Saturday, June 25, 2016

Also

Remind me to tell you about 1) the guy who didn't read what he signed and 2) Cheesy. I keep forgetting to write about those.

Patience.

When I was single, as a grownup, my friends and I came to realize that meeting someone, liking someone, feeling hopeful, talking, messaging, maybe even going out once, were no guarantee. So we stopped telling our friends. Because when you're 11 (or, in my case, 33), it's fun to talk to your bff for hours about what it meant, really meant, when he said "see ya later" or "I like that song too." But then when your friends ask you a week later "so did he call?" and (in my case), he didn't, it got old. Because, really, there was nothing to tell, so I stopped telling. I was just looking for someone to hope with me.

When I was infertile, a good friend said that she would hold hope for me, because when you hope and then are disappointed, it's like the hope burned you; and you get to the point where you wish you could just stop hoping. But you can't. I've tried. I'm grateful that my infertility ended, and no waiting-for-music-business-news type of situation can touch the deeply personal grief and desperation of IVFs 1-5. #6 was the winner.

The important thing to remember, and if anyone reads this, please remind me that the important thing to remember is that I have these things even being considered. 1) A country song (amazingly) is in the hands of a song plugger who is doing whatever they do - pitching it? thinking about pitching it? trying to get the meeting where he will pitch it? sitting around with his friends playing it and saying "what was she thinking?" I don't know. Anyway, he's a respected song plugger, and I pitched it to him and he "took" it. The Eskimos have 50 words for snow and the music biz has at least that many for "maybe." So there's that. 2) An A-and-R person from a Major Label has that country song, too, and she may or may not be doing the above, or her people, maybe. My song is a fit for the band I pitched it for, (I think) and she shot down a couple of other songs of mine within 24 hours, so she isn't on vacation. 3) that same song has gotten through the NSAI gauntlet to "recommended" status, which I don't get excited about but it's a nice corroboration from a very non-affirming source.

The amazingness of this can't be overstated. Well, it can, but I'll try not to. Because the country music industry has not thrown its doors open to me. They engage in the most shell games, the most "we liked that yesterday but we hate it now" or that guy thinks it's too serious but that other guy says it's too light hearted and the third guy thinks the Ford should be a Chevy. Suddenly a song I wrote by myself is past the troll under the first bridge.

That's been going on for about 2 weeks. In addition, a couple of songs of mine are being pitched for a cable TV show; these are different songs, songs that the sync people seem to love but haven't placed yet. Yet. This is the second specific pitch for a specific show (that I know of), and it's really encouraging. Thanks, Broadjam. Broadjam rules because they show you which songs get picked for pitches, so when I'm not chosen I can see who is, and learn from that. Bonus: when my songs are chosen, the world gets to see. Which I like, because me.

Some of these might yield a "pass" or some other kind of final answer. Some might just wither and die out there. I have ways of stalking (I call it "research"), like following the artist on Twitter. Artists can be counted on to tweet that they have been in the studio "cutting amaaazing songs" or "writing with amaaazing writers" which tells me that mine wasn't chosen.

Back in my single days I learned that sometimes good news happens fast. When I was sitting around wondering what some guy really meant when he said "see ya later," some other girl wasn't wondering anything because he was taking her out, three days after he met her. If a man wants to call he will. (not now, of course, #toolatesuckas) If somebody wants to cut my song they will. The best response, to everything, is always to be working on the next great song.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

FIRED UP


This is the second song I've written with Adam Byrd, who is a great collaborator who has taught me a lot.

This Reverbnation link should use the track photo, which is Dalton Gray, who is a hardworking very talented guy who killed this vocal track in a good way. I also wish Reverb would make it easier to say who wrote the song - when I go looking at artists it's really hard to figure out who wrote the song, and it's really hard for me to credit co-writers when I post a song.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I can't make up my mind.

#bullying
Bullying is kinda hot right now. A thing that a lot of us have been through (some from both sides) is now being talked about in a sympathetic way, when it did not used to be. It's hard to understand bullying when it's not a mean kid at school who hits you. It seems to me that when someone has power over you and abuses it, that's bullying. Except I am still not sure.

I've experienced a particular thing that hurt a lot in the past several years where a couple of people in positions of power have used it to advance themselves, and had to throw me under the bus to do it. Is that bullying? Maybe. Am I just a crybaby who didn't get what I want? Also maybe. Can it be both? I think so. I know that I was raised to be tough and resilient, and I am, but I was also knocked around in ways I wish I hadn't been, by life and by people who I thought were on my side.

Since the bullying has given me the tough and the resilient, I kind of appreciate it. The recent bullies have torn me down in various ways and I went with that for a while, and this has helped me. In a couple of situations it has greatly clarified what's important (friends and drawing closer to God) and what isn't (being affirmed by someone who isn't ever going to do that).

I wrote this lyric a while back and felt shy about it. This might be the worst impact of bullying; it makes us feel that it's our fault, or that we invited whatever is happening. It always makes me feel that the rest of the world is enjoying respect and harmony and that I'm the only one who seems to invite the opposite.

For all the wrong reasons, I finally got this song done and I'm so happy I did. I found someone to sing it who I admire; I'm her fan and hope to co-write with her. It's also kind of broken the seal on the more personal, confessional songs that used to be my main thing. It's all about letting my freak flag fly again, I guess.

Anyway, this song. I love how it turned out.







Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Worst Thing You Can Do to Me

In the songwriting context, that is.

In the songwriter-education industry, there are lots of opportunities to get song feedback and critique, which I love and use. For the past couple of years, I've had access to an industry pro who's generally blunt, sometimes kinda caustic, and generally straight to the point from a commercial standpoint.

I loved it.

The first time she heard one of my songs, she hated it. So much. She thought that the verse was so long that she couldn't stand it (the chorus came in at about 45 seconds.) She wasn't rude or mean but she made it clear that the song was a little bit pathetic. I hate being treated like a beginner (it is, however, not The Worst Thing You Can Do to Me), and I was newer at this than I am now. I couldn't sleep that night and I felt raw and miserable from that kind of critical assessment. I can process all kinds of criticism and become grateful for it, but it's not pretty.

She was right, and she helped me. A lot. I realized that it did not bug me that she didn't think my song was good. It struck me that my song made her angry, and I couldn't sleep until I understood why. I figured it out, I think. My song, which wasn't good and was euthanized shortly thereafter, was what I thought a country song could be. It was (to be fair) what a country song might have sounded like 20 years ago; it was kinda jokey, kinda hokey, and made fun of itself the way country songs used to.

It finally occurred to me maybe that she felt I was condescending to the entire genre. And you know what? she was right. I hadn't noticed that contemporary country takes itself very, very seriously. In general, it seems like country music is very tired of being the cute sidekick or the joke (to the non-country world), and is demanding to come into its own as a serious art form celebrating sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And trucks. No one likes being condescended to, but my song was the one doing it this time.

That pro helped me so much. For a while after that she heard several songs of mine, and for a while she continued to be blunt. In three sentences she has told me that my song is good (or not) but she can't pitch it because the idea is flawed or no one will want it. She's liked one of my songs very much, and she's hated some and she's been crystal clear about what needed to be fixed. I have valued her opinion so much, and I had decided that getting a thumbs up from her on a song was a significant goal.

But now, for no reason that I can understand, she has been nice. Neutral. She's said that she likes the song, there's nothing she would change, that it works. She doesn't want it, she's clearly not excited about it, and I hear her thinking "Next!"

I do want to say that industry folk like her who listen to millions of songs, most of them bad, and still have reserves of kindness and patience to give feedback, are doing good in this world and I appreciate and admire them. I also think it's right to save the most kindness for the beginners, and if there's nothing left for the likes of me I'll be okay.

I wish there was a "preferences" tab for relationships. I wish I could turn the "honesty" slider way down so that people wouldn't say they would love to hang out with me when they don't, or that they're not mad at me when they are, or that they'd love to work with me but they're just SO busy right now.

This is the worst thing you can do to me. There is something she doesn't like. The song is maybe just nothing new. The song is maybe just technically good but not likable. It could be me. Not everybody likes me. I wish I'd tried harder to be the most polite and least objectionable version of me with her, but I always wish that. Might not have helped anyway.

So I'm thinking "Next!" as well. I'm confident that I can find some industry person who believes in me enough to not be quite so "nice."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fireball

update: So it turns out that when you move songs around on Reverbnation, the links don't go with them. I move the bodies, they don't move the headstones. Thanks for that Reverb.


I wrote the above song, which isn't linked anymore, with my co-writer Adam Byrd, who is a great writer and we have a great cowriting relationship that features millions of text messages, long arguments featuring lots of bad language, and good songs that actually get finished. Speaking of actually getting it finished, we are still revising. But it's coming along and you'll have to trust me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

This was fun

Really, really, really fun.

This is "Bear With Me," at the Open Chord Brewhouse. Which is a great venue and I can't wait for my chance to gig there. More about that later.

Special thanks to Diane Shelton for filming this. What I am saying before the clip starts is that I wrote the song with Fish: "he writes with everyone. He's kind of a songwriting.... slut..."

video

P.S., I am not really this fat. The camera adds at least 35 pounds.