Hey friends I have a story to tell you, bear with me, it ends well.
A few years back I decided that besides writing and recording for myself, I would write songs for other people to sing.
So I started to learn about writing and co-writing from a local artist, Rick Tippe and of course my buddy Dan Swinimer. I wrote a few tunes that were ok I thought. Shucks, even the record company heard them and thought they were pretty good!
Right about then my wife bought me a trip to Nashville for my birthday. Well that was cool! I planned it around the Canucks playing in Nashville and would go to a songwriting workshop. I also would visit NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) and have a mentoring session with a fellow who had hit songs. Sounds awesome!….Not to mention a tour around Nashville with a seasoned writer.
I made my plans and flew into Nashville. Via Bellingham, Seattle and Chicago. A long day and 4 airports later, I arriver at Doak Turners house, who was putting me up for the next week.
Well , at Doaks the place was packed with at least 50 other songwriters! He hosted a gathering once a month for people new to Nashville and I had arrived at the tail end of the party. I met some cool people but was really exhausted. Doak was a gracious host and showed me to my room. As he turned to go he said very nonchalantly “Oh by the way Keith Urban used to stay in this room”…..Ummm okay then…
The next morning Doak gave me a bit of a rundown on Nashville and told me to be careful of certain parts of town,of which I duly noted.I went to the NSAI office, who were very welcoming and toured around and saw some sights. That night I went and stood in line to see the Time Jumpers, Vince Gill’s band. Great show and fabulous musicians. The Next night I went to see the Canucks play the Predators and who was there wondering around the concourse? Vince! I told him I had seen his show and he thanked me for coming. Really cool unassuming guy. A great memory.
Well that’s the end of the fun part of the story for now. Again bear with me….
My first appointment was at NSAI for a mentoring session. Nice enough fella, he had some hits years back and used to back up Marty Robbins. He told me my songs were average at best and that I needed to do some work on the songs….Ok I can take criticism, or so I thought. I walked out of there trying to be positive but I am a sensitive person, and I was disappointed.
Next up the songwriting workshop with 30 other songwriting hopefuls. Three days of listening to songs and reading lyrics. Listening to publishers talk about what they want in a song.
My turn was close to last,and by this time people were pretty burned out on listening and the leader of the workshop was obviously tired.They heard my songs and basically dismissed them as less than average and pointed out some silly things like “Oh the prechorus never repeats itself” or “You cant use the word cassette in a song that’s too old school”…They were tired I get that, but I was disappointed. I did get to meet some cool people there and still follow some of them years later on social media.
I headed back home with my tail between my legs. Nashville will do that to you. I’ve heard the stories.
I was bummed. I couldn’t write anymore….I hardly wrote anything. My confidence was shattered. I visited my buddy Dan Swinimer and he said “Davey its like you have forgotten how awesome you are”. He was right. It took more than a year to get over that beating that I took in Nashville.
I am not naming names because its not the fault of those people. They were right about one thing. I needed to develop a thicker skin….And I did!
I started writing a lot of songs and if someone didn’t like that one song, that’s ok I’ve got ten more!I started to write from the soul. Songs about my kids and relatives and things dear to me. I got better at writing melodies and lyrics. I studied hit songs to see why people liked them so much. I co-wrote…a lot.
So to sum this up. You know those songs that weren’t good enough? You know “Less than average” Well one of those songs won me the BC Musicians magazine songwriting contest. Another won me a spot as a up and coming songwriter at the CCMA’s.I got to play at the songwriters café with other hit writers. They paid me to go! As you know I just released my song/video for “Forgive and Forget” to rave reviews. Strangers are asking me where they can get the song!
And now my big news. Well its big for me. When we write songs for others we are all looking for a “cut”. That is someone recording your song. Better yet it gets put on the album. And best-case scenario you get a cut and it is released as a single.
Well I am humbled and grateful to inform you my friends, that a song that I wrote with my bud Dan Swinimer is being released as a single this Thursday .The band is “Me and Mae” and the song is “Only live once” YES!YES!YES! Thank the good Lord for that.
Oh and for the record I heard the word “Cassette” on the country station, and yes you can use a prechorus over if you want! …Nananana!!!
There you have it. Stick with your dreams my friends, and learn to enjoy the ride.