There is a growing perception that music (and writers) have no intrinsic value. I have people all the time encouraging me to give a song away or to come play a show for free. I have actually had people get offended when I told them I wouldn’t come play somewhere for nothing. They tell me that I will be getting great “exposure” for my music. Meanwhile, they are packing the house and making lots of money on drinks, food and cover charges.
Often, people ask me when, how and where I find inspiration. I generally tell them that I sit down on a couch every day with a blank word document on the screen in front of me and a guitar in my lap. If inspiration doesn't show up at 10:30 when my co-write starts, then I start going through my idea file or playing my guitar.
One day, my friend Danny Wells and I wrote a song. We were really excited about it, so Danny wanted to play it for his publisher. We went in the man's office and Danny played it live. I could tell as he was playing that the guy didn't seem like he liked it. We asked him what he didn't like - was it the groove, the feel, the title, the lyric? "All of it," was his response. He hated all of it. Every piece of it. His final comment was the nail in the coffin. "Boys, I would just consider that a day of practice songwriting and move on."
As the winners of the SongTown USA songwriting contest with their song, “Love is Like Rain," Robyn Collins and Jordan Reynolds prove their undeniable writing chemistry. Competing against hundreds of entries, Robyn and Jordan struck a chord with the team of judges, lead by hit Nashville songwriters Marty Dodson and Clay Mills. The reward of the contest? A co-writing session with these two master writers!
Here we talk to this songwriting team about their winning song, their journey and what's next.
In 2013 I went out on a limb. I applied to be part of a songwriting class that focused on co-writing. Up until then I had only co-written a small part of one song (I wrote the bridge), and that was it. But I wanted to do more, improve, and find new ways to be creative.
It struck me today that there are basically two kinds of writers I work with. There are empowered writers and non-empowered writers. Empowered writers write confidently and take chances. They don't complain about the state of the music business or whine about someone not getting them cuts. They realize that THEY are in charge of the ship they are on. If they are rejected, they learn from it and move on. They see criticism as an opportunity to grow.
As musicians, we all have to memorize music, lyrics, chords, dynamics and more. That alone can be daunting and definitely requires some effort. It’s easier to memorize a song you really like or perhaps one you’ve written yourself. I find the best way to start memorizing a song you didn’t write is to listen to it as much as possible. Put it on your portable player and listen both actively and passively.
I woke up this morning so excited to go and demo some songs today that I'm really proud of, and it got me thinking about the path my career has taken. I started as an artist - all I ever wanted to do was be in my own band and write my own songs; I didn't even know you could just have a career as a songwriter until well into my second record