Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 11 Issue 9 – September 1996 – Interview: Donnie Fritts

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 11 Issue 9 – September 1996 – Interview: Donnie Fritts

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 11 Issue 9 - September 1996 - Interview: Donnie Fritts

JB#: C000000062-028-001

 Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 11 Issue 9 - September 1996 - Interview: Donnie Fritts

JB #: C000000062-028-002


Table of Contents

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SONGWRITERS EXPO 19 PREVIEW 7-9

INTERVIEW-DONNIE FRITTS 12
With his first album in 20 years about to be released, the “elegant leaning man from Alabama” talks to Richard Younger about a lifetime of songwriting.

MUSICAL NOTES-SUBJECT MATTERS 16
Harriet Schock discusses the importance of unique subject matter, as well as uncommon approaches to everyday subjects.

UPBEAT-EXPO PERSPECTIVES: BE THERE’ 18
Expo veteran Dan Kimpel explains it all for you.

ORGANIZATION NEWS

MEMBER NEWS-NOTEWORTHY-MUSICAL CHAIRS 4
News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members and Pickups.

LASS WEEKLY SCHEDULE 6
Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTM (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).

NAS SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 10-11

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

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Songmine: Tough Enough To Publish Yourself? by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Songmine: Tough Enough To Publish Yourself? by John Braheny

Accession Number: C000000137-024-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: Tough Enough To Publish Yourself? by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

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Songmine by John Braheny

TOUGH ENOUGH TO PUBLISH YOURSELF?

Let’s not debate the fairness of the traditional contract split that gives publishers 50 percent of the copyright on a song. That’s the way it always has been, and that’s the way it is. The fact is that a good publisher can do a lot for you given enough incentive, and that 50 percent is the incentive After all, this is the music business. Let’s look first at what the publisher can and should do for you.

1) Secure recordings of your songs in the United States.

2) Make sub-publishing deals with foreign publishers to get them recorded in other countries.

3)Collect your royalties from record companies and sheet music distributors.

4) Make deals for the sales of sheet music. If your song is a hit, there’s a good market in songbooks, choral and band arrangements.

5) Exploit your songs via airline tapes, commercials, and if the song is successful (don’t cringe) Muzak.

Now, let’s discuss the advantages of having your own publishing company. It’s important because that 50 percent could represent a lot of bread. On the other hand, 50 percent of zero of zero. We at ACSS talk to a lot of songwriters who just “want to own my own company.” Unless you have songs that are about to be recorded, it’s just an ego trip. MBI and ASCAP won’t do the paperwork or clear a name for your company unless you give them a release date on the recording. They found that they were doing tons of needless paperwork to set up companies that never secured a recording. So, you should have a more logical reason than just “wanting your own publishing outfit” if you’re actually going to do it. Here are a few:

1) You’re a good commercial songwriter whose tunes are very coverable and you already have a lot of contacts among producers and artists who’re interested in your songs. In other words, you’re in a position to fulfill a publisher’s major function: getting covers. You should be aware, though, that it takes a lot of time, and follow-up is very important. There are other qualities you should have if you want to do a good job on your own behalf.

You should have the ability to “sell” yourself. Some people sell represent others better than themselves. You should be an aggressive self-starter . You should have the ability to be both creator and businessperson. (Yes, it can be done, and yes, it’s a myth that creative artists always make poor business people.) You should have a great casting sense, that lets you present the right song to the right artist at the right time. Publishers’ reputations are built on their credibility. That’s what gets them back through those producers’ doors’ again.

2) You’re independently wealthy or have financial backing, you write coverable tunes and you can afford to hire someone with with experience and contacts to exploit your songs.

3) You have your own production company or record company and you’re releasing your own product.

4) You’re a recording artist and you’re recording your own songs, and therefore already doing a large share of what a publisher can do for you.

5)You’ve already written commercially successful songs, and it’s easy for you to get in those doors.

6) You’re writing with someone who does well as their own publisher, and you can negotiate a portion of the rights for your own company. If your co-writer is a staff writer with a major company, you’ll find this all but impossible.

7) You’re a writer/artist like Joni Mitchell or a punk band whose songs are unlikely to be recorded by other artists. So you don’t need a publisher.

If you honestly feel you can do a publisher’s job as well as he or she can, go for it. If you’re capable of hustling for yourself, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that someone with your best interests at heart is on the job. You won’t be constantly wondering whether the publisher is ‘sitting on your songs,’ or why he’s avoiding your calls. If someone is not on the case, you have only yourself to blame. Can you handle that?

Another alternative is an administration deal for 15 to 30 percent, depending on how much you want them to do. Next issue, I’ll discuss that species of deal and the mechanics of starting your own company.

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 6 Issue 8 – August 1991 – Interview: Paul Overstreet

Songwriters Musepaper – Voume 6 Issue 8 – August 1991 – Interview: Paul Overstreet

Songwriters Musepaper - Voume 6 Issue 8 - August 1991 - Interview: Paul Overstreet

JB#: C000000062-027-001

Jb C000000062 027 002 

JB #: C000000062-027-002


Table of Contents

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FEATURES
PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE –
THORNS IN THE MUSE’S SIDE 6
Doug Thiele definitely has his reasons why sometimes its just easier to relate to a synthesizer in the studio.

INTERVIEW – PAUL OVERSTREET 7
Setting the pace for Nashville’s writers without cheatin’, drinkin’ or raisin’ hell, Paul Overstreet keeps hitting the top of the Nashville charts with a purposefully uplifting family outlook.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING –
WHY HARMONY? WHY NOT HARMONY? 11
David Cat Cohen discusses how to avoid that one-song stand by writing groove tunes that live on.

MUSICAL NOTES –
WHEN LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT 14
Harriet Schock shares her thoughts on some of the little things that often do make a huge difference.

SPOTLIGHT –
THE ART OF THE SINGER: PREPARING FOR THE STAGE 18
Lis Lewis takes us through the ritual that works for her when its time to get ready to wow ’em.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE –
LOOSE TALK, ETC 20
Hank Linderman reveals his secret way of combating techno-lust when money’s short but the desire to acquire won’t expire.

LASS NEWS
MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS 4
News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and a&r reps are this month, good stuff about our members and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE 13
Cassette Roulette’m (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).

AUGUST 1991 • SONGWRITERS MUSEPAPER

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

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Songmine: The Nashville/LA Barrier Crumbles by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

The Nashville/LA Barrier Crumbles

Accession Number: C000000137-024-001 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: The Nashville/LA Barrier Crumbles by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

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OCTOBER 25 — NOVEMBER 7

Songmine by John Braheny

The Nashville/LA Barrier Crumbles

I recently returned from a trip to Nashville and Atlanta, and like some kind of musical sponge, I soaked up all the information I could hold about the current music scene in those places. At the invitation of Phil Black of the American Song Festival, I attended the party at which ASF announced the winners of their Country Professional and Country Amateur categories. For the first time, the ASF had done its country screening in Nashville, where they could utilize the best ears among country publishers, producers and artists. By doing so, the ASF hoped to avoid criticism regarding the ability of LA’s industry ears to judge country songs.

So, you can imagine that a few people were stunned when the winners were announced and both were from LA. Flip Black also indicated that the preponderance of semi-finalists were also from the West Coast, or at least, not from Nashville. Lest we become smug, let it be noted that the winner of the pop category was from Nashville.

What’s going on here? Those of us in LA who listen to a lot of new writers aren’t at all surprised to hear that some great country songs are written here. But its tough to be a country writer here, thanks to an antagonistic attitude between LA and Nashville that seems at last to be eroding. Nashville’s attitude was that an LA writer wouldn’t know a good country song if it was planted on his butt with a cowboy boot, and when LA writers try to write country it came out too pop or folky. There was so much of this kind of music a few years ago that it came to be called “California country.” Writers were going crazy because LA publishers were saying, “That’s too country for us, take it to Nashville.” And when they tried Nashville, publishers would say, “That’s too pop. Come back when you learn to write a real country song.”

Then along came crossover artists like Olivia Newton John, John Denver, the Eagles, Ronstadt and Kenny Rodgers. From the Nashville end, Crystal Gayle, Dolly Parton and other artists were attempting to cross over to the pop charts and thus double their sales and airplay dollars. What they needed, at that point, was exactly the kind of songs Nashville had been turning down.

Those ideal crossover tunes are still hard to find, but some doors are swinging open. Nashville producers are more receptive to West Coast writers, and there are now a handful of LA publishers who have established a lot of credibility there. Among them is Al Gallico, who’s always had credibility everywhere, Cliffie Stone at ATV, and Dude McLean at MCA. Major publishers like Chappell, Screen Gems/EMI and Warner Bros. also have offices in Nashville, to which they send country and crossover material.

The reverse is also true. Nashville writers turning out good pop tunes have had problems in the past finding publishers with good pop connections. Most pop producers recording in Nashville have already selected their songs in LA, and wouldn’t think of going to Nashville to find good pop tunes. I hope that in future those Nashville writers will find a good reception in this city, and that what happened at this year’s AFS is an indication that musical prejudices which keep writers from finding an audience are at last breaking down.

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 6 Issue 9 – September 1991 – Interview: Oleta Adams

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 6 Issue 9 – September 1991 – Interview: Oleta Adams

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 6 Issue 9 - September 1991 - Interview: Oleta Adams

JB#: C000000062-026-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 6 Issue 9 - September 1991 - Interview: Oleta Adams 

JB #: C000000062-026-002


Table of Contents

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FEATURES INTERVIEW – OLETA ADAMS 7

When it came to writing superb songs, performing her own and other writers’ songs in a style all her own, and being a consummate entertainer, Oleta was always a success. In the past year, though, she made a quantum leap with the release of her new Fontana/Mercury album Circle Of One.

MUSICAL NOTES DAT STALEMATE BROKEN: EVERYONE WINS 11

At last, an agreement between manufacturers of digital audio tape and players and the music industry will make up for home taping losses.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES WRITER PLATEAUS 14

John Braheny makes some sage observations about various stages in the creative development of songwriters.

UPBEAT UCLA WORLD MUSIC DAY 16

Dan Kimpel, our resident World Music fanatic, takes a musical trip you’ll wish you’d been on. . .or maybe you were there, too.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING WHY MELODY? 20

David Cat Cohen explains what makes some melodies live on and on.

LASS NEWS

MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and a&r reps are this month and good stuff about our members and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE 13 Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

0

Songmine: Message Songs Part 2 by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Songmine: Message Songs Part 2 by John Braheny

Accession Number: C000000137-023-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: For the non-writing artist: Where do you find original material by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

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OCTOBER 11— OCTOBER 24

Songmine by John Braheny

Message Songs Part II

In my last column I talked about how not to write a message song. Now, let’s look at what works. It’s true that some people respond to the sledge-hammer, preachy You’ve got to…. You’d better…. Don’t ever school of message song, but I like to think more of us would rather be led gently than driven to enlightenment with a whip. I like songs to involve me in a scene I recognize I’m a part of, or one I feel is cut so realistically from the fabric of life that I could be a part of it. Parables are the best example of that kind of approach. Jesus, Buddha and all the great religious leaders used this type of approach. They were trying to get a message to masses of people and they knew they had to relate those messages to peoples’ real lives. The Good Samaritan was one of Jesus’ best. Wouldn’t you feel great if you wrote a song that 2,000 years later still taught the same message as strongly as it did when it was written?

In contemporary music, one of the best examples of this type of message song comes from Harry Chapin. The message is that we should all try to spend more time with our parents and children. This message is very important in this time when all of us have so many activities that keep us away from each other. Chapin could have written a song that said, “You’d better hand out with your families or your family will die.” Sledge-hammer! No poetry, too general, impersonal and pompous. Instead he wrote Cat’s Cradle.

The song starts out talking about the little boy, who, like most of us, wants to grow up to be like his dad. He wants some attention, which his dad is too busy making a living to give him. By the time the kid’s in high school and Dad has a little time, the kid has his own social life going and just wants to borrow the car. He gets married and has a son of his own and the old man, who finally longs for some companion-ship, finds that his son has, indeed, grown up to be just like him and doesn’t have time to see his dad. Chapin doesn’t give us any “You should” here. He doesn’t have to. He held a mirror to my life that made me call my father. He did it with real-life dialog and situations we’ve all been in. He also did it from a first-person point-of-view.

The point-of-view is very im-portant in message songs. I think it’s effective to describe a situation in terms of your own personal involvement. If you’re offering a message, you’re really being a kind of salesman. Testimonials are al-ways very effective sales devices. A good approach is to let people in on your own discovery. What got you so excited that you wanted to tell us about it. The idea is that perhaps your enthusiasm will motivate us without your having to preach to us.

Another effective thing about the first person (I, we) approach is that, assuming that put the song together in a way that makes people want to sing along with you, you’ll have them internalizing the message by saying “I” or “we” with you. Another effective point-of-view is that of the seemingly uninvolved storyteller who doesn’t moralize because, if the story is told well, there’s no need for it. One of the most powerful I’ve heard is Dylan’s Ballad of Hollis Brown, about a man who kills his family and himself rather than see them starve to death because he can’t find a job. Dylan wrote many other powerful songs in this way. Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City is another good ex-ample.

I don’t mean to imply that there are only a few approaches to writing effective message songs. What I’m focusing on here is ways to write for mass audiences who don’t necessarily share your point-of-view. You can use a “sledge-hammer” approach as a rallying song for people who are already on your side. You can use humor, satire, anything that works. And don’t forget that the music is also very important in helping people to hear the message, and remember it.

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


0

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 6 Issue 2 – February 1991 – Interview: Mary Chapin-Carpenter

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 6 Issue 2 – Interview: Mary Chapin-Carpenter

Songwriters Musepaper = Volume 6 Issue 2 - Interview: Mary Chapin-Carpenter

JB#: C000000062-025-001

Songwriters Musepaper = Volume 6 Issue 2 - Interview: Mary Chapin-Carpenter

JB #: C000000062-025-002


Table of Contents

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INTERVIEW – MARY-CHAPIN CARPENTER 7

This Grammy nominee is one of the fastest rising stars in the country sky. John Braheny explores her writing muse.

VIRGIN WATERS FOR THE SONGWRITER: ARTIST MANAGERS 10

Tory Gullett gives you some good advice on an often overlooked approach to pitching tunes.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES – SONG SHARKS 12 Veteran writer Robert B. Sour gives you another warning.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING -HOME ON THE INTERVALLIC RANGE 14

David Cat Cohen shows you how to analyze a song’s range and apply it to artists you’re pitching to.

OFF THE RECORD: AN ORAL HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC -STING 15

We excerpt the chapter on Sting from Capitol/EMI chairman Joe Smith’s great collection of interviews.

FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE -THE FLOW OF MUSIC 17

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s new book is a primer for experiencing life to its fullest. We excerpt a chapter that we hope will turn you on to the rest of it.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE – THE ALESIS SR-16 DRUM MACHINE 20

Hank Linderman puts the new Alesis machine to the test and loves it.

LASS NEWS

MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and a&r reps are this month, good stuff about our members and PickUps.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE 25

Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).

FEBRUARY 1991 • SONGWRITERS MUSEPAPER 3

 

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

 

 
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Songmine: Message Songs Part 1 by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

http://johnbraheny.com/2016/05/26/songmine-rhyme-by-john-braheny/

Accession Number: C000000137-023-001 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: For the non-writing artist: Where do you find original material by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

Songmine by John Braheny

Message Songs Part 1

It seems most songwriters, particularly in the early stages of their development, are motivated primarily by the need to express some kind of emotional turmoil. Most often it’s “my baby left me,” or “I’m so lonely,” or “he/she’s cheatin’ on me” — all negative downers. At the time the exper-ience always feels unique, as though you’re the only one able to feel such pain. But intellectually, we know how common this situation really is. It just seems that in times of heavy stress, our ability to think rationally is temporarily on vac-ation. 

Consequently, when the pro-fessional songwriter in us looks back on those songs after we’ve cooled out, we’re amazed at how trite and unimaginative those “agony” songs are. Not that the state doesn’t occasionally spawn something profound; but most of-ten, it just spawns self-indulgence. Nothing wrong with that as therapy. J ust don’t get the idea that because you wrote a song in a heavy emotional state, it’s automatically going to turn out fantastic. 

Another genre of song that grows out of a strong emotional state, though often a more positive one, is the message song. Even though it’s positive, it usually has similar results. You’ve just had a religious experience, or your first acid trip, or both, and you must tell the world about your great revel-ation. The spirits, in their infinite variety, have laid a great truth on you and as a musician and song-writer, you’re uniquely qualified to spread the word. 

“Oh wow,” you say, “God is love, love is God, we are all one! If we all, at this exact moment, think about love and peace, the wars would all stop and we could save the world. Hey, if I write a song about it, maybe it’ll really happen.” So you dash off the song. After all, this is a very important message, and you don’t want to bother with all those crass commercial techniques like rhyme and metre. They seem so unimportant next to the innate power of the message. You just know that when you sing it, everyone within earshot will auto-matically share your feelings. 

Wrong! Suddenly, as you play the song for a publisher, or even for someone on the street, reality becomes a new revelation. You realize this person a) doesn’t care, b)has heard it all before and it doesn’t make any more sense now than it ever did, or c) he already shares your belief and is bored by the way you stated it. You’ve told it the way you felt it, but failed to communicate it to someone who needs the message, or failed to move someone who .already knows it by not presenting it in a fresh, new way. 

As a listener, I have one demand: Don’t preach to me! If I want to be preached at, I’ll go to church. If I need guidance, I’ll look for someone with credentials, and your acid trip or religious exper-ience doesn’t necessarily qualify you. 

As a person who listens to thousands of new songs, I’ll say that very few “message” songs actually communicate their message. If the lyric is weak, the music has to be doubly strong to make up for it. The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love is one of the tritest lyrics on paper, but it works, thanks to the Beatles’ fame, an interesting melody, a 7/4 time signature and a great production. Without a power-ful musical vehicle, the words have to stand on their own. 

Len Chandler and I have a code for a particularly preachy kind of stance. We call it M.O.M., for man on mountain: “I, at my tender age, have glimpsed the secret of the universe, and I’m going to tell all you peons how to live your lives.” 

I hope it doesn’t sound as _though I’m anti message songs. On the contrary, I don’t think there are enough effective ones around. I’d just like people to take their mess-ages seriously enough to devote some time and craft to ensuring 1 receive it. 

Next week — message songs that work. 

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.

0

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 9 Issue 10 – October 1994 – Interview: Paula Cole

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 9 Issue 10 – October 1994 – Interview: Paula Cole

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 9 Issue 10 - October 1994 - Interview: Paula Cole

JB#: C000000062-024-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 9 Issue 10 - October 1994 - Interview: Paula Cole

JB #: C000000062-024-002


Table of Contents

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

INTERVIEW – PAULA COLE 7
If you haven’t already heard Paula Cole, you’re in for a treat. John Braheny interviews an exceptional new artist you’ll hear a lot more from in the coming years.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE -REVIEW OF 1994 SOURCE BOOKS 9
Publicist Jim Doyle compares several sources of music industry information that you can use to take care of business.

MUSICAL NOTES -WRITING FROM THE INSIDE 10
Songwriter and teacher Harriet Schock takes you inside the “In Harmony With The Homeless” project.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE – A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS 11
Lyric teacher K.A. Parker recognizes her own songwriting or getting-ready-to-write rituals and helps you get a handle on yours.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING -THE POWER OF FORM PT. 3 13
John Braheny concludes his three part series on form with a discussion of verse-chorus forms.

SPOTLIGHT -WE CAN WORK IT OUT: MEDIATION IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS 14
Mediator Matt Kramer gives us the basics on an alternative to litigation and arbitration in solving both business and personal problems.

LASS NEWS
MEMBERS NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS 4
News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members and Pickups. WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE 6 Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts.)

OCTOBER 1994 • SONGWRITERS MUSEPAPER 3

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

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Songmine: Rhyme by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Songmine: Rhyme by John Braheny

Accession Number: C000000137-022-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: For the non-writing artist: Where do you find original material by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

SEPTEMBER 13—SEPTEMBER 26
Songmine by John Braheny

RHYME
I’d guess that 98 percent of all commercially successful songs use rhyme. Why is it so important? What rhymes do or don’t work?

There’s a reason why people still remember nursery rhymes they learned when they were four years old. The rhymes are strong and predictable, the metre is solid and consistent. Together, rhyme and metre act as an effective trigger to the memory. How many lyrics do you think you’d remember if noth-ing rhymed?

Rhyme is a tool you can’t afford to ignore. To deliberately drop it just to be different isn’t a sensible attitude for someone trying to be a successful songwriter. Not that there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but why buck the odds?

The constant creative challenge is to find the best rhymes possible and still retain the flow of natural speech patterns, while at the same time not compromising content and mood. If you read the lines aloud they should feel as natural as conversation. Every line presents a new challenge and it may be that you’ll need to choose a less-than-perfect rhyme for the sake of naturalness. It’s more important to go that way than to use a rhyme for cleverness’ sake and leave us won-dering what you’re talking about.

The common failing among songwriters is that they say what they want to say in the first two lines, and instead of finding an equally strong statement to finish the verse, settle for a weaker line with a better rhyme. Sure, you save some work, but you’ve also weak-ened your song. You could have written several versions of the first two lines to come up with an end word that offered more rhyming possibilities, and thus giving you more latitude to say what you want to say.

Some common problems with rhyme:

•1NVERSIONS involve twisting the order of words so as to use a rhyme which wouldn’t naturally occur at that point. It almost always feels awkward. Here’s an example:

I never knew how much I’d missed
Until your candy lips I kissed

In this situation, I’d go for “lips” as the end rhyme, even though it lacks the perfection of “missed/kissed.” “Till I kissed your candy lips ” just feels more natural.

• IDENTITIES are not rhymes. It’s better not to use the same word for a rhyme, or words that sound identical even though spelt differ-ently, like bear and bare. This isn’t a hard and fast rule. It just sounds sloppy, like you didn’t try. Common exceptions include the building of a hook that repeats lines or ends of lines, like “Gonna talk about it/ Gonna shout about it/Gonna sing about it/There’s no doubt about it.”

• ASSONANCE is the agreement of vowel sounds that don’t naturally occur in words ending in the same sound. “Feed/sleep” and “taste/ lame” are examples. They’re great as a kind of “inside rhyme,” occurring within one line, but don’t usually make it as end rhymes. Ones that do work, like “home/ alone,” place heavy emphasis on the vowels when sung. But don’t get carried away and use this or other poetic devices in anything but clever, novelty songs. Ideally, you should aim at using them without sacrificing naturalness.

•SLANG is a great source of new rhymes and many hits have been based on slang words and ex-pressions. But there’s a major drawback, if you’re trying to write a song people will record 20 years hence. By then, the slang we use today may sound really dumb. I mean, would anybody record a song today with “the cat’s meow” or “23 skidoo” in it? Even groovy _ feels dated, and not so long ago it felt absolutely appropriate in Simon and Garfunkel’s 59th Street Bridge Song. But let’s face it; is Paul Simon reprimanding himself all the way to the bank?

• COLLOQUIAL PRONUNCIATION is a device similar to the preceeding one. Here the drawback is not change in fashion, but the reduced ability of other artists to record the song. It’s good to be able to tailor a song to a particular musical style, like country or R&B, and use the pronunciations common in that style; rhyme lime (lame) with time, or thang (thing) with hang. But bear in mind that you’re limiting the coverage of those songs to artists’ who are comfortable with those styles and pronunciations.

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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