Tag Archives: Chad Green

Bring One Of These To Your Next Cowrite (Or You’ll Be Sorry)

Let me tell you a tale of two cowrites, both from my early “pro” days. First… the bad cowrite.  It was a nightmare…

I was signed with Major Bob Music at the time, and “Monday Morning Church” had recently been a top 5 country hit for Alan Jackson.  But in spite of having a publishing deal and a hit under my belt, I was still pretty much a newbie trying to figure things out.  (I still feel that way to be honest.)  Anyway, Major Bob hooked me up to cowrite with a legit hit songwriter.  This guy had many cuts and hits to his credit, and I was honored to get in a room with him.

We met at his publishing company on Music Row.  After a little chit chat, he got that familiar look on his face.

“So… got any ideas?”  No.  Not really.

I mean, I had a bunch of hooks and some ideas, but nothing great.  Nothing I was busting a gut to write.  And I apparently didn’t have anything that impressed him, either.  After I threw out several “shoulder-shruggers,” he said, “Man, we need an idea like ‘Monday Morning Church.'”  Too bad.  I must have left my stack of “Monday Morning Church” ideas at home that morning.

We chatted some more, eventually moving out to the porch where he smoked a cigarette and I watched my hopes of making a good impression going up in smoke.  We called it a day.  I call it a failure of preparation on my part.  We’ve never written again.  For me, I was embarrassed and in no hurry to risk wasting his time again.

Now for the good cowrite.

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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 _________________________________

I met Byron Hill at Chad Green’s ASCAP Country Workshop.  And, if I remember correctly, Carla Wallace at Big Yellow Dog Music also helped connect us.  We got a cowrite on the books, and I was pumped.  Byron has written a bunch of hits including, “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Born Country” for Alabama, “Politics Religion & Her” for Sammy Kershaw and many, many more.

This time, I did my homework.  I pulled together several ideas and lyrics that I thought he’d like.  I really wanted to make a good impression on him. When Byron asked, “So… got any ideas?” I was ready.  He loved a lyric sketch I brought in called, “Ring On The Bar,” and we were off to the races.

This first cowrite led to some success and more opportunity.  While “Ring On The Bar” hasn’t been a big hit yet, it’s been recorded by John Pierce (RCA), James Dupre’ (The Voice), and has been on hold by several artists, including Brad Paisley.

But the big thing is that Byron and I went on to write several more songs together, including the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards Single Of The Year (and my first #1) “When Your Lips Are So Close” with artist, Gord Bamford.

Good thing I showed up with a good idea on that first day, huh?

And that brings me to the point of these two stories.  I believe that a strong idea is the most valuable thing you can bring to a cowrite (other than Tom Douglas).  “Well,” you might say, “how come these big-time songwriters didn’t throw out any of THEIR ideas?”  Here’s why:

A great idea is sometimes the only thing a newer songwriter has to offer a seasoned pro.

Let’s face it, if you get to write with an established pro songwriter, what do THEY need from YOU?

new songwriter offer pro

They have a more valuable name in the business.  They have more connections.  They most likely bring a higher level of songwriting skill.  The only thing they need is a fresh, cool idea or melody.  Unless you’re swinging around a big fat record deal, your job is to bring in the idea or the start of a song.

If the pro has a great idea, he surely has several proven, established cowriters or artists who could write it with him.  Why risk giving 50% of HIS idea to a songwriter who might not contribute very much?

Let me tell you, it’s more fun (and profitable) when you have a strong answer for “got any ideas?” – and I want you to be prepared when that question comes your way.  And that question doesn’t need a good answer ONLY if you get a pro cowrite.  That question comes up in EVERY cowrite.  Every time you step into the writing room, you have the opportunity to blow away your cowriter with a great nugget or idea.

Feeling like I have a stack of strong ideas allows me to walk into any cowrite with confidence.  We might not always write my idea, but I came prepared… and my cowriter knows it and appreciates it.

I want YOU to have that confidence – and those results, too.  I want your cowriters to be glad they showed up to write with you.  But I DON’T want you to have to go through years of trial, error and the occasional embarrassing cowrite like I did!

That’s why, in the month of January, I’m hosting a transformative online songwriting event called, “Building A Hit: From Blank Page To Finished Lyric.” In this powerful 4-week online workshop, I reveal: How to find great song ideas. Kill writers block and fill up that blank page again and again.  Always have an answer for, “So… got any ideas?” How to focus your ideas for maximum impact. Don’t waste any more great ideas by leaving them under-developed or confusing. How to frame your ideas for maximum commercial appeal. Having a great, compelling idea isn’t enough. You have to build your song in a way that an artist will want to sing it and an audience will want to hear it. How to finish your song. Stop leaving your best ideas unfinished! Nobody loves a song they never hear, and a song that’s only 99% finished will never get recorded, get on the radio, or change your life.  Stop leaving your success to gather dust, unfinished, in some old notebook. If you want to join me on a journey that will help you think and write like a pro songwriter, click on the link below. Spots are limited for this event, and I only host it twice a year. Miss out, and it’s gone for another 6 months. Don’t delay- THE DEADLINE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT IS THIS SATURDAY!

DON’T MISS OUT- CLICK HERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  THE DEADLINE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT IS SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30!

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, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far. SWP 4

The music biz is a recommendation business.

The music biz has often been called a relationship business – and it IS.  But how you GET those relationships is often a matter of recommendations.

And I want to help you get more of those recommendations.

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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

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First off, let me tell you about a few referrals and how they have really affected my songwriting career.  Why?  It’s not about me or my story.  I’m not bragging.  I’m sharing because I want to prove to you that recommendations MATTER.

Chad Green, my ASCAP representative at the time, picked up the phone and called Major Bob Music.  He recommended that they listen to my songs.  I ended up signing my first publishing deal with them.

I used to do some gopher / bookkeeping work for a producer in town named Miles.  He recommended I write a young, unknown Canadian singer/songwriter named Aaron Goodvin.  We eventually did, and years later, Aaron helped me land cuts on Canadian artist Drew Gregory and Sony Canada artist, Tristan Horncastle.  Aaron himself is currently an artist on Warner Music Canada.

Separate recommendations by my cowriters, Lisa Shaffer and Brandon Kinney, led to my third publishing deal – a deal with Writer’s Infinity.

A cowriter, Skip Black, brought me in on a cowrite with singer/songwriter, Benton Blount.  (Any time a cowriter brings you in with an artist, it’s a recommendation.)  Benton Blount went on to land a spot in the Top 10 of America’s Got Talent Season 10.  I’ve had several cowrites and cuts on Benton’s indie albums, and I have one in the can for his upcoming Pacific Records debut.

I met radio host and record promoter, Jay Karl, several years ago.  He liked my song “Armadillo,” and recommended it to one of his artists, Junior Gordon.  Junior recently released it as a single in Texas, and “Armadillo” has reached the top 10 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart.

One of the major values of relationships is the recommendations they generate.  And the relationship doesn’t have to be with the artist or producer.  Jay Karl was just a total stranger who wanted to do a short interview for a radio show.  I didn’t think it would lead to anything other than me feeling important and cool for a few minutes.  Sure didn’t think it would lead to a successful Texas single.

Miles was just a guy who needed some part-time help putting his receipts in Quicken, and Aaron Goodvin was just a kid from Canada.  Aaron was a good guy, and I could tell he had real hustle, but I didn’t think he’d end up as an artist on Warner Canada (all my Canadian friends need to go buy his album, by the way).

It’s not enough to JUST have a relationship.  Your contact has to do more than just know you or be aware of your existence.  They have to have a reason to make a recommendation – either TO you for FOR you.  And those reasons usually fall into one of two broad categories.

They want to help themselves.

If a cowriter brings you in to write with an artist because they know you’ll kill it… and you DO kill it… who comes out looking cool?  Your cowriter who hooked it up!  He or she gets to be the one who “made it all happen.”  Plus, he benefits from being part of a better song.  He also strengthens his ties with the artist.

If a publisher hooks you up to write with a pro, it’s because they hope you either already have “the goods” or they can help you develop “the goods.”  Why?  So they can publish your hits, that’s why!

Your relationships are definitely NOT gonna hook you up if they think it’ll make them look bad to their friends or bosses.  Why should they?  Even if you’re friends and he wants to help you, what’s the point?  If you don’t have the skills or personality to take advantage of the opportunity, you might feel good in the moment, but all you’ll really accomplish is wasting someone’s time and hurting your reputation.

To help someone else.

Sometimes your contact will hook people up or pass along a song with little or no self-interest.  Maybe they think you’ll be a great cowriting team or just good friends.  Or he knows Artist X needs a hit, and he believes your song is it.  So he passes it along.

Your contact may not have any direct financial stake in that recommendation.  But he or she will still benefit from the good will and hero status a successful recommendation can bring.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’ll be honest, I would LOVE to hit hero-status as part of YOUR songwriting journey.  I want to be part of YOUR success story.  And you know what?  I also want to be part of the success stories of my publisher friends.  I want to help you get your best songs heard, and I want to help my publisher friends find great songs.

Which leads leads me to a cool opportunity…

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.  But the deadline to apply for this event is AUGUST 31!

CLICK HERE to learn more and submit your song before it’s too late.

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.  And the deadline to enter is AUGUST 31!  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

Which PRO should I join – ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?

QUESTION:  I want to be a pro songwriter.  So should I join a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) right now?  Which one should I join- ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?

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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

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ANSWER:

First, let me explain (briefly) what PROs do.  Performing Rights Organizations are basically collection agencies.  They collect performance royalties for their songwriter and publisher members.  Performance royalties come from sources including radio airplay, TV/film synch performances, live music venues, and digital sources.

If you get a hit single, it’s the PRO check you love seeing in your mailbox.

In the rest of the world, you only have the choice of one PRO in each country or territory.  However, in the USA, we have 3 PROs: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

A songwriter can only be a member of one PRO at a time.

So, should you join one now?  The short answer is “YES” – if you have cuts out there being played on the radio, in bars, in film/TV, etc.  If you’re getting a decent amount of plays (or if you’re a touring act playing originals), you’re earning money – BUT NO ONE IS COLLECTING IT FOR YOU UNLESS YOU’RE A MEMBER OF A PRO.  If that’s not your situation, you’re not in a hurry and I suggest you “shop” PROs patiently.

So, which PRO should you join?

Well, there will be arguments over which PRO pays the most money, which one is best for certain genres, etc.  I suggest you don’t worry about that right now.  After all, if you’re not making money off your music, it doesn’t really matter if one PRO pays slightly better than another.

Join the PRO where you find your champion.

I suggest trying to get meetings at each of the PROs – with different member representatives at each one.  If your songs aren’t good enough, you probably won’t find a champion.  Keep writing.  Keep learning.  Keep getting better.  And keep being professional when you DO have meetings.

Eventually, if you’re friendly and professional and your songs keep getting better, you’ll find a rep who will give you more time, more feedback and may even hook you up with cowriters and/or publishers.

Join the PRO that will help you make money, not one that will ONLY collect your money.

I’ve benefitted from having a champion at my PRO.  Chad Green was my ASCAP rep, and he helped me land my first publishing deal.  (He’s also opened other doors for me, which you can read about with a CLICK HERE.)

Do you have more questions about PROs – what they do, how to get a meeting, or how to get a 2nd meeting?  If so, I have a great opportunity for you.

On Tuesday, July11, 2017, I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music and former ASCAP rep, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music industry professional and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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

You’re Invisible To Publishers Without THIS (and it’s not a good song)

Most songwriters can’t seem to get a music publisher’s attention.  They’re simply invisible, or at least it feels that way.  And maybe your songs are good.  Maybe they’re really good.  But that doesn’t matter much if you’re missing the other key things you need to get on a publisher’s radar.

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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

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You see, publishers are surrounded by songs and songwriters.  They find them at writers nights, they meet them at workshops, they often meet with new writers sent to them from PROs, other publishers, and friends.  Basically, they listen to songs and meet with songwriters. All. Freaking. Day.

Publishers are drowning in songs and songwriters.  And you’re offering them a cup of water.

So, how do you get publishers to notice YOU and YOUR SONGS?

REACH & FREQUENCY.

Before a publisher can even form an opinion of you as a songwriter, he or she must know you exist.  And they’ll never know you exist if you don’t reach them.

There are several ways to reach a publisher.  You can ping them on social media with something kind or helpful.  (Don’t be a taker.)  You might meet them at a workshop or event such as Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event.  Maybe they hear your name from another songwriter or see it on a lyric sheet as they listen to one of your songs.  Maybe they’ll see you at a writers night or shake your hand at an industry function.

You’ve reached the publisher and you’ve gotten their attention for a second, a minute, or even an hour.  But it’s not enough.

Even if they like you.  Even if they like your songs.  You walk out of that room, and “poof” – you’re invisible again.  They’ll have another meeting, go to another writers round or hear another batch of good songs.

You need frequency.  So get your frequency on.

You need your name, face and/or songs to reach that publisher again.  And again.  And again.  You need to reach that publisher with enough frequency that they go from “I’m sorry… have we met?” to “What’s your name again?” to “Yeah, you wrote that song about blah blah blah” to “Hey, Joe!  Great to see you again!  How ya been?”

You have to be patient.  But don’t be so patient that you only reach out to them every other year.

You have to be persistent.  But don’t be so persistent that you call them every other day.

So, what’s the right frequency?  I can’t tell you that.  It’s going to be different for each songwriter and each publisher.  But I do know this:  If your songs are really great or really horrible, it won’t take nearly as long for the publisher to remember and form an opinion of you.  So if you’re really, really bad, you should probably focus on your craft before worrying about finding a publisher.

But if you ARE ready to reach a publisher in a friendly setting- on a personal level- without your songs being judged- I have a great opportunity for you.

On Tuesday, July11, 2017, I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music publisher and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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

Music Publishing Isn’t About Just Pitching Songs

Music publishing isn’t just about slinging songs all over town.  It isn’t just about finding great songs and pitching those songs until they get cut.  If publishing was ever about that, it certainly isn’t anymore.

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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

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When I first moved to Nashville from Arkansas in 2002, my understanding of music publishing was that they sign songs and songwriters, pitch those songs, get cuts, and collect and pass along royalties.  I was excited about the possibility that a publisher might hook me up with some other songwriters, pay for my demos and provide a place where I could write.  And I felt blessed when all that finally started to happen.

But it wasn’t enough.  The business model was changing.

That first publishing deal WAS a blessing.  The guys at Major Bob took a chance on signing a young songwriter.  I’m really thankful for them.  I was learning to write better and better songs.  And the guys at Major Bob hooked me up with some good cowriters.  And they would give me some feedback.  But at the end of the day…

I spent a lot of time trying to create great songs, but not enough time trying to create great opportunities.

Heck, I was a newbie.  I had moved to Nashville to write songs, and that’s what I was finally getting to do.  And I was LOVING it.  But while I basically understood how the music business works (royalties, publishing, licensing, etc.), I didn’t understand how the RELATIONSHIP business worked.  Not really.  And it cost me.

It’s great that I was working to create great songs.  But I should’ve been wiser about creating great relationships at labels, with other publishers, producers, and artists.

(Maybe Major Bob was working hard on that for me – but my songs just weren’t good enough to open those doors.  But in either case, I myself wasn’t focused on it enough.)

The smart publishers these days are focused on creating great opportunities for their writers.  That’s why so many publishers sign writer/artists and writer/producers these days.  Those MIGHT become in-house opportunities for cuts and cowriters.  Publishers are partnering with labels (and labels are starting publishing companies).  Publishers are also actively working to get their writers in the room with producers and artists.

Heck, Ole’ Music even has a tour bus that will take their writers on the road to write with artists.  They’re serious about creating opportunities for their writers.

All this is in an effort to put their staffwriters in a position to win with a great song.  (Yes, publishers still do the traditional “find a great songwriter and pitch their best songs” thing.  That model just isn’t having as much success anymore, so they’re having to be more aggressive in creating opportunities.)

But what if you don’t have a publisher?

Well, you’re not off the hook.  If you want cuts and hits, you need to focus on creating BOTH great music AND great opportunities.  Don’t expect a publisher to come riding in on a white horse and save the day.  Get started now.  Start identifying potential opportunities- now.  Start forging relationships- now.

After all, if you don’t HAVE a publisher, you ARE your publisher!

If you’re ready to learn more about how publishing works – or if you’re ready to start making your own relationships with music publishers, I have a great first step for you.

I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event in July with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music publisher and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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

How One Relationship Can Open Doors All Over The Music Biz

The music business is a relationship business. Yes, it takes great music. But it also takes great relationships. And it’s amazing how just ONE relationship can open up MANY doors of opportunity.

One believer- one champion- can change your career.

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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

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I’m friends with Chad Green. I’ve been thinking a lot about Chad lately because I have a “Know The Row” event coming up with him next month. He’s currently the Senior Creative Director at Daywind Music Publishing.

But back in 2004, Chad was a membership representative with ASCAP, my Performing Rights Organization, or PRO.

In our first meeting, he picked up the phone and called Major Bob Music for me. I’d dropped off a comp for them and never heard anything back. This time, after Chad’s call, they listened. That call led to a meeting and eventually led to my first publishing deal.  Thanks, Chad.

Chad also invited me to join ASCAP’s Country Workshop, where I met hit songwriter Byron Hill. Byron’s written “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Politics Religion And More” for Sammy Kershaw, “Born Country” for Alabama and more. Byron and I eventually started writing together, and that has led to a few cuts, including “When Your Lips Are So Close,” a #1 Canadian country single and 2014 CCMA Single Of The Year for Gord Bamford. Thanks, Chad.

After Chad left ASCAP, he was Creative Director for Word Music Publishing. He called me up about some cowrites. That’s when I met Brian Hitt and Jay Speight. Together, we’ve had a song called “God Amazing” cut by Charles Billingsley in the Christian market. We also landed a few songs on a Christian children’s album called “K-Tunez Praise.” Side note- it’s fun when I hear my kids spinning that album in their room. Thanks, Chad.

Now Chad is Senior Creative Director at Daywind Music Publishing. So far, he’s introduced me to one of my favorite cowriters, a guy named Jason Wilkes. And Chad is currently working on getting me in the room with a successful country artist for an upcoming project on Daywind. I can’t say who the artist is, but I have a few of his country records, and I’m super pumped for the opportunity.

One industry contact has turned into a friendship and – over time – has led to a lot of good things.  And that’s the lesson for YOU SongPros out there.

Relationships matter. Relationships open doors.

And it’s a two-way street. Chad calls me 1) because we’re friends and 2) he believes in my songwriting chops. He’s not going to bring me in with one of his writers or one of his artists if he thinks I’m going to blow it. After all, he has his own family to feed. He has his own professional reputation to consider.

I’ve made it easy for him to open those doors for me by 1) being a writer he respects and 2) being a friend.

Another lesson: people don’t stay in the same jobs forever. Chad was an ASCAP rep. At that job, he was able to hook me up with a publisher. Later, at a publishing company, he was able to hook me up with cowrites. Now, he also has contacts with a label, and he’s working on hooking me up with an artist.

Think long-term.

They say to make friends BEFORE you need them. I hope you’ll be mindful of making long-term contacts in the music business. And it all starts with a first step.

I have a great first step for you. If you’d like a chance to hang out with Chad Green yourself, we’re doing an online Know The Row event in July.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now!

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

You’ll Probably Regret Not Bringing This To Your Next Cowrite

This is an encore edition of a recent blog post.  I’m re-releasing it for two reasons: 1) it’s a really important topic and 2) I have a great opportunity for you at the end of it.  Thanks! -Brent

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Let me tell you a tale of two cowrites, both from my early “pro” days. First… the bad cowrite.

I was signed with Major Bob Music at the time, and “Monday Morning Church” had recently been a top 5 country hit for Alan Jackson.  But in spite of having a publishing deal and a hit under my belt, I was still pretty much a newbie trying to figure things out.  (I still feel that way to be honest.)  Anyway, Major Bob hooked me up to cowrite with a legit hit songwriter.  This guy had many cuts and hits to his credit, and I was honored to get in a room with him.

We met at his publishing company on Music Row.  After a little chit chat, he got that familiar look on his face.

“So… got any ideas?”  No.  Not really.

I mean, I had a bunch of hooks and some ideas, but nothing great.  Nothing I was busting a gut to write.  And I apparently didn’t have anything that impressed him, either.  After I threw out several “shoulder-shruggers,” he said, “Man, we need an idea like ‘Monday Morning Church.'”  Too bad.  I must have left my stack of “Monday Morning Church” ideas at home that morning.

We chatted some more, eventually moving out to the porch where he smoked a cigarette and I watched my hopes of making a good impression going up in smoke.  We called it a day.  I call it a failure of preparation on my part.  We’ve never written again.  For me, I was embarrassed and in no hurry to risk wasting his time again.

Now for the good cowrite.

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I met Byron Hill at Chad Green’s ASCAP Country Workshop.  And, if I remember correctly, Carla Wallace at Big Yellow Dog Music also helped connect us.  We got a cowrite on the books, and I was pumped.  Byron has written a bunch of hits including, “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Born Country” for Alabama, “Politics Religion & Her” for Sammy Kershaw and many, many more.

I did my homework.  I pulled together several ideas and lyrics that I thought he’d like.  I really wanted to make a good impression on him. When Byron asked, “So… got any ideas?” I was ready.  He loved a lyric sketch I brought in called, “Ring On The Bar,” and we were off to the races.

This first cowrite led to some success and more opportunity.  While “Ring On The Bar” hasn’t been a big hit yet, it’s been recorded by John Pierce (RCA), James Dupre’ (The Voice), and has been on hold by several artists, including Brad Paisley.

But the big thing is that Byron and I went on to write several more songs together, including the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards Single Of The Year (and my first #1) “When Your Lips Are So Close” with Gord Bamford.

Good thing I showed up with a good idea on that first day, huh?

And that brings me to the point of these two stories.  I believe that a strong idea is the most valuable thing you can bring to a cowrite (other than Kris Kristofferson).  “Well,” you might say, “how come these big-time songwriters didn’t throw out any of THEIR ideas?”  Here’s why:

A great idea is really the only thing a newer songwriter has to offer a seasoned pro.

Let’s face it, if you get to write with an established pro songwriter, what do THEY need from YOU?

new songwriter offer pro

They have a more valuable name in the business.  They have more connections.  They most likely bring a higher level of songwriting skill.  The only thing they need is a fresh, cool idea or melody.  Unless you’re swinging around a big fat record deal, your job is to bring in the idea or the start of a song.

If the pro has a great idea, he surely has several proven, established cowriters who could write it with him.  Why risk giving 50% of HIS idea to a songwriter who might not contribute very much?

Let me tell you, it’s more fun (and profitable) when you have a strong answer for “got any ideas?” – and I want you to be prepared when that question comes your way.  And that question doesn’t need a good answer ONLY if you get a pro cowrite.  That question comes up in EVERY cowrite.  Every time you step into the writing room, you have the opportunity to blow away your cowriter with a great nugget or idea.

Feeling like I have a stack of strong ideas allows me to walk into any cowrite with confidence.  We might not always write my idea, but I came prepared… and my cowriter knows it and appreciates it.

I want YOU to have that confidence – and those results, too.  I want your cowriters to be glad they showed up to write with you.  But I DON’T want you to have to go through years of trial, error and the occasional embarrassing cowrite like I did!  That’s why I dive deeply into the topic in my upcoming web-workshop series in August called “Song Ideas: From Blank Page To Finished Lyric.”

Blank 2 Finished

This course is designed to take you from a blank page to a new song idea to a fully developed concept to a finished lyric. You’ll learn a repeatable process you can use to discover and develop strong song ideas again and again. And you’ll also learn how to frame and focus those ideas for maximum commercial impact and appeal.

This course is INTERACTIVE! You won’t sit back and just stare at me talking for an hour-and-a-half. You won’t be some number on my dashboard. No. We’ll be face-to-face. You’ll have exercises to practice outside of our sessions. I’ll ask you questions. You can ask me questions. We’re in this thing together. That’s why I keep the workshops small- I want to get to know YOU!

Tickets for this event are on sale NOW. There are only 11 spots open, and I expect them to go fast- so don’t wait too long and miss your chance to take your songwriting to the next level!

I look forward to seeing you in August- CLICK HERE or on the image below to learn more and reserve your spot now!

Blank 2 Finished

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

The Most Valuable Thing You Can Bring To A Cowrite

Man vs. PRO

Let me tell you a tale of two cowrites, both from my early “pro” days. First… the bad cowrite.

I was signed with Major Bob Music at the time, and “Monday Morning Church” had recently been a top 5 country hit for Alan Jackson.  But in spite of having a publishing deal and a hit under my belt, I was still pretty much a newbie trying to figure things out.  (I still feel that way to be honest.)  Anyway, Major Bob hooked me up to cowrite with a legit hit songwriter.  This guy had many cuts and hits to his credit, and I was honored to get in a room with him.

We met at his publishing company on Music Row.  After a little chit chat, he got that familiar look on his face.

“So… got any ideas?”  No.  Not really.

I mean, I had a bunch of hooks and some ideas, but nothing great.  Nothing I was busting a gut to write.  And I apparently didn’t have anything that impressed him, either.  After I threw out several “shoulder-shruggers,” he said, “Man, we need an idea like ‘Monday Morning Church.'”  Too bad.  I must have left my stack of “Monday Morning Church” ideas at home that morning.

We chatted some more, eventually moving out to the porch where he smoked a cigarette and I watched my hopes of making a good impression going up in smoke.  We called it a day.  I call it a failure of preparation on my part.  We’ve never written again.  For me, I was embarrassed and in no hurry to risk wasting his time again.

Now for the good cowrite.

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I met Byron Hill at Chad Green’s ASCAP Country Workshop.  And, if I remember correctly, Carla Wallace at Big Yellow Dog Music also helped connect us.  We got a cowrite on the books, and I was pumped.  Byron has written a bunch of hits including, “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Born Country” for Alabama, “Politics Religion & Her” for Sammy Kershaw and many, many more.

I did my homework.  I pulled together several ideas and lyrics that I thought he’d like.  I really wanted to make a good impression on him. When Byron asked, “So… got any ideas?” I was ready.  He loved a lyric sketch I brought in called, “Ring On The Bar,” and we were off to the races.

This first cowrite led to some success and more opportunity.  While “Ring On The Bar” hasn’t been a big hit yet, it’s been recorded by John Pierce (RCA), James Dupre’ (The Voice), and has been on hold by several artists, including Brad Paisley.

But the big thing is that Byron and I went on to write several more songs together, including the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards Single Of The Year (and my first #1) “When Your Lips Are So Close” with Gord Bamford.

Good thing I showed up with a good idea on that first day, huh?

And that brings me to the point of these two stories.  I believe that a strong idea is the most valuable thing you can bring to a cowrite (other than Kris Kristofferson).  “Well,” you might say, “how come these big-time songwriters didn’t throw out any of THEIR ideas?”  Here’s why:

A great idea is really the only thing a newer songwriter has to offer a seasoned pro.

Let’s face it, if you get to write with an established pro songwriter, what do THEY need from YOU?

They have a more valuable name in the business.  They have more connections.  They most likely bring a higher level of songwriting skill.  The only thing they need is a fresh, cool idea or melody.  Unless you’re swinging around a big fat record deal, your job is to bring in the idea or the start of a song.

If the pro has a great idea, he surely has several proven, established cowriters who could write it with him.  Why risk giving 50% of HIS idea to a songwriter who might not contribute very much?

Let me tell you, it’s more fun (and profitable) when you have a strong answer for “got any ideas?” – and I want you to be prepared when that question comes your way.  And that question doesn’t need a good answer ONLY if you get a pro cowrite.  That question comes up in EVERY cowrite.  Every time you step into the writing room, you have the opportunity to blow away your cowriter with a great nugget or idea.

Feeling like I have a stack of strong ideas allows me to walk into any cowrite with confidence.  We might not always write my idea, but I came prepared… and my cowriter knows it and appreciates it.

I want YOU to have that confidence – and those results, too.  I want your cowriters to be glad they showed up to write with you.  But I DON’T want you to have to go through years of trial, error and the occasional embarrassing cowrite like I did!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Have you had similar success or failures?  Please leave a comment!

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

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

Songwriting Coaches Don’t Make You Do Push-Ups

 

First of all, what is a coach?

A coach is an experienced and trusted advisor. A songwriting coach could be a more seasoned, experienced cowriter. It could also be a publisher or PRO representative (ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, SOCAN, etc.) who takes time to meet with you. It could also be a pro-songwriter coach from NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) or GSC (Global Songwriters Connection), or Songwriting And Music Business. There are several good independent coaches out there, too.

A quality coach can help you get where you want to go more effectively and efficiently- if you’re willing to learn. Here are five specific ways songwriters can benefit from a coaching relationship.

1. Your coach knows things you don’t.

He may or may not have some #1s to his credit. He may or may not have a song on the charts this week. But the important thing is that he has been down the road ahead of you and can point the way. He’s seen more, learned more, and accomplished more than you have (yet). He can help accelerate your learning curve and avoid some of the pitfalls.

2. Your coach is not your mom.

A coach doesn’t have to see you at Thanksgiving or worry about the quality of the nursing home you’ll choose for her. Therefore, while a quality coach will not be mean, she has the freedom to be honest about your writing- as she sees it. She also doesn’t know your backstory. This means your writing has to stand on it’s own- singing about Jenny you dated in high school means ONLY what the song says. Your coach can’t fill in the gaps from your shared experience- your coach won’t know that Jenny was Prom Queen unless your song tells her.

3. It’s good practice.

If you want to get songs recorded on a professional level, you’re going to have to get comfortable throwing your babies into the real world. It can be scary and frustrating, but it’s something you need to get used to. A quality coach is a safe place to get that professional feedback. It’s a step into the music business where you’ll be challenged and have to toughen up. But it’s also safe because being “just okay” or even “bad” doesn’t close the door to them in the future. Your coach doesn’t expect you to be professional-level, and it’s not about, “Well, did you bring me a hit today?”

4. A coach is a potential entry point into the music business.

If you want to be a professional writer, you won’t get there alone. You need a network of relationships in the business, and a coach is a great start. A coach might recommend potential cowriters or publishers. He or she can be your champion- especially at places like NSAI or GSC. A coach might even write with you. Eventually. (But you should never be the one to mention it first.)  None of this is guaranteed, and when you sign up with a coach, do not expect it.  But if you EARN it, it MIGHT happen.

5. A songwriting coach won’t make you do push-ups.

I hate push-ups, and thankfully… no matter how bad my songs were… I’ve never had one of my songwriting coaches say, “drop and give me 20.”  So, there’s that.

Coaching has had a profound impact on my songwriting. There were coaches I only met with now and then (and sometimes only once). These included guys like Chad Green and Ralph Murphy at ASCAP. It also includes publisher Clay Myers, who gave such blunt, honest and challenging feedback that I wanted to throat-punch him 10 minutes into our first meeting… and wanted to write for him 30 minutes later.

It includes my songpluggers- Mike Doyle, Jesse Frasure and Scot Sherrod at Major Bob Music, Sam Ramage at RPM Music, and Paul Compton at Writers Infinity. These guys wouldn’t just pitch my songs. They encouraged me when I was down, they celebrated our victories, and they challenged me to write better.

Are there songwriting (or other) coaches who have made an impact in your life or on your writing? Give them some love in the comments!

Coaching can make a big positive difference in your songwriting. But let’s face it, even the best, most knowledgable songwriting coach in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not willing to do the work it takes to implement their suggestions and rise to their challenges. Seeking out a coach and then ignoring their advice only annoys the coach and wastes your time. Don’t do that, okay?

But, if you ARE ready to get some coaching, and you ARE ready to do the work, I have a cool opportunity for you. It’s called The C4 Experience, or C4X. It’s a series of workshops in January and February in 2016. What does “C4” stand for?

Creative
Commercial
Coaching
Community

The C4 Experience is about celebrating your creative spirit and sharpening your commercial songwriting, guided by expert coaching and encouraged by a supportive community.

Click on the image below or CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE!

c4x

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.