I'm so happy to have one of my oldest friends, co-writers and the person I trust more than anyone I've ever met in music writing a guest blog. She's also joined me at iDoCoach and has started coaching songwriters and taking them deep inside Nashville. No one knows the in's and out's better than Kye. For info on Kyes coaching click here.
So you want to know what a publisher thinks of your songwriting?
Recently, I was asked to listen to a couple of songs and give my opinion about a young songwriter’s potential.
My Experience: I started writing songs when I was 12. After a long and rewarding career as a songwriter, it was a natural progression for me to want help young writers who are trying to break into the “business” of songwriting. I became a publisher, a writer/artist manager, a cheer leader, and perhaps most importantly, a therapist.
My Disclaimer: It’s an opinion. I will have an emotional response of some kind as I listen to a song. If I am being asked my opinion, my linear left-brain will be interrupting my creative right-brain in order to make a “judgement” that is based on personal experience. So be aware that what a publisher might say about a writer or their songs will be affected by 1. the mood they are already in, 2. how tired they might be 3. how rushed they might feel 4. their personal experience in the business 5. an infinite number of other things.
In other words, don’t let someone else's opinion make or break you.
So here was my response to a publisher friend who was mentoring this songwriter.
I like that song a lot. Well written and good demo. My immediate response is that it sounds like it’s from another era of country music .. one that I loved.. but the bar for songs in that vein is set pretty high right now by Brandy Clark !
It's a similar style of writing, and not very mainstream unless the ideas are KILLER…example: Better Dig Two, Mama's Broken Heart, Stripes... all lyrically brilliant and musically fun and fresh.
To be fair to your girl, Brandy has been here for years and developed her writing alongside other A team co-writers too.
As you know, there's more to the equation than “is she a good writer” or “is this a good song” .. Whew..
Looking back at Brandy’s career for a minute...
It was during the time you and I were sharing an office with Stephanie Cox, YEARS ago, Steph asked me to meet with Brandy Clark and listen to some of her songs. Brandy had come here from Washington state to go to belmont college around 1998, so this was somewhere around 2001 . Steph was looking for an investor so she could offer her a publishing deal. I saw the potential and I thought Brandy was adorable, but I knew she would need time and attention to develop, and I was already committed to other projects. But Steph found the first investor and signed Brandy to a publishing deal. By the way, there’s a reason some people have called this a 10 year town! Steph hung in there as her publisher, finding investor after investor for Brandy, believing in her and not asking her to write what everyone else was writing. Brandy kept honing her unique style until her songs eventually started finding an audience. Fast forward 10 or more years..
Brandy now has major artists having hits with her songs and she has a critically acclaimed recording of her own just out. So, against the odds of the music “business”, she is finally enjoying rave reviews for her quirky and unique style which could never fit mainstream radio…
So you tell me what the hidden factors are in a Cinderella Story!
“Your girl is good.” That's what I said about Brandy years ago.
Song of the Year — "Mama's Broken Heart”
Song of the Year - "Follow Your Arrow”
Nominated- New Artist of the Year
Nominated Best Country Album - 12 Stories
Nominated Best New Artist
"Kye Fleming is a rarity, a bridge between traditional and modern country music and a creative force who helped expand Nashville's reach. Her songs helped redefine and revitalize a genre. A two-time BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year and three-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year with 38 BMI Awards across multiple genres, 15 of her songs have generated more than 1 million performances each. As a modern-day pioneer, she shattered glass ceilings for women and for all songwriters who refused to be stuffed into a category, and we at BMI couldn't be prouder of her accomplishments.”