Wordplay Thursday #201

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change this original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“There it is, hanging there…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #79: Do You Feel Invisible To Publishers?

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent discuss the two things you need if you want to move from INVISIBLE to VISIBLE in the eyes of music publishers.  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 78 is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

Great Songwriting Advice From Hit Music Publishers!

Play For Pub

Here are some great lessons from our most recent Play For A Publisher Events!

So far, I’ve had the honor of hosting four great “Play For A Publisher” events.  Our guest publishers, Tim Hunze of Parallel Music  and Chris Oglesby of BMG Music on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, have dropped some major value bombs. Today, I’d like to share some of the best takeaways from these evenings.

TIM HUNZE: PARALLEL MUSIC

There are a TON of hooking-up songs in country music right now. I have a ton of those songs in my own catalog. Ideas are key. Take your ideas to a different level.

Artists want songs that are easy to memorize.

Bring your “voice” to your songwriting.

I’m a “title freak.” If you have a great title, I’m already interested.

Don’t just sit in the same situation for the whole song. Have some sort of resolution or journey.

If you can demo it, do it.  Much of what is coming to me has at least a track or loop of some sort.  Most of my writers are writing with track guys. That said, if you’re not in the industry full time, a guitar/vocal will work. A great song will get through.

What’s the “WHY” of your song? Why are you sharing this song/story with the listener? Why should the listener care about hearing your song?

Keep writing up-tempo. I still get 10-to-1 ballads. Even from pro Nashville writers. I always need up tempo.

In songwriting, most of the time girls like sensual more than sexy. So don’t just talk at her, paint her into the scene.

Challenge yourself to come up with a new idea. A unique spin on an old thing. I listen to 100+ songs a day, so ideas, melodies, lines, titles, all need to be fresh.

Sometimes songwriters forget that they know more than the listener- and they don’t get enough of the important information out of their heads and onto the page. As a result, the listener is either confused or emotionally disconnected from the song.

There’s value in bringing a “change-up” song to a publisher or A&R person- a song that’s great but not “the usual.” Even if it’s not exactly what they need, it’ll be a breath of fresh air. (As long as the song is killer, of course.)

If you have a stale melody, the best lyric in the world won’t be heard.

How do songwriters get songs to a guy like him? Events like Play For A Publisher, NSAI, PROs (ASCAP, SESAC, BMI), attorneys…

 

CHRIS OGLESBY: BMG MUSIC

Classic country is pretty fresh right now because everything is so pop. I like to play things that stand out.

When songs are really good, sometimes it’s just about finding an artist that relates to it the most.

After a while, the “trick” of a lyric is over. We get how clever your idea is. Now just focus on the relationship in the 2nd verse. The “tricky” chorus will bring us back. Focus on the takeaway of the song. Everything points to the big takeaway. Focus on the takeaway, not the vehicle for the takeaway. (In other words, don’t get so clever with your theme or gimmick that you forget the heart.)

A song must connect on BOTH a lyrical and emotional level.

Mentioning things like “texting” or other in-the-moment technology (“Facebook” “MySpace”) is a red flag in a song. Those things can make a song obsolete overnight or keep it from aging well.

Just because a line is cool so say, it still has to sing well. Singability is huge!

Sometimes writers get so busy “writing the story” using all kinds of clever craft- that they forget to just TELL the story. Don’t get so much in your head that you forget the heart.

Assume the girl you’re singing about is in the audience and listening.  Especially when it’s a positive love song, make sure to weed out the lines that might offend her.  Just assume she’ll take things the wrong way.

Be sure that it’s clear from the beginning of your song who you’re singing to.  Don’t take me out of the song by making me try to figure it out.

Play songs for publishers that YOU love.  Don’t just play what you THINK the publisher will love.  After all, you probably don’t really know the publisher personally, so you don’t really know what they’ll like.  But songs that YOU love will tell the publisher a lot about YOU, and that’s valuable.

If YOU’D like your chance to play YOUR song for a real-deal Music Row publisher, I have good news!

Our next Play For A Publisher event is in September with hit publisher, Dan Hodges!  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited.  CLICK HERE to check out all the details and submit YOUR song for Dan!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

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.

SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #200!!!

Welcome to the 200th Wordplay Thursday!

WOW!  I can’t believe you guys have helped keep this thing going for 200 weeks!  Much fun!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change this original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“If I’d known we’d be here today…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #78: The Dirty Little Secret About iTunes, Spotify and ReverbNation

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent discuss some incredible truths about digital distribution and what it means for YOUR chances of success as an artist.  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 78 is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

4 Ways Your Songs Are Confusing Your Listeners

You might have the best idea in the world, but you can still screw it up if you confuse the listener.  If you don’t write your song clearly, you’ve just wasted your best song idea.  Let me help you avoid that.

____________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

Last week, I covered WHY it’s devastating to confuse your listener, and I revealed the #1 cause of confusion: the curse of knowledge.  (CLICK HERE to read that post.)  Now let’s dive into some of the ways that the curse of knowledge can show up in your lyrics and confuse (and lose) your listener.

1. Too Many Characters

If the listener has to keep up with the singer, the singer’s new love, old love, mom and baby sister, they’re going to get confused.  I don’t care how carefully you craft the lyric, the more characters you put in your song, the more chance you have that the listener will get confused about who’s doing what.

Fix:

Trim the fat.  Cut out any character that isn’t absolutely essential.  Focus your story more.  Maybe combine multiple characters into one or two to simplify things.

2. Overlapping Pronouns

If you’re singing ABOUT your new love and ABOUT your ex-love, they’ll both end up being referred to by the same pronoun: “he” or “she.”  The listener may get confused about which “he” or “she” certain lines are talking about.  And just like in real life, it’s awkward when people confuse your ex-love with your current love.  Yikes!

Fix:

Sing TO your new love and ABOUT your ex-love.  Or vice versa.  That way you will have one “you” and one “he/she.”  And that’s much more clear.

3. Too Much Story

It’s a song, not a novel.  The listener only has so much attention to pay your song.  Remember, most listeners are listening while they’re doing something else- driving, eating, folding laundry, walking the dog, etc.  If your song has too much story, you might be asking too much of your listener.

Fix:

Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Find the smallest “unit of story” (the action within the story) which will get the point across.  Maybe you’re trying to cram two songs into one.  Break them up and just write two songs.

4. Unclear time jumps

Sometimes you might want to do a time jump in your song.  Maybe a character is a teenager in verse one then a twenty-something year old in verse two.  If the time jump isn’t immediately clear, your listener will probably be confused.  “Wait… you had a girlfriend in verse one, and now you’re talking about your wife.  What?”

Fix:

Avoid the time jump altogether if possible.  If you decide to do the jump, just make sure you make it very, very clear at the front end of the jump.  Simplify and clarify.

Remember, when you confuse the listener, you lose the listener.  So it’s important that you get these things right and get your song tight.

If you feel that your songs ARE tight, and you’re ready to take a shot- to play your song for a pro, I have  a cool opportunity coming up for you.

I’m hosting Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event in September.  Our guest will be Dan Hodges, who publishes hits such as “Good Directions” for Billy Currington and “Dibs” for Kelsea Ballerini.

CLICK HERE to learn more and submit your song.

Dan Hodges will be joining us for our next Play For A Publisher event in September!  He’s a successful publisher and owner of Dan Hodges Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited.  CLICK HERE to check out all the details and submit YOUR song for Dan!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

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. SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #199

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change the original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“Two cold shoulders, keeping our distance…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #77: The #1 Way Your Song Is Confusing Your Listeners

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent discuss a common way that songwriters write lyrics that confuse their listeners.  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 76 is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

When You Confuse The Listener, You Lose The Listener!

If you CONFUSE the listener, you LOSE the listener.  And the scary thing is… your songs might be confusing and losing your listeners without you even knowing it.

____________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

First off, does it really matter if the listener gets a little lost and confused by your song?  If it’s hooky and has some cool lines, isn’t that enough?

NO.

If you’re a successful signed artist or writing with that artist, you might have more wiggle room.  Or if you’re an artist in a different genre.  But if  – especially if – you’re a country songwriter, you need to communicate CLEARLY in your songs. I’ve had an A&R rep turn off songs and “pass” because they “got a little confused in the 1st verse.” Getting a song on an album is hugely competitive.  And having your song be a “little confusing” may be just enough reason for the artist or label to turn down your song.

Don’t give the artist or label a reason to turn down your song.

Also, if the song somehow makes it through the gatekeepers and hits the listeners’ ears, it’s not going to be as successful as it could’ve been.  It won’t connect with listeners’ emotions as deeply as it should. If I have to decode what’s going on in your song or ask myself what just happened or what you’re singing about, I end up “in my head.”  But that’s not where my emotions are.  You want the listener to be “in the heart” NOT “in the head.”

So why would you write, record and pitch a confusing song?  Well, that’s the scary thing.  You might not even know your song is confusing.  You might listen to it and it makes perfect sense- to you.  You read the lyrics, and they make perfect sense- to you.  But your listener may cock their head to the side and say, “huh?”  If that’s the case, your songs may suffer from…

The Curse Of Knowledge

This is when you know what happens in the story, or you know what the song is about, but that knowledge doesn’t end up on the page.  Since you know all the details, you can fill in any lyrical blanks in your own mind.  But your listener can’t.

The listener only knows what you actually write into the song.

The curse of knowledge is kind of like making your listener listen to one half of a phone call.  You know the whole conversation but the listener doesn’t.  They’re just confused and frustrated, waiting for you to hang up so you can tell them why you were so excited, sad or whatever.

Basically, you’re leaving out vital pieces of information that your listener needs in order to connect with and understand your song.

So how do you overcome the curse of knowledge in your songwriting?

Sometimes it helps to put the song away for a while before coming back to it with fresh eyes and ears.  Practice helps.  Write more and more songs and keep asking yourself, “Is all the necessary information ON THE PAGE?”

But it can still be tricky to catch the curse of knowledge.  Even playing it for friends and family may not be good enough.  Maybe, since they know you, they’ll know what you’re talking about.  Or they’ll understand the basic point of your song without pointing out the “small confusions” which are “cut-killers” on a professional level.

Sometimes you need to play your songs for a professional.

And if you’re ready to take a shot- to play your song for a pro, I have  a cool opportunity coming up for you. I’m hosting Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event in September.  Our guest will be Dan Hodges, who publishes hits such as “Good Directions” for Billy Currington and “Dibs” for Kelsea Ballerini.

CLICK HERE to learn more and submit your song.

Dan Hodges will be joining us for our next Play For A Publisher event in September!  He’s a successful publisher and owner of Dan Hodges Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited.  CLICK HERE to check out all the details and submit YOUR song for Dan!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

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. SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #198

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change the original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“I’m still looking for my keys…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

Helping songwriters turn pro.