Are you sitting on your A-list song ideas, waiting for someday when you might get in the room with a hit songwriter or an artist?
Are you intentionally NOT writing these titles/ideas with your current cowriters because they’re unknown, unproven, or don’t have publishing deals?
That can be tempting. After all, you don’t want to “waste” your brilliant idea with anyone less than a hit songwriter or an artist. It’s tempting. But it’s also a mistake.
Here are four reasons you should NOT save your best ideas for “someday.” This is why you should bring your best stuff to EVERY cowrite.
1. Today’s unknown cowriter might be tomorrow’s hit writer.
Erin Enderlin was definitely higher up the Nashville ladder than I as when we started writing together (she still is, by the way). But back then, she was still a college student with no cuts to her credit. It’s a good thing I decided to pitch her the idea of “Monday Morning Church” instead of waiting till “someday when I get to Nashville and get to write with a hit songwriter.” ‘Cuz you know what? Erin WAS a hit songwriter. And so was I. It just so happened that we’d write our first hit… with each other. If an unknown writer is talented and hardworking, don’t hold back your best stuff. I’m certainly glad I didn’t.
2. Your best work creates better opportunities.
Simply put, your B-list work isn’t going to open A-list doors. Always bring your best. And as your best gets better, you’ll start to get noticed by folks higher up the ladder. If nothing else, think of your best stuff as bait for better cowrites. Here’s an example. You’re a lyricist, but you’ve only written with “B-list” melody people. Opportunity might happen when a publisher says, “Wow- what a great lyric and idea. Let me get you with some of my melody writers.”
3. There’s more where that came from.
If you keep writing, you’ll have more ideas. You’ll get better ideas. You’ll write better grooves, better guitar licks. Your creativity is a renewable resource. Trust that your current “best stuff” is not the only “best stuff” you’ll ever have.
4. The clock is ticking.
For one thing, your current best stuff might not even be relevant in a year or two. The market may change. Trends may shift. Strike now, while the iron’s hot. Also, you are (or at least, you should be) growing as a songwriter. Most of your A-list stuff today will become your B-list stuff tomorrow. But the clock slows down for really good work. A great song stands the test of time, and you can only write one if you’re writing the very best you can, not holding back for “someday.” So do your best work as often as you can.
Does this mean that EVERY best idea is right for EVERY cowriter? No. And that’s something we’ll discuss soon. But the point is that you want to do your very best work, regardless of who else is in the room. Your songwriting skill is like a sport- you play like you practice. If you don’t make it a habit to always do your best (acting like some cowrites are just “practice”), your best may not be there when you need it- when you finally do get in the room with that hit songwriter or artist.
What about you? Have you held back on presenting your best stuff to cowriters. How’d that work out? Have you presented your best stuff to an unproven cowriter only to be happily surprised by the results? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.
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Also, if you want to become a songwriting pro (in how you think, write songs or do business), then a great place to start is RIGHT HERE. I want to help you on your songwriting journey. I’ve been in the music business for years, and I’m here to help you get the cuts – and avoid the bruises. CLICK HERE TO START 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.