The Journey of a Song – Brett Mandel

“From the Ashes” – a TV Cold Justice placement on the Oxygen Network

Brett MandelIn December of 2021, myself and fellow GSC member Clayton Jones landed our first television placement for our song “From the Ashes” (co-written with Big Yellow Dog songwriter/ producer Alexi von Guggenberg). It appeared on episode #609 of “Cold Justice” on the Oxygen network.

The song was written in October of 2015. I remember that day very well and always will. I was attending a Keith Urban number one party on behalf of Sheree, and I had a write scheduled later that day with Clayton.

While at the party, I got a call from Clayton. He said that our fellow Big Yellow Dog contact, Devon Devries, called him and said someone cancelled on their sync writer. So, he invited Clayton in to replace the other writer.  Devon was a close working industry friend of Sheree’s and she had connected Clayton to Devon and the Big Yellow Dog staff writing team in hopes of Clayton possibly receiving and artist deal opportunity. I myself had connected and started  a relationship with Devon DeVries at Big Yellow Dog through pitching my strongest songs at GSC Publisher Online Pitch event that resulted in a meeting with Devon.

Instead of cancelling on me for this bigger opportunity as many writers would have done, Clayton is a man of commitment and his word and told Devon that he had a write scheduled with me. Devon thought it would be an interesting writing combination, and Clayton and Devon graciously decided to include me in the write.

I remember Devon sitting on the couch by me in the writer room, telling us exactly what he was looking for, and that he was not leaving until we had the right idea. At this time, sync was brand new to me!  

So, all of my rough draft ideas did not fit into the sync world! Panic right?!

Clayton and I frantically started going through our phones for ideas. The first couple did not hit Devon. Then, I brought up an idea I had for “Ashes” that I had come up with just a couple days prior to the write. He liked the idea a lot, and that was our concept for the day. It was a meant to be magic moment.

From there, “From The Ashes” was born. The song basically wrote itself and Devon came back a few hours later, and was pleasantly surprised that we gave him just the kind of song he was looking for to pitch in the sync world and I signed a single-song agreement with Big Yellow Dog and Devon DeVries.  It was a roller coaster ride for sure.

We were all so excited about the song and opportunity and thought it would likely get placed quickly. Here we are six years later, and it finally found a home in episode #609 of “Cold Justice” on the Oxygen network.

I think there are a few important life lessons in my song success story. Thank you for letting me share them with you.

  1. Cancellations– sometimes life events like cancellations that can be frustrating… happen for a reason.
  2. Integrity Matters- if Clayton and Devon weren’t kind enough to include me on this write, the song would not have been written. Clayton and Devon are the exception to the rule in this crazy business.
  3. Timing – sometimes songs, even great ones, take years to find the right home.   
  4. GSC Events – they work!  


GSC Songwriting Tip: Get Noticed by Publishers

Write different subject matters other than just love songs!!

Global Songwriters ConnectionPublishers tell us that one of the best ways for songwriters who are NOT signed to a publisher to get noticed their songs is to be writing something DIFFERENT from what their staff writers are writing and turning into them every day. Write songs about different subject matters–anything other than just love songs. Publishers receive tons of love songs and love songs will always be in style. However, we are trying to INCREASE your chances of being heard.

Below are just a few of the suggestions I have been hearing. I have written them down and included a few links for you. Again, the song itself may be “dated” and from several years back. It is simply the SUBJECT MATTER of the song that publishers say they are not receiving. If you want to help ADD to this list of songs from radio today…shoot me over an email at [email protected] with the title of the song and artist name in the subject line. Hope this helps!

1. Nostalgia Life Story Songs – today’s advertising images are frequently reflective of vintage ads, of days gone by as far back as the 40’s.

a. “The House that Built Me” – Miranda Lambert
b. “Mayberry” – Rascal Flatts

2. Radio Drive Time Songs – tempo, fun songs about WAKING UP or WINDING DOWN the day, the night, the weekend.

a. “Finally Friday” – George Jones
b. “It’s 5:00 Somewhere” – Alan Jackson
c. “Good Morning Beautiful”– Steve Holy
d. Christian Radio had Mandisa’s song “Good Morning” – which was a huge “radio drive time” song. Take a listen and see if can hear WHY radio would love this song!

3. Happy Songs! – the world has so much chaos they need songs to encourage people, get them moving, dancing, feeling hopeful

a. “Great Day to Be Alive” – Travis Tritt
b. “Happy” – Pharrell
c. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake

4. Unity, Hope, Oneness

a. “Get Along” – Kenny Chesney
b. “Come Together” – Beatles
c. “(I’d Like to Teach the Word to sing in) Perfect Harmony” – Roger Cook Song

5. Overcoming Songs/Anthems or if you are an artist Your “Dream” Songs

a. “The Climb” – Miley Cyrus
b. “I’m a Survivor” – Destiny Child
c. “Overcomer” – Mandisa
d. “I’m Gonna Be Somebody Someday” – Travis Tritt
e. “Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow” – Alan Jackson

6. Songs that pay Homage to those who have gone before

a. Alan Jackson – “Midnight in Montgomery”
b. Taylor Swift – “Tim McGraw”
c. Keith Urban – recent tribute to Merle Haggard on Coming Home album
7. Songs about our “insignificance” and/or “power”
a. “Live Like You Are Dying” – Tim McGraw
b. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” – Kenny Chesney
c. “Dust in the Wind”– Kansas


Lyrical Content
Really challenge yourself to say something in fresh and unique ways, like the Pop Genre Song “Consequences” by Camila Cabello. If not, the publishers will be singing Ariana Grande’s song to you “Thank you, NEXT!”
You CAN do this!

Sheree’ Spoltore’

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!





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!


Music Industry Tip: Brand Yourself During the Holidays

Brand yourself over the Holidays! In this 2018 year, through our Publisher Online Pitch (POP) events you have been connecting with great publishers online. Several of you have been meeting with these same publishers, many of you signed single-song contracts, and a few of you signed publishing deals, publisher representation deals, artist development deals, etc.

With each step of these successes, it is important to give thanks. GSC recommends personalized thank-you cards, personalized touring cards, and personalized holiday cards as a great branded way to give thanks and remind the publishers or industry professionals of who you are!

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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.


Sarah DeFors


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.

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Songwriting Tip: How to Ruin a Song Pitch

Dan Refsnyderby Daniel Reifsnyder

1. Talking Yourself Down
A lot of writers are humble, quiet, and avoid the limelight. Some aren’t very good with people skills or networking (one reason some have become writers in the first place). Worse, we are always our own worst critics – I know that’s true in my case, at least. I used to hand over demos to publishers with some sort of preface: “It may not be what you’re looking for…” or “The vocals aren’t up to par…” or “I know it’s a ballad, but…” I stopped when I realized this was, in essence, an apology. An admission, right out of the gate, that what I was presenting wasn’t good enough (or, at the very least, that I thought it might not be). Not only might this turn off a professional listener, but it begs a bigger question: If you don’t think it’s ready, why are you wasting their time? A little faith in yourself goes a long way. I’m not saying to thrust the demo in their face and insist it’s the next big hit, but at least stop shooting yourself down before you start.

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What Publishers are Looking For

GSC members,

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

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

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

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Songwriting Tip: Point A to B

The shortest distance between Point A and Point B is a straight line. If you are writing good songs (Point A) and you want to write great songs (Point B) then the straightest path is through an industry mentor. You’ve just written a hit song (Point A) and you want to get it cut (Point B) then the straightest path is through a reputable publisher or career mentor.

If you are waiting to be discovered, stop waiting and take action. GSC takes a personal approach to all of its services, getting to know you and your goals so we can position you on the straight path with services like our targeted mentoring sessions, Publisher Online Pitch events and the incredible GSC FOCUS event. Make the investment in yourself today and take a look at booking a session with Sheree, Devon or Bruce or a spot (pitch or listen only) in one of our Publisher Online Pitch events.

Songwriting Tip: Getting an Industry Professional to Respond

I am thankful and grateful to have the opportunity to meet with so many wonderful creators. I count it a privilege to be the one to hear the struggle, the challenges, the disappointments, the weariness, and the desire to be successful through your songs.

Often the disappointments happen because you have not heard back from an industry professional after having what you thought was a great meeting. Just know that when you are meeting with an industry pro that they most likely REALLY DID mean everything that they said to you! They really do love your song! They really do want to connect you with that songwriter or whatever the case may be. I cannot speak for all industry professionals, but let me give you a little insight into the GSC day.

Emails – approximately 200 to 300 a day
Facebook Messages – approximately 50 to 100 a day
Facebook Event Invitations – approximately 30 to 60 a day
Phone messages – approximately 50-60 a day

That equals 330 to 520 messages or responses a day! This doesn’t include meetings or any community involvement! To create success for our members, I have to depend on the industry community which means I have to be involved in the community and have real working relationships.

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