Tag Archives: Red Bow Records

The Email That Helped Me Get A Joe Nichols Cut

Man vs Row

Recently, I posted a lesson called, “Here’s Why Music Biz Professionals Aren’t Emailing You Back” (read it here).  Today, I want to look at an email that resulted in a phone call, a hold, and eventually a Joe Nichols cut.

A few years back, I wanted to get my song, “Crickets,” to Joe Nichols.  I just thought it’d be perfect for him. But how do I get it to him?  I didn’t have a personal connection with anyone in his camp.  However, I did happen to get the email address of the owner of Joe’s label (thanks to a sungplugger friend of mine).  I decided it was worth a cold email.

(Note: Normally, I wouldn’t send a song to a label owner.  But I know this particular owner actively listens to songs through email and has a say in what end up on his artists’ albums.  See my post “The Big Yes.”)

Not knowing the owner, this is how I worded my email:


Song for Joe Nichols: “Crickets” (Baxter, Shaffer, Whyte)


Mr. Brown,

I’m a songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson (“Monday Morning Church”), Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, and others.  Here’s a song for Joe.  Thanks for listening!


(Brent Baxter, Lisa Shaffer, Bill Whyte)

Lyric and mp3 attached.

God Bless,

Brent Baxter



Sometime later (maybe a day or two, maybe weeks), I got a call from the owner.  He said he loved the song and wanted to hold it for Joe.  Eventually, they cut it and it became the title track to Joe’s debut album on Red Bow Records.


Okay, let’s break down the email and see what we can learn.

I was proactive and pitched my own song.

I didn’t wait for someone else to make my dreams come true.  See my post, “10 Reasons Songwriters Should Pitch Their Own Songs.”

I used an appropriate communication channel.

This was an email address that the owner regularly uses to listen to songs.  It wasn’t his wife’s personal email or some other inappropriate email.  I was conducting business through a business email address.

The subject line is very clear and professional.

No hype.  No bull.

I kept the message very brief and to the point.

One quick glance at the message isn’t a turn-off.  He could read it very quickly, so he was more likely to actually read it.  Long emails are intimidating and look like too much work.

I presented pro credentials briefly and in the beginning.

I opened with a few choice cuts to set myself as a pro in his mind.  It increased the chance that he’d take my email seriously and expect a good song.  If you don’t have these, just get to who the song is for.  It’s better to skip this completely than say how you won a local talent show.  Your song may be killer, but if you’ve only has small success (so far), they might think you only have small talent.

I provided contact info both in the email and on the lyric sheet.

He called be back partly because I made it easy for him to find me.

I provided both the mp3 and the lyrics.

Some folks don’t look at the lyric when they listen.  Some do.  I don’t take chances.  I want them to have everything they might need.

The song was well-written and a good fit for the artist.

The email was written to get the song heard.  But getting the song heard doesn’t help if the song itself isn’t good or isn’t a good fit for the artist.

What about you?  Have you had any success with cold emails?  How did you word them?

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God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,


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

Man vs Row

4 Ways Songwriters Benefit From Mentoring

First of all, what is a mentor?  It’s anyone who advises or trains.  It could be a more seasoned, experienced cowriter.  It could also be a publisher or PRO representative (ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, SOCAN…) who takes time with you.  It could also be a professional mentor from NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) or GSC (Global Songwriters Connection).  And there are several good independent mentors out there, too.

A quality mentor can help you get where you want to go more effectively and efficiently- if you’re willing to learn.  Here are four specific ways songwriters can benefit from seeking out a mentor.  (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to drum up business for my own mentoring services.  I only do two or so a month, since it comes out of my family time.)

1. Your mentor knows things you need to know.

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.  He can help accelerate your learning curve and avoid some of the pitfalls he’s experienced.

2. Your mentor is not your mom.

A mentor is not going to love your song just because they already love you.  And a mentor doesn’t have to see you at Thanksgiving or worry about the quality of the nursing home you choose for her.  Therefore, while a quality mentor 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 mentor can’t fill in the gaps from your shared experience- your mentor never sat next to Jenny in algebra class.

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 mentor 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 that door to him or her in the future.  After all, it’s your mentor’s job to help you get better.

4. A mentor 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 mentor is a great start.  A mentor might recommend cowriters or publishers.  He or she can be your champion- especially at places like NSAI or GSC.  A mentor might even write with you.  Eventually. (But you should never be the one to mention it first.)  It’s important that you don’ expect this extra level.  I’m just saying, if you’re very good- and professional and would reflect well on your mentor, he or she MIGHT open additional doors for you.

Next week, we’ll start looking at how to maximize a mentoring session.  Thanks!

If you’d like to discover much more about how to find a songwriting coach- and get the most out of that relationship- check out my Amazon bestselling ebook, “Hit Songwriting: How A Songwriting Coach Can Fast Track Your Success.” It will help you prepare for the coaching session- what to do before, during, and after the session- and more! CLICK HERE TO FAST TRACK YOUR SUCCESS.


Any great experiences with a mentor?  Any nightmares?  Any advice on finding a great mentor?  Leave a comment!


Yesterday, it was officially announced that my song, “Crickets” is the title track to Joe Nichols’ new album on Red Bow Records, to be released on October 8, 2013!  Thanks to my cowriters, Lisa Shaffer and Bill Whyte.  And a big thanks to Joe Nichols and his team for recording it!

www.joenichols.com      www.lisashaffermusic.com      www.billwhytecomedy.com


Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

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