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What Publishers are Looking For

GSC members,

We have been diligently gathering information about what publishers are looking for when it comes to songs.  At GSC, we want to provide you with information that helps you to write songs with intention, direction and purpose.  We trust the information below with help you in your efforts.

Song Types – Song publishers are telling us that they want beat driven “track drive” tempo songs but with meaningful, meaty lyrics.

Titles – Publishers want and need FRESH UNIQUE TITLES that are almost like a slogan on a t-shirt or a slogan that you would read on a coffee mug.  Songs are released as singles and on digital sites like Spotify and need to STAND OUT.

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My GSC Story featuring Brett Mandel

Global Songwriters Connection is a career mentoring and talent building organization whose desire is to build authentic, artistic and sustainable careers in the music business. This process takes time and we are so honored to share some of our members GSC stories in this section called “MY GSC STORY!” This week features Brett Mandel.

       To talk about my GSC journey, I actually have to backtrack. Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the power of Sheree during her NSAI days. I remember being outside of the offices before a Thursday night meeting. Sheree came out to the porch, and in such a positive, heartfelt way encouraged and welcomed attendees like I had never seen before. It was easy to see that this was a special person, who cared about others, and had her heart in the right place. Her passion was and is infectious. I eventually heard about GSC, but hesitated to join due to the financial aspect. It was one of the best investments I have ever made in my life, and the best as far as my career goes. This is my GSC story.

Brett Mandel       I joined GSC in April of 2014, and soon had a mentoring meeting with Sheree. She immediately saw something special in me and my songs. I told her my goals, and she laid out a game plan. She made it clear we would be successful together, but it would be a journey and take some time. From that first meeting a special bond, trust, and friendship began. We began to have regular contact, I received regular guidance, and opportunities, both directly and indirectly. In addition to connecting me to industry professionals, she has connected me with writers and artists she thought were appropriate. Sheree eventually let me know she felt I would be an ideal candidate for one of her Focus events. Again, I was reluctant to spend the money, but I chose to invest in myself, my dreams, and my career. The highlight for me was the opportunity to write with Victoria Banks. I brought in a song idea I thought was extra special, and had held onto since 2007. We wrote that idea with Jayne Sachs, and to this day it is possibly the key song in my catalog. Her publisher loved the song, decided to demo it, and pitched it directly to Garth Brooks. It is and will always remain one of the biggest highlights of my life. That song has received an overwhelming industry response,continues to open doors for me, and has lead to various opportunities. I also was blessed with the opportunity to write with hit writer Steve Dean (eight number ones). Steve is now a friend and regular co-writer of mine, and we have two songs about to be pitched for major artists. Also, one of the publishers at the event was Matt Lindsey, who at the time had his own company. He will come into play later in my story.

        Later in 2014, I was so excited when I saw an online pitch opportunity came up with Devon DeVries from Big Yellow Dog. This has been my dream publisher for years. I submitted my song “Different Ways Of Dealing”. I remember that night vividly. I was in a night co-write, and could not watch the event. I received a text from Sheree saying how much Devon loved my song, and that she could get me a meeting with him. To say I was excited would be a major understatement. It took months of us both reaching out to him, but I finally got my meeting in March of 2015. He and I immediately clicked, as people and musically. He was into my music, respected me, and gave me a priceless open door to him and Big Yellow Dog. He made it clear that they are picky about who they bring into their fold, so this was a big deal. He advised me that he would be playing my music for other industry people, which he did. Later in 2015, I had a write scheduled with the amazingly talented Clayton Jones. Sheree connected me to Clayton, and he eventually became a friend and regular co-writer. Just before our write that day, Clayton called to let me know Devon contacted him to come into a last minute write. He did an amazing thing for me, and invited me into the write with Devon’s blessing. Devon instructed us to write a very specific type song for TV and film that day, which we did. He loved the song, and signed Clayton and I to a single song contract. This was a dream come true for me to sign any kind of contract with them. I would have never had these relationships and opportunities without Sheree and GSC.

     Sheree has continued to guide me since day one on not only the songwriting aspect of my career, but also how to conduct myself professionally, and make the most of opportunities. She has also always been there to support me through the doubts and desperation, encouraged me, and helped me to see the bigger picture. Some things I could not see or did not want to see then, but in time she was proven to be so right. One thing she always stressed to me is that you do not always know what is going on behind the scenes. Man, was she right about that! Let’s fast forward to January 2017. I received an unexpected message from Matt Lindsey, who is currently at Big Yellow Dog. He asked me to get in touch with him regarding an artist write. I immediately called him, and he explained that he was looking for the right writer to bring in as his writers were booked. He said what led to me was a referral from Devon. Remember, things with Devon started in 2015 during a GSC online pitch event, and I originally met Matt at the 2014 Focus event. Everything Sheree relayed to me about time, the journey, and letting relationships build was absolutely right on. That first write went well, which soon led me to a second one, and my relationship with my dream publisher continues to build thanks to GSC.

      I have taken calculated steps involving networking, business relationships, and stressing artist and pro writes. Sheree’s guidance, referrals, opportunities, knowledge, and connections have been priceless in my journey. She has gone over and beyond to be there for me, and help me to progress, both personally and professionally. By giving me her most important assets, her time and educated guidance, she has put me in the position to win. So many of my past and current co-writers, as well as industry relationships, have come directly through GSC. I now have my first single out as a songwriter, “Champagne”, by Elizabeth Lyons. I co-wrote it with Elizabeth and fellow GSC member, Troy Castellano. The song was recently featured on iTunes Hot Tracks. I almost exclusively write with rising and established artists and pro writers. If I connect my career dots, they come back time and time again to Sheree and GSC. I have not signed my deal or had my major cut yet. However, I am already leading the life of a full time pro writer, and I would not be in this position without this amazing lady and her  priceless company. The fact that I invested in GSC and Sheree invested in me has changed my life and career. I am a better writer and person for it. Sheree has showed me the importance of paying it forward. I have mentored others over the past few years, and that is a priority for me as my career progresses. I consider her and her company one of the greatest blessings in my life, and she is still right by my side as my journey continues.

       

My GSC Story with Mitch and Diann Hammer

Global Songwriters Connection is a career mentoring and talent building organization whose desire is to build authentic, artistic and sustainable careers in the music business. This process takes time and we are so honored to share some of our members GSC stories in this section called “MY GSC STORY!” This week features Mitch and Diann Hammer.

Song Contest and Awards:

  • 2016 John Lennon Session II, “Tidal Wave” grand prize winner in country category. Currently in contention for the 2016 John Lennon Song of the Year.
  • 2016 Mid Atlantic Song Contest: “No One Knows” second place Silver Award winner in pop category; “Magic” honorable mention in pop category, and “Sunset View” honorable mention in the open category.
  • 2016 Song Door ICS: “Night Ride” and “Tidal Wave” honorable mention in the country category and “No One Knows” and “Feeling You Everywhere” honorable mention in pop category
  • 2016 Pensacola: “No One Knows” placed 4th
  • 2015 Pensacola: “Tidal Wave” placed 5th and “Magic” placed 7th
  • 2015 Frank Brown: “Magic” placed 6th; Night Ride placed 9th; “Tidal Wave” honorable mention

Our Journey

Mitch and Diann HammerOur musical journey grew out of having fun singing duets with each other at our local karaoke bars. We loved the stories that country songs told and we thought it might be fun to see if we could write a country song. Things started moving towards that direction when Mitch bought a keyboard to see if he could retool his piano skills. From there we crafted a few songs (lyrics only) but did not know the next steps. After a search on the internet we located several song associations in Nashville (NSAI and Taxi) that sounded promising as they offered song evaluations and we saw that as a starting point.

Sometime around 2012, Mitch joined both NSAI and Taxi and sent in our songs for evaluation. We receive some positive feedback and words of encouragement! So, we looked at the videos on the NSAI website, subscribed to American Songwriting Magazine (where we found and ad from William Sherry, Jr. to demo some very early versions of our songs), went on Amazon and ordered all types of books on song writing. We bounced around a bit but did not seem to be getting to where we wanted to go with our writing and William suggested we join Global Songwriters Connections.

This was the best decision for both Mitch and Diann and in December 2014 we had our first mentoring session with Sheree’. It was life changing and the real beginning towards learning the craft as songwriters. We continued to take advantage of all the many GSC services available including song evaluations, bio development, continued mentoring and the POP events. With Sheree’s guidance and advice, our songwriting continued to improve.

However, as lyricist we struggled to find someone to work with to put music to our lyrics or to cowrite with. In June 2015, Sheree’ graciously connected us with Clayton Jones who breathed life into our lyrics with his melodies and voice. The ability to work with such a gifted singer/songwriter provided us a tremendous opportunity to stretch out of our comfort zones. Since that time, we have continued to work with Clayton and have co- written several songs together (some placed in the top ten in song contests, with “No One Knows” receiving a Silver Award in the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest). Having the opportunity to co-write songs from the ground floor up with Clayton is a lyricist’s dream.

By GSC invitation, Mitch and I attended our first FOCUS event in September 2016. What an amazing growth experience! Being part of GSC has connected us to some very talented members and we now co-write with several songwriters and we now make more frequent trips to Nashville. We are convinced that without the help from the entire GSC team we would still be spinning our wheels instead of living our dream to be songwriters.

GSC Interview with Bruce Miller

Bruce MillerGSC Interview with Bruce Miller

provided by reporter Dan Reifsnyder

Dan Reifsnyder:  Hey, Bruce! Thanks for talking today. So how long have you been evaluating songs?

Bruce Miller:  That’s a good question! I have to go back and look…I think It’s been about 7 or 8 years. I started at NSAI working with Sheree when she was there. I think they had like a 6 month backlog of songs to evaluate, and I got them caught up in like a month or something ridiculous like that. I had never done evaluations before, but I had taught songwriting and studied songwriting. And I had been writing for 25 or 30 years…more than that, really. I had studied songwriting a lot and I discovered that I was really good at song evaluations and I really liked doing it. I think I figured out that when I was at NSAI, I evaluated something like 14,000 songs – including contests – and I was their most requested evaluator. So I mentored writers on about 14,000 songs and I really enjoyed doing it. So that’s kind of the history of it.

DR: What would you say is the #1 thing that you constantly come across?

BM: Writers at different levels make different mistakes. I’d say the #1 thing that developing writers make is that they assume the listener knows what the story is about. They don’t give enough detail. They don’t give enough who, what, when, why, and where and the listener is lost. It’s a very common thing. Even professional writers I work with can sometimes forget that, and we have to go “Wait a minute…why does nobody understand this?” I think Jason Blume said something great one time. Someone asked him to explain the song to them, and he said “Unfortunately, songs just don’t come with instruction sheets.” So that’s probably one of the main things. And learning how to find a great hook is another thing, and making it pay off emotionally.

DR: Tell me a bit about your evaluation process.

BM:  I evaluate very organically. When I listen, it’s almost like I’m outside of myself, observing what I’m listening to. So if I’m not really engaged in the song, if I’m not feeling it, I need to find out why I’m not emotionally engaged by the song. And to me, that’s one of the most important things. Even if the song isn’t crafted well, if it doesn’t have the emotional content to it, it’s not doing its job. And each song has a job. I try to work with people to figure out what the job of each song is, and how to make sure that song is actually fulfilling what it’s supposed to do. As writers, we decide what that job is. There’s a few techniques I used to help people, like a checklist they can look at to see if the song is doing what they want it to do. In a vacuum it’s hard to know whether it’s doing its job, and if you know the right questions to ask, you can have a little more of a sense of what you’re writing. I tell people a song should move you in one of four ways: It should move your body, or your heart, or spiritually, or intellectually. If you get all four of those going at once, you’ve got a song that will live on forever.

DR:  Good answer.

BM: (laughs) Long answer. And you  know, people don’t realize how much of songwriting has to do with the human brain, and patterns. That’s how the brain really works, and how it’s really comfortable. When our brains can recognize a pattern quickly, it makes us feel good – the brain is really comfortable with that. That’s why we get anxious when things change. If you’ve ever moved, the first several months, you feel like you’re not in your body as much. You don’t know where the bathroom lightswitch is. And then finally you get acclimated to that and you become comfortable again. Part of being a commercial writer is about making people feel comfortable in a certain way. Like an old sweater. But we also crave variety, which is a paradox – we want variety in our patterns. We want the patterns, but we also want something new. I like to say we need something shiny. Songs that are memorable have something shiny in them that you haven’t seen before.

DR: Great thoughts. What are some songs you wish you’d written?

BM: I wish I had written “Ghost in this House”. I think it’s one of the most perfectly crafted songs that I’ve ever heard. I mean, I haven’t heard every song written, you know. But Alison Krauss does the best version of it – her voice captures so much of the emotion of that song. That’s one of my top ten. “The Song Remembers When” is another one. Both written by Hugh Prestwood.  I’m a huge fan of almost all the Beatles’ catalogue, melodically. I think their melodies are just unsurpassed in the 50 years since they’ve been around. It’s hard to find melodies that touch their stuff. I’m a big fan of the Eagles, and that whole cadre of songwriters from the 70’s – country rock writers. JD Souther, Glenn Frye, Don Henley, Don Felder. Linda Ronstadt wasn’t a writer, but she picked great material to record. Crosby, Stills, and Nash. And my all-time favorite writer/artist is Joni Mitchell. I’ve followed her music and her career pretty much since the beginning. I’ve just watched how she progressed and developed as a lyricist. It’s kind of like “learn everything you need to know about songwriting, and then throw it out the window”. She really knew the importance of a hook, and returning musical themes that are memorable.

DR: Let’s talk for a minute about your background. What got you into songwriting?

BM: Well, I’d been playing guitar since I was 13 and joined my first band when I was 14. I was always in bands, up until the time I was 40. When I went to college, I actually moved down to Los Angeles to be in an original project – we were being produced by Andy Johns who was Glyn John’s brother – he engineered Zeppelin and the Who. He was a big time British engineer. I moved to L.A. and I started doing club work as a professional guitarist and singer. I had written maybe 4 or 5 songs in high school. I later worked with Paul McCartney and Kenny Loggins. I was Laura Brannigan’s lead guitar player for several years – that was probably my longest gig. After being in several original bands, none of which I did the writing in,  I got tired of just being the guitar player. I felt like I had something to say, and I wanted to say it. I had a friend in Nashville who was a publisher, and he agreed to listen to my songs – I thought I knew how to write, and I thought I was writing country. You remember the sound tapes made when they were fast forwarded? (imitates the sound) That was the sound of my meeting. After that, I started taking songwriting lessons. I got involved with a songwriting organization out in L.A.  called NAS. I went to every meeting. I saw what the business was about, and just really got an education. I started writing and figuring it out – my songs were getting better. I started commuting to Nashville and went to Song Camp – that was a religious experience. Rick Beresford, Jon Ims, Don Henry, James Dean Hicks, Hugh Prestwood and Angela Kaset were teaching.

DR: They’re great.

BM: Yeah. I learned a lot. So that’s kind of my progression from wanting to do it, to learning how to do it, to doing it and eventually moving to Nashville. I love what I do. I love this part of it – being a teacher and mentoring people. Because I know how hard it is. I also love songs and songwriting, and being a songwriting mentor is really, really exciting for me. I get to witness this process with someone and get to help them find their legs as songwriters and get good at it.

DR:  Awesome. Well, do you have any parting thoughts?

BM: Yeah. I think what’s really important for people to understand is that they need to have an order of business they need to take care of in order to be successful. And the first thing they need to do is get their songwriting together. I don’t care how much networking you do, how much social media you do, I don’t care about any of that stuff. If your song is not competitive with what is happening within the market you’re in, there’s no way you’re gonna go anywhere. The most important thing you should be focusing on is getting your songs competitive. That is job one. Being able to have immediate feedback and have it from someone who isn’t going to make you feel bad, or make you feel like quitting is really, really important. That’s why the evaluation service with Global Songwriters is so crucial. It’s a great deal, and not to toot my own horn, but it’s with someone who can really help them. People complain all the time “Well, I can’t get anyone to help me.” You’ve got it right in front of you – this opportunity to increase your marketability by becoming a better songwriter. And you need good feedback so you can improve. It’s almost exponential how much better you get when you have someone who can nurture you along the way, and you’re working with them consistently. You’re gonna get a great feeling of progression that way.

DR: Thanks for the interview, man!

BM: You’re welcome! Have a good one!

 

 

GSC Goal Setting Class

If you FAIL to PLAN, you PLAN to FAIL!

Start your  new year off RIGHT with this FREE GOAL SETTING CLASS from GSC!

STEPS Instructional Training

This Goal Setting Class is a powerful tool to help you truly PLAN your 2017 year. This class is normally taught in a classroom setting, so just skip past the sign-up process and get straight to the heart of the matter.

Please DO read each portion of the class as many of us, as creators, are self-sabotaging by nature.

LEARN WHY we often make the choices we make!
LEARN HOW to overcome these self-sabotaging habits!
PLAN for a great 2016 YEAR OF MIRACLES!

 

 



 
THREE QUICK WAYS TO START YOUR NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT!

 

1. “I AM A MAGNET FOR GREAT OPPORTUNITIES!” – Print these words and put them on your computer and in several DIFFERENT locations in your life where you will see them every day. Speak this out loud as often as you can no matter how you may be feeling and no matter what you may be experiencing.

 

2. LISTEN IN – to at least ONE POP Event a month. Those who are doing so are growing, learning, connecting AND 101 members had in person publisher meetings through this event last year.

 

3. Career Mentoring Session – schedule a one on one mentoring session and help lay out your 2016 year and get a checklist started on what to do NEXT! We recommend that you plan and prepare to do FOUR mentoring sessions a year.
 

We Believe in YOU!

Your GSC Team!

 

Ruben Estevez Gets Bucky Covington Single

Ruben Estevez

GSC Member, Ruben Estevez, gets Bucky Covington’s NEW SINGLE,
“I Feel Ya”

GSC has been very honored to represent Ruben Estevez to the music industry for the past nearly three years.  Most recently Ruben was a GSC FEATURED writer at our quarterly GSC PLAYS4U! Event at The Listening Room.  We have played Ruben’s song, “I Feel Ya,” three times for publishers!  We are thrilled to know that we were on the right track with this song as it is now Bucky Covington’s single! Click here  (link to interview)  to learn more about this amazing writer and his journey to a major cut!  Provided by:  GSC Reporter Daniel Reifsnyder.  

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Music Industry Leadership Insight

What You FEEL vs. What You KNOW

Recently, in the period of one week, I heard three separate industry professionals in three different companies say something to the effect of “I want to quit the music industry at least once a day.” 

The irony of that statement was that each of these professionals have worked in the industry for decades, are well known for their passion and have incredibly successful careers!

I totally admire these three professionals and got to thinking about the POWER of their discipline by choosing to lead by what they KNOW rather than how they may FEEL in any given moment.

Our feelings can change from moment to moment…like when you are feeling down and you turn on the radio to one of your favorite songs and suddenly…you start “feeling” better!  Feelings can also be deceiving!  Like remember “the one”  that you now refer to as “that one!” followed by the phrase “what was I thinking?!”

Feelings change.  You may feel like you want to quit!  Feelings are deceiving.  You may feel like you are not making progress, not making a difference you desire.

The discipline of a leader requires that you go by what you KNOW and not by how you feel.  You know discipline and consistency will keep you and your career growing.  You know that habit will take you further than desire.  You know that you moved to that music mecca and may have left family and friends behind to answer that intuitive “knowing.”

Let’s ENCOURAGE one another today to lead with what we know.  You are making a difference.  Your work matters.  You KNOW you are here for a reason.

Be Encouraged.  Be Equipped.  Be Empowered.

Sheree Spoltore

 

 

 

 

Sheree’ Spoltore’

President, Global Songwriters Connection

Music Industry Leadership Insight

Trading Fear for Faith!

Sheree Spoltore
Dear Industry Friends,

I was at an industry luncheon this week and it seems that many industry friends are starting new companies or they are in new positions, circumstances and situations.  Any time we step into the “unknown,” fear often accompanies us. Someone shared with me a list of how FEAR impacts our lives and leadership. Check the list and see if you can recognize if fear is at work in your career.

1.   Fear torments the mind and leads to irrational thoughts.
2.   Fear prevents you from taking advantage of opportunity.
3.   Fear steals courage and self-confidence.
4.   Fear leads to procrastination.
5.   Fear hinders relationships.

The truth is you are totally capable and equipped for the path before you.  The right people are all around you to help you accomplish and achieve your goals.  The right opportunities are waiting for you to step through the fear and reach out and grab them.  You will accomplish your goals, and you will overcome the challenges that present themselves.

Be Brave.  Be Bold.  Together…we make a difference.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us” – Marianne Williamson.

Sincerely,

Sheree’ Spoltore’

Music Industry Leadership in Action

The Power of Recognition, Appreciation and Validation!

Sheree Spoltore
Dear Industry Friends,

As industry professionals, we are often multi- tasking at the speed of light! Any time for our own personal or career growth and development is often at a premium, if it exists at all.  That is why I love simple lessons that I can immediately apply for instant results.  The only thing I love more is sharing them with my friends!

A few years ago, I heard a speaker teach on these 3 words: Recognition, Appreciation and Validation. The teacher shared how these three words described our basic human emotional needs.  I quickly wrote them down as the simplicity of them made them easy for me to remember.

The teacher went on to describe how recognition and appreciation are usually verbal, and how validation is usually something physical and tangible.  He gave this example: when someone tells you that you are doing a great job and they really appreciate that you’re meeting your quarterly budget goals, that is recognition, and an increase in your paycheck would be appreciation.

I began to ask myself, “How am I recognizing, appreciating and validating my husband, my children, my friends, my co-workers, my business relationships?” I then began to apply this principal to my events where I had guests attending.  How was I recognizing, appreciating and validating my guests? I then begin to encourage artists to ask themselves how are they recognizing, appreciating and validating their audiences and so forth.  I am still applying these words to as many areas of my life as I can, and it is certainly a work in progress! However, the results of better relationships are worth the effort.

You may already be using this principal.  But if not, I encourage you to try these three words yourself! See if they support your goals for excellence at your next event, your next staff meeting, or your next showcase.

Thank you for being a valued part of Global Songwriters Connection as we work together to improve our service to our industry, our employers,  our staff, and to one another.

Together…We Can!

Leadership is action, not position.” Donald H. McCannon

Sincerely,

Sheree’ Spoltore’

Music Industry Leadership Insight

Sheree Spoltore

Encouragement for Music Industry Leaders

Where Dreams Find Direction is the slogan for Global Songwriters Connection. But what happens when those who are providing direction are struggling themselves for direction in today’s radically changing film/tv and music industries?  Label Executives, Producers, Publishers and industry leaders all provide the valuable service of experienced mentoring for up and coming talent. However, providing direction in today’s constantly changing market with ever emerging new technology can often feel like a confusing maze even for those with decades of experience.

A couple of years back, I was looking at a wonderful property that contained a living labyrinth consisting of seven concentric circles. I found it interesting to note the difference between a maze and a labyrinth!  When you are in a maze, you are required to make choices and decisions of which way to turn, and may often run into dead ends in your efforts of finding the path that leads to the correct end destination. The beauty of a labyrinth is that only one choice and one decision is required! The choice and decision to simply keep walking ahead, one step at a time, as you are always on the right path, always going toward the right destination.

If you are a leader in today’s creative industry, I truly believe you are right where you need to be to continue to lead with excellence. Your experience and your knowledge are viable and a vital commodity for the next generation. You are where you are today, in this changing industry climate, because you are uniquely qualified to pass down the timeless principals of this creative business.

Be ENCOURAGED! You are totally EQUIPPED to EMPOWER the next generation. It is a job that only you can do. KEEP WALKING!

Respectfully,
Sheree’ Spoltore’

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