The Long Winding Road – to Song Cuts and Signed!


Avrim TopelI first sought out Sheree Spoltore and joined GSC back in 2015 after several years of frustration and desperation from having my songs repeatedly rejected. In my first meetings, I brought Sheree 30 songs and asked her to listen to them, identify my strengths and weaknesses, and chart me a path to become a better songwriter. Since then, it’s been a long and winding road.

Shortly thereafter, I also joined Songtown and participated in their many wonderful services. With time I became more and more active with both organizations eventually leveling off around 2018 by attending every GSC FOCUS Retreat and every Songtown Pro-Writer Retreat offered.  In addition, I started writing with Artists on my journey.

My consistency in “showing up” and willingness to be coachable…. started to make a difference!  Looking back, I see that clearly as I have extensive working relationships with pro songwriters and publishers that I never would have had.

Since that first meeting with Sheree’ and my many efforts, my songs have been picked up by top publishers and song pluggers in Nashville and LA including holds by major artists.  More recently my songs have been cut and signed through GSC events and relationships!  Read on….

I could go on and on about the many and various efforts I have made to become a better writer. My efforts have even been recognized with music industry awards!!  However, what is important in what I’ve done is this; by continuously showing up, working hard, and being coachable….. I’ve grown into a better songwriting.

A few years back, a major songwriting publisher contacted Sheree and volunteered to mentor me. He recognized something in me and my songwriting and work ethic that he thought was promising. As you can imagine, this meant the world to me! With all of the rejection in this business, every affirmation and attaboy is worth its weight in gold.

About a year and a half ago I received a phone call from another major music publisher I met through GSC, who told me he had pitched one of his writer’s songs to an artist who was going to cut it, and that I was a co-writer on. When he asked me if he could represent my publishing, I was ecstatic. This same publisher was someone who had selected another one of my songs at a Publisher Pitch event 6 months prior, so I was definitely getting his attention.

From this call, I kept our relationship alive by staying in touch and sending him occasional songs. Lo and behold, in November he wrote me saying a Grammy-nominated artist who he had pitched another song of mine to was putting it on her new album.

Two weeks later, the publisher who had offered to mentor me wrote asking for my new mailing address…he was sending me a single-song contract for a song I had sent him last year!

And just last week, a GSC member/co-writer friend of mine wrote me and another GSC member letting us know that a label had written him revealing that a new rising star Country artist was cutting our song!  All at once, it seems, my songs are seeing success, but really…it has been a long and winding road.

Until last June I had pretty much ignored writing for the sync/film/tv market. Then Sheree called me and told me she really wanted me to give it a shot by attending a special “invite only” retreat learning from top sync songwriters and industry professionals.  She felt I had the talent for the sync market as she heard that market in the chords and styling of my music. I confess, I reluctantly agreed.

Long story short, I fell in love with this part of the songwriting universe. I felt it gave my songwriting a newfound freedom. I dove in, and a few months later wound up with two single-song contracts for two solo written sync songs with one of the top LA sync publishing companies in the business that I connected with at the GSC FOCUS Retreat.

My most important takeaway from my GSC experience today is this; a few years back my songwriting was not what it is today, and I knew very few pro writers, artists, music publishers and industry professionals. Today I have dozens of these folks I consider my peers and close friends.  My writing has greatly improved simply by showing up, remaining open and teachable. More importantly, I am doing what I love to do and having fun. AND…my songs are getting cut by artist and signed!

For calendar year 2022, I’m taking my songwriting commitment to the next level by meeting with Sheree two times a month as she helps me focus to continue to grow. How could I not take this opportunity when the first 6 or 7 years with GSC have exceeded my expectations.

I’m a lucky guy!  There’s nothing more, I’d rather be doing than songwriting. I’m grateful every day for having the GSC family in my life.