NSAI

The art of co-writing, OR first co-writes are a lot like first dates…

One of the things that I have learned a lot about since moving to Nashville is the art of the co-write. It’s a simple premise: 2 or more writers get together and combine creative forces to write the next #1 country song… or so we all hope. Not only is this a great way to step outside of your own comfort zone, but it’s also a great way to network and move up the ranks in Music City.

One of the other things I’ve learned a lot about since moving to Nashville is being single and living on your own in your 20s… which inevitably includes some adventures in dating. Surprisingly, I’ve found a lot of similarities between the two! So, here we go: the good, the bad, and the sometimes depressingly hilarious (or is it hilariously depressing?) lessons I’ve learned through 3 years of co-writes and dating.

1. Background checks/ facebook stalking does not always make you a creep. 

Seriously! Just like going on a first date, sometimes it’s good to do just a little bit of homework before your first meet up. I’m all for giving people chances and forming my own opinions, however, if a potential co-writer has a track record of stealing song ideas or trying to force unfair song contracts on a co-writer, it might be best to avoid the situation altogether.

2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

Sometimes, the best co-writes can happen by surprise. I’ve found that I’ve had some of my most creative and successful writing sessions with writers who I didn’t necessarily click with at first. Like I mentioned before, co-writes can be great for breaking you out of your own creative box, and opening yourself up to different writing styles.

3. Sometimes, a good relationship takes time to blossom. 

Just like awkward first dates can sometimes turn into great relationships, awkward first co-writes can turn into great creative relationships! You have to think of a first co-write, especially with another writer who you may not have a long personal relationship with, as a getting-to-know you session… getting to know each other’s style, language, and writing preferences is key. You have to learn to communicate with each other to communicate anything of meaning through a song, and depending on the personalities in the writing room, this can take longer to develop for some pairs, or couples!

4. And then sometimes, the chemistry just isn’t there. 

You gave it your best shot; you really tried to open up and communicate, and you put your heart into it 100%, but sometimes, the chemistry just isn’t there. Some co-writing teams just simply aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok! Just like when some relationships aren’t supposed to work out, you have to know yourself as a writer to know when that “something,” that je ne sais quoi just isn’t present in the writing room.

5. When the chemistry is there, magic can happen!

Sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time with the right person, and the magic of writing a great song just seems to happen. I feel like this is more rare than not, so when it happens, just enjoy the ride!

6. The best relationships are founded on respect. 

Writing with somebody new can sometimes be a very sensitive situation, especially if the two writers don’t see eye-to-eye on every line, note, and chord being put on paper (and just like in life, you will be hard pressed to find anybody who agrees with you 100% of the time!). It’s best to treat each other with respect, and be truthful but not hurtful in working through the challenges that come with putting multiple creative personalities together in a room. I like to go in with the opinion that just because something isn’t right for the song, doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

7. Above all, be true to yourself. 

Be open to new ideas and experiences, but know who you are and stay true to it. It makes for a richer writing experience (and a richer life, too!)

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The Dream Team

With football season drawing to a close, basketball season kicking into high gear, and baseball season just around the corner, I figured now would be as good a time as any to hit you with a little sports talk. Ready? Here goes.

One of best quotes I’ve ever heard in the realm of motivational sports-related sayings is this gem from Kareem Abdul-Jabar: “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” I love this idea, because it is so universal, not only for athletes on the field, but for any person lending a hand to a larger cause.

I present this bit of wisdom today because one thing that is becoming more and more clear to me is that in order to find success in this industry, you need to have a strong team surrounding you. As I’ve mentioned before, one thing that I’ve learned is  that knowing your strengths is important, but knowing your weaknesses may be more important. When you are able to identify your weaknesses, you in turn acknowledge that there are others more qualified and better equipped to find a solution to whatever issue you are currently facing than you yourself.

As an artist and writer still in the beginning stages of a career, I don’t necessarily have the means to hire someone to fill every “position” left vacant where my knowledge leaves off. For now, I make connections with those who know better, talking to artists and other music business professionals who have been at this longer than I have. I have to say, so far, most people in Nashville have been so nice and willing to help out a new artist…. definitely one of the things I love about this town. For now, I’m doing the best to fill these roles, but can only hope that one day I can pay people to do these things for me 🙂

And so, I present to you my Dream Team; some of these are people I have already stumbled upon, and some are more of a “wish list” of those that I would like to have helping me:

Marketing/Social Media Strategy/ Digital Strategy; Booking; Business Manager; Personal Stylist; Song Plugger; Guitar Player; Roadie… and the list goes on 🙂

 

Who are some of the people on your dream team?

 

Oh yeah, to find more of those nice people in Nashville that are willing to help, I recommend checking out several organizations: NSAI, Indie Connect, and any Performing RIghts Organization- BMI (mine), ASCAP or SESAC all have great resources!