Be sure and tell the pro that you’re really, really good.  Better than the trash on the radio.  Sure, you don’t have any major cuts yet, but you ‘da man.  Tell the pro you’ve written a ton of hits.  Well, soon-to-be-hits, anyway.  Fake it till you make it, bro.  The pro, who has been knocked down by the biz time after time, will surely recognize you as an honest-to-goodness brother-in-arms.

Know The Row pic 2

4. Drink up and fall down!

Nothing makes a positive memory in the mind of a pro like hanging with someone on a night they won’t remember.  It does you SO MUCH good to hang with a pro… while drinking so much you can’t recall what you talked about.  What’s even better is if your behavior leads to you actually wanting to avoid them out of embarrassment.  Yeah.  Good times.

5. Be a total fanboy (or girl).

Yes, it’s cool to compliment the pro about a song or their success, but remember- we’re here to ruin your first impression.  So it’s important that you overdo it.  Freak out about meeting them.  Make sure the pro doesn’t mistake you for a songwriting peer (or potential peer).  Make it absolutely clear that you’re just a fan.

6. Never leave their side.  Like… ever.

Once a pro makes the mistake of locking eyes with you or shaking your hand, it’s your job to bury yourself into them like a tick in a dog’s ear.  The shadow God gave them is not enough.  They need you to be their other one.  Maybe follow them to the bathroom.  I’m sure the pro left the house this morning for the express purpose of talking to you- and only you- all night.

If you follow these steps, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll never see that pro again.  Not if they see you first, anyway.  Good luck.

1-to-1 Coaching

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.

Man vs Row

3 thoughts on “How To Make A Bad 1st Impression On A Pro Songwriter”

  1. What advice can a songwriter get for how to break the wall to get reviews from either publishers or artists when you have been a finalist six times in the last five years in international songwriting contests?

    1. Bruce, artists aren’t in the business of giving reviews. To get to a publisher, check out my post, “10 Ways To Get To A Music Publisher.” Or, if you prefer podcasts, we have an episode of “The C.L.I.M.B.” about it- on iTunes. Good luck!

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