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#1134181 - 12/31/17 12:13 PM Be part of Nashville scene without living there?  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 15
Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Iím a country / Indie songwriter, not new to JPF but I donít post often. Iíve done a lot of reading here and elsewhere about the Nashville music industry (and the industry in general) particularly with how things work for songwriters. One of the resounding themes Iíve read is the Nashville is a ďco-writingĒ town, and it is built on relationships. Iíve heard this from Mr. Marc Alan Barnetteís writings, who I know is a great contributor here, as well as countless others. I get it - I understand that the whole system is built on relationships and being involved with artists from the ground floor. So my question (which Iím sure has been asked before, although I couldnít find a clear consise answer) is this: how can a songwriter who is outside of Nashville (or the other hubs) be a part of the scene, without having to uproot families, quit jobs, relocate, etc.? Iím not looking for the proverbial ďeasy way to the top.Ē But how can I be part of the scene and the community without actually being physically there? And yeah, getting visibility for some of my songs would be great too, but most importantly Iím wondering if there is a way to build relationships, co-write, and contribute without being fully immersed in the scene. One thing Iíve heard a lot is to join NSAI, but as far as I know there isnít an active local chapter where Iím at in rural north Jersey, so Iím not sure it would benefit me a whole lot (maybe Iím wrong). At any rate, thanks for reading, and I appreciate any input anyone has! Thanks!

Last edited by Adam Jacob; 12/31/17 12:14 PM.
#1134184 - 12/31/17 01:00 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Jun 2011
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Good Luck! I don't think there is a way. Try and find some great new young talent around your area and write songs for them or with them.....Tuff Bizz....lol

#1134232 - 01/01/18 12:34 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Hi Adam:

I've lived in Nashville and know it has changed significantly. If you already know about Marc Barnette then you understand that the current modus operandi in Nashville seems to be co-writing... and that is okay if you don't mind a smaller slice of the "money pie" if a collaboration should hit the sweet spot, go viral or find it's way to the charts. There is no easy way to the top without really good connections, fantastic talent and a new sound or vibe nobody else has discovered. Currently, the market is flooded with songwriters, lyricists, singer/songwriters and performers who write their own material, your odds are not good.

If you are a family man, a move into uncharted territory with no contacts, family or friends to fall back on... your odds are really bad and the stress and strain on your family are probably not worth the risk. Not knowing your musical background and direction, it would be difficult to even suggest a route to explore. Having a day-job is probably a must unless your are spending Daddy's Money.

The pyramid has a base of lyricists, followed by the next higher level of composers who also write lyrics and the next level would be those who write, compose and perform to a very high standard. These are just the four lowest categories of the "pyramid" and unless you are covered up with money or great music biz contacts aware of your work and reputation, I would advise a vacation trip to Nashville to get an idea what it is all about... or go in an entirely different direction and work from home, pay your dues, develop a following and begin a notebook of valid contacts including producers, publishers, Label CEO's or A&R people, etc.

Depending on the genre(s) that interest you and hopefully, your fans... don't forget that Nashville is not the only music center unless you are primarily Country or Country Rock or similar Genre.

If all else looks too risky, consider doing songwriting as a hobby until you begin to gain traction. If you perform, your odds are even better, provided you have real talent and stage presence.

Sorry for the cloud of doom... it isn't impossible to make it big... but don't bet the farm.

Regards and Happy New Year, ----Dave

#1134241 - 01/01/18 06:34 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Mar 2010
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Cheyenne Offline
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Cheyenne  Offline
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I would say Forget Nashville to a certain degree The music coming from there today is horrible

The days of great writers who lived there are gone

If you are obsessed with country music only I would say try writing in other genres , it will improve

you as a writer; There are many openings all over the world for new writers


Marc B will tell you Publishers are leaving right left and center Every Dog has its day and Nashville

has had its day Just look around the world and concentrate on writing great songs

not copies of old songs that were in vogue fifty years ago

Not saying you are doing any thing wrong but life changes , and we have to adapt As one door

closes another one will open and if it dont build new doors


One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1134243 - 01/01/18 09:42 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Cheyenne]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Country Music is just a tiny fraction of the Music out there in the rest of the world....Check it out.

#1134246 - 01/01/18 10:27 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Great Advice Dave. Has anybody written a song with the title Don't Quit Your Day Job???? If not it should be written as it is the best advice ever.

#1134248 - 01/01/18 10:46 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2017
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Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Thanks everyone for the input! I guess just to clarify a little - I am primarily country but also heavy into folk, indie writing. So while Getting into the Nashville scene would be my ďholy grail,Ē my question is more of this: Are there ways for me to make the relationships and co-write if i donít live in the area where the major players are? With the internet and everything, I have to think there are ways. Additionally and maybe even more importantly, how do I get my songs from my computer out to the real world and actually get some cuts? Sure I play at the local joint and am able to throw in my songs in my set, but thatís not really the exposure Iíd like to get. Iím not looking to make a million bucks (Iím a realist), I just want to see my songs get out there. Thanks everyone!

#1134252 - 01/01/18 11:31 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Facebook is a way to get your songs out there but in my humble opinion the odds of getting anywhere is about 1% and that's with a lot of luck and perseverance.

#1134273 - 01/01/18 07:04 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Colin Ward Online content
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Adam,

I don't know anything about you except what I read in your posts on here so I am sorry if this is off base....

I think at this point in time, supplementing your income by writing songs is a pipedream. If you crank out some numbers, you will find that you would need a couple of top ten songs per year to make a decent living from co-writing and that happens for practically nobody. But as Barry mentioned, your best bet is to become friends with and write with someone in your town who is going to be the next big thing. Do you know that person? No, neither do I, and if I did, he/she is already writing his own songs or he wouldn't be the next big thing. Want to meet a great songwriter in Nashville? Order a pizza and he will show up at your door.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1134276 - 01/01/18 08:06 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Colin Ward]  
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RonnieDean Offline
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RonnieDean  Offline
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Keystone, CO USA
Originally Posted by Colin Ward
Want to meet a great songwriter in Nashville? Order a pizza and he will show up at your door.


That's a good one. :-)

#1134280 - 01/01/18 10:46 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I think I probably didnít phrase my question quite right. Iím not looking to relocate to Nashville and Iím not expecting to bring in any significant income. I just want to position myself and build the right relationships so I can hear a song I wrote on the radio, or on TV, or in a commercial. I do lean toward country, so country radio would be the holy grail, but Iím just really wondering what steps I should be taking to build the right relationships to have a better chance commercialize my songs, even if it doesnít end up putting much food on my table. Does that make sense?

#1134283 - 01/02/18 03:23 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Adam,

Find co-writers who live in Nashville and get to work online. Network with people from Nashville via all social media platforms. Post YouTube video's of your music and explain what you offer to other writers (I don't know you so I can't tell you what that might be) because in the end, if you want to get involved in a local scene you don't live in, you need to become a quality asset to those who do. Some do this with money by trying to buy their way in but that doesn't work. You need to give people value for any time they spend with you and any shared contacts they might offer to expand your network. That can come by simply being a friendly contributor to a site like this and making some local friends in Nashville. It can be via your writing ability (or performance or whatever else you have to offer). It might be via joining local orgs, though I believe that era has passed.

But I think you're asking the wrong question. The internet means anyone can network, co-write or simply get to know people from anywhere in the world. Perhaps your pathway to connectivity is by making a network of friends in all the major markets and then sharing those folks with each other thus expanding their contacts and yours at the same time. Become a facilitator who helps others and becomes known for that. I have friends all over the world I can call on for help or info or contacts or a favor because I have spent 30 years helping others and that builds up a lot of capitol in the community. You need to ask what it is that you are offering others that makes it worth their time to know you, to help you, to share contacts with you and so on. Usually that means living in the city you want to connect with, but if you're going unconventional, you need to make yourself a valuable person to know. That simple.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#1134289 - 01/02/18 11:51 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Great Advice Brian and hope you are feeling ok Barry

#1134292 - 01/02/18 12:36 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Hello and Happy New Year,

Adam, actually it is AMAZINGLY EASY to be a part of the Nashville scene. People do it all the time and most of the people that I work with are from outside of Nashville. And actually for many years the more successful examples are people that made trips for years, built relationships, and still maintained their relationships in their home towns. Actually several made connections OUTSIDE of Nashville with local and regional artists that ended up PAYING off in Nashville years down the road.

I will give one main example today only because she passed away yesterday. But it is an example of how things can be done, not only in Nashville but outside of Nashville.

Her Name was Janice Starodub, and she lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I met her around 6 years ago when she attended one of my NSAI SONGPOSIUM" workshop sessions. She went to a record label showcase with me, doing "exactly what her mother told her NOT TO DO. Get into some strange guys car who promised to help her career."
Sometimes you don't listen to your mother.

She was not an artist and had barely ever written anything outside of poetry. But a health condition forced her go quit her job as a teacher and she was looking for something to do with her creative side. She started by meeting one potential male artist in her hometown and approached Nashville as help for him. She played the "manager/songwriter part and the two of them came to Nashville to work with me.

Over the next four years, she would make multiple trips to Nashville. The singer went away quickly, but he led to multiple others in her area. Her reputation grew and before long she had twenty or thirty writers, artists, musicians, that she was helping to mentor. She brought me up four times for workshops and private lessons in songwriting and performing.
She would make trips to Nashville, once organizing 14 people to come down and do a three day tour. Each time she would meet more and more people and eventually had relationships with publishers, song pluggers, producers, studios. She phased out of the writing side and functioned completely on artist development and management.

Two of the guys she worked with, Petric, two brothers, scored a record deal, and were nominated for Canadian Country Music Duo of the year. She would make regular trips, and then had a "double life" in both areas, well established in both areas. Another singer she had worked with, a female, developed a following and made trips to China.

Last year, she won "Manitoba Country Music Association, manager of the year. It was a great honor and from what I understand, she made a great acceptance speech. Knowing her, she probably never breathed.

She started suffering from Cancer two years ago and while she fought valliantly, yesterday she lost her battle.

But she embodied everything I try to talk about in the modern day music industry. You create your own niche, find people to build that niche and then grow it exponentially. Nashville has these types of people all through the town. Some move, some don't. Many quit. But far from the "Publishers are leaving all the time and the world of Nashville is over" that is complete nonsense. It is still a growing, vibrant industry that is spreading throughout the world. People continue to come here and for every one that leaves, dozens take their place.

But the town is completely TEAMWORK and community town. Whether that is co-writing (which it is for the relationships as much as the songs) artists, labels, publishers, producers, etc. The business is CENTERED here just like the Television and film business is centered in LA and New York. So a relationship with the town is nessasary to extend your reach beyond what you can do yourself. A lot of people are adverse to that, thinking they can do anything themselves and you find millions of those people on the Internet. A blip of momentary electronic pulses, to be seen heard and forgotten.

It is always a town of friends that embrace those from outside the town. Most people here are from outside the town. Too many move long before they are in any way ready, and most quit very quickly. The attrition rate is very high.

Making a trip here would be the first positive step that you can make. If you want to go dive on coral reefs, you are pretty much going to have to go where the reefs are. If you want to find out more about the music business itself, you are going to have to go to one of three places in this country.
Or you can keep on doing what you're doing. How is that working for you? If it is what you think it should be ,do that.

MAB

#1134297 - 01/02/18 01:08 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: May 2001
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Brunswick, Ga. USA
Well,
Fist I would recommend you get your songs as ready as you can before taking the plunge to go to Nashville. That is basic demos, nothing too expensive, Register them for copyright, you can download the copyright forms, the PA form or the PA Short form if you have no co-writers. I believe it is about 85 dollars to register a copyright or a bunch of songs at one time. It takes a lot of time to get anywhere even in Nashville. If one or more of your songs gets some attention, if you haven't yet you will want to join a PRO such as ASCAP or BMI. I understand there are a lot of "Sharks" still lurking around the place looking for opportunities for the unexpected or unwary arrival. Upon canvassing the Taxi Web Site, requests for Country Songs is rather scarce. Maybe the Business will pick up this year. There appear to be plenty of new Artists on the Horizon.

I am re-reading Ralph Emery's book, 50 Years down a Country Road. If you can still find a copy it is a good read about the Music Business in Nashville. And remember, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


Ray E. Strode
#1134309 - 01/02/18 05:25 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2017
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Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Thanks all, really great suggestions.

Brian, I think you hit the nail on the head that it is a matter of continuing to master my craft and making sure I have something to offer.

MAB, thanks for your input as well. It is nice to hear that it is possible to network into the scene even if Iím physically located elsewhere. That is really what I want to do, in the end. Iíd like the opportunity to talk to you more about how to do that, if possible.

Thanks everyone for the wealth of information. Iím sorry if my questions are relatively beginner or too vague, this is really the first Iíve though much about trying to market my music beyond playing my original music at local gigs. I hope to become more involved here, and I would love to learn more about other opportunities or resources out there (beyond focusing on just networking in Nashville) to get cuts either in other markets or in TV, etc. Anyone here with success in those areas? Thanks again everyone!

#1134339 - 01/03/18 10:43 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Adam,

I have a bit of a different take on this and some I agree with, some I disagree with. I can't do anything at this minute as I have a breakfast meeting with some people asking much of the same questions. If you have some specific questions you might have about Nashville, why don't you ask them and I'll address them when I get back.

For now I'll tell you this:
there is good news and bad news when it comes to the ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS and Nashville specifically.

The good news:
EVERYONE IS JUST LIKE YOU, TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING, GET WHERE YOU'RE COMING FROM.

The bad news is:
EVERYONE IS JUST LIKE YOU, TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING, GET WHERE YOU'RE COMING FROM.

MAB

#1134349 - 01/03/18 12:49 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Everybody is trying to fit on the tip of a pin...lol

#1134350 - 01/03/18 01:00 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Adam,

Sorry about that. I have a group of people I meet with several days a week, some in the music business, some not, mostly just older people that I hang out with and talk about a lot of things in the history of this town and business. Much of what I talk about comes from not only my 30 years here, but also from people I knew that go back much further than I do, who were here at the beginning of this town and the musical history. So the things I talk about come from direct information from people. Not stuff I just make up. I try to be honest and some times overly thorough, ( I know a lot of people are rolling their eyes and going, "Oh God, here he goes again") but I do it for a reason. The way cultures and industries develop are as important to know about as anything present. You find that history repeats itself and while technology might change, many principals stay the same. And if you look at things from a historical perspective, instead of isolated incidents, it makes it somewhat easier to understand and digest.

For anyone that has heard all this before, there is a "SCROLL" function on computers. You can completely skip anything I say. But Adam has asked and people like him and Ronnie, are new here, so let me see if I can give some perspective on this. On embarking on any journey that a lot of people are trying to do, you have to understand why it is what it is.

Overall you have to understand that PEOPLE DO NOT PAY FOR MUSIC LIKE THEY ONCE DID. They get it free, at any time, anywhere and don't have to pay for it. Right now, I am listening to my "Echo dot" from Amazon, where I can say "Alexia, play...." any song that is on the Internet for free. We can all do this, and do whether it is I Tunes, Amazon, You Tube, or the virtually MILLIONS of avenues on the Internet,music is for the most part FREE.
Don't ever expect it to go back. That Genie is out of the bottle and that war was lost about 25 years ago. Anything you do from here on out, has to have that fundamental truth in it. You are probably NEVER going to make a lot of money at this. So go from that point.

Money should never be a fundamental motive for artistic endeavor. You create because you HAVE to create. And all the other issues should be just that. Issues. They shouldn't cloud your desire to be better at what you do.

I equate all music to the sport of GOLF. Millions upon millions upon millions of people out there, spending BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars, Rubles, Yen, Rupees, soverines and I imagine BITCOINS, to be out there, whacking little white balls around. It is 15 degrees here in Nashville with Bright sunshine. There is a windchill that makes it feel like 6 degrees. Fifteen minutes ago, I drove past a golf course here and saw four guys out there, big coats, hats and gloves, on a golf course, whacking those silly little balls around the fairways.
I'll bet not one of those guys are going to ever make the Masters.
Yet they do it all the time. They buy clubs, clothes, take lessons, make trips, pay greens fees, watch it on television. It consumes their lives. Around 60-100 million people world wide play golf at some level. And less than a per cent of a per cent of a per cent will ever even play in a local best ball club tournament, much less ever actually attempt to play professionally. And there are something like 1000-5000 people in the WORLD that play for any actual professional level. Does that stop anyone from playing golf?

ARE YOU KIDDING?

Music is the same. There are 30-60 million writers, artists, musicians, poets, authors out there. They spend billions on equipment, make trips, do recordings, buy clothes, perform in local clubs and pubs, make trips, move their physical locations. There are less than around 1000-3000 that actually do it at a professional level and less than a per cent of a per cent of a per cent, that actually operate on a successful professional level.

There are, always have been and always will be those MEGA STARS on the top of the pyramid. You see them everywhere, hear them on radio television, movies, read of their exploits, mega box office, touring totals, see their mansions on TMZ, find out who they are dating, who they hate in politics, who they have sexually harassed, every detail of their lives. When you are someone that EVERYONE wants to know about, you are there. Until then, you're not. End of story.

Yet there are all of us who are trying to find ways to the top of that pyramid. The difference now and what has always been in the past, is that now the "BRASS RING" is usually plated and it never ends up being what you think it would be. And songs, artists, people you would think should be set for life are actually not making as much as the counter worker at the local McDonalds. Success can be deceiving. Songs are paying in the HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS instead of the HUNDRED THOUSANDS OR MILLIONS. Still a few of those, but most are few and far from any of that.

The reason is that it is SO EXPENSIVE to even participate. And this is what you have to keep in mind on your own journey. If you are interested in a town like Nashville, I can assure you that you will enjoy it You will meet very cool people. Contact me personally and I'll be glad to help you. Come to town and come see me play. I'll introduce you to people. If you want to really up your game, do one of my "songwriter tours" and I'll speed a lot of things up for you.
But most of what you are going to do is STAND IN LINE. No matter what you do.

It takes a long time. You are just one of hundreds of thousands that come here. People come every day. Nashville is gaining about 100 people a day moving to this town. And a lot have some connection of desire of music. They are "MUSICAL GOLFERS."

And you can play. There are writers nights and open mics. There are places everywhere to play, and unlike a lot of places, you will be embraced pretty quickly. If you like making friends, this is the place for you. A lot of people like I've mentioned, come here, spend a few days (average is about 5 days, two travel days and three in the middle where they go to writers and open mics, meet other people just like them, and start to become part of the framework.

Like everything you do, you start at the bottom. The open mic night where 50-100 people show up, sign in (or having made a phone call that afternoon and get a name on a list, BEHIND dozens of others.) And you wait all night watching some of the most GOD AWFUL writers and artists play the worst songs you've ever heard. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. You hear the same titles, the same melodies, the same rhymes, the same messages, the same tone, all the time. Most is extroidinarily NEGATIVE about how terrible everything in the world is and you want to stay away from those people because you think at any minute someone is going to pull a gun out and you are going to end up on the nightly news as the latest mass shooting.
You think you are in some weird self encounter group where everyone is venting their spleen on every subject imaginable.
You start off being very depressed, just like all of them are. But you start to talk to a few and you find they are just like you, they just think they HAVE to vent their spleen to be taken seriously. But actually they are just ignored.

And most people are here are ignored. For me, the entire "make sure you get copyrights on everything" is complete nonsense, because the first time you hear that incredible song that you have never played for anyone, took three months to write and perfect, that you think is A MEGA HIT, done 25 times by people you have never met with your same hook, same lines, same melodies, you start to re-evaluate the way you look at your music.

Then as you hear song after song after song that bores you so amazingly that you can't make it through the first five or six lines, before you are on your phone, in a conversation or in the bathroom, you stop really being concerned about copyrights. Nobody cares about YOUR ideas. They only care about THEIRS. And since the ideas are exactly the same, it really makes very little difference.

Most people get shocked into reality very quickly. There is a sense of Eurphoria and depression. It is overwhelming not only how many people are here, but how EXACTLY the same they all are. Many people, like those here, bemoan the fact of commercial radio, and how everything and every body sounds and looks alike. They have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA, how much more of the mediocrity is out there. And the "reality check" comes when you realize YOU are just as mediocre as they are. You are doing the same things. Those songs your family and friends think HAVE TO BE ON THE RADIO. are usually ALREADY ON THE RADIO, and if not, there is a reason they are NOT ON THE RADIO, because they are all average, twaddle.

So the first part is disbelief. The an "ANAL examination". Then starting to learn and get better.

At the same time, you start seeing some people that BLOW YOU AWAY. Some new hot blonde or former football player that seem to have everything. Then you hear some songs from pros that you have never heard on the radio but just MAKE YOU SIT STUNNED IN YOUR TRACKS! THere is a way they have taken something you;ve heard a billions times but NEVER HEARD IT THAT WAY! And it sticks in your head over and over. And you start the whole "IF THAT GUY (GIRL) DOESN'T HAVE A DEAL, WHAT CHANCE DO I HAVE?" And you find that EVERYBODY has some form of deal. Whether they do or don't. The people who talk about it incestantly don't. The people who are quiet generally do.

You meet all kinds. Everybody "USED TO BE WITH SOMEONE". Some label, had hits or cuts. You find people who were on top of the musical charts and snorted every dime they ever made up their nose or drank themselves into oblivion. You really know you are in Nashville when a guy you idolized, read about, adored their music, sits next to you, looking homeless and smelling rather bad, you buy him a drink and before you know it he has run up YOUR tab past what you make in a month and then went to the bathroom and left you hanging. A lot of fun to be had there. And when you see them again (which you always do,) they don't remember one thing about it.
"HEY GREG ALLMAN!!! YOU STILL OWE ME $50 BUCKS!!!!! DON'T THINK DYING IS GONNA GET YOU OUT OF IT!!!!"

Are there sharks? You bet. That guy you meet that ABSOLUTELY can get you a deal, if ONLY you record in HIS STUDIO. The people who are with a publishing company you have heard your entire life, and drop every name you can ever imagine, will PITCH AND PROMOTE YOUR SONGS TO FILM AND TELEVISION , and tell you how lucrative that market is, (which you mostly find that the grass is always greener somewhere else), and that all you have to do is sign on their bottom line and pay them $600 a month to represent you.

Mostly you hear BIG DREAMS AND BIG AMBITIONS. And you see yourself in the faces of thousands.

And you have to decide what it all means to you. You think "Wait'll they get a load of me!' And when they do most of the time it is a bit "YEAH, RIGHT. NOW LISTEN TO ME!!!!"

At the same time, as you look around the scene in your home area, you find the venues don't pay anything because they can always get some new college student to play for his beer drinking buddies. You do your camera phone videos, put them on the Internet along with thousands a minute that are put up there. You get some friends "view you" and think "I'm on my way" until you find out they only viewed 15 seconds of what you do then moved on and the only reason they viewed you in the first place, was because they want YOU TO FRIEND THEM, so they can have more FACEBOOK numbers.

Are their people who BREAK THROUGH? You bet. Happens all the time. But you find it is the people who have done the same thing as you for YEARS or sometimes DECADES. And like an iceberg, the stuff you see on the surface, is just a small part of the overall picture.

From there, you have to decide what it all means to you and what you are willing to do. But you are going to do go through all that forever so get used to it. Along the way you can meet friends for life, get better every day, and have a pretty good adventure.
BUT:

You might get amazingly lucky. It happens.

But LUCK is when opportunity and preparation meet .

You get one chance to make a bad first impression so you better be on your game.
Your demos best sound like radio ready songs because you never know where they are going to end up and they are your calling card to get another appointment.

And before you ever get a ROYALTY CHECK, you best first get a REALITY CHECK.

Good luck.
I'm around if you need.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 01/03/18 01:11 PM.
#1134353 - 01/03/18 02:56 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Oh yeah?

Well Mr. Marc, I don't have a spleen. So watch out baby! :-)

Thanks for all you type to us. It's gold.
And no we don't roll our eyes at you.

I for one appreciate your diatribes. <Thumbs Up>

#1134368 - 01/03/18 05:48 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Thank you Marc, for taking the time to write all that. I think I do understand most of what youíre saying and I am confident that I have realistic expectations. Which is why I started this whole post, based on Nashville because that is my main interest, but really applicable to any of the music hubs or even to TV and movies. I can confidently say that my goal is not to make a living writing songs or to even make any useful amount of money. I have a pretty good, non-music industry job, it pays pretty well, and writing songs is my passion. Iíd just like to give it the chance to go somewhere - out of my notebook, computer, and the corner barsthay I play at. I guess my biggest question really is, how do I start making the right relationships, meeting likeminded people, and people in the right places in the industry, without moving there? I do appreciate your offer and would like to continue to pick your brain on all this.

I once spoke to another marginally successful Nashville songwriter who asked me, ďWhat do you need to accomplish to feel like youíve been successfulI?Ē I would call myself successful if I could write or co-write a few songs that make their way either on to the radio, TV, maybe a movie. Heck Iíd even be relatively happy being considered as one of the ďAlso played,Ē if that meant I was, ďIn the game,Ē alongside those who made it big, and I just lost. I know from reading a lot here (and other places) that networking and relationships are the way to get there (especially in Nashville, but not exclusively there) which is also a bonus for me because I like to meet people, learn from them, etc. But for me, that networking has to be possible primarily from my ďhome studio,Ē for the most part, with periodic trips to Nashville (or LA/New York for indie/TV etc. endeavors).

So Marc, and other industry contributors, It looks like you are my first official industry ďrelationships.Ē Great to meet you all!

#1134370 - 01/03/18 06:06 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
It doesn't matter to me how everything happened just that it did.
Acting is even tougher than singing and songwriting....
So that's it there is no more...lol
Write a song about it....lol

#1134384 - 01/04/18 09:24 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Hello Folks good morning.

Ronnie, I do my long posts for a reason. Many people will cut and paste them in other places, and several have printed them out for their own "primer" for approaches to the business and Nashville particularly. So I try to be thorough in describing any issue I can. It is good to see new people like you and Adam coming around as well as some of the old hands here. I do my best to respond to the situations people have. I might not have seen it all, but I've pretty well been though most things writers and artists go through and if I haven't I have friends who have.

Adam, "getting songs on radio, television, movies" are kind of the goal of everyone. And while some of it is doable, again you have to keep in mind that overall aspect that there are BILLIONS of songs and MILLIONS of writers all with the same goals. You can't let that dissuade you, but I would direct my focus on a bit more logical and acheivable goals.

#1. You are going to have to physically MEET people, in any way you turn.
So instead of a "I want my songs on the radio" approach, you need to focus on FINDING, BUILDING, DEVELOPING ARTISTS!
If you are working with a variety of people, male, females, duos, groups, bands, getting to know them well, becoming part of their extended fan bases, supporting them on their way up, bringing your own friends into see them, helping them sell merchandise, etc. they are going to have more incentive to record what you do, because it is PART OF WHAT THEY DO.

This can start out in your local area, finding new and up and coming people and helping them from the ground floor.
Then, if you make travels, you do much of the same thing.

An "active" Nashville writer, (ones who are actually active and getting things done) have an average of 50 co-writers a year. The more you write, the better you are at it. The more people you work with, the more chances you have of something getting "out there."

ACTIVITY=PROXIMITY=OPPORTUNITIES

#2. If you are interested in "FILM and TELEVISION", you need to meet and interact with music supervisors, directors, people that PHYSICALLY DO MUSIC FOR THOSE GENRES. Again, most of this is going to be in LA or New York, but there are film programs in colleges and now high schools, in many areas. You also might look into commercial agencies. Like most of everything, you will start at the bottom, doing things for free and just building your reputation, but guess what, THAT IS THE MUSIC BUSINESS!

#3. MAKE SURE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO IS "BROADCAST QUALITY."

A misnomer in discussions of music and the business is that "the cheap, guitar vocal, or small production" recording is fine to pitch music. It's NOT. All of the entities that control music in these formats, go through THOUSANDS of recordings, in order to find what they are looking for, and most music in those genres, film and television are written SPECIFICALLY for that production. So thinking someone is going to "send in" a cheaply recorded song and just get it in something is again, nonsense.

Write a lot of songs with a lot of people, then RECORD the things you really believe in, and approach any pitch you have with as many approaches as you can.

Imagine:
If you just write a song, you only have you to pitch and promote that song. Fine.
But:
If you write a song with someone else, you have someone to bounce the song off of and to help in your pitching.

THEN
If you were to write a song with a local artist or group, it goes on their CD, website, promotional stuff.

They perform live and you bring your friends and contacts to see them do one of YOUR creations.

You have it well recorded, you not only have the song, but you also have MUSIC TRACKS (no vocals, that can be used in pitching to film and television, a majority of music used in those genres are music only, because vocals distract from dialogue or action in a scene.)

So, you have IMMEDIATELY tripled your chances for that particular song or that particular group or entity.

It is all about MEETING PEOPLE and putting yourself out there. And taking it one step at a time.

Remember that EVERYONE you deal with has a BIGGER EGO than you do, and that is the hardest thing to deal with. Convincing someone that they really HAVE TO WORK WITH YOU, is not as easy as it sounds.

But now you are in the ULTIMATE SALES business. Selling YOURSELF.
Get out there and go convince the world.

Good luck,
MAB

#1134479 - 01/05/18 03:35 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc - Iíve been thinking about what you wrote, I am understanding what youíre saying and it all makes logical sense. Although i havenít done a lot of co-writing in the past, I am all in now. Even made some contact yesterday with a writer friend and we are going to do some Co writing. I also totally understand what you say about being ďbroadcast quality.Ē The nice thing about technology today is that with a mid level pc and a few well selected pieces of hardware, we are all capable of recording broadcast quality recordings, especially those ďbare bonesĒ types that I understand are requested by publishers, typically.

So hereís the follow on question. Assuming Iím doing the right things, co-writing, meeting local artists, etc, is there any way to make contact with the people in Nashville, New York, etc. prior to going there for face to face time? What Iíd like to do is make trips with the intent to meet people Iíve already started building relationships with. This way they already know me, might have heard a few of my songs or done some long distance co-writing, etc. and would be more apt to spend the time with me and introduce me to more people. Is that a pipe dream or is it a possibility? Thanks again Marc!

#1134489 - 01/05/18 05:02 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Adam, everything you are doing IS what is going to get you contact with people in Nashville.

Nashville is a "street cred" business. Your reputation has to preceed you. Think of it like this.
What is it that you do for a living? For sake of this let me just say you are someone who needs an electrician.

You ask your friends, go to the net, get a bunch of names and numbers. Who are you going to call first?
Someone you don't know or someone a friend who has used someone and knows their abilities and reputations?

If you are like most people, you would first go with the personal contact.

The music business is just like that. Lets say you write with two or three people in your home area. You end up making a couple of trips to Nashville. You then link up with someone that THOSE people know who already live in Nashville. You start working with three or four people in Nashville as well as the people in your area, who are ALSO making trips, playing writer's nights, doing the party circuit.

The cumlative effect is suddenly you have five, six, seven or more co-writers, and dozens of songs, all being performed (taken that they are REALLY REALLY GOOD SONGS, never forget that part) and bobbing around various places. Someone puts some on the Internet. A buzz is started.

Then lets say one or two of those people find their way into the back doors of publishers and are playing songs you are a writer on. And through THOSE people, you find your own way in.

Now, remember that now the publishers are not as powerful as they once were. Publishers simply don't mean anything any more because getting half of a song that is downloaded out of exsitence and passed around the Internet through links, is not really even going to bring in TENS of dollars. But the cumlative effect of your REPUTATION has the effect of representing you, even when you are not there.

Then if some of these people are also artists and start getting attention it is going to bring attention to YOU.

And that is how it works. We are all sort of "six degrees of Kevin Bacon." you get to know and write with someone who knows someone who knows someone. That is how you get into the back doors. And that is the only way in because the front doors have been closed for decades.

A thing about Nashville is that there are ALWAYS HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE COMING THROUGH HERE. We have two huge music colleges, MTSU and Belmont, that graduate about 3000 people a quarter. Those are mostly people with that big dream and stars in their eyes. Most are blatantly mediocre, but every once in a while you find the Brad Paisley or Trisha Yearwood. That is where they went to school.

The thing you have to understand is that it also is tough and weeds people OUT very quickly. Of the 500-600 people a week that either move or come here regularly for music, 98% are gone within 6 months to two years. So the attrition rate is very high. It is called a "TEN YEAR TOWN: for a reason. Takes a long time to get good and longer to establish enough relationships. And in this day and age, even getting up the ladder, doesn't guarantee there.

I always say "You know you're in Nashville when your Uber or Lyft driver had song of the year two years ago." That is not far from the truth. The music business is a really weird thing to be involved with. Millions upon millions of people all trying to do the same thing and NOBODY is really getting rich OR famous. Again, you have to keep that in mind.

The co-writing and relationship stuff is just all part of the price of admission. That is what you have to do. And you have to KEEP doing it. That is why I suggest you do as much as you can in YOUR area. Conquer your home turf first. Create or be part of your local music scene. Find new people all the time. Keep working the process.


Here's another thing you need to keep in mind.
The TWO MOST IMPORTANT THINGS you have to have to deal with this town are SPEED AND FOCUS. You have to be able to sit down with someone you have never met, get in a room, throw out ideas and have them shot down, and STILL be able to come up with something off the cuff, that blows someone away. Enough to want to INVITE YOU TO DO IT AGAIN. Getting the first appointment is one thing. Getting a RETURN appointment is much more difficult. You are on a job interview with everyone you come into contact with. Every show you do, you never know who is listening. And you better be able to stand out.
Get up there and do that long winded, depressing "POOR POOR PITIFUL ME, " slit your wrist stuff, and you are dead in the water. Those songs are a dime a ten thousand. And a big part of this is learning what NOT TO DO.

You'll see that in spades. You go to these writers nights that make you feel you are in a DEPRESSION is us rally.
So finding a way to say something different, to motivate people, to blow people AWAY is somethng you are going to have to be on top of.

I found this out my first night in town. I showed up at a place called DOUGLAS CORNER. It was a totally packed house and I was READY TO BE GREAT! I was also the LAST PERSON TO PLAY. The Featured guest brought seventeen of her friends who all played before me and then, along with their friends, left.
I went onstage at a quarter to one in the morning. There were three people left in the bar. The bartender, club owner and a guy throwing darts.
But I KICKED ASS! (I actually do this stuff pretty well.)
The guy throwing darts, liked one of my funny songs and came up and asked me for a tape. (that is how long ago it was.) I had a fully produced, 10 song project on cassette. The guy was not in the music business, just liked one of my songs.

But his ROOMMATE WAS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS. And that guy started playing my stuff around. That worked it's way up to the vice president of Tree publishing's office. They were playing my songs on the stereo in his office, and a producer, named Billy Sherrill, was walking down the hall to go to the bathroom, heard the song. and stuck his head in the office. He was producing a new artist named Shelby Lynne. They cut my song, THAT;S WHERE IT HURTS" on her and it was used in a WILLIE NELSON/KRIS KRISTOFFERSON TV movie called ANOTHER PAIR OF ACES. That was my first cut. The first contact happened that first night. Then it all took about a year to come together.

I have four sections of this you have to be aware of:

#1. CREATION OF THE SONG.
Always having songs that are unique and interesting and something DIFFERENT than everyone else is doing.
Every line, every note, being well thought out and delivered.

#2. PRESENTATION OF THE SONG.
Every time it is performed, every time it is recorded, every time it is heard, it sticks with people.
Live, people can hear EVERY WORD. The recording is as good as they listen to. If it is with a video it makes sense in the context of the song.

#3. NETWORKING.
Making friends and influencing people. Making them want to work with you.
Delivering something special about you that they HAVE TO HAVE. Being a politician. Make them love you.

#4. BUSINESS.
This can be commerce or the business of reputation and activity. Doesn't always have to PAY, but has to have a tangible effect.

Those four things are what is always at play. Work all of those all the time, you will be fine. But if you don;t do the first three, the last one ain't gonna happen.

MAB

#1134500 - 01/05/18 07:20 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc, that is a very comprehensive post.

#1134531 - 01/06/18 10:40 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Thanks Ronnie, hope it helps. Like I've said, anything that has to do with music, and particularly the industry, is like an ICEBERG. You only see a very small part of what you need to see. I sometimes say that "the more you know about the music business, the LESS YOU WANT TO KNOW about the music business." Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
If people really understood how many "back door deals", how much inner intrigue, how much that has ABSOLUTELY TO DO WITH MUSIC, has to do in the BUSINESS OF MUSIC, they would probably never try to do any of it. All of us who have been around for a long time (I've been involved in this struggle for around 40 years, since 1974), look back and wonder "WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?"
I always laugh when I come across people who say "I just want to quit my job and do music." Most people who are in the music industry just would LOVE TO HAVE A JOB!

But we all try to find a way. Mine has been going from a live wire performer, to more of a writer performer, to now a TEACHER/MENTOR/WRITER PERFORMER. You have to adjust your focus with each phase. And most of it is never our own idea. We have to change depending on what comes our ways.
I know extremely successful writers and artists, who have morphed into being "behind the scenes: not because of anything they did or didn't do, just circumstances dictated they went in a different direction.

A guy I know is named TONY BROWN. He was the head of MCA records, one of the most influencial producers through the 80's and 90's and still is a pretty heavy hitter. Know what he started out wanting to do? Be a piano player in a Gospel quartet. He started there and he just wanted to play with the best gospel groups Then someone suggested him for a job with Elvis Presley. He played piano with Elvis for the last five years of his life.

I once asked him, "how did you go from Elvis' guitar player to the top of the heap in the country music industry?" He said "The guy DIED. I needed a job."

The fact is that when Elvis died, there were a lot of people he was hanging out with. He had a band with singers Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell and some really heavy hitters who at that time were just getting started out. One thing led him to another, which led to doing small projects as a piano player but also a producer. That led to producing artists that went on to huge success, which led him to be recommended to other major artists. Follow a career path like that
about 15-20 years, and you see how all this comes together.

It is the same I talk about to you, Adam or anyone trying to do this. You meet and interact with a lot of people. And as those people advance, often you do too. Your circles of friends expand. And people come and people go.

I once wrote a book called "FRESHMAN YEAR IN NASHVILLE." It was about the "classes" that come in and out of Nashville. At that time I had been here about 15 years and had seen a pretty interesting thing. It was just like HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE, all over again. FRESHMAN YEAR, where everything is exciting and new, you are wide eyed and bushy tailed. SOPHOMORE YEAR, where you start to get hit by reality realize that most of what you thought you knew was either wrong or fairly skewed from the way you thought it would be. JUNIOR YEAR, where you were really jaded, coming to the decision where you had to either get common sense or go home, or find something else to do, and SENIOR YEAR, where you had a good handle on things, had a lot of friends in the right places, and could see some actual progress.

AND EACH ONE LASTED THREE YEARS.

That was the other side of it. Nashville is known as a "TEN YEAR TOWN: because it takes half of that to learn what NOT TO DO and the other half to play the angles find the breaks and build up enough LUCK to positively have things happen to you. And it actually was closer to a "FIFTEEN YEAR TOWN."

There are people who go amazingly fast. I got a cut my first night in town. But it took TEN YEARS TO GET THE SECOND ONE. And there were a million things in between that happened, fell apart, nearly missed, and just did or didn't happen. Luck is a pain. But it is what it is.

So now I look at all of this in the rear view mirror, see other people go through it and try to point out some observations here and there. If it helps someone find a little support or a short cut, so be it. That's what I'm trying to do. So if you find something you like, cut and paste, print out, and share with others. That's why I do it.

I've started doing a series of FACEBOOK things that demonstrate performance and songwriting techniques in what I personally do. I have people contact me outside of Nashville that can't make trips and for some reason are interested in learning what I do. Anyone interested, send me a friend request on Facebook and I'll add you.

I'm always happy to help when I can, but all I can offer is my own experience and perspective. Up to you to take that for what it is, an opinion, and then go find other experiences and opinions and develop those to your own.

Good luck and thanks for reading.
MAB

#1134832 - 01/11/18 05:02 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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I could be a 47yo student with Marc, and can perhaps offer that angle here. I have done a little cowriting in Nashville from online (I live in Europe). What Ive learned is that the pro writers basically work an office day with session appointments planned over the week, and it is possible to get a slot in that appointment calender, if your work is speaking to someone, and they feel you can bring something to the table. You should expect to bring your best ideas, share production costs (work out agreements), pitch to your own contacts as well as to keep networking also in the intrest of your cowriters and your song portfolio ect. Theres really no ďgetting inĒ, as pro writers also have to pitch their work and do not have any free passes to getting songs published and recorded. You have to level with that.

The way I got to it was that I had some demos on Myspace, and got a pm out of the blue if I would like to cowrite. It may be an unusual story, but I think it is important that you have a prescence online, with your work, and show something of yourself that cowriters can connect with (I had an ďaboutĒ section on my website). There are lots of different sub-styles in country music (like country soul, western swing, country blues, Bakersfield, country rock, country pop and many more), so it can matter a lot what artists you are into in terms of connecting with other writers. And its not just about being able to write a good song, that is just a minimum requirement, its also about connecting with likeminded people on a personal level, and have good social skills. Because a writing session often kick off with talking about real life, like friends would do, and start writing from that. So you have to be able to connect, and then doing it with a craftmanship type of sensibility for country styles and attitudes, and who you can imagine writing that for (again, trying to connect with certain people). You can whiff that off as ďcommercialĒ, and it is, but it also makes a lot of sense in terms of communication fundamentals, so its where art and commerce agree well together and can become magical.

But, I dont think you should look towards Nashville or any other place for success, but for people who are doing things you love. For me, its the admiration of the songwriting skills, the musicians with amazing musicianship, the producers and the people who starts with real life and put music and writing first because it is a natural part of a cultural conversation. You can really find people like that everywhere, and everyone with that mindset struggle in todays world and music industry, so there is a whole worldwide culture where everybody is in the same boat. You either live that or dont, if you do it can be natural to seek to a place like Guitar Town and Music City, because its a cultural hub, but if you dont, I dont think you will gain anything from looking for ďsuccessĒ there. People without ressources end up in the streets everywhere. You may better find a tribe back home, get together and work something out, and then see if its worth bringing to the table in a place like Nashville.

Hey its just my take on it. Not an expert or anything, and still an outsider to most mainstream culture. Just like a lot of people Ive talked with in Nashville and the rest of the US (and elsewhere in the world, for that matter). In the end, there is no in and out, there is just doing it.


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#1134839 - 01/11/18 10:01 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
You can be like Kris Kristofferson, get a degree, get a Rhodes Scholar degree, go to Nashville, become a Janitor, write songs, well I exzagarate here, but some think he is a songwriter, and eureka! You have arrived! So never give up. You too can become a songwriter, in Nashville.


Ray E. Strode
#1134907 - 01/12/18 12:34 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Ray, don't forget getting a helicopter, flying it to Johnny Cash's house, landing it on the front yard, getting out and playing "SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN" and then getting back on the helicopter and fly it back. Getting Johnny to track you down at your janitor's job the next day. That actually happened.
Now, you might have a different reaction as you are much more likely to get shot than listen to a song.

Kolstad, your description is very apt. One comment I hear all the time is people saying "I'm just getting back into music.." for those of us in this business, we are never OUT of music. You live it. You eat, drink and sleep it. Even WHILE WORKING OTHER JOBS and other businesses. One of the factors people overlook when they are attempting to get their songs heard, get placements, get attention to what they are doing. If they are not interacting INSIDE a community, either one of the three big ones, Nashville, New York, LA, but also markets all over Chicago, Boston. Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami, Orlando, etc. pretty much all these places and many many smaller areas have their OWN music and arts centers, is that those NOT doing that, are NOT doing what is nesassary to advance their careers..

Same in any business. :Let;s say you wanted to suddenly do REAL ESTATE. (That seems to be THE thing everyone does these days.) And just like the seemingly tens of MILLIONS of people now that think they just start "flipping houses" and making money. There is a lot more involved than printing up business cards and then proclaiming that "you are in the real estate business." You better learn the codes, find the contractors, find people you can trust, learn the market, build the contacts that are going to help you keep from losing your ass!
Because the one thing that is more numerous that people IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET are people that USED TO BE IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. Those people that have lost family fortunes, cashed in their retirement accounts, lost everything on property they can't get rid of, based upon bad decisions made in a market they don't understand.

Music is like that. Very easy to put things out there, but not always easy to work your way inside to where people know and TRUST you. And that is the biggest thing about a professional community. TRUST. Finding people who you know, not only in writing, performing, deals or any of that, but finding RELATIONSHIPS with people you can trust. People I have met through this town are some of my best friends for life, much closer than people I grew up with.

That's how I see it.

MAB

#1134909 - 01/12/18 12:58 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
Yes Marc, I heard about the Helicopter. I am trying to get some of those folks in Nashville's attention but I think they all left! I don't have a College Degree, am not a Rhodes Scholar, and probably can't fly a Helicopter! I wonder what a Rhodes Scholar studies? Probably how to obtain a stiff upper lip. Now just think, Krifstofferson could have been a Strodes Scholar. A college in the South of England started by some of my relatives way back. It's a long way to even being a janitor, Eh?


Ray E. Strode
#1134910 - 01/12/18 01:17 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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RonnieDean Offline
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Wow. Desperate times do call for desperate measures.

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3904

#1134926 - 01/13/18 08:44 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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A few things need to be mentioned about Kris Kristofferson. First of all, I didn't know about him as a songwriter. I knew him as an action movie actor in the 70's. He started with A STAR IS BORN with Barbara Striesand in 1976, but had wanted to be a Hollywood actor for most of his career. Most people forget that he was part of the counter culture, "loner hero" of the 70's,when movies like EASY RIDER, BILLY JACK and other's came out. The "lone wolf" guy that kicked everybody's butt was a big influence on us 14-15 year old boys in the 70's He was actually more of a fore runner of Chuck Norris, than most people realize.

Which is sort of the interesting thing about him. He was always a rebel. We all talk about him being a janitor at CBS records, in the mid 60's, which he was. But he was also hanging around every night, on Lower Broadway at Tootsies, with his buddy's Willie Nelson. Red Lane, Danny Dill, Rodger Miller, and all these other people who would go on to be legends. They would show up after hours, sit around in the back room and swap stories and songs. That is where we got the phrase "guitar pull", to define the late night song swap, that we still do today. "You have to PULL the guitar out of someone else's hand, if you want to be able to play."

He was also doing the Nashville publisher appointments and being turned down. He had four of the biggest songs of all time, but were heard by publishers who rejected them over and over again.
SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN
HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT
ME AND BOBBY McGEE
FOR THE GOOD TIMES

All of those songs would go on to be legendary and examples of what people consider great songwriting. But they were rejected by every publisher, label, and recording artist, several times. Like so much in Nashville, he spent years writing with other people, learning his way around, and interacting with the community. That is how his breaks actually came through, from people talking ABOUT HIM. The helicopter thing was just one more example of the rebel in him. He was flying planes and helicopters, for private companies. ALL WHILE STILL BEING A JANITOR.

Know where he learned to do that? The US ARMY. Which is what people forget. He was a West Pointer. He was very well known in the military, A Rhodes Scholar (which is a political appointment. Same as Bill Clinton got. You are nominated by political appointees, senators, governors, etc. to be a Rhodes Scholar). He was also asked to teach at West Point. He was a Captain and would have immediately been promoted to Major or Col. And had he chosen his career in the Army, probably would have been one of those three star general talking heads on television during Desert Storm, or the wars in Afganistan, or Iraq. Certainly in Vietnam.

And that was really the war he wanted to skip. Vietnam. So that is the main reason he ended up in Nashville. He chose his music path over a much clearer, expected pathways. That is another thing about Nashville. We have people from all over the world that come here because their dreams take them in other places. Far from everyone that comes here, being college kids .we actually have almost as many people, retiring from other careers, doctors, Lawyers (a LOT of those), people from other businesses that either arrange their jobs so they can live here and work their other vocations, people whose companies have been downsized and they are unemployed, figuring they can just as soon be unemployed in Nashville as anywhere else. At least they can be around their passion, music.

Kris also was the founder of NSAI. He and about a half dozen other writers decided they wanted an advocacy organization in 1973. Cause, you see, at that time, songwriters were not being paid what they felt they should have been. They were not getting money from record companies, publishers, or sometimes artists themselves. Clever and deceiving accounting practices, and odd things like "Songwriters being able to sell their rights to songs for very little money.:" People like Willie Nelson routinely sold rights to songs for almost nothing. Willie sold the rights to "CRAZY" for $50. which was very common in that day.
Sound familiar?

One of the reasons I always sort of laugh when songwriters get all up in arms about the current state of no money being paid out due to streaming or other reasons, and people can't BELIEVE they are not getting what they deserve. Songwriters have NEVER BEEN PAID what they should be and probably never will be.

But Kris has been a rebel for songwriters for many years. Gotta love that. Got the WORST VOICE next to BOB DYLAN, but the man CAN WRITE SOME SONGS!

MAB

#1134941 - 01/13/18 01:50 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Well, that outta stem the tide a little Marc. :-)

#1134942 - 01/13/18 03:09 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Hey everybody - Really interesting hearing all these stories and everyoneís experiences. I totally understand where everyone is coming for as far as making connections, building relationships, etc. It all makes a lot of sense, and my plan is to start going down that route locally and seeing what happens. Iím still a little confused as to how I go from ďlocal songwriterĒ to ďsongwriter people are talking about,Ē though. I mean in my local area, Iím not in a Big city or anything,itís badically a small town where the local scene is just that - local. I did see the suggestion of having an online presence, something i really need to get better at. Any suggestions beyond that?

Also, Marc, Iíve been watching your videos on Facebook lately - love all the tips and little guitar licks, planning on starting to build those into my songwriting!

#1134953 - 01/13/18 05:36 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Originally Posted by Adam Jacob
Iím not in a Big city or anything,itís badically a small town where the local scene is just that - local.


Me too dude. :-)

#1134957 - 01/13/18 07:00 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Adam,

Let me ask you this. How do you THINK this is all supposed to happen? What do YOU think you are supposed to do?
If you are watching my videos, I am giving you a road map. I don't know what else I can do aside from picking you up and taking you to Nashville. And that ain't gonna happen.

YOU have to find a way.
Are you looking in your area for anything going on musically?
Have you sought out any writers nights, open mics, talent nights? Coffee houses?
Have you looked at local or regional music stores? Looked on bulliten boards?
Are you looking for the next towns over?
Have you researched something like NSAI, or MUSIC STARTS HERE, and studied any online things?
Have you contacted any of the people here privately and checked out their music, getting them to give you input on your own?
Have you looked online on YOU TUBE or anything about other artists, done any research as to what they did?
Have you found any people in your area to interact with? Writers, artists, church musicians?
Have you pulled up the top ten songs right now, broken them down, studied the lyrics, music, what the artist is doing? Who are the writers, producers, musicians, record labels?

How do you go from "local writer?" First you have to BE GOOD.
In order to BE GOOD, you are going to have to find out where your musical abilities are.
To find out how you're musical abilities are, you are going to have to have people HEAR your musical abilities.
In order to have people hear your musical abilities, you are going to have to GET OUT OF YOUR LIVING ROOM.

Go back to the top of the list.

You see, you are wanting to be on the "Do NOT PASS GO, COLLECT TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS AND GO DIRECTLY TO STAR!" Method of songwriting. Just kind of "skip all that breaking it down, working through it, writing lots of songs, performing a lot, meeting a lot of people, and learning what you are doing" aspect of life.
Well there are about 55 million other people that think they can do the same thing.

"DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. SORRY. BUT THANKS FOR PLAYING. HERE;S A COPY OF OUR HOME GAME."

Look, I don't know you. I have no knowledge about your music, your personality, anything. I just know you are a guy who comes to this site and asks questions. The answers are really in your mirror.
You are going to have to find a way, you are going to have to step it up. You are going to have to do some soul searching and reality checking.

Great to think about Nashville and the big time, but you've got to spend some time in the smaller leagues first.

You can get going. But first you have to GET GOING.
MAB

#1134960 - 01/13/18 07:27 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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What if we met you in say, St. Louis Marc.

I'm callin shotgun Adam.
Party at Marc's place!!!

:-)

Last edited by RonnieDean; 01/13/18 07:36 PM.
#1134973 - 01/13/18 08:32 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc,

Thanks for all this info. Iím definitely not trying to take the ďshort route to the topĒ or anything like that. I think I have pretty realistic expectations. A lot of the info in your last post is all stuff I need to do. I havenít really looked at the top song and analyzed them. Iím pretty active in my local scene playing live, I do the open mics when I can, no writers nights to speak of. But I do need to actually work with more artists and writers - that is something that was foreign to me until I really started looking into going beyond my local scene.

Iím not here to try to try to find a shortcut. Iím just looking for how to position myself the best I can. I definitely have room to improve with my writing. You asked me how I think itís supposed to work. I donít know - thatís a big part of what Iím here to figure out. I might not be asking the right questions, but I think Iím getting some of the right answers! As always I appreciate your time and your advice! I apologize if it seems like Iím looking for a shortcut, Iím really just trying to figure out the way. (Hey that could be a song?)

#1134984 - 01/14/18 11:11 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Hey Jacob, happy Sunday.

Don't take some things personally. That is more or less my "MARINE BOOT CAMP DRILL INSTRUCTOR" yelling at you to give me 50 more push ups. You ARE actually doing part of that. You are coming here, seeking answers, and actually doing the first part, seeking people online.

Online stuff is really important. You can find endless thing on YOU TUBE and other sources. How to write and perform songs, elements of the business, etc. You have already seen some of my videos on performing and writing and that is a good start.
And yes, Ronnie, a good start for both of you would be to pile in the car and head to Nashville, and do one of my "Songwriter TOURS" (through the past, present and future) and I could show you all of this in a day or two.

THAT IS THE ONLY COMMERCIAL I WILL DO HERE!!!! Go to my web site if you want to know more.

So I am not so much referring to YOU per se as anyone that is trying to figure this out.

You see, people who are from "my generation" have a little trouble understanding where people come from.
There was a time you had to actually LEARN an instrument. Learn to play, write, be a part of the community.
You had to go play the coffee houses, the crappy gigs, you had to take the time to actually BE GOOD.

Now, people all think they can just click a mouse and they will magically be in the middle of the world and money will roll in. (NOT YOU)

The only problem with that is there are MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who are doing the same thing and the more you learn and peel back the onion, the more you realize that you have to:
LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, GO OUT AND PHYSICALLY PERFORM OR MEET OTHER PERFORMERS
AND BE A PART OF THE COMMUNITY.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Just like technology puts us all closer together in communication it actually PUSHES US FARTHER APART, but creating divides between us all.

So now it is MORE important to develop personal contacts. Because I can assure you THE "INDUSTRY" requires personal interaction and meetings. If you know all the insanity that goes on the Internet, CAN YOU BLAME THEM?

Everybody wants to know who they are dealing with, because you may get an INSANE MURDERER trying to shoot a bunch of people to get his/her name in the press, and hopefully that will get their music out there. Think that is far fetched? Ever hear of CHARLES MANSON? He was actually a frustrated musician who befriended Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys in order to get a record deal. He went to Sharon Tate's house and killed all those people, because the previous owner, Terry Melcher, promised to get him a record deal and didn't deliver.

The big walls and fences around places in Nashville in the late 80's partially because a gunman with a shot gun approached label executive Jim Foglesong with a shot gun asking "why his songs hadn't been cut." So you think putting totally inbalanced people into proximity to a large business of celebrity can;'t cause problems, think again.

But the overall point is that you have to GET TO KNOW PEOPLE.

If you are playing the writers nights or open mics, you should be getting invited back. And like anything in life you have to DO IT AGAIN.
You have to meet other people on those nights and find out what THEY are doing.Emulate people who are doing what you want to do.
You should be making friends with those people away from just the writers night. Meeting them for coffee or a drink and finding out what they are doing. Starting to write with those very people. Where do they record? How do they write songs?

You start with one person that leads to another and another and another.

And then you start looking at other regions and you do the same thing. Do any of those people play in other areas? And you have to look PAST those people to people THEY know.
They themselves might not be going out and doing all of that, (many of the open micers are always older people) but they might KNOW someone who IS out there.
Music stores and coffee shops, colleges are always good resources. Usually there are bulliten boards that have cards or announcements for local writers groups. Find them and join them.

Put your own ad on a local board or do a GOOGLE search for "WRITERS GROUPS IN YOUR AREA."

It is all up to you.

MAB

#1134985 - 01/14/18 11:14 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Ronnie,

Interesting you mention St. Louis. One of the women I work with making trips here IS from St. Louis. She has just started picking up writers nights here in town, while living in St. Louis as a spokes model for a fragrance company there. So it can be done, but the Mountain don't come to you.

MAB

#1134989 - 01/14/18 12:23 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
Dang Marc! I didn't think it was this tough! Of course anything doing takes time and persistence if nothing else. Learning to play an instrument is a big plus.

One more thing, there are Chapters in many locations you can scout out. If you drag the Main page down far enough you will see Chapters in all sections of the country. Don't know how many of them are still active but it is a place to start.

Now back to my College Degree, taking Helicopter lessons, striking for a Rhodes Scholar Appointment and my Janitor Studies!


Ray E. Strode
#1134997 - 01/14/18 03:18 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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I kind of like Kris's voice, not Dylan's though.LOL

#1135000 - 01/14/18 03:58 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Adam Jacob Offline
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Marc - nothing was taken personal at all! Like I said, Iím here to learn. I have looked a lot into NSAI, local chapters donít exist and I didnít think there was a lot of benefit to me in joining, maybe Iím wrong.

I have done some of the ďhigher endĒ open mic nights (best one over been to was at Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem, PA), even received enough feedback that I was asked back to host, which I did as well. Only problem with that one is itís about an hour away, so I could never get there as often as Iíd like.

Anyway like you (I think) recognize, Iím just trying to learn ďthe wayĒ to get the songs out of my living room. I think Iím learning a lot. I know there are a ton of talented songwriters out there whose songs never made it past their own front door, i donít want to be one of those! I would like to learn more about your songwriter tours, Iím hoping to do a Nashville trip this summer.

Im Happy to have made contact with you and everyone else here, this is how these relationships sometimes start, I suppose. By the way, sorry about the Titans! Would have loved to see them beat New England!

#1135010 - 01/14/18 07:29 PM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,011
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,011
Nashville, Tn.
Adam,

It sounds like you are doing some of it. If you have done shows and been asked back, that is part of it. You try to go CONSISTANTLY. So if it is an hour and a half away, you have to make that trip once or twice a month. If you will ask around, you will probably find many other things going on around you.

I once did a workshop in a very small place in New Hampshire. It was a Saturday and there were around 40 people there. I did what I usually do and asked about writers nights and open mics near them. They all said they didn't know of anything around them.

Then I started reading off a list of resturants in the area. They all seemed to know most of these places. What I had done is before the workshop found one of the local entertainment papers. In the listings they had NINTEEN places that did writers nights or open mics within 30 minutes of them. None of them had thought to even look there.

And this is the deal.Usually so much that we need is right in front of our eyes, hiding in plain sight. There are writers get togethers. Groups that get together to do critiques. Sometimes NSAI groups but there are other ones. I am sure if you look down these pages like someone said, you might find a JUST PLAIN FOLKS GROUP. There are all kinds of groups that do things like this. Have shows, song critiques, coffee meetings.
I once went sightseeing in Gettysburg PA, and found an OPEN MIC in the town square in Gettysburg. So you really have to be proactive in doing this. Leave no stone unturned.

You have to be consistent and meet people then follow up with people you meet.

You are correct that very few people actually have their songs get past their living rooms or their computers. This is what we call the difference between the DREAM AND THE DRIVE.

Everybody has the DREAM. Everyone can pictures themselves up there, playing their songs for cheering, loving audiences. Everybody can see themselves accepting some award and thanking their parents. That is the easy part.

The hard part is making that hour and a half drive. Staying awake on the way back. Knowing you have to go to work in the morning. And making another trip to meet someone who might become a co-writer and doing it again, when that one doesn't work out.
That is the DRIVE.

Sounds like you have some of it, you just always have to keep going. It is a lifetime commitment and there is never a time that you sit back and said "Well, now I've achieved everything I want to. " Some of the most desperate people I've ever met are people who have had huge hit songs, money, careers. They are all driven.

I am about to go perform with a bunch of them. One of our most beloved hosts, Debi Champion, is having a 14th anniversery show at a local place called the COMMODORE lounge. She is having about 30 writers all getting up. There are hit writers, award winners, artists, and you never know who will show up. Garth Brooks dropped by one year, as she used to host when he was starting out. I'm onstage with two friends, Jeff Dayton, who had a few Glen Campbell hits and was Glenn's guitar player for around 20 years, and Randy Brooks, who wrote that little ditty, "GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER." Just when I thought I'd had enough of Christmas music!

The point is that you just keep at it. You work it every day. Keep on your game, learn your craft and stay at it. You might never become a huge success, but you will meet friends for life, find yourself a LOT better and really enjoy the ride. And who knows, you MIGHT become very successful. You just never know.
And that's the fun of it.

Remember, it's not the DESTINATION, it's the ROAD THAT GETS YOU THERE.

Yeah, I wrote that one too.

MAB

#1135349 - 01/21/18 11:50 AM Re: Be part of Nashville scene without living there? [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 302
RonnieDean Offline
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RonnieDean  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 302
Keystone, CO USA
https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/tennessee/broadway-nashville.html

Watch pedestrians vs automobiles vs delivery trucks in downtown Nashville.
At the time of this posting the sidewalks are pretty much rolled up but at other times it looks like level 7 of a video game.


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