Interview with Stella Prince, Artist Writer

by GSC Reporter, Daniel Reifsnyder

Stella PrinceDan Reifsnyder: Hey, Stella! Thanks for sitting down with us today. How did you get started in music?

Stella Prince: I’ve known pretty much my whole life that I was meant to do this. If I go one day without singing or songwriting I feel like a little part of me is dying inside. I’ve always seen music as the love of my life. It’s something I could never live without ever. It totally defines me and I know it’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

DR: Very cool. How would you describe your musical style?

SP: It’s definitely updated Folk music. I always like to say that Folk chose me, because when I started writing my own songs that was totally the sound that came out. My real goal is to bring Folk music to a new generation. I don’t see it as a throwback, but more as a bridge to music’s future. I think people are ready for a new sound and this genre of music really allows us to feel what might be possible someday and hear all those stories that Pop music, and a lot of music is really missing now.

DR: Yes. A lot of music is missing depth.

SP: Absolutely! It needs depth!

DR: Who are your influences?

SP: All the Folk greats. Emmylou Harris is one of my favorites. Joan Baez, Joanie Mitchell, Judy Collins. I think they’re all just amazing musicians.

DR: Nice! So how did you get hooked up with Sheree?

SP: It’s really pure fate. Two years ago when I was fourteen and just getting started here in New York, I hired a local songwriting coach to review my catalog. I told her that my dream was to go to Nashville and start my career. So when we finally went to Nashville  she gave me the numbers of some musicians that she knew…every one of them wrote back and said “Sheree at GSC will help you! Here is her E-mail!” The rest is history. We’ve been working together about six months now one on one and it’s been amazing.

DR: That’s awesome!

SP: It’s absolutely Nashville’s hidden gem for sure.

DR: So you graduated high school early! That’s exciting!

SP: I just graduated last week! Sort of an accelerated program through my local community college. Sheree and I decided together that I need to speed things up quickly because I’m excited to start my career and I’ve sort of been waiting my whole life! So it’s a very exciting time.

DR: Your parents must be very supportive.

SP: Very supportive. I’m an only child and my parents are both artists. We live in an 1850’s farmhouse on seven acres. It’s kind of like an artist residency. We all just hang out and do our art.

DR: Oh, nice! Are they musical?

SP: No, actually my mom is a painter and my dad writes nonfiction!

DR: Very cool. What are some songs you wish you’d written?

SP: My favorite song currently is “Boulder To Birmingham” by Emmylou Harris. I just recently learned it and added it to my setlist and I am in love with it! She’s one of my biggest idols for sure. One of my favorite quotes from her is “There are certain things that are true for everyone, we’re all gonna have our hearts broken and search for life’s meaning and a good song will find that place inside us because that’s what music is supposed to do.” That has always stayed with me.

DR: Are there any current projects you want to talk about?

SP: I’ve had a ton of really exciting opportunities I can’t mention yet, but I’ve been getting booked a lot for showcases with the New York Folk Guild and the New York Songwriter’s Circle. River Spirit Music, which is a NYC booking company, gave me my first hour long solo show a few weeks ago! And I just recently signed my whole catalog to a film and tv publishing company.

DR: That’s very exciting! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SP: I’d just like to say how amazing GSC is as a community. Before this, it was so much lonelier and different without all of these amazing songwriters and artists surrounding me. I feel like I’ve grown ten years in the six months I’ve known all these people.

DR: It is a really cool thing. Well thank you for talking with us!

SP: Thanks!

Interview with Alexa Valentino, Artist Writer

by GSC Reporter, Daniel Reifsnyder

Alexa ValentinoDan Reifsnyder: How did you get started in music?                       

Alexa Valentino: About 10 years ago, I must have been in like pre-school. My mom used to take me to a lot of shows whether it was Broadway or a local production. In my town we have a really nice theater. It’s really high quality, and a lot of Broadway people come out. They did summer classes and after school acting, singing, and music. She put me in these classes and I really liked it and I did a lot of their productions. I started getting better and better roles and I was like “I really like theater!” So I started doing off Broadway shows at 9, and more productions in the city. My first show was actually  the U.S. premiere of “Number The Stars” which was about the Holocaust, and I got to play Ellen Rosen. It was a hard role to play because it’s a very serious show, and a hard role for a 9 year old. I really did not think I was gonna get the role either. A lot of times I’d walk out of an audition and be like “Nailed it!” and I wouldn’t get it. I actually showed up at the audition and there was one scene where we had to run around in a circle and I fell flat on my face! I was like “That’s it! I’m done!” I also had never auditioned for this woman before, and she was someone where the more you audition with her the more you go up in her company. She’s not someone where you get a role on the first try. So when I got a callback I was like “Huh?” I did Molly in “Annie”, I did “Les Mis” which is one of my favorites. I did “Dream Street”, I did “Suess” like three times. And that was all the way up until I was like 11. At that point that was all I knew. So I had envisioned myself having a long career in theater, and potentially Broadway. But a bunch of my friends from that community ended up joining an anti-bullying organization called Free To Love. You take a pledge online, they give you signs for your social media posts, and I was a part of it. They reached out to me and said they’d love it if I could write a theme song for them. And I did enjoy songwriting, but it hadn’t really clicked for me yet as something I really wanted to do with my life. So during the intermission of a New York Islander game, I took out this little notebook – that I still have – and in 15-20 minutes I wrote this song called “Free To Love”. I got this team of producers and managers and developers and started to work with them. I recorded the song at a studio in New Jersey and I made a music video! When I made the music video I think that’s when I knew I wanted to be an artist. It got a lot of shares, and the organization promoted it, and it was really great! One of my last Off-Broadway shows I did was written by Debbie Gibson’s nephew and directed by Debbie Gibson’s sister. Debbie came to the last show, and the director said “I told my sister that you write music, and she writes music and she’s gonna talk to you for a little bit!” My parents apparently worshiped her growing up so they’re on the other side of the theater like freaking out. And I was like “Hi, I have no idea who you are but it’s nice to meet you!” So Debbie and I started to FaceTime and she taught me a lot of what I know about songwriting. She helped me write my next couple singles, and I started to release music and got a manager and I’ve been an artist since then. I’ve obviously grown a lot, and gotten a lot more into songwriting now with going to Nashville and everything. But that was my start! It’s been a ride!

DR: Heck of a start! How would you describe your sound?

AV: I would say my style is like an edgy pop. Very similar to Tate McRae or Halsey. The Pop lane, but not like an Ariana Grande mainstream. I use a lot of minor chords and synthy productions. I would say in that realm. 

DR: How did you get hooked up with GSC?

AV: I was 13 and my mom was like “I think Nashville is a really good place for songwriters!” so we just got in the car and just drove. I did a lot of touristy stuff, like I went to the What Lifts You wall in the Gulch. I went to Broadway and performed at the Bluebird. And my mom was just Googling stuff and she found NSAI and GSC. I wanted to join both of them, and I did. On our last day there, my mom got a call from a 615 number and it was Sheree! She was like “Why don’t you come down to my home and we can chat?” And I was like “Aw, she’s nice!” So we drove to Sheree’s house and were there for like 3 hours. That was when my songwriting really began. She just brought out this songwriter in me that I didn’t really know existed. Everything I know about songwriting or Nashville goes back to her. She’s like my Nashville mom. She’s like the Oprah of Nashville!

DR: I call her that too! She really is! 

AV:She’s the best. From then on it’s been amazing.

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

AV: Every Lady Gaga song. Let’s start there. Definitely the first 45 seconds of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I know I was talking about Tate McRae definitely “You Broke Me First”, that song is so soso good. And, a solid half of the “Reputation” album by Taylor Swift. 

DR: Good stuff! Do you have any projects you’re working on?

AV: Yes! So I released a single a month ago now called “Scorpio” featuring artist Jake Ryan, who’s like a rapper. It did really well, and I was really happy about that. It’s the first single off my EP that’s coming. And the second single “Bad Boy Good” is out now with the music video yay! I haven’t filmed or released a music video in well over a year, but I wanted to do it for this one because it’s the best song I’ve ever written. Last month when I posted a little behind the scenes clip and it got like 134,000 views and I was shocked! I’ve never passed the 100,000 view or stream mark so the pressure was on. And I do have my EP coming out in January.

DR: You must be really good on social media if you’re getting that many views!

AV: I do spend a lot of time on social media! Sheree is always like “Can you teach me?”. I used to be spread out across all the different platforms, but I’ve been focusing all my energy on Instagram and I think that’s really helped that grow.

DR: So what are some challenges you face as a younger artist? You’regonna be 16 soon.

AV: I would definitely say a lot of people don’t take you very seriously when you’re younger. That’s why if I’m on the phone with somebody about something I never tell people my age unless I have to. The minute you tell someone your age they’re like “Aw, really?” I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of things at a very young age that I normally wouldn’t have experienced yet. So I feel a lot older than I actually am. I would say not being taken as seriously is the biggest thing. That’s why I’m really happy that Billie Eilish blew up. She blew up when she was my age. Tate McRae too. To see a young artist have the spotlight is inspiring. I actually wrote a song one time – a solo write – called “15”. Just about being underestimated for my age. It certainly is a struggle.

DR: Well cool! Do you have any closing thoughts?

AV: Follow me on instagram – alexavalentino!

GSC Member Doug Folkins Hits 100 Cut Milestone

By Kelli Johnson

Doug FolkinsGSC is a GLOBAL songwriting community and in the October edition of our newsletter we recognized several of our GSC Canadian Artist/Songwriter members and their achievements and accomplishments. GSC Member Doug Folkins is celebrating the milestone of reaching over 100 Cuts!! GSC Administrative Assistant, Kelli Johnson, spoke with Doug about some of his favorite milestones and memories.

Kelli Johnson: Tell us about your First cut:

Doug Folkins: My first cut is special for a number of reasons beyond the obvious. It was in 2012 with a Canadian artist named Rick Stavely. I’d been trying to set up a co-write with the producer on Rick’s project, a professional writer (and Canadian legend) named Larry Wayne Clark. Larry was too busy to write with a green writer like me, but Rick liked the song I pitched him called “I Don’t Want To Love You Like That”.

Larry suggested some edits to the lyrics, and I made the changes and gave Larry songwriter credits (he didn’t ask for them). This cut sparked a wonderful mentoring relationship with Larry as he took me under his wing. We lost Larry to cancer a few years ago and I miss him dearly. When the song came out he told me that it would be the first of many. I didn’t really believe him at the time, but I’m sure he would smile and wink at me now and be proud of hitting the 100 cut milestone.

KJ: What are some of the songs that are most special to you:

DF: I’m so grateful to all the artists that have cut my songs, invested in recording them, completed radio campaigns, music videos, and continue to play them out live in their shows. While all the songs are special to me, there are a few that have garnered some acclaim along the way or are special to me for other reasons.

“California Sunrise” co-written with Heather Davis. This is the first song that I signed for a single-song publishing deal that eventually led to my publishing deal with Lynn Gann Music Enterprises in 2014.

“When Those Sirens Are Gone” co-written with Kevin Davison, a tribute to first responders. This song hits hard and is responsible for a lot of “lump in your throat” comments and feedback. Over 1.6 million YouTube views.

“Midnight & Bourbon” co-written with Ajaye Jardine. This one is special as it earned me my very first BCCMA songwriter of the year nomination. It was the title track on Ajaye’s EP that launched her journey to Nashville.

KJ: How did you get your songs cut?

DF: I could probably talk about this for a long time and fill a podcast, but for me it’s a number of factors.

First, I dedicated myself to getting better all the time by increasing my skills and knowledge through courses, mentorship, and writing a lot of songs. GSC is all about this part of the journey and I am deeply grateful to Sheree for every step of my journey.

I also got a great piece of advice early when I started pitching songs from Steve Bloch, who told me that “no one is going to care more about your songs than you.” I took that to heart and started to pitch songs directly to indie artists in Canada that I networked with through industry events. I also sought out talented indie artists and requested co-writing appointments which is a great way of getting songs cut.

Another powerful technique is to get to know and network with producers at all levels. Artists will often already have relationships established with a producer so a level of trust is in place. Producers will bring me in on co-writes, as well as ask me for song pitches for projects that they are working on. This is a great win-win situation because I can help with high quality songs/songwriting and together we can get songs cut.


Interview: The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Dan Reifsnyder: Thank you Avrim, Donna and Scott for sitting down with us today! First off, do you have a particular system or work philosophy when it comes to songwriting?

Donna DeSopoDonna De Sopo: I’m a purpose-driven commercial songwriter. Before I start writing a song, I must know whether I’m writing for an artist, film/TV placement, consumer brand or creative brief. Each one is different so I need to think a bit differently depending on the task at hand. Overall, it’s important for me to not only focus on the song itself but also capture the right vibe, emotion, lyrical tone or character, and melody that best serves the integrity of the artist, scene, or brand. If I’m writing with a new artist, I need to spend some time getting to know who the artist is, what the artist wants to say, understand vocal range or capabilities, and make sure that I’m elevating the authenticity of that artist.

Once we land on a hook or idea, I typically ask the writer(s) in the room: “What’s this song about in 1 sentence”. That way, we are all on the same page, the story line or lyrics won’t meander or “fall off the line of the song”, and move seamlessly from one thought to another in a straight line right to the hook. If the song drifts away from the single-minded idea, the listener will drift away as well. We want them to stay with us on a musical journey from beginning to end.

While writing songs, I worked as a staff writer for healthcare advertising agencies, launching and building blockbuster pharmaceutical brands. I developed concepts and created promotional and educational communications for 3 distinct target audiences—direct-to-physician, direct-to-consumer, and managed markets. A few years ago,  realized that there are many similarities between songwriting and copywriting. When we turn on the radio, we hear commercial ads play before and after a series of songs sung by artists or “brands”. These 2 audible ideas, commercials and songs, share the same goal in moving us emotionally so that we part with the dollars in our pockets and buy that brand’s product.

Currently, I’m in the process of writing a book with the working title, What Makes a Great Ad Makes a Great Song, which explores 5 key ideals or criteria that make for award-winning ad campaigns and Grammy-winning songs. I use these 5 ideals as a checklist to determine whether or not my song hits the mark. To reach the level of greatness, my song must be:

  • Visually arresting
    • Do my lyrics paint a picture like the visual in a print ad?
  • Intellectually stimulating
    • Am I conveying an interesting message? (“Make me think but not too much”)
  • Emotionally powerful
    • How do I want the listener to feel?
  • Culturally relevant
    • Is my song resonating with the masses?
  • Sonically delicious
    • Are my melodies undeniably delicious using contour, forward movement, riveting lyrics and melodic hooks?
    • Does my production include more “ear candy” to further elevate the song?


DR: Wow. Excellent answer. How about you, Scott?

Scott BarrierScott Barrier: I had to start looking myself as a business owner who is in charge of running my career. So, I starting scheduling my day, much the way someone who goes to an office and has tasks to finish by a certain time, or laying out certain priorities to get done during a business day. I started this process by blocking out a morning write and an afternoon write. I also had to block out days for recording, and pitching songs. I’m still working on getting a better flow between the three, because each part of the process is important as the other.

I also had to start writing in a strategic way that would most benefit each song that I write and/or co-write. If I’m writing with an artist, we look at writing a song the artist will record and release to the public, and not just write for fun with no specific purpose, where the song may never go anywhere. If it’s for a major label pitch, my co-writers and I look at what kind of song (theme, vibe, style) will fit the needs of a given major label artist so he or she will want to record it. For film/tv sync placement songs, my co-writers and I map out what type of vibe and theme will fit a particular ask from a music supervisor for given a TV show or film. Becoming more strategic with the songs, and also running my career as a business, has really helped move me forward in the music industry.

DR: Yes! Making the best use of our limited time is crucial. Avrim, what are your thoughts?

Avrim TopelAvrim Topel: While I’ve been writing songs regularly for most of my life, I decided to take my craft to the next level about 10 years ago when I discovered one could actually study songwriting. I know, it’s like I was living under a rock, but the truth is once I stopped performing when I was in my early 20’s, I always wrote alone and just for me, (or an occasional friend or lover), and my self-imposed isolation hurt me in several ways. 

Fast forward to nowadays, I still write first and foremost for the joy it brings me. I write daily, often coming up with hooks before breakfast and when I walk my dog each morning, and finishing at least a rough draft over breakfast.  These days my songwriting is divided pretty evenly between solo writes and co-writing. When writing alone, I write both for myself (including non-commercial pieces which I often call “art songs”), and for commercial cuts.  With co-writing, I’ve learned over time that things always work best when I enter the room intending to try to support my fellow writers by helping them to be the best they can be that day. When I do that it seems to raise the bar for everyone, and I rise to the occasion as well. Whether it’s a solo or co-written song, I am a big proponent of sharing my songs with peers and pros and asking for help to make sure the song is everything it can be before demoing it. It’s a wonderful way for me to continue to learn and grow.

DR: Great answer. You guys have all had successes. What would you say have been your luckiest breaks so far?

AT: Aside from discovering that one can study song craft, my luckiest break in this journey is actually two-fold. But let me begin by saying that I truly believe each of us is solely responsible for making our own luck. Having the courage and passion to follow my dreams by showing up in rooms where I was completely clueless about how it works and where I didn’t know a soul was a big deal for me. Taking that risk traveling alone to different cities to attend workshops and retreats was challenging, but my shyness and insecurities were quickly diminished by the overwhelming sense of community that embraced me once I began. I felt like after a lifetime of doing it alone that I had finally found my tribe. I had spent a few years attending songwriting functions all over the country, including functions like week long retreats in Canada led by Jason Blume and other mentors, and  participating did indeed move the needle for me. But, without a doubt, meeting Sheree Spoltore marked a major turning point in my songwriting life. I had been told by more than one songwriter or mentor that I should join NSAI and meet Sheree, but I never did. Then, a few years later, after becoming terribly frustrated by rejection, I looked her up and found she had recently started her own organization, Global Songwriters Connection. Long story short, I arranged for a 5 hour meeting with her (2 consecutive days, 2.5 hours per day) for her to listen to 25-30 of my songs to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter, and to recommend a path for me to become better songwriter. I wanted someone to really know me and my music, and for me, it was the best thing I ever did. Even after this, it still took me another few years to actually become an active member of the GSC family, and today there is nothing else on God’s green earth that I’d rather be doing.

DD: I believe “lucky breaks” come when you’re disciplined in working on the craft of writing, setting goals, and always aiming to write great songs while consistently building and nurturing relationships with people in all aspects of the music business.

About 15 years ago, I met Vic Kaply, the President of West Wood Music Group, through a friend of mine who lives in New Jersey. Established in 1985, West Wood Music Group represents various music publishing catalogs and secures synchronization licensing with major motion picture studios, film production companies, TV and Cable Networks, and advertising agencies.

Vic expressed an interest in my music. A year later, I signed a non-exclusive agreement with West Wood Music Group and was added to the roster of songwriters featured on the company website.

Vic had a profound influence on me. He encouraged me to listen closely to the music playing throughout the scenes in films and TV series. This opened up my mind to a whole new world—the world of synch. Although Vic already had a robust catalog of my country songs, I told Vic to expect something completely different because I was focusing more on writing songs for Film & TV. So I got busy writing songs more specifically for synch, routinely submitting them to Vic and Steve Willoughby, Creative Director, for consideration in the music library.

On Wednesday, November 21, 2019, at 7:45PM, Vic sent me an email: “CBS contacted us about using “Merry Christmas With You” in their FOX Series “A Moody Christmas. This series is on a Major Network in Prime Time.  Vic needed to get back to CBS by Friday—within 48 hours, which underscores how quickly music supervisors need to get clearance and closure on possible TV placements.

My co-writers, Scott Barrier and Keegan Ferrell, and producer, Nate Cornell, were elated by the news! We scheduled a “Watch Party” at Nate’s place. As soon as I heard Keegan’s piano lead in, I cheered, “Here it is! Our song, “Merry Christmas With You”, played through the entire scene that lasted for about 1 minute 30 seconds. What an amazing feeling!

Vic also sent an email less than an hour before the showed aired: “Great News! CBS confirmed “Merry Christmas With You”  featured in “THE MOODYS” (Fox) – Monday, Dec. 9 (9PM). I’m still over the moon and can’t wait for the next placement!

SB: My co-writers Donna De Sopo and Keegan Ferrell just had our song “Merry Christmas With You” featured on episode 3 of the “Moody’s Christmas” on FOX. We are very thankful that Westwood Music got the placement for us! This is a fairly recent placement, but we are all hoping that this opportunity will help us get more songs placed for film and TV and to open more doors for us in the music industry.

DR: Great! And lastly, what advice would you give to another songwriter looking to improve their craft?

SB: What really helped me to move forward as a writer was to set a consistent schedule for myself to be constantly working on my craft to always grow as a better writer. Also, consistently working on building a growing network of stronger relationships with co-writers, artists, and industry professionals (publishers, managers, producers, label reps) has given me breakthroughs in my career. Whether you’re writing part time or full time, depending upon your work schedule and life schedule, being consistent will help bring results over time.It takes patience and perseverance to be successful!!!

AT: There are plenty of great books and videos that address all kinds of facets and areas about song writing that anyone can access on line. But once you have a basic understanding, in my opinion, working with a mentor who has achieved some modicum of success and who is actually in the industry is priceless. I’ve come to the conclusion that in most cases professional songwriters who are working their craft on a daily basis are the best mentors. Also, having a team of mentors by becoming part of a community is like manna from heaven. In my experience, relationships are everything in the songwriting universe.

There are several terrific songwriting organizations in Nashville (as well as hundreds of local groups around the world) that can provide stewardship and guidance for songwriters at practically every level. Once again, in my opinion, it all comes down to how badly someone wants it. Neither money, time, careers, or other obligations are ever valid excuses when it comes to learning and improving one’s craft, as we all have our own challenges in life. It all comes down to passion. I believe some of us are born or somehow become programmed this way, and when it kicks in it’s not something we can choose to turn off or or not do. It’s set in our DNA, and while it can certainly be challenging at times, it’s a wonderful condition to have.

DD: Keep learning. Keep writing. Take advantage of songwriting workshops, retreats, and critiques offered by Global Songwriters Connection. You’ll keep adding more tools in your songwriting toolbox and can integrate new insights in your next song.

Enroll in songwriting classes. I’m grateful for incredible songwriters and mentors such as Hugh Prestwood, Patti Ryan, and Pat Pattison who taught the craft of songwriting and shared incredible “light bulb” moments that helped me become a better writer.

Read great books such as “The Artist Way”, Julia Cameron, and “On Writing”, Stephen King. Experiment with various song structures, rhymes, and rhyme schemes. Try using your voice to create melodies and write to a groove or track. Have fun and don’t be afraid to shake things up!

DR: Thanks for taking the time, and for the excellent insight!


Interview with Singer-Songwriter Ceri Earle

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Ceri EarleDan Reifsnyder: Hey, Ceri! Thanks for sitting down with us today. How did you get into songwriting? 

Ceri Earle: My mom was a pianist and music teacher so I took piano and violin lessons from about 8. I’ve landed on the lyrical side of the fence though, and although I don’t really play anymore all that classical training helps with that a lot. 

I kind of fell in love with Country music around 2000 and as a writer considered it the most succinct storytelling out there. One day I was running and had an idea for a song title, so I Googled how to write a song. That first one took me a couple weeks to write and it was at best a rhyming story. Still, I got it demoed – pretty funny story and too long for here, but suffice it to say it got me to the next song, and the next etc.

DR: Interesting! Who are some of your musical influences?

CE: I always wondered if I’d ever be asked this and what I’d say. Not being an actual musician I don’t consciously draw on anything or anyone musically, but when it comes to Country there’s no way I don’t have the 2000s in my head because they’re who I ‘grew up’ with: Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney (that was my first country concert) Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Martina McBride. But I was/am also into Top 40 pop like Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake, even Brittney Spears years ago, so you’re gonna get a mix if you write with me. 

DR: That’s a great mix. What are some songs you wish you’d written?

CE: Off the top of my head, I Can’t Make You Love Me – obviously. Write This Down – this was the song that sucked me into Country so maybe I’m glad I didn’t haha. Too Much Fun – not sure I wish I wrote it but I love it, and it’s really true. I Don’t Know About You – there’s something off-the-charts clever and sincere and girl-friendly about this song and I’m crazy about the ‘Nashville twist’ on the hook. I heard it more than a year ago but it just went number 1 in the fall – deservedly so in my opinion.   I’m a Shane McAnally fan, so anything he’s written on gets my well-deserved envy.

DR: I love the ‘Nashville twist’ too. Great lyrics in those! How did you get connected with GSC?

CE: Carrie Cunningham was the first person I heard mention it and it was a text convo with Dave Quirk (whom I met through her too) that got me to sign up. Then I met Sheree and she was so amazingly encouraging and helpful the rest is becoming history.

DR: She is definitely an encourager! Now you’ve had some cuts…what has been your most exciting one?

CE: Gosh is there anything more exciting than the first? I’ve had a bunch of indie cuts but writing an album with a 16-year-old who ended up moving to Nashville was an incredible experience. Every cut is a compliment and of course I want everyone to get noticed because I so believe in the artists I get to write with.

DR: I understand you’re an editor by profession. How has that informed your writing process?

CE: Lord have mercy, it took a while to learn to shut down that pesky skillset but I had to because the editor doesn’t let the creator create. That being said, it does help to let it peek through the door in a write now and then to keep the plot, or the story, or the flow in line, make sure that tenses and pronouns are consistent, and with all the creativity going on, make sure the lyric makes sense during the write rather than a week later when you then have to get the team back together or write emails etc. I think my co-writers appreciate that as much as I appreciate that they can do chord progressions, melodies and strum patterns. They all have my permission to shut me down when I start over-thinking!

DR: I had similar issues…the critical editor has a place in writing the song, just not necessarily during creative moments! Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

CE: I have a few things on the burner that are other artist projects that I’m not really at liberty to mention. Mostly I just love coming into town and writing and meeting with those who’ve been open to work with me on this crazy ride. Sheree is just amazing and I’m so grateful to her.

DR: Great. Any closing thoughts?

CE: Yeah I think it’s important to mention that I, like everyone, wouldn’t be here without others. I know this is a GSC newsletter, but NSAI and Songtown have been really important in my world. I met my co-writer Chelsey Satterlee at an NSAI event, and we wrote the song that was the overall winner of the Great American Song Contest last year. That changed my life because the prizes were fantastic and I made the most of them all. Coming on the back of a finalist place in the NSAI song contest (for a different song) was really encouraging to me as ‘just a lyricist’. I’m never gonna be and artist or an amazing singer, and I just started taking guitar a year and a half ago, so I’m incredibly indebted to all my co-writers who repeatedly let me into their lives and their writing rooms. Songwriting has made my life a wonderful place to be and I can’t do it worth a damn without them.

DR: Well said. We definitely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for others. Thanks for talking with us today!

CE: Thanks for talking with me – this was really fun!!


Interview with Singer-Songwriter Ryan Hydro

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Ryan Hydro

Dan Reifsnyder:  So tell me about yourself. Do you consider yourself an artist, a songwriter…?

Ryan Hydro: Songwriter! Non performing songwriter.

DR: How did you get started with songwriting?

RH:  Well, back in 2003 I was in a relationship and it didn’t work out so well. I just started writing down different emotions and feelings…I wasn’t sure what it was. I ended up reading some books like Songwriters on Songwriting and people like Bon Jovi and Tom Petty they had the same sort of thing – they wrote stuff down and couldn’t sleep at night. I thought “Hey, this might be a songwriting type of thing. And back in the day I joined NSAI and did their song camps, and I got bit by the songwriting bug.”

DR: Very cool. Are you predominantly lyrics or music?

RH: Predominantly lyrics. When I was growing up I took guitar and drum lessons but never really stuck with it. Unfortunately, the drum teacher I had back then just quit teaching. I always loved music but didn’t really play any instruments. Then when I went through that breakup it sort of sparked something. As a kid I had this ability to put funny lyrics to a song on the radio…almost Adam Sandler-esque. I never really knew what it was, but looking back maybe that was the start of songwriting?

DR: Who are your biggest songwriting influences?

RH:  For me growing up in the 80’s, it was Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Garth Brooks in the early to mid 90’s was huge. Alabama too. From a songwriting perspective probably Craig Wiseman and Desmond Child. He wrote hundreds of hits any kid in the 80’s grew up with.

DR: Speaking of songs…what are some songs you wish you’d written?

RH: “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” that Travis Tritt sings. “How Do You Like Me Now” by Toby Keith. “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. “Love In The First Degree” by Alabama. And I guess “Ain’t Nothin’ About You” by Brooks and Dunn. Those are my top few. And one of the most evergreen songs of all time, Lonestar’s “Amazed”. I’d love to have written that one. That’s the pinnacle of songwriting.

DR: Dude, that’s a great one. Funny story, the first week that I moved here I walked into the NSAI offices and one of the guys who wrote “Amazed” played it for everyone in the lobby. It was a very Nashville moment.

RH: Yeah!

DR: So you’re going to be opening up the Pennsylvania chapter of GSC. How did that come about?

RH:  So the very first trip I made to Nashville, I met Sheree. I’ve known her from almost day one from my 16 years of songwriting. And when she opened up GSC I was one of the first few members that joined and I participated in the first FOCUS event that she had. We’ve been good friends ever since. She reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in helping her out and I said yes. Her and Lou have been very supportive of my songwriting career.

DR: They’re great people! What would your dream cut be? 

RH: It’s hard to say one person, but I would say either Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, or Alan Jackson. Those would be my top 3. Current, new artist I’d love to get a cut with would be Luke Combs. I like a lot of Pop stuff too. Somebody like Pink or Kelly Clarkson would be cool too.

DR: Now you’re from PA originally?

RH:  Yeah, I was raised in a small town in Northeastern PA called Jim Thorpe. Named after the athlete. About half hour north of Allentown. It’s very much a coal region and old railroad town.

DR: That sounds familiar…I’m from the Philly area originally. Do you have any projects you’re working on? 

RH:  I have an artist that cut a few of my songs named Chase Tyler. and he’s doing pretty well. He’s getting inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame…he’s got a big following in that area. To get into that is a pretty big deal…Tim McGraw got in there in 2012. He’s opening up for current Idol winner Lane Hardy, too.  I’m hoping that’s a sign of big things to come. He just released a song of mine as a single, which is pretty cool. I’ve been doing a lot of pro writes too.

DR: Excellent! So I guess you mostly Skype write?

RH: I mostly Skype. I lived in Atlanta with my wife for about 6 years. I was going to Nashville once or twice a month when we lived there in Atlanta. I made a lot of headway during that time, but we moved back to PA because my wife – she’s the youngest of 5 – missed her sisters. Now, I make about 3 to 4 trips to Nashville a year and write in person then too.

DR: Do you have any goals for the rest of this year, or the beginning of next?

RH: My goal is just to write the best songs I can possibly write, and to network. I’m hoping in 2020 to be able to write with some more artists. My long term goal is to find a publisher who’d be willing to work with me as more of a co-pub deal. I’m always looking for new people to write with too.

DR: Great! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

RH: Thanks!


Interview with Singer-Songwriter Briana Domenica

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Briana Domenica

Dan Reifsnyder:  I know you got into music at a young age…can you tell us about that?

Briana Domenica: Yeah! I started singing when I was in diapers. The first song I learned was “Jesus Loves Me” and there’s literally video footage of me in my diaper singing it.

DR: Could be a music video!

BD:  *laughs* It could, it could. Quite frankly I’d rather that stay hidden. But I’ve always loved music and my parents have always had music playing in the house. All different types of music from like Andrew Lloyd Webber to Andrea Bocelli, Celine, Whitney. It was always something that was a big part of my life. And then in second grade I started actually taking voice lessons and I was like “this is my passion, this is what I’m meant to be doing.”

DR: Where are you from originally?

BD: I was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts but I lived in Saint Thomas, USVI for three years, and I was primarily raised in Lighthouse Point, South Florida.

DR: Nice. When did you come here?

BD:  I actually moved here a little over a year ago! My one-year Nashiversary was August 10th!

DR: Awesome. How do you like it?

BD: I actually love it. I hate being away from my family because we are really close. That’s the one downside. If I could move my whole family up here it’d be ideal.

DR: Who were some of your musical influences?

BD: In my genre, my two biggest influences are For King And Country and Lauren Daigle.

DR: I love Lauren Daigle! I think she’s going to cross over, if she hasn’t already. She’s gonna be big.

BD: I totally agree! My non-Christian influences, it would be Whitney and Celine…

DR: The big voices.

BD:  Yes! Oh gosh. I have so many influences, because my parents had me listening to music all over the spectrum. I love all genres.

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Interview with Singer-Songwriter Troy Castellano

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Troy CastellanoDan Reifsnyder:  How did you get started in music?

Troy Castellano: I think it was this radio and old record player that we had at home – one of those big consoles. I actually still have it! It’s been in our family from the time I was a kid, I could barely see over the edge of it to see the record spin. But that was it, that made me just want to be around music. I think when I was very young I told my mom and dad I wanted a guitar for Christmas. The first one they bought me was more like a toy and I was really depressed. I was like “This isn’t a real one!” But next year they made up for it and got me a Sears Teisco guitar! You remember those?

DR: I do!

TC: I was all smiles. That was what started it. What got me the bug was just hearing music. I was lit up by the sound before I even knew what words were. You know when mom is singing you songs as a baby it kind of seeps in and doesn’t ever go away.

DR: Who are your musical influences?

TC: I gotta say, I’m no spring chicken and I’m in the middle of life here, but Cheap Trick was one of my favorites. You know the old standbys from the 70’s – KISS. I used to like to dress up like Ace Frehley, I think a lot of us did back then. Even as stupid as it sounds, Barry Mannilow. He had this song I bought on 45 called “I Write The Songs”. Maybe that was all part of it too.

DR: Very cool.

TC: I think where it starts for a lot of people is just wanting to sing. I believe totally that music is something born into your human nature. It’s just communication.

DR: I agree! On top of everything else, you also run a charity. Can you tell us about that?

TC: Yeah! Instruments for Education! To begin with, for a couple years I was thinking of trying to find a way to give back. I felt like I was always imposing on people. And then just by chance, a songwriter asked me if I had a spare keyboard. I said “Sure, what do you need it for?” It was actually Victoria Banks and Dave Petrelli – he was looking for a keyboard for his classroom so he could make up songs with the kids and teach them with music. I gave her the keyboard and he sent me a video back of him teaching the kids the phases of the moon to the melody of “Blue Moon”. They were all engaged! And I went “There’s something I could do ask people if they have any old guitars, keyboards, percussion stuff. Maybe some of these starter instruments.” I started it that way by collecting an inventory. I built a website and started marketing and putting word out. To date, we’ve given away about 80 instruments to Middle Tennessee schools

DR: How can people get in touch to donate?

TC: There’s a receive form if you want to request, and there’s a donate form. You can donate instruments or you can donate monetarily. The monetary part covers my cost of driving around and picking this stuff up and my time to do it. But that’s really all that comes off the top. The main push for that whole thing is I want kids to have the ability to explore guitar or keyboard. Just have it in the classroom, like you would have with science equipment. I want to inspire them to pick it up. For me, I picked up a guitar and I was hooked. My older brother had a guitar and I would play it in his room, and he’d kick me out whenever I was in there. That hooked me, and if it hooks other kids…the big picture is you’re giving them a way to get off the screens – Netflix, YouTube. It’s therapy. You can vent. Go vent on your guitar. There’s so many ways it can help your soul.
DR: That’s very cool. So you always run a recording studio, in addition to being a songwriter.

TC: Yep! My Blue Heaven Studio. I write here, I do my own demos, and I do demos for other people here. It’s basically a shed, but it’s pretty tricked out. I customized it so I could be comfortable here all day. I wouldn’t leave if I didn’t have to use the bathroom! It’s a pretty cool little spot – it’s away from my house about 50 yards so I can be making music all night if I want.

DR: So why do you call it My Blue Heaven Studio?

TC: Two reasons. While I was building it, someone said “So what are you gonna call your little piece of heaven?” And I’m a big Rat Pack and Sinatra fan and I love that big swing stuff. “My Blue Heaven”!

DR: I had wondered if that was the case, because I know that song.

TC: Very old standard from the 40’s! Then there was that movie with Steve Martin!

DR: That was hilarious. So you’ve had some cuts, some holds, some success as a writer.

TC: Yeah! I had a hold with Keith Urban which was really exciting. And that was a little validation. The word was he heard it, he liked it, and that was really cool. I’ve had a bunch of independent cuts with artists in town that I write with. Getting some Canadian cuts now – I write with Doug Folkins a lot and he’s very active up there. We’ve had some singles go to radio and satellite up there. Of course you want the major cuts, but I like all of it. You just never know. This is my analogy to songwriting. It’s just like planting seeds and some of them grow into weeds, and some become big trees. You want to see one become this big oak tree that stands the test of time. That’s the goal.

DR: That’s awesome. How did you get hooked up with GSC?

TC: By word of mouth – somebody said “You need to go talk to Sheree Spoltore”! She’s so super one on one personal, she wants you to succeed, she won’t blow you off. That was within the first 3 months of living here. I had that first mentorship meeting and she filled me in on the ups and downs of it…how tough it is…and steps to take to get out there and get noticed by publishers. I haven’t been quite as active as I wish I could be, but she’s the reason we got that first hold too. I love what she does, and every time I’m feeling down about what I do, she’ll get back to me and say “Don’t sweat, this is stuff everybody goes through. Just keep doing it.”

DR: She’s a great encourager!

TC: She was at my very first Bluebird gig too!

DR: So what are some of your goals for 2019?

TC: Well, finishing Project 52, which is my YouTube show that I started. It’s a bit daunting because you’ve got to shoot the interview, record the song, mix it all. But I have to do those once a week and I’m trying to do it without fail. I can’t call in sick Sunday night! And another one of my goals at the beginning of the year was put on the blinders and focus. I’m just gonna do my thing and hopefully people will like what I do and get on board. The goal obviously is to get a publishing deal. I’d love to write for a team that I can contribute my assets to and help them meet their goals. To sum it up, just make the best music that I can.

DR: Back up just a bit and tell me about Project 52

TC: This year I realized we write all these songs – you post it on your socials “Hey I wrote a great one with so and so today” and your friends and your fans will go “Can’t wait to hear it!” For the most part, we never do – we either don’t demo it, or the co-writer doesn’t want it played. So I’ve written enough songs with enough people now that I can invite my co-writers and we can do an interview and we both have content. It’s just a couple guitars and a voice or two, but people can see what we do. It’s not always perfect, but that’s what we wrote in the room that day and that’s what it sounded like. It’s fun! I’m also learning about producing a show!

DR: That sounds like a lot of fun!

TC: It’s great. And sometimes you get some of those hit writers in here too like Steve Dean or Keesey Timmer, or a lot of those GSC connections. I’m so grateful because I’ve met so many people through there, from hit writers on down.

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

TC: “Live Like You Were Dying”, “House That Built Me” – still makes my eyes water. I like those songs that really say something and move me every time I hear it. My favorite artists are like Keith Urban, John Mayer. Keith Urban is the reason I’m here…what he did is kind of what I was doing in the 2000’s.

DR: Nice. Do you have anything else you want to add?

TC: I just want to give a big shoutout to Sheree and Lou and the whole team over at GSC for always making sure we don’t give up. And the advice, and info and opportunities…the introductions, the mixers.

DR: Awesome, man. Thanks for sitting down with us!


Interview with Singer-Songwriter John Cirillo

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter


John CirilloI sat down to interview John in his writing studio – looking over us are CDs of his numerous indie cuts and past projects. Also present is his ever faithful co-writer, his dog Micky.

Dan Reifsnyder: So what is the speed of an unladen swallow?

John Cirillo: A little faster than dog speed, but not as fast as God speed.  * laughter *

DR: How did you get started in music?

JC: I was a junior in high school and we had just moved to this tiny town in Connecticut who hated people from California and I was a very shy introverted person to begin with. So I spent 10 long months by myself down in the basement. I used that time to teach myself how to play guitar, and that was the year I was really introduced to music for the first time. Capital Records used to have a thing where you got the first 12 albums for a penny and in my first group of albums I got Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, I got John Denver, James Taylor, Carole King, Carly Simon. It was the golden age of singer songwriters and it just spoke to me. I don’t know that I was much of a poet growing up, songwriting never even crossed my mind really. I dunno, I just got bit. That’s how I started.

DR: How did you get hooked up with GSC?

JC: I moved out here in 2011. I was an NSAI member, and unfortunately for most of the time after I came out here, Sheree was still recovering from back surgery. So I didn’t get to know her very well until near the end, when she came back and I got to meet her. I was in the GAP group, and got to know her a little bit and of course heard so many great things about her. Then when she went off and started GSC; I don’t know her numbering system but I have to be one of the first people to join up because I just believed in what she was doing. Sheree is someone who does it for the love of the songwriters and she lives for the success of her writers. And there’s an honesty and a truth there that kind of speaks to her as a person. It speaks to the authenticity of her organization.

DR: I suspect I already know the answer to this, but who are some of your musical influences?

JC: Easy. Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce. Those are my two biggest heroes. As much as Jim Croce and Gordon Lightfoot are my biggest influences I think my sound was originally most similar to John Denver. But yeah, James Taylor too. That might date me a bit, but I’m a lyric guy and those are great mentors for the craft of songwriting. And I believe that’s part of what I bring into a co-write today and why I’m still relevant as a songwriter.

DR: What are some songs you wish you had written?

JC: The House That Built Me. Operator, by Jim Croce. There’s a song by Gordon Lightfoot that not too many people really know, it’s called Beautiful. It’s a very masculine, beautiful love song if that makes any sense. I could go on and on. Rocky Mountain High…it’s a song that still gives me chills every time I hear it. Garth Brooks, Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old. Of course The Dance. That’s like the pinnacle. And George Strait, one of the biggest people that got me into country music, with his Amarillo By Morning. Very simple, but I just loved it. The prosody of it. I’d probably say The Dance is one of the best songs ever written.

DR: I would agree with that. Now, you have a frequent cowriter named Micky. Tell me about Micky.

JC: He greets everybody at the door. He stands guard. And anytime we’re getting ready to do an iPhone recording he makes sure his voice is on there.

DR: He’s got to get his percent.

JC: It’s amazing how many songs, especially in the last year or so, how many lyrics that have turned into some of my favorite songs have come from just taking him on a walk. He’s a big muse.

DR: What are some of your goals for 2019?

JC: I’ve been working really hard on learning the sync world. And I realize that everything I’m doing is a marathon. So I always try to move one step closer every day to whatever my goal is. I’m very goal driven. I want to get at least one sync this year. That’s my goal – it’s a modest goal, but that’s my goal. And every year my goal is to get a cut with a major artist. I won’t stop going until I get my first cut. Then my next goal will be my second cut.

DR: I understand you’re also working with Matt Lindsey!

JC: Yes! I’ve been working with Matt for the last year or so, and he’s been repping my catalog. And he’s probably one of the hardest working publishers in town. I went with him because I knew he would never pitch a song of mine just because I asked him to. He would only pitch it if he felt it was good enough to stand up to his reputation in town and that he felt it was appropriate for the artist he is pitching it too – that way I know that I have someone out there who is only pitching my songs if he believes in them. We haven’t gotten a cut yet, but we’ve gotten a little close. I plan on staying with him and hopefully we will get that big success.

DR: You’ve actually had a lot of cuts since you’ve been in Nashville. Can you tell me about some of your successes?

JC: Well, I had my “welcome to Nashville” moment I think about a year and a half in. I wrote a song with Chip Martin called One Of Those Nights…it was in the Top 10 for the NSAI competition. As soon as the voting started, this artist – he’s just coming up in the world – named Tim McGraw, put out a song called One Of Those Nights. And that just killed it, killed my chances in the competition! Anyway, a few months later, Taylor Hicks’s (American Idol winner-season 5) producer called and said “Taylor Hicks is recording your song!” I was really excited, I thought this was really cool. Over the course of the year I got some updates every now and then, and finally…nothing happened. Taylor Hicks got dropped from the label, even though he had finished the whole album. Never got to hear what it was like…so that was that. And then you, Sarah Spencer and I had our first pretty good cut with Tori Martin – Woman Up. It was a single and a video. Got our first Grammy nomination (I’ll let you decide how much of that story you want to reveal!). Then this year, you, Sarah and I – there’s a theme here – wrote If You Drink, which was released by Chris Turner. He put out a music video, and it’s taken on a life of it’s own. It’s to support veterans  and anyone else who are suffering from PTSD; which I know all three of us feel is a great honor. Had this young gal named Jennifer Belle who just released her first single, Moving Day, that Sarah, Sam Gyllenhaal and I wrote. She did a really good job on that! I have two other cuts on that album that hasn’t been released yet.  I have 6 co-writes on Sam Gyllenhaal’s album, and Dan O’Rourke; who is just an amazing artist, I think I have 3 songs on his last album and we have a lot of great stuff that hasn’t even been recorded yet. Those are probably the highlights. The successes to me are just the relationships I’ve been building in this town. You and I first wrote on my back porch here…

DR: We did!

JC: Like 6 years ago! And look what we’ve accomplished together. It finally hit me over the weekend, how I feel about living here verses how I felt about living in Santa Cruz (where I moved from)[CA]. Santa Cruz is beautiful country. I love Santa Cruz, I love the weather, I love the beaches. Here, it’s the people. Nashville is great, it’s not for me – I don’t do a lot of night life stuff, and summers kill us. That’s why we leave. But it’s the people, it’s the friendships I’ve made while I’ve been here that make Nashville a special place for me. So my biggest success, to me, is just the people I’ve gotten to know and the friendships I’ve made. I’ve come to redefine the word “success” for me – and that has probably been my biggest success. I was always trying to be an overachiever and never satisfied with anything I did. No matter what my accomplishments were in anything, I never enjoyed them. I was always striving for something better so I never got to appreciate those little successes. But I’ve been able to redefine success for me, especially when it comes to songwriting. It’s enjoying the process. It’s loving the people I’m working with in the process. After that, you put your song out there, you do everything you can to get it out there, but it’s out in the ether and there’s nothing you can do about it after that. You have to let it go. Still, you know me – I work really hard at getting cuts, at working my catalog. I won’t stop that, I’m very ambitious. But my success is just being able to have people come in here, my friends, and we write and we start from zero and end up with a song we all love. That, to me, is my new definition of success.

DR: Great thoughts, as always, John. Thanks for talking. And Micky, thanks for sharing your co-writer with us!

JC: Arf!




Interview with Singer-Songwriter Jim Parker

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Jim Parker

Dan Reifsnyder:  So how did you get started in music?

Jim Parker: In ’61 my sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy Gilmer of Sugar Shack fame, gave me a guitar after I demonstrated I could play ‘Peter Gunn’. I was playing in a band within three months, I wasn’t very good, and later became a founding member of The Illusions that landed a record deal with Dot Records. In 1966 we decided to leave our hometown of Amarillo, Texas, and head to Los Angeles. During that time, The Illusions became “The Kitchen Cinq” recording with Lee Hazelwood’s LHI label for three years. This later led to jobs with other recording bands like Armageddon and THEM (post Van Morrison) with some studio work with Sonny and Cher and various recording artists on the side. Fifty years later, on August  28, 2015,  Ace Records of the UK and its affiliate US label, Light in the Attic Records, released the double vinyl, along with a CD, “The Kitchen Cinq, When The Rainbow Disappears”, as an anthology complete with booklets of photos and history of our band. It is still available.

DR: That’s very cool! Who are you influences?


JP: Buddy Holly, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, Freddie King, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Percy Sledge, Johnny Mathis, The Beatles and BB King and many more.

DR: I understand you’re a hit songwriter yourself! What was it like getting your first big cut?

JP: “Chicken Truck” was my first, what some might consider a “Big” cut. I was excited and thrilled to say the least but the following songs led the way to “Chicken Truck.”

My first Pop radio record was with “The Kitchen Cinq’s” “Still in Love with You Baby” released in ‘67. We chased that airplay all over the States from Florida to Ohio to New York City. It was lots of fun but it was not sustainable financially. We returned to Los Angeles for more recording and changes.

My first Country Billboard chart record came out of Nashville in ’77. I co-wrote “I’ve Got a Feelin’” with John Anderson and Michael Garvin. It was exciting to hear it on the radio. Another dream came true. It stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. That was long enough for ASCAP to award me with a plaque with this misspelling – “I’ve Got a Feclin’”! It is hanging on my wall today.

I also had a Big #1 Bluegrass hit last year titled “Better with Time” co-written with Billy Droze, who is the artist, and Ronnie Bowman. I’m as excited about my career as I have ever been. Life is good!

DR: When we were kids, my brother and I used to listen to “Chicken Truck” on repeat until the cassette wore out. What’s the story behind “Chicken Truck”?

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