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Songwriting Tip: Behind the Scenes at GSC

Sarah Deforsby Sarah Defors

I was originally a GSC member from the Los Angeles area for nearly 3 years and then…I moved to Nashville and I WORK at GSC.  I’ve recently passed 3 months of living and working in Nashville full time. There are so many wonderful things I’ve learned, especially working behind the scenes at GSC. Sheree has asked me to share my observations from the perspective of being a member of GSC from LA to being right in the middle of the magic of Music City, the business and industry events and showcases.  Now that I am working behind the scenes with Sheree, this article could go on and on. But, here are a few highlights I think everyone can benefit from professionally, creatively, and personally.  I trust it will be of service to you:

1. Please, please, please ALWAYS come prepared.

Even if you’re great at winging it, do the extra little work to plan for whatever is coming! One unexpected thing can throw you off, as I just had reaffirmed in a publisher meeting; but, being prepared can put you right back on track. Nobody ever said “Wow, I wish I was less prepared.”

2. Know how to read the room.

This comes in so many different forms. If it doesn’t come naturally, Google is your friend. Read up on body language and cues. Writers, peers, audiences, and ESPECIALLY industry professionals will give you cues when they’re done with a conversation/meeting, when a certain vibe song doesn’t fit the energy of the room, when they are giving you an opportunity to play a song or talk about yourself, and when it may not be the time to talk business, etc. I’ve seen nerves (especially not being prepared) make someone totally not pick up on a cue, have a meeting go way too long, and not even let the publisher talk. Don’t have that be your first impression.

3. Lift up others.

Sometimes the best first impression you can make is to sit back, listen to your peers or industry pro’s, engage and listen, and compliment people where it is deserved. Make sure the compliment is TRUE; we can tell if you’re just flattering for flattery’s sake. Make sure to take your time to shine when it comes up, but don’t take someone else’s moment by talking over them or interjecting.

4. For the love of Johnny Cash, Brand Yourself.

POP pitches have been incredibly educational for me in many ways, but I couldn’t have imagined how much work they are to prepare for. Please send your music on time and try not to change the songs last minute. If you do, we have to change the PowerPoint, song sheet, and playlist. Please attach your bio, photo, lyrics (IN WORD DOC FORMAT) and mp3’s in one email. If you don’t, we either have to search through thousands of files to hopefully find an old lyric, bio, or recording, or you just won’t have a bio or lyric for the publisher, which looks bad. If everyone else’s lyrics are beautifully branded with their name, email, phone number, photo, co-writers, etc., and yours are haphazardly thrown together or missing a component, IT LOOKS BAD AND UNPROFESSIONAL. Publishers have disappointedly commented on this behind the scenes. They actually KNOW our GSC members from all of the other events they do and they have come to expect this step of excellence. Not only have they called on us to OPEN doors for meetings, signings, single song agreements….they have also called us to CLOSE open doors they gave a member because the person dropped off the materials they requested without contact information! It looks unprofessional – you’re not ready for the next step.

5. If you don’t read anything else here, READ THIS.

Take the time to look inward and know your flaws, insecurities, and strengths. We all have them. These things can permeate every part of your artistic, personal, and professional life because, let’s face it, in the music industry your truth and personal life are your product, your business, and your identity. If your internal foundation isn’t solid, it breeds insecurities and cycles that can cause you to not be present in your meetings, writes, etc. Believe me, publishers, A&R, and Pro-writers CAN TELL SOMETHING IS OFF. Know yourself first. Sheree is always focused on helping YOU be the best YOU can be FIRST and then…your music as you are the source of the music. YOU are who a publisher or label signs.

Respectfully,

Sarah DeFors

 

2017 GSC Member Success Stories

GSC Members…Label Signings, CMT TV, Winning Nearly Every Song Contest!

With every hour spent in a GSC Career Mentoring Session, our goal is to Encourage, Equip and Empower you to create the career of your dreams. GSC is different from other songwriting communities in that we are all about one-on-one mentoring/career building and meeting your specific needs. That is how GSC feels we can best create results for you. We can mentor, teach, and give guidance, but we can’t live your dream for you and make it come true. We want your dreams to come true as much as you do! Our team believes in the fact that you have been given these gifts and talents to be used and to be shared with others.

Over time, some of you are applying the tips and tools we teach, you are following up, you are stepping out and you are DOING IT! Needless to say, we are very proud of each of you and honored to be a small part of your journey. As you are moving up, from level to level, we will continue to do everything we can to maximize and amplify your efforts. Please take a moment to review some of our recent member success stories. Hopefully, we haven’t missed anyone’s successes as there are so many of them–good problem! Thank you for reaching out to each person on Facebook, let them know you are a GSC member and CONGRATULATE THEM! YOU…are NEXT!

Dave Quirk

Dave Quirk, OR – Dave has diligently and relentlessly been investing in himself and his songwriting gifts and talents with the goal of writing his personal best songs.  He has attended several GSC FOCUS events, taken advantage of our GSC POP Events and our career mentoring services.  Dave is a songwriter on the rise and we are thrilled that his efforts are starting to bring him some recognition!  And, this how “it” happens.  Dave co-write a song “One Less Regret” with GSC member Carrie Cunningham and it is her first single on her album! Read more about this album in the next success story about Carrie! Thank you for congratulating your fellow GSC member Dave Quirk on his facebook page. All of you know firsthand just how hard you have to work to create success.

 

 

GSC Member Label Signings, Top Ten Artists to Watch, CMT TV STARS!

Our GSC members are absolutely EVERYWHERE and RISING!  It takes years to achieve success in this industry, but they are working it one step at a time.

Carrie CunninghamCarrie Cunningham, CA – Carrie is a stunningly gorgeous songstress by night and a smart, hard-working business woman by day.  GSC congratulates Carrie as her album made the TOP TEN LIST for Women in Country.  Carrie has attended GSC FOCUS Events and we have supported and encouraged her efforts as an artist for many years.  It has been a JOY for us to see her overcome the life challenges that we all face and to see her succeed.  WELL-DESERVED SUCCESS!  You can congratulate Carrie and learn more about her and her album on her facebook page or read the article here. Even better, buy her album!  Let’s support our up and coming GSC talent!

 

 

Lance CarpenterLance Carpenter, TN – Not only did Lance Carpenter sign a record deal with Show Dog Nashville Records (Toby Keith’s label), he also recently released a single with Krystal Keith titled, “Anyone Else” and as if that wasn’t enough, Lance was named by Huffington Post as one of the top 10 Country Artists to Watch in 2018! Some of you have written with Lance at our GSC FOCUS events and created a relationship with him. Reach out and congratulate him on his facebook page.  Man, wish we would have gotten his autograph while we still could! Here he goes, folks…

 

 

 

Jessica MackJessica Mack, TN – Jessica Mack become a TV star on CMT!  You may have remembered reading her interview as a GSC Featured Member.  If you have been on our GSC POP Events, you’ve heard the lovely and amazing voice of Jessica Mack for the past two years as she faithfully, faithfully pitched her music.  Several of you were wise enough to hire her to sing a few demo’s for you and now…. she is a featured up and coming Nashville Star on the CMT original show that is replacing the show Nashville. Congratulate her on her facebook page and be sure to tell her that you are a GSC member. Learn more about the show here and become a fan! This is just the beginning for Jessica Mack.

 

 

John Cirillo John Cirillo, TN – John Cirillo signs Nashville Publisher catalog rep deal!  John has been hard at work on the craft of songwriting for many, many years now in Nashville.  John has remained true to his talents and stayed working with his head up while there were times that his heart was down.  We are so thrilled to announce that John has signed a catalog representation deal with one of Nashville top publishers!  As a writer, it is so great to have a home for your music and a great working relationship with someone you can trust to represent your catalog.  If you are a new artist in town and looking for a writer who has been down the road before you for years…look up John and get to writing!  Read on further under the Song Contest section for even more incredible news about John and give John a shout out on his facebook page.

 

 

Believe it or not…over the Christmas Holidays there was ONE MORE of our artist/writer members who was signed to an artist development deal and a publishing deal.  We can’t talk about it until the official press release publishes but here’s a hint–read through your old newsletters as she was recently a GSC Featured member.  Stay tuned for more on this rising star!  In the meantime, keep READING!!

 GSC MEMBERS ARE WINNING SONG CONTESTS!

Did you know that recently GSC received calls from two different song contests asking about GSC and what we do as our GSC members songs were overall THE winning songs in their contents??  Their judges noticed the QUALITY of the GSC member songs were simply better songs!  So, thank you to those of you who sent in your branded lyric or listed GSC as your member affiliation. We really appreciate it. Also, thanks to those of you who have signed up for mentoring sessions to have Sheree or Bruce Michael Miller review your songs. Now kick back and get ready to meet some WINNERS!

Diann HammerDiann Hammer, MD – Diann Hammer entered songs she had been co-writing with GSC Members into the 34th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest sponsored by her local and regional Songwriter’s Association of Washington and guess what?  She and her co-writers had a TON of great success!

 

 

 

 

 

Mike RhodesMike Rhodes, CO – Diann Hammer co-wrote “Bottle Or The Bible” with Victoria Banks and Mike Rhodes at our last GSC FOCUS event. The song took the first place Gold award for the Gospel/Christian/Inspirational category.  Michael is a performing, singer/songwriter/artist in the Denver, CO area. The best is yet to come for Michael Rhodes.  Check out his amazing talents at on his facebook page.

 

 

 

 

Clayton JonesClayton Jones, TN – Terms And Conditions” co-written by Diann and Mitch Hammer with Clayton Jones placed as  a Finalist in the Open Category.  Clayton Jones is an amazing artist, creator, performer, and most of all, person.  Clayton is an artist of artists, a vocalist of vocalist!  You will hear the production work and voice of Clayton Jones nearly every week on our POP Events.  This is one great artist you want to know! Check him out on facebook.

 

 

 

 

Mitch HammerMitch Hammer, MD – “Let You Go” co-written by Diann and Mitch Hammer along with Victoria Banks, received Honorable Mention in the Adult Contemporary category.  Both Diann and Mitch have attended our GSC FOCUS events and have been working diligently at their craft for the past 3 years.  We are so excited for all of their success and their co-writing connections.

 

 

 

 

Tedd SwormstedtTedd Swormstedt, OH – Tedd’s songs are not only winning contests, but he just received his first official Nashville single song contract offer the first of this year!  You all know that we count and celebrate every contract as they represent a working relationship with a top industry professional and those are NOT easy to come by!  In addition, Tedd’s song  “Blood” received the Gold Award in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest!  This is a solo written and a powerful song.

 

 

 

 

John CirilloJohn Cirillo, TN – John won first place for Best Country Song “If You Drink” in the USA Songwriting Competition Award!  John is the kind of guy who always wants to be sure that his co-writers are always recognized right there with him, so kudo’s to GSC member and field reporter, Daniel Reifsynder, and former GSC member, Sarah Spencer, for helping him pen an award-winning song!

 

 

 

 

(If we missed your success story – please email sheree@globalsongwriters.com and put MY SUCCESS in the subject matter to be recognized in our next newsletter.)

Article: Patience and Perseverance 101

Jim Parkerby Jim Parker

Patience and Perseverance 101

I was asked to write about how patience and perseverance paid off as a songwriter to achieve my first #1, “Better with Time”, with a young performing songwriter, Billy Droze. As all overnight success stories begin, mine began in 1961. Don’t worry, I’ll fast forward through most of the 56 years I’ve been honing my craft. There are many twists, turns, cliffs and curves in my intriguing adventure of a lifetime so please take the time to read the full story. It’s about Patience and Perseverance.

1963: In my home town of Amarillo, TX. my first group, The Illusions, got a record deal with Dot Records and had moderate regional success with two of my songs. I had written a few songs and was surprised how easy it was to get a record deal. Beginner’s luck!

1966: The Illusions changed their name and moved to LA where we signed with Lee Hazelwood’s label, LHI. Our album, “Everything But The Kitchen Cinq”, had regional success on the East Cost. I thought we were on our way to the “Big Time”. Wrong once again! We broke up and I joined two more bands, Armageddon and Them (post Van Morrison) from 1968-1971 and struck out two more times. I was the writer and or co-writer of a large majority of the songs. I started thinking it wasn’t as easy as I thought and I was questioning my songwriting talents.

1972: I became insecure when we had so little to brag about and frustrated with the whole band scene. I decided to move to Northern California where it was more solo performing songwriter friendly, folk clubs and listening rooms. When I saw John Prine with an acoustic guitar singing “Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County down by the green river where Paradise lays” and “Sam Stone” I knew I was home. I discovered some things about me when I focused on making a living as solo, performing, Songwriter. 1.) I didn’t like living in poverty like I was with multiple member bands and all of the multiple personalities you have to deal with on a daily basis. (I’m better at dealing with my own multiple personalities) 2.) I was happy and challenged to figure out all of the parts of my songs. Not just the chords, harmony parts, parts of the lyrics and small lead parts. 3.) I was terribly green but relied on my own skills and talents to succeed or fail and not because my band member was in jail, cussed the manager, fought on the break or missed the audition or gigs. Sound familiar?

1973: I got a break opening for a Rock ‘n Roll group out of Texas called “Baby” who was working the Midwest opening for REO, Aerosmith, Black Oak, Exile and many more. We were playing for thousands of people and I was writing with one of the members that led to a Rock n Roll cut on a nationally distributed album. The song is called “LA Lady” on “Where Did All The Money Go” but no awards.

1975: The baby tour was over so I moved to Nashville where songwriting is King and my ultimate challenge and dream! I was working at the Country Music Association for the late, great Jo Walker Meador as the mail room guy when my barber introduced me to John Anderson. Immediate chemistry was evident so we wrote and fished for several years building out catalogue and songwriting chops. We also worked together at Danny’s Market making hotdogs and change. It has changed names since then but it’s still there. We had our first Top 20 in 1978 while there called “I’ve Got A Feelin”, co-written with the great Michael Garvin. We topped that with our first Top 10 at #8 with the classic “Chicken Truck” in 1981 co-written with the late Monroe Fields. I’ve had many album cuts by John  since then when it paid to have an album cut.

1979 – 1984: I received my Real Estate license just in case my career went south because I had family now. It was a good match. I began showing musical folks houses and one of my first transactions was a big one. It bought a zero lot line house in Percy Priest and an 83 Volvo. I’m still selling to keep myself in strings and beautiful instruments. In 1980 I went on the road with “Dave and Sugar” playing all over the country and at the famous Billy Bob’s twice. It was pinnacle of a country performers dream at the time. Dave decided to go Sugarless around that time and reorganized the band so I went south with my Real Estate license to Madison, Alabama.

1985: Songwriting had to take a back seat to survival after relocation and starting my own business, “Parker Realty Group”. It consumed me and I didn’t write for a miserable two years. That’s when I knew I had this terminal genetic disorder call creativity. I found myself with tears in my eyes standing in front of my beautiful wife telling her I had to restart my songwriting career. She tried to soften the blow of potential failure by saying; “If it doesn’t happen the way you want it to don’t be disappointed”. I was confident and said. “I know how to do it. I’ve done it before and I can do it again”.

I started songwriter open mics and a Network Workshop I facilitated for over 18 years. During that time I passed the baton to friends to run the open mics and workshop while I moved into Pro Songwriters in the round at various restaurants every Thursday for years building my network of pros from Muscle Shoals, Nashville, Canada and LA. Some invited me to co-write and that continues today.

2001: I was playing the Bluebird where Steve Maples, COO of The Von Braun Center Huntsville, invited me to bring “Jim Parker’s Songwriters Series” to the VBC City facilities after my performance. It’s a 300 seat theater fully equipped for my show. It’s been successful venture for 13 years and allowed me to sit with hundreds of #1 Hit Writers, Hall of Famers and Grammy winners. Life is so good!

Sit was 2001 when Billy Droze was only 14 when his sister, Linda and fellow Realtor, ask me if I’d be interested in writing with him. She was driving him to Nashville on the weekends and she was aware of my work. I passed up the opportunity then but fast forward to 2011.

2011-2017: Billy Droze personally called me to co-write and we have been writing ever since. He’s been in the music business for 16 years and is 30 years old. We wrote “Better With Time” in less than two hours because he was mixing his last song for his current album “To Whom It May Concern”. Billy’s co-producer, Ronnie Bowman a Bluegrass Legend, heard “Better With Time”, tweaked it and it was added to the project the next day! Another song Billy and I wrote, “Home In Hell”, was bumped as the single. It’s another first for me. I’ve never bumped myself in favor of myself for a single. As of this writing we’ve been on the Bluegrass Today charts 4 weeks at #1 with a current video being viewed on several sites to include YouTube. Google it!

“Chicken Truck” was #8 in 1981. My math tells me it took 36 years since I’ve had a significant chart position. I’ve always had my goal set for a #1 from the time John and I came so close. I finally made it with a Bluegrass cut! Who could have predicted this old rocker, country writer, folk singer would find the diamond in Bluegrass. Although, 53 years of believing in yourself, taking chances, honing your craft, consistent live solo performances and jumping off cliffs can eventually teach you to fly like and eagle.  

 

 

Music Row Publisher Success in 2017

Dear GSC Members,

Music Row Magazine recently posted this article in an edition of their magazine.  This is great information for you when it comes to what publishers are experiencing success at the moment.  Of course, this list changes from year to year so if you don’t see “your favorite” publisher on this list…don’t worry!  That doesn’t mean they aren’t working and having success! This list is recognizing GOLD and PLATINUM cuts!

The National Music Publishers Association fights for songwriter rights and David Israelite leads the charge in Washington.  I encourage EACH of you who are creators to get to know David and his work on your behalf and on behalf of creators in the entire US.

Keeping you informed…

Sheree’
President, GSC

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has announced its September Gold & Platinum Program features top songwriters, publishers, and 259 certifications of hit songs.

In partnership with the RIAA’s Gold & Platinum Program, NMPA finds and certifies the songwriters and publishers of RIAA-certified singles. RIAA counts both sales and on-demand streams towards its Gold (500K), Platinum (1M) and Multi-Platinum (2M+) thresholds. Thousands of songwriters have been recognized since NMPA’s program began in 2007.

The top songwriter with 16 certifications is Zac Brown (Reach Music). The songs “Chicken Fried,” “Colder Weather,” “Knee Deep,” and “Toes” have been certified multi-Platinum; “Whatever It Is” has been certified multi-Platinum and Platinum; and “As She’s Walking Away,” “Free,” “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” “Highway 20 Ride,” and “Keep Me In Mind” all certified Platinum and Gold.

The top publishers honored include:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing: 64 certifications
Gold: 18
Platinum: 18
Multi-Platinum: 28

Warner/Chappell: 46 certifications
Gold: 27
Platinum: 9
Multi-Platinum: 10

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG): 32 certifications
Gold: 9
Platinum: 10
Multi-Platinum: 13

Kobalt Music: 21 certifications
Gold: 14
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 1

Reach Music: 18 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 7

BMG: 15 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 7
Multi-Platinum: 3

Spirit Music Group: 13 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 2

Imagem: 8 certifications
Gold: 7
Multi-Platinum: 1

Downtown Music Publishing: 5 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 4

Atlas/Combustion Music: 5 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 1
Multi-Platinum: 3

Round Hill Music: 4 certifications (multi-Platinum)

Pulse Music Publishing: 4 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 3

Big Deal Music: 3 certifications
Gold: 2
Platinum: 1

Velvet Apple Music: 3 certifications
Gold: 2
Platinum: 1

Horipro Entertainment: 3 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 2

Reservoir Media Management: 3 certifications (Gold)

ole: 2 certifications (Platinum)

Black River Entertainment: 2 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 1

SONGS Music Publishing: 1 certification (multi-Platinum)

The Royalty Network: 1 certification (multi-Platinum)

Big Machine Music: 1 certification (Platinum)

Curb Music: 1 certification (Platinum)

Arthouse Entertainment: 1 certification (Platinum)

PEN Music Group: 1 certification (Gold)

Sea Gayle Music: 1 certification (Gold)

Music Sales Corporation: 1 certification (Gold)

Songwriting Tip: How to Be Instantly More Professional at Writers Rounds

Dan Refsnyderby Daniel Reifsnyder

5 Tips To Make You Instantly More Professional At Writer’s Rounds

If you’re an artist/writer, doing shows is a given – even if you’re simply a writer with no designs on a record deal, performing out at least sometimes is a given. It’s a great way to meet potential co-writers and friends, and a great way to gauge audience reaction to your songs. Wherever you are in your career, here are some tips to help you make a great impression.

 

1. Be Early
Life happens. The venue you’re playing is only 20 minutes away, but you blow a tire halfway there. Or there’s an accident and traffic is backed up for miles. Or you get there and you can’t find parking (a given if you’re playing Downtown Nashville). I always try to be a minimum of half an hour early for gigs. This not only leaves plenty of time if the unexpected happens, but it also gives me time to check out the acts before my set. It’s always nice to catch even a little bit of their stuff and introduce yourself.

2. Stay Late
Nobody expects you to close down the bar, but if you skip out the minute your set is done, that can be seen as rude. Most people are understanding if you have a long drive ahead of you or another gig you have to get to – it happens. But if it happens all the time, it starts to look like you’re unsupportive of your peers. Even staying for just a few songs can leave a better impression than packing up and rushing out.

Read more

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.

Read more

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!

 
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