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#1120869 - 12/12/16 09:04 PM Do both male and female version of demos?  
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Donna Dutchess Offline
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Hi folks. I just had a new song done by a female and I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to also have a male version of the song. With a little twist in the lyrics, it would work. For pitching purposes, is this a good idea?


https://donnadutchessmusic.com/
http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/donnadutchesssongwriter
https://www.youtube.com/user/dutchessdnn
#1120871 - 12/12/16 09:34 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Not necessary Donna, but good to have both male & female versions. Though could get expensive using two singers per song. You'll need two different keys probably.

Best, John smile

#1120874 - 12/12/16 09:44 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Donna Dutchess Offline
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I thought it would be expensive too but my demo service (MagicShack Productions) has a male singer who can sing in the existing key. So for $150 I can have a male version.


https://donnadutchessmusic.com/
http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/donnadutchesssongwriter
https://www.youtube.com/user/dutchessdnn
#1120875 - 12/12/16 09:49 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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If you are planning on pitching to a male, you best have a male and female vocal. Artists rarely can "hear through" a recording, and they are going through hundreds of songs when they are previewing a recording. Having a female only vocal is just another reason to turn it off. Girls are a little better about listening to male voices but in this day and age, I wouldn't count on it.

In many cases, with major artists, you also better have it in the KEY they usually sing in. Again, all artists have their OWN favorites, their own songs, those of their friends, the publishers, producers, label people, you know, the ones who sign their checks? So they are looking for reasons to turn something off.

You should try to find a key that is neutral for both women and men. That way you only have to have one track. Can be done, but you need to have a couple of experienced singers.

This is NOT the "old days." Demos can't be rudimentary, guitar vocal or piano vocals when you are pitching the artists. The higher the level, the more complete the demo needs to be. And again, why it is best to write them WITH artists to begin with to have them involved in the process. The days' of the "outside pitch" are pretty much done anyway. So this is the equivilant of wanting to get on the Interstate with an Amish Horse and buggy. You can do it, but it is not advisable.

All the songs you are up against, have the right keys, singers that sound like the artist they are pitching to, have just enough attitude to "sell" the song, yet be "safe" enough not to intimidate a singer.

Pros sometimes have to have three or four versions of a song to cover different types of pitches they are doing.

MAB

#1120889 - 12/13/16 09:24 AM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Donna Dutchess Offline
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Thank you. Merry Christmas!


https://donnadutchessmusic.com/
http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/donnadutchesssongwriter
https://www.youtube.com/user/dutchessdnn
#1121548 - 12/27/16 02:01 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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beechnut79 Offline
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This thread reminds me that during the heyday of rock 'n roll it was actually quite common to have both male and female versions of the same song. We can start with the country classic "Wild Side of Life" Then Kitty Wells came up with the classic answer that "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels". Then in 1981 Waylon and Jessi combined these into one song. Link here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwnDIdLr9nQ

Other examples include the Jim Reeves classic "He'll Have to Go". Later on a lady named Jeannie Black recorded an answer titled "He'll Have to Stay". And Damita Jo recorded "I'll Save the Last Dance for You", a response to the Drifters' classic "Save the Last Dance for Me." Doesn't seem to be done much these days, however.

But down through the years there have been many songs that were hits for both male and female artist, the most obvious probably being "I Heard it Through the Grapevine", a hit first for Gladys Knight and then later by Marvin Gaye.

#1121786 - 01/02/17 03:17 AM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Donna:

I would say there are numerous factors involved in deciding whether to have both male and female demos created of songs you plan to pitch. If you pitch to mostly male artists, the extra expense is not necessary. The opposite is true if you pitch to both male and female artists... unless the song is so good and so obvious that an elementary student would go around singing it all day and playing it every chance he/she gets.

Strategy is all too important when pitching... and these days, your odds are slim because there are too many songwriters in our over-crowded market.

When possible, write songs that can be sung by either a male or female artist and it would usually only require one demo.

Best of luck.

----Dave

#1121813 - 01/02/17 02:59 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Dave,

With all due respect, I have to say that there is not a song plugger or publisher in Nashville in this day and age that would pitch a male song to a female singer or vice versa. Not only that, but they won't even pitch a song that is not in the same key or SOUNDS like the singer they are pitched to.

The reason is because of the layers songs have to go through. They are almost never pitched directly to the artists. They have to go through the artist's publishers (every artist is signed as a writer first, before they get a deal, even if they don't focus on writing, because of the "luck" factor that one of their songs might end up working if not now, in the future), songs are run through filters, long before they get to the artists. And artists in this day and age of complete demos that they actually can step right in and sing to the tracks of, couldn't hear THROUGH a song if their lives depended on it. They are served up endless demos that sound like records. Those that don't do that are simply weeded out long before they get to the intended party.

Even on the lower level independent artists, now they are not just looking for songs, but something already done, so they can step into it with minimal expense. A fully recorded song with potential is one less step to getting product out there.

MAB

#1121819 - 01/02/17 05:06 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Aw, Humm,
You can spend a fortune getting songs demoed. Those demo producers, mostly in Nashville, want their money up front and don't give a damn if the song is successful or not. All the layers that a song has to go thru before it is pitched to the artist, probably has already been picked out for the artist and the artist has no say in it.
There was a story about Marty Robbins being coerced in recording other songs when he was about to be signed. He refused and then it was demanded that he put other's names on his songs. Again he refused. when that didn't work he told his guys to pack up. they were going home. He told them he had better songs than what he was being pitched. I think they finally relented and signed him.

It always amuses me when I am told some artist wants everything perfect if they are going to record it. I have also been told in most cases a male demo is OK if it fits what they are looking for. Apparently getting thru those locked doors is impossible anyway!


Ray E. Strode
#1121821 - 01/02/17 05:53 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Ray,

You have to keep in mind HOW MANY songs there are out there now. And again PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT. In the days of Marty Robbins, there were probably no more than 100 songwriters in Nashville at all. He would be pitched less than 50 songs totally. Now the artists themselves are writing 100-150 songs per year. If they write for a publishing company, they are being PAID to turn in their own songs.

If they work for a major company, (Warners, Sony, etc) those people SIGN their PAYCHECKS, so their ability to stay on the label depends on them recording the songs from that label or publishing companies catalogue. Even having said that, routinely artists are now going through well over 3000 songs on the way to recording 10-12 for a project and now they are more likely to go to SINGLES, ONE SONG, instead of a full album. So the chance for outside songs all diminish exponentially.

New artists, as well, are WRITING their own songs and if recordings come in that don't sound like what they are doing, they are rejected at introductions. Yes, it costs a lot of money to record them and those companies ARE SPENDING that money because they can. It is another reason most writers are priced out of the marketplace. And yes, since most songs are going to FAIL a producer of course is going to be paid up front. They don't work for free.

How do you get a job without experience? How do you get experience without the job?
You find a way.

How do you get a cut without being inside the circles?
How do you get inside the circles without getting cuts?

You find a way.

That way is finding and writing WITH artists from the beginning.

MAB

#1121825 - 01/02/17 06:58 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Yes,
I think a lot of artists on a Major Label only cuts a single and it is pushed to radio. If it is successful maybe an Album. but Alas! There are no more Webb's or Marty's. They did put out a single on Vinyl 45 at that time. And there were real Disc Jockeys spinning those hits. Today there are Consultants telling us what to hear.

Yes back in the 90's I sent a demo to a producer. You could only send 2 songs. I got a call back for an 8 song submission. Didn't make the cut but when I called him back he said they went thru 2000 songs. One I sent initially was just my Guitar Vocal.


Ray E. Strode
#1121826 - 01/02/17 07:09 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Ray,

There are many, many things to keep in mind. Of the 12=15 artists on any major label, only 2-3 will make enough money to be re-signed the next year. If those singles don't sell, they are gone. They spend around $4.5 million dollars to launch a new artist. And have millions already invested in songs, artists, writers, they are trying to get cut, produced and released.

Even in Marty and Webb's day, they didn't cut all the songs they wrote. And even most of the songs they released didn't always sell and there are still unrecorded songs of their's in publishing companies here.

#1121955 - 01/05/17 12:37 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Marc,
With all due respect, I think you have been living among the "Suits" way too long. I think the "Suits" have been living with the other "Suits" way too long. Who was it, Waylon or Willie that found a good thing down in Texas where real music was being appreciated. And then, if I'm not mistaken, recorded the first Vinyl album to sell a million copies.

All, if not most of the stuff I hear on the radio is a big production with lots of chorus included to make it sound really good but most of it is pretty ordinary. Not sure how well most of it is selling but I bet not much.
Throwing money at a project will not make it better, believe me. I have already heard all the good stuff from the early 50's to today. You need to get out of "Dodge" and get re-aquainted with "Real" music, like Willie and Waylon.


Ray E. Strode
#1122118 - 01/07/17 07:47 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Donna Dutchess Offline
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Donna Dutchess  Offline
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Marc, thank you again for your advice. I did have the song demoed for both males and females. And quite frankly, it was worth the money because people are liking the male version more. Plus it is very advantageous to be able to pitch to both. You can give it a listen on my Reverbnation page "JUST GO".

You said above: How do you get a cut without being inside the circles?
How do you get inside the circles without getting cuts?

You find a way.


I took this advice to heart and consequently I have 5 potential cuts coming in 2017 and signed with a publisher. They may not all pan out, but this is what keeps feeding my muse. And NO, they are not major artists, but a cut is a cut and to me that measures success. Nashville's doors may not be open, but I'm determined to find a back door in!

Thank you all for your input.


Last edited by Donna Dutchess; 01/07/17 07:48 PM.

https://donnadutchessmusic.com/
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#1122161 - 01/08/17 10:21 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Donna, glad it worked. At least gives you options. And it is cool hearing your songs done from both angles. And yes, a cut is a cut and congratulations and good luck with yours.

Ray, I find you a quite amusing person. I don't think I've ever seen anyone able to miss EVERY SINGLE point that is ever made but boy you manage to do so on every occasion. Sometimes I think if you are able to get your head past 1971, you might be able to understand things about the industry, but probably not, so why bother?

I don't know if you understand this, but I don't spend ANY time among the "suits." just know what they do, keep an eye on the actual markets instead of the ones from fifty years ago and understand how the game is played. I consistantly say not to worry about what the "suits" do and write and play for yourself.
If you have an interest in the modern era of music, you should educate yourself and play it like everyone else who is in it. Which is what this original thread was about, although as usual, you miss that point. But of course that would take you actually READING anything that I say in order to comprehend it which I don't have any indication you ever have.

At any point, I will always keep a Roy Rodgers decoder ring to try to figure out where you are in your thinking, but you are amusing. I will give you that.

MAB

#1123317 - 01/26/17 12:06 PM Re: Do both male and female version of demos? [Re: Donna Dutchess]  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey Donna,

Yes, if the backing is already done, it's very easy to switch the lyrics and re-record with a male point of view.

For very little outlay, you have just doubled your chances of placement. The "ask" is so precise these days, that if you're in a position to tweak to fit the specs, go for it.

cheers, niteshift


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