Ok. This week, I’ve decided to introduce all of you (zero followers at the start of this entry O_o) to the way I’m getting back into songwriting, what I’ve been working on, and maybe some tools I use to try to get ideas flowing onto the paper.
After a long hiatus, I’m returning back to the craft and discipline of songwriting. I’ve been out of it for years, and I think all of the circumstances at play in my life have all converged to a single point…now. Maybe a little back story is in order…
Let’s see…where to begin….ah. Here: I am a graduate of Berklee College of Music. I went to that school of one reason: to learn how to play guitar like Steve Vai. Somewhere in the middle of my college career, I began to get the feeling that I wasn’t really up to being a virtuoso, and I started to get the songwriting bug. I took some songwriting classes and went on the annual Berklee trip to Nashville two spring breaks in a row. I sort of went back to my roots. I listened to songwriters my Dad used to play for me instead of crazily technical guitar players.
I graduated in 1998 with a degree in Guitar Performance. I moved to Nashville not long after that. It was in Nashville that I was faced with the grim realities of making a living and paying rent…so I worked…came home tired….got up early and worked some more. My career took a turn into the Guitar Manufacturing Industry while my family started to grow. Three years ago, I moved to Savannah, GA to pursue a really nice job working for one of the best guitar builders of the last 60 years.
…Then, inexplicably, that company laid off all but 4 of their employees, including me. I started to look toward Nashville once again. I began to outline some goals for myself that would get me on the track I should have started 15 years ago: becoming a songwriter in Nashville.
There’s the back story. What are these goals?
Firstly, and obviously, I need to start writing lots of songs, and finishing songs I started way back in the early days…let’s FINISH some shit.
Secondly, I need to play at as many open-mic situations as I can, not only so I can get better at performing as a singer-songwriter, but so I can start the sometimes painful (for me) process of NETWORKING.
Thirdly, I need to study and dissect my favorite songs by my favorite artists.
Fourth, I need to go see shows of songwriters I admire, so they can start seeing my face as much as possible, so they start recognizing me.
Fifth, I need to co-write more…naturally, this will become easier the more networking I do…the more I see writers whose style I admire at these open-mic nights, the more I can approach them about possible co-writes.
Sixth, I need to join NSAI, TSAI, or the SGA and either BMI or ASCAP. I was working with ASCAP long ago and was starting to develop a relationship with those people….so I need to start to try to do that again.
Seventh, Nashville is a songwriting community. That means to play with the A-list, you have to be there, doing things that will allow you to brush up against all the right people. Nashville is like graduate school for songwriters. Let these people teach you what to do.
So. Here we go. I hope you will learn something from the mistakes and follies that will no doubt populate these posts, but let’s have a good time trying to figure Nashville out together.
Here’s what I’m working on this week:
I’ve been re-reading Pat Pattison’s excellent book, Writing Better Lyrics. In that book, he outlines the process by which you can train yourself to open your mind to a writer’s awareness. It’s called Object Writing. I’ve been disciplined enough to do an Object Writing every morning for two weeks.
I’ve also been working on about three new songs, all ideas that I’ve been working on for sometime now… just taking the key concepts and making rhyme worksheets for all the important words….we’ll see how they go…I’ll let you in on the process as I work them towards completion.
Also. Still looking for a job.
I’m looking forward to keeping this blog going and expanding the things I talk about here.
Thanks for reading.