By Kelli Johnson
GSC 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.