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Member Success

GSC Members win USA Song Contest

USA Song ContestCongratulations to GSC members John Cirillo and Daniel Reifsnyder, GSC reporter, and artist/writer Sarah Spencer whose co-write ”If You Drink” won FIRST PLACE in the Country category of the USA Songwriting Contest.

John entered the song into the contest so only he is recognized as the winner on the Songwriting.net website. He has been a member of GSC for 5 years and has worked diligently as a songwriter for many years. John is known in our Nashville community for bringing writers together, making connections, including others and for his disciplined work ethic. In addition, he regularly supports GSC and volunteers for most of our events when he is in town. Below is the link where you can check out the actual Contest Results. In the meantime, reach out to John Cirillo on our GSC Facebook page or on his personal page and congratulate him, as well as Daniel and Sarah!

See the Winners on Songwriting.net

 

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.  

 

 

2017 GSC Member Successes

GSC Congratulates Our Member Successes!

Mitch and Diann Hammer sign their FIRST song contract!

Over the past several months many, many of our GSC members have been offered single song contracts on their songs through our GSC services such as FOCUS and Publisher Online Pitch (POP) Events.  There are too many of you to mention at this time which is a GREAT problem! However, I will mention one of you as it is your FIRST song contract which is always exciting!

Congratulations to Mitch and Diann Hammer on signing their very first single song contract. What an exciting experience and we believe it is the first of many.  Their song will be promoted and pitched by a music industry professional located in Nashville.  A single song contract is often a songwriter’s first introduction to the actual business of music. 

At this time, over 60 of our GSC members have signed single song contracts in 2017.


In the month of December we will be giving you a full report of all opportunities, meetings and signings!

In the meantime, we also want to recognize the members below who are not just thinking about their dreams and goals but working diligently towards their goals and are living their dreams.


GSC POP Events – Member Songs taken in September 2017!

Publisher Woody Bomar of Green Hills Music took the following songs at our September 21 POP Event.

  1. Pat Aureli, ME
  2. Mary Desmond, Ireland
  3. Patrick Dodge, NY
  4. April Fraiser, AL
  5. Allie Louise, MI
  6. Daniel Reifsynder, TN
  7. Brad Yunek, ID

Publisher Shane Barrett of Shane Barrett Music took the following songs at our September 28 POP Event.

  1. Daniel Dennis, TN
  2. Ryland Fisher, TN (2 songs)
  3. Diann Hammer, MD
  4. Allie Louise, MI
  5. Vickie Maldonado, NY
  6. Daniel Reifsynder, TN
  7. Bonnie Warren, PA

GSC FOCUS Event – Congrats to Members Hand Selected for October!

3 days of writing with hit songwriters and meeting with publishers who are looking to SIGN WRITERS!

  • Mary Desmond, Ireland
  • Donna DeSopo, TN
  • Mary Haller, MD
  • Bobby Kropp, TN
  • Pam Lack, TN
  • Kevin Rowe, IL

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.

Mary Haller Signs Publishing Deal

Mary Haller

Mary Haller

We can’t stop talking about Mary Haller! Mary recently signed a deal with Woody Bomar at Green Hills Music Group and just landed her first CUT as a signed writer! We couldn’t be more excited for the great things happening for this amazing lady.

In March of 2013, Sheree Spoltore played a song for Woody written by Mary entitled “A Little Sign.” And just this month it was picked up by artist Tyler Barham!

Let this story be a little sign to YOU to continue writing and keep the faith! This song was played for Woody THREE YEARS AGO and now, it’s a CUT!

Songs are played and picked up at our POP Events frequently, and perhaps you may not hear back from that publisher. However, it doesn’t mean that the publisher isn’t working the song and looking for options to place it.

You never know…you, too, may get a call back three years from now and hear, “Congrats, I just got you a CUT!”

GSC Member Mary Desmond Named Songwriter of the Year

Mary DesmondIreland Honors GSC Member and Songwriting Luminary
Mary Desmond, selected as
Ireland’s 2016 Songwriter of the Year!

By:  Dan Reifsnyder

GSC member and Irish music icon Mary Desmond was honored with a tribute and award night in Ireland at the Deanrock Ballroom, recently.

Artists Pat Daly, Finbarr Dennehy, Maura Dennehey, Joe Cooke, Mike Conda, Mona and musical duo “Just 2” showed up to recognize Mary’s many contributions to the music scene and perform her songs.

John Russel and Pat Daily, both involved in the Irish music field, helped put together and promote the event. Mary is prolific – having written hundreds of songs – many of which have achieved success not just in Ireland, but in England as well.

In addition, just last week, Mary was selected as Ireland’s 2016 Songwriter of the Year and yet another celebration of Mary Desmond’s songwriting achievements is pending. One of her songs, “My Phone Call to Heaven”, reached #1 on the Irish charts.

Not content to rest on her laurels, Mary has set her sights stateside to her next big dream – writing in Nashville. Many of her songs have been played through the GSC Publisher Online Pitch events and several times the songs have been taken by the publisher for further consideration.

Last year, Mary came to the US for the purpose of writing with some of Nashville’s top songwriters.  These connections and opportunities were facilitated by the Global Songwriters Connection team.  Mary made a huge impression on Nashville industry professionals with her determination to succeed and to learn the language, the phrasing and the US songwriting market.

“GSC has been a huge help to me, and Sheree has shown me such kindness,” Mary adds. GSC is proud of Mary and all her accomplishments!

Johnnie Mikel

Johnnie Mikel

Global Songwriters Member Spotlight

Johnnie Mikel, Singer/Songwriter/Artist

Newcomer Johnnie Mikel may be only 18 years old, but already he’s attracting an enviable amount of attention in music circles. With his first EP Let Love Reign just released and an opening gig for the Charlie Daniels Band to his credit, you can’t blame the teenager for feeling like he’s on top of the world, if not yet the country charts.

Growing up in his hometown of Bowling Green, KY, Johnnie was a shy, creative kid who loved music, writing, and spending time on his family’s farm just outside town. When he was 11, his family relocated to New York City so Johnnie’s sister could pursue an acting career. While there, Johnnie often accompanied her to casting calls and was frequently asked to audition, but shied away from the spotlight, preferring instead to stay behind the scenes. He started writing a personal blog in which he talked about seeing the world through what he calls “a new set of eyes.” The site attracted thousands of viewers, convincing Johnnie that he had a talent for connecting with audiences. “My blog shared stories of hope and positivity,” he says now. “It really showed me how much I valued telling stories and capturing my everyday life in words. I feel like I was training myself to write songs long before I knew it.”

Read more

Interview with Ree Boado

Ree BaodoGSC Interview with Ree Boado

provided by reporter Dan Reifsnyder

Dan Reifsnyder: Great to meet you, Ree! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. What got you into songwriting?

Ree Boado: Well, my journey into songwriting is a little different from most songwriters I’ve known. I was always passionate about lyrics and singing, though I didn’t grow up in a very musical family and wasn’t surrounded much by musical people. Music was always calling to me though. Some of my earliest and best memories involve music. I can remember being 8 years old and sitting behind the bushes in my front yard, reading and memorizing lyrics. I occasionally wrote bits of poetry and wrote some short stories that won some contests as a kid, but I never actually thought I could write a song since I didn’t play instruments at that time. And then one day in my early 20’s, I was in the shower and several lyrics and a melody line just came to me. That turned into my first song, which I later found piano chords for, thanks to a friend. After that small victory, then learning to play piano and guitar, songs have been flowing ever since. I guess the music was in there all along, just waiting for the right time to come out!

DR: Who are some of your musical influences?
Read more

Member Success at the June GSC PLAYS4U! Event

GSC PLAYS4U!

GSC PLAYS4U! RESULTS
June 23, 2015
The Listening Room

Every quarter Global Songwriters Connection brings in an array of publishers to our GSC PLAYS4U! event. Our members’ songs are presented to the panel of publishers. We provide the publishers with food and drink catered by the Listening Room, where we hold the event. Eleven publishers attended the June event, and eight publishers requested the event playlist. Additionally, there were thirty-three publisher requests for more songs and for more information about our members! These are big opportunities for our artists and writers. At our event, we also gave away a $75 and a $100 gift card. It is our way of investing in our members and the community.

Our attending publishers were:
⦁ Jillene Renee of Ann WIlson Publishing
⦁ Ann Wilson of Ann Wilson Publishing
⦁ Eddie Tidwell of Muy Bueno
⦁ Dallas Gregory of Song Rocket Music
⦁ Sam Cooper of Jericat Group
⦁ Woody Bomar of Green Hills
⦁ Melanie Howard of Harlan Howards Songs
⦁ Queenie Mullinix of Washington Street Publishing
⦁ Stevie Island of DoWrite
⦁ Ariana Deluga of Bluewater Music
⦁ Steve Bloch of Steve Bloch Music

Our featured songwriters were:
⦁ Jay Brehmer from Wisconsin
⦁ Alayna Carroll from Tennessee
⦁ Steve Dorian from Tennessee
⦁ Mary Haller from Massachusetts
⦁ Clayton Jones from Tennessee (pop genre)
⦁ Thalia Kalodimos from Illinois
⦁ Karen Kiley of Illinois
⦁ Allen Kreihbiel from Colorado
⦁ JT Lewis (Jordan Trajano) from Tennessee
⦁ Jenny Slate Lee from Tennessee (Christian genre)
⦁ Trish Matthews from Tennessee
⦁ David Michael from California
⦁ Nancy Moser from Kentucky
⦁ Clayton Watson from Tennessee.

 

 

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