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Waiting For A Break - part 2

written by Matt Dorman on September, 23, 2008, 08:57 PM. Comments: 6

In part 1, I talked about Country radio, and Dean Dillon's view of it. Dean played a huge part of shaping Country music. Just Google his name, and you'll see what I mean. Which brings me to the subject of this edition. What are you doing to create success in your songwriting career?

While there are millions of songwriters looking for that break, there are also countless artists who are looking for "that song", the one that takes them to the next level. Maybe they've released their first multi-platinum cd, and are looking for a followup cd with hits as good as the first. Maybe they are new to the industry, and looking for material to kick their career off.

How do you get songs to them if you're an unknown songwriter? First, you have to have "that song". The one that you've worked hard, re-written, or wrote it in 5 minutes. You've played or performed it for friends, fellow writers, or had it critiqued at a reputable songwriter association.

Some songs write themselves, and just need a little tuning up. Some songs are worked hard over days, months, or years. You may come to a point where you have a great idea, and alot of good lyrics, but just can't seem to finish that song. That's when you might consider co-writing (which will be the subject of a future edition). Don't be afraid of rewriting your song, but remember, when you get critiques from people, that is their opinion. There are counless stories about songs getting turned down, and then cut by somebody to become a number 1 hit. Songwriting is mostly about opinions.

Okay, you've got "that song". You're convinced. Now, how do you get it out there? Here's some suggestions:
You have to become your own ad agency. I write mostly County music, so I'll focus on that. Moving to Nashville makes it easier to get known with the industry. You have the opportunity to attend "writer's nights" at places like Douglas Corners, or "The French Quarter". Many industry people visit, if they get rumor of a great songwriter playing there. Being an insider is great, too. Many demo singers have gotten signed. It helps to work at the label's office, or be their tour bus driver, or even the waitor/waitress at their favorite restaurant.

If you don't live in Nashville ( I don't), or Los Angeles, you have to use whatever means available. Join the local songwriter's association. I'm a member of Las Vegas Songwriter's association. A few times a year, we get reputable publishers, and industry people to come and listen to our songs. Open a myspace site that features your songs, and collect all the "friends" you can. Look what happened to an unknown singer/songwriter that had a song simply named "Bubbly". Open a website, with samples of your songs on it. Send out letters of request to publishers, asking permission to send songs. Join NSAI, or SongU, two great places to get songs heard, to get feedback, and meet writers. There's alot of great sites you can join.

You have to do whatever it takes. Landing a helicoptor in Johnny Cash's front yard worked for Kris Kristofferson back then, but today it might not go over well. Don't wear out your welcome, or burn bridges. If somebody says "no", they mean it. Find somebody else that will say "yes". There's alot of publishers that have staff writers, and aren't taking outside material. Once you get into their graces, keep that relationship going, and on a positive level. Someday that staff writer might be you.

The most important thing to remember is, as a songwriter, you'll hear "no" more often than you could imagine. Don't let that stop you. Overnight success stories are few and far in between. I've committed myself to a lifetime of songwriting, to become better with every song. I've been writing songs for 20 years, and still don't have a major label hit, but I'll never give up.

Why? Because I love songwriting. It's the only thing in my life that's never gotten old. I've quit jobs, lost girlfriends, sold cars, and have given up many things in my life I once loved, but songwriting is deeper than anything I'll ever have. I've written over 200 songs. Is one of those a hit? Time will tell.

Matt Dorman
Matt Dorman Music/BMI
3510 Gold Sluice Ave.
North Las Vegas, Nv. 89032
www.mattdorman.com
www.myspace.com/mattdormanvegas
www.songu.com/members/mattdorman
MD Total Maintenance
http://www.coam.net/~mdtotalmaintenance/

Comments

Doug Erickson wrote on October, 01, 2008, 09:28 PM

Hi Matt,

Very good info and well written, thanks!

I am a fellow member of the LVSA, in fact I'm on the board. I don't know if you know that Joe Geppi is now president and we are looking to make some changes. We would love to have your imput and participation. If we all work together maybe we can get the assoc back to where it once was and beyond.

I look forward to your next article.

Best regards,
Doug

Matt Dorman wrote on October, 20, 2008, 11:52 PM

Hi Doug!
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond! I just logged in for the first time. I really appreciate your feedback. Betty told me Joe was the new president. With my work schedule, and my own company I run, I don't have alot of time to attend meetings, but if I did, LVSA would be on the top of that list! I love the seminars, and the publishers, that's what I enjoy the most about LVSA, besides it's awesome members!

many blessings,

Matt

Herbert Duval wrote on October, 23, 2008, 06:06 PM

Hi Matt, I've read your articles with great interest, thanks.. Herbert NL

Danny Hinkle wrote on November, 08, 2008, 05:33 PM

joseph wrote on November, 08, 2008, 07:42 PM

what country publishers can i send a letter of request to?

Matt Dorman wrote on June, 22, 2009, 12:58 PM

Hi Danny! Great ditty!

Hi Joseph! You can go online and google a list of Nashville Publishers, or join the many organizations that can link you to publishers, such as NSAI, SONGU, Justplainfolks, addicted to songwriting, and more! Use your computer as your method of transportation. It's tough to 'get in the door' and if you do, nurture that relationship.

best of luck!!

Matt

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