Tag Archives: Gord Bamford

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.

________________________________

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

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

cropped-SWP-2.jpg

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.

cropped-SWP-2.jpg

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.

cropped-SWP-2.jpg

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

Are Your Songs Being P.U.L.’D. To Success?

Man vs Row

It’s a good feeling to earn something that can’t be taken away…

…something that you can always point to back in your life and be proud of. I’ve been blessed with a few of those things, and one of them is hanging on the wall in my office.

It’s a plaque I received after Gord Bamford had a #1 single in Canada for our song “When Your Lips Are So Close.” The plaque includes part of that week’s Billboard chart, and there’s our songs, sitting at #1 above Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.

Gord 1

Imagine YOUR songs sitting in that #1 spot.

How would it feel to tell yourself, “I did it. I wrote a #1 hit. No matter what happens in the future, I’ll always know my dream wasn’t crazy. It came true.”

Well, ok… maybe having a hit song IS kind of a crazy dream. But I’m living proof that crazy dreams can come true. I want to help you make YOUR crazy dream come true, too. And that’s why I want to share the concept of “PUL’D” with you. “PUL’D” describes the type of song that most artists are looking for.

PUL’D stands for:

P: Positive
U: Uptempo
L: Love
D: Depth

Just look at the singles charts, and you’ll see what I mean. Most songs are positive messages or happy. People like to feel good. Positive songs are a whole lot better to listen to when you’re out with your friends at a party or at a club. Most songs on the charts are mid-tempo or uptempo. It’s something people can dance to, or at least bob their heads or tap their feet to. And most either deal with love or some some deep (“depth”) life topic. Love is the most universal topic, right? If you want to connect with a huge group of people (millions of radio listeners), your best bet is to talk about love. “Depth” is when the song deals with some sort of life issue. It could be death, growing older, looking back on life lessons, contemplating God, etc.

In the case of “When Your Lips Are So Close,” (the #1 hanging on my wall) the song is Positive, Midtempo, Love. It doesn’t have a dance club tempo, but it moves and it has a big chorus which gives it energy.

To give your song the best chance of getting recorded, you want to give it at least one of these three qualities (I say “three” because “love” and “depth” are both topics). However, if you can give it all three, then you REALLY have something that people are looking for.

You can think of it this way:

“Commercial songs get PUL’D into the recording studio.”
“Commercial songs get “PUL’D up the charts.”

If you want to learn more about how to write commercial songs, my course, “Cut/able” is a great place to start. It includes lessons on PUL’D, G.A.P.S. (from my last post), and more. (It’s available HERE.)

But maybe you already own “Cut/able” and you’re ready to take the next step. Or maybe interactive learning is more your thing. Either way, I have a great opportunity coming up for you.

In January and February, I’m leading a series of multiple-night, live, web-based workshops that I’m calling the “C4 Experience.” Why “C4?” I’ll get to that in my next email, where I’ll also share how building a song in the right neighborhood can move YOU into “Cut City.”

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.

Man vs Row

The Value Of A Songwriter/Producer Relationship

Man vs Row

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.

Everyone tells you about the value of writing with an artist/writer. And, true enough, those can be very valuable relationships. Write a great song with an artist/writer, and you have a direct path to a cut.

There’s another type of “slash” that has a lot of value, too. That’s the writer/producer.

Whereas a writer/artist gives you direct access to that particular artist, a writer/producer can give you direct access to several artists. Here are a few of my experiences with writer/producers.

Byron Hill is a hit songwriter with multiple #1s and a ton of cuts. He’s also produced Gord Bamford’s first several albums. Gord’s a big star in Canada, and he and Byron have cowritten a lot of his songs. Because of my cowriting relationship with Byron, I was able to write with both of them, leading to 3 cuts and 1 #1 hit / Single Of The Year in Canada.

Aaron Goodvin is a young songwriter/producer. As a songwriter, he’s recently gotten cuts on Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi, and Cole Swindell. He’s also starting to produce some artists back home in Canada. He and I’ve been friends and cowriters for several years, and he brought me in to write with an artist named Drew Gregory. We wrote a song called, “Five String.”

Drew actually didn’t cut that song, but it WAS cut by another artist, Tristan Horncastle, that Aaron was producing for Sony Canada. Drew ended up cutting a different song of mine, “Farm Hands,” which he heard through Aaron.

Like I said, one writer/producer can link you to several artists.

Another buddy of mine is Brian Hitt. I’ve written songs with him that have landed on some of his projects including a Canadian Christmas single and 3 songs on a Christian kid’s album for Brentwood Benson, a big player in the Christian music space.

Here’s another advantage of writing with a writer/producer: if they have a home studio, you can get great, cheap demos of your cowrites. Bonus!

My writer/producer relationships have been an important and valuable part of my network. They might be worth giving some focus as you build your network, too.

What do you think?  What are YOUR thoughts on writer/producer relationships?  Have you had success with that on a smaller or larger scale?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

God Bless,

Brent

A GIFT FROM BRENT

Thanks to those of you who have already downloaded my book, Hit Songwriting: How A Songwriting Coach Can Fast Track Your Success! You made it an Amazon bestseller in both the Songwriting and Music Instruction categories, and I really appreciate it! However, if you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, you can get it FOR FREE at www.GiftFromBrent.com or by clicking on the image below. Enjoy!

Gift From Brent Songwriting 3

 

Single Of The Year… Now What?

Gord When Lips Single

I was blessed to be a cowriter on “When Your Lips Are So Close,” which recently won “Single Of The Year” at the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA). I wrote the song with the artist, Gord Bamford, and his co-producer, Byron Hill. I’ve written three songs with them, and Gord has cut each of them. Three cowrites= 3 cuts, 1 #1 single, 1 gold single, 2 CCMA nominations and 1 CCMA win.

Now what?

Thankfully, Gord wants to write again. That’s great. But now that we’ve written a #1 together, now that we’ve had that success, the challenge is to keep my mind right. Possible pitfalls include:

Analysis paralysis.

It’d be easy to lock up creatively. To not write ANYTHING unless I’m sure it’s at least as big of a hit as “When Your Lips Are So Close.” Truth is, we didn’t know “When Your Lips Are So Close” was a #1 when we wrote it. We knew it felt really strong, but that was it. I can’t get trapped into having to think it’s a sure #1 before I’m willing to roll the dice.

Repeating myself.

I also have to avoid the temptation to play it safe by bringing in ideas that are too similar to “When Your Lips Are So Close.” Yes, there are elements of it we’d be wise to bring into another song. But we don’t want to just repeat ourselves. We need to write his NEXT hit, not rewrite his LAST one.

Getting complacent or cocky.

I’ve been blessed to have Gord cut all 3 of our cowritten songs, but nothing is guaranteed. If I just get lazy, thinking on some level, “Oh, he loves all my stuff,” then I won’t bring my best work (while his other cowriters will). Gord deserves better. So does Byron. So does my family.

Identifying these head-game tripwires should help me avoid them (hopefully). Now it’s mainly a matter of carving out enough creative space to be prepared. Then we’ll all just have to hope the muse shows up.

What about you?  What are some head-game tripwires that you run into, or have to actively avoid?  It doesn’t have to be about following up a hit- it could be about “wow, we had a great first cowrite… now what?” or “wow, that was a terrible first cowrite… now what?” I’d love to hear from you!

God Bless,

Brent

READY FOR YOUR SONGS TO BE “CUT/ABLE?”

“Cut/Able: Lessons In Market-Smart Songwriting” is four powerful lessons for songwriters who want cuts & hits, who want to learn how to write commercially marketable songs, & who want their songs to connect powerfully with both fans and Music Row pros.  If you want those results, these lessons can help.  To get a FREE EXCERPT of “Cut/able,” just click on the image below:

photo-18

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Single Of The Year: Gord Bamford, “When Your Lips Are So Close”

Gord When Lips Single

Hey, ya’ll!

I just wanted to give you an update on my song, “When Your Lips Are So Close,” cut by Canadian artist, Gord Bamford.  Since it was released as the lead-off single from Gord’s “Country Junkie” album in September 2013, it’s had a great run.  It hit #1 in November of 2013, has been certified as a gold single, and was nominated for two Canadian Country Music (CCMA) Awards for Single Of The Year and Songwriters Of The Year.  While it didn’t win Songwriters Of The Year, it DID win Single Of The Year at last night’s CCMA Awards!  Congrats and thanks to Gord and Byron Hill, our cowriter and the coproducer on the project!

With the win last night, I thought I’d re-post this Cut Study for the song.  Enjoy!

God Bless,

Brent

ORIGINAL POST:

I’m blessed to have written Gord Bamford’s new single, “When Your Lips Are So Close.”  Gord is a hit artist on Sony Canada who is nominated for seven Canadian Country Music Awards.  If all goes according to plan, he’s going to debut our song on the 2013 CCMAs.  Today, I’d like to briefly discuss how I got the song cut and what you can learn from it.

I networked my way to the artist.

I started writing with hit songwriter, Byron Hill, back in 2004.  It wasn’t until later that Byron became Gord’s producer.  Because Byron and I had written several good songs together and he trusted my skill and work ethic, he felt comfortable bringing me into a cowrite with him and Gord.

I asked for the cowrite.

Byron and I are buddies, but he and Gord had a good thing going before bringing me in.  I already knew Byron pretty well, but I still used a patient approach to getting in the room.  It took months, but that’s okay.  You want to be persistent, but you don’t want to push too hard and make your contact uncomfortable.  You don’t want to lose the contact.

I did my research.

When Byron said he’d hook up a cowrite with him and Gord, I got copies of all of Gord’s records.  I listened and wrapped my head around Gord’s brand- what he likes to sing about and his lyrical “voice.”  I also talked to Byron about what works well for Gord.

I did my pre-writing.

I started an idea called “On My Best Days” and tailored it for Gord.  Gord and Byron liked the idea and the sketch I brought in, and we finished it.  It was an album cut on Gord’s album, “Is It Friday Yet?”

I didn’t get lazy.

Even though they cut the only song we’d written, I didn’t assume they’d call me up when Gord was writing for his next record.  Every once in a while, I mentioned to Byron how much I’d love to get back with Gord when he was in town to write.  After several months (and a couple of cancelled trips), we were back on the books.

I did more research and pre-writing.

I didn’t assume that Gord wanted or needed more of the same.  I asked Byron what they wanted for Gord’s next album.  Based on what Byron told me, I spent a few hours on my own looking through my ideas and adapting a few for Gord.  I ran them by Byron, and he liked two of them, “When Your Lips Are So Close” and “Nights Like You.”

I focused on the artist’s needs.

Byron and I originally thought “Nights Like You” would be a midtempo, but Gord liked it as a ballad- he thought it would really connect well with his audience.  Well, he’s the successful artist, and nobody knows his fans like he does, so I’m not going to argue with that.  (He cut that song, as well.)  We also worked to make sure “When Your Lips Are So Close” fit where Gord wanted to go and sat really well in his voice.  Thankfully, it worked out.

So, three cowrites with the artist and producer, and three cuts and one single- I’ll take it!  (I wish all my other artist cowrites worked out this well.)  So, here’s what I learned from this experience:

Use patience and persistence in your networking.  Do your research on the artist.  Pre-write.  Don’t get lazy.  Focus on the artist’s needs.  Of course, there are never any guarantees in the music business, but I believe this process gives you a better chance of success.  Good luck!

THANKS!

Thank you so much, Byron Hill and Gord Bamford, for writing with me and doing such a great job on our songs!  I’m honored to be a small part of your success!

www.gordbamford.com

www.byronhillmusic.com

Sept. 17: JOIN MAN VS. ROW IN THE TOP 10!

The listener’s reaction to your song is only as real as the character in your song. This Man vs. Row Top 10 Workshop will focus on W.I.L.L.power.  I’ll teach you tips & techniques to make the characters in your songs come alive and jump out of the radio and into your listeners’ hearts.  To find out more, click on the image below.

MvR Top 10 2

BECOME AN MVR VIP!

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, or if you want special discounts on Man vs. Row products and services, become an MvR VIP! Simply enter your email in the “Become an MvR VIP” section on this page. It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below. Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it. I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else. Thanks!

Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Facebook: www.brentbaxtermusic.com

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God Bless,

Brent

Awards

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Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

I got some exciting news last week when the nominees were announced for the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs). Gord Bamford, Byron Hill and I are nominated for Songwriters of the Year for our song, “When Your Lips Are So Close.” The song is also nominated for Single of the Year. (It went #1 with Gord as the artist.) By the way, if you happen to be a CCMA member, we’d appreciate your vote!

What award would you love to win? As a writer and/or artist, which award would you take if you could only have one? And, honestly, if you couldn’t care less about awards or if your dream reward has nothing to do with the music business I’m cool with that. I hope you’ll put whatever your answer is in the comments.

What award would YOU love to win?

As a writer and/or artist, which award would you take if you could only have one? And, honestly, if you couldn’t care less about awards or if your dream reward has nothing to do with the music business I’m cool with that. I hope you’ll put whatever your answer is in the comments.

I’ll go first, and I’ll keep it to music.

In 2005, “Monday Morning Church” won a “Song I Wish I’d Written” Award from NSAI. There were only 13 given that year, and the other winning songs included “Bless The Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts, “I May Hate Myself In The Morning” by Lee Ann Womack, “Hey Good Lookin’” by Jimmy Buffett and Friends, and “Memories Of Us” by Keith Urban.

To have one of my songs sitting along side songs written by Hank Williams and Rodney Crowell was simply amazing. What made it even more special was that the award was voted on by only pro songwriters. When I dream about success, it usually involves that award.

But enough about me. What about YOU?

God Bless,

Brent

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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

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Oh, Canada!

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I got word yesterday that the song I wrote with Byron Hill and Gord Bamford and recorded by Gord just went #1 on the Canadian country chart, to be published later this week.  It’s both a great and a strange feeling.  “Great” because it’s a #1 song- my first!  “Strange” because “When Your Lips Are So Close” is a hit in another country, so I haven’t even heard it on the radio yet.  There’s an odd kind of unrealness to it- almost like Byron and Gord could just be pulling my leg.  But it IS real, and I’m thankful for it.

I’m sharing this because I want to publicly thank Byron who brought me in on the cowrite (and coproduced the album), Gord who already had a great thing going and didn’t have to write with me but did, and the Lord, who is the ultimate source of this blessing.  Thank you.

I’m also sharing this to remind myself and you that the musical world is bigger than just Nashville and Music Row.  There are opportunities around the world for songwriters with great songs.  It’s easy to only look at Nashville, but Nashville isn’t all there is.  Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not turning away from Nashville by any means.  But I think it’s wise to be open to “Nashville-Plus.”  Nashville plus the rest of the world.  Good luck, ya’ll!

God Bless,

Brent

www.gordbamford.com

www.byronhillmusic.com

 

 

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If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

6 Ways Songwriters Can Keep Motivated

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Whether you are a amateur songwriter hoping to “go pro” or you are a young pro trying to break through to the next level, a key element of success is simply to keep going.  And it isn’t easy to keep going.  For every person pulling a U-Haul into Nashville, there’s someone moving back home because they just don’t have the heart anymore.  So, how do you give yourself the best chance to keep going?  Here are a few ways.

1. Connect with your “why.”

If you don’t have a clear understanding of why you write, it’s really hard to answer the dark-valley question, “Why should I keep trying?”  To dive into this a little further, click here to read, “5 REASONS SONGWRITERS NEED TO KNOW WHY THEY WRITE.”

2. Celebrate the small victories.

Don’t ignore or downplay the small victories- especially early in your journey.  Be grateful.  Let the little victories give you confidence and fuel for the journey.

3. Connect with a supportive community.

We all need people who encourage, support, and believe in us.  They can be online or face-to-face, family or friends, cowriters or non-songwriting creatives.  It doesn’t matter who they are, just that they will support you.  And be sure and support them, too!

4. Display visual reminders.

Remind yourself that you’re a songwriter.  Remind yourself of your dreams and goals.  Remind yourself of your victories.  Create a vision board.  Keep your guitar where it’s handy, not hidden in a closet.

5. Pace yourself.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Be persistent, but be patient.  You have to find a family/money/music balance that is sustainable over the course of years, not months.  It might mean you can’t quit your day job just yet.  Maybe you can only write one night a week for now.  Sure, we all want instant gratification, but patience pays off.

6. Protect a positive attitude.

To stay in it for the long haul, you have to believe success is possible, and a lot of belief simply comes from your mindset.  Always seeing the glass as half-empty will cause your dreams to die of thirst.  Watch what comes out of your mouth.  Not only does what you say reflect what’s in your heart, it reinforces it.  Practice speaking positively- strengthen that part of yourself.

God Bless,

Brent

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1591841666/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3T29M0RCAXK3Y&coliid=IASA2W64M9RTX

YOU VS…

What did I miss?  Anything you’d like to add or ask?  What qualities are important to YOU in a mentor?  Leave a comment!

SHOUT OUT…

I’m blessed to have the #2 country song in Canada this week (Nov. 13, 2013)!  Gord Bamford released “When Your Lips Are So Close” as the lead-off single to his new album, “Country Junkie.”  It’s Gord’s highest-charting song so far, and mine, too.  (“Monday Morning Church” recorded by Alan Jackson got as high as #4 here in the US.)  Thank you Gord and Byron Hill for inviting me in to write with ya’ll!

www.gordbamford.com

FOLLOW AND SHARE THIS BLOG

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com