Could someone please interpret this result for me? MAB?

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May 08, 2018, 11:24 PM

LOL Jenny! You got a lot out of that.

All these were done a while ago, was just the first thing I could find on Tony and a few of those others were close to those on YOU TUBE. I was in a hurry so just found what I could.

On the “woman” thing. Traditionally, women sell 1/6th of what men do. So you don’t have as much of a woman force. But over the past 3-4 years the girls have really come on strong. There are about three women, Liz Rose (helped develop Taylor Swift and is a monster writer herself) Kacey Musgraves, Hillary Lindesy, Maren Norris, Lori McKenna” who have been cleaning up on the charts. It comes in waves. You will usually get this big swing that it’s all guys, then there will be a wave of all women and back and forth.

A lot has to do with the “follow the leader” nature of the entertainment business. When someone gets hot, everyone wants something JUST like that. The labels, publishers, etc. So you start hearing very similar things over and over again. The hit writers will get a bunch of cuts all around the same time. And it gets really funny how all this happens.

Dave Berg, went for years with NOTHING. Then he got “Watching Airplanes” “if You’re going through Hell, Keep on Going” and two other number ones all just about the same time. Chris Wallin, (one of the guys in that multiple group) knocked himself out of number one when he had a Montgomery Gentry song, then at the same time he had a George Strait, number two, which knocked his first song out of the top 5.

Most of us fight just to get one, but sometimes lightning will strike multiple times. And there is the timing factor that you can;t define. Some times you’ll have multiple songs all written about the same time and nothing happens. Then boom, one goes off, record companies all are trying to follow the latest hit, and you get a BOOM, BOOM, BOOM effect as just coincidence that they all come around at the same time.
You might have an artist or group that you’ve written several things with (usually 3-5 years before) and they get hot and just several of the songs all pop up.

I’ve known of writers that get multiple cuts on the same song, and then for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out and a few years later, it pops out. The song I was doing here, “Can’t Blame Nobody But Me” has been cut 13 times but never became a single. You get songs that get cut and then don’t make the final CD. Most projects will have 14-15 songs they cut and then only have 10-12 on the final product. Ever see a “Greatest hits” record with “TWO BONUS TRACKS?” where do you think that comes from? Songs that didn’t make the other CD’s.

Of course, now, with most everyone just doing singles, one or two songs at a time, instead of a 12 song CD, means less songs being cut.
The current CD I am about to release (that’s a weird word now, EVERYTHING is a “RELEASE”) is probably going to be my LAST CD. the reason is that no one does physical product anymore. It’s mostly digital.

But what you saw in those videos, for the most part is us. I just got back from a “guitar pull” (you have to PULL the guitar out of someone else’s hands if you want to play.) It’s the main form we all do here. Just a bunch of people sitting in a room, playing songs as it goes around. Can get really weird, when there are like 25 people in a “round.” Can take an hour or two just to get back around to your turn. But it teaches you to not waste time in your songs. You learn all the things NOT TO DO, playing in those things.

Well glad you got a little taste of Nashville. One thing about this place is. You NEVER know who you might be sitting next to. And a lot of times someone will hit you with these MONSTER lyrics and songs that just BLOW YOU AWAY.

Keeps you on your toes.
MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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May 09, 2018, 06:04 AM

Guitar pull? As in actually take the guitar away from them? I think I’d be too polite for that.

Regarding CDs. We’ve found a great little outfit that does CDs on demand. It’s great because you’re not having to carry stock that you’re probably not going to sell. We can buy a small supply for promo purposes and then if Mr Joe Public wants a CD, he can order one too. I’ve a songwriting friend in the UK who has just put out his third album. He does very well in his niche and has a wonderful Patreon project going which makes it possible for him to write/play full time. BUT, last week he received four cases of CDs. He showed me a picture. It was a beautiful thing to see, but I couldn’t get over the investment risk. In this day and age it’s insane to put so much capital into a near dead market. His thought was to take orders personally and sign each one. It’s a lovely idea, but not very plugged in to reality.

Here’s another question for you. When you were singing “Can’t Blame Nobody But Me” and then when Tony sang “A Little Past Little Rock” I found myself singing along in parts. What’s the etiquette for that kind of thing, Marc? If, for instance, that unnamed woman who was on stage with you started harmonizing with you, would you think “Oi, get outta my song!” or “Dig it. Thank you.” Is there an unspoken rule? I’ve got friends whom I wouldn’t hesitate to give some quiet vocal support unbidden (nothing overpowering, just complimentary), but if you’re sharing a stage with someone but don’t have a long history with the person, would it seem presumptuous to join in? That scenario isn’t really relevant to my situation. If I’m up on stage with someone, then I’ve been invited to sing so it’s a non-issue. I’m just curious what the etiquette is.

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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May 09, 2018, 07:50 AM

Hey Jenny. The “Guitar pull” is a joke. It is really called a “pull” because it is a bunch of people “pulling songs out of the air.” Just a name that Nashville has had forever. Another term could be called “jam”, but since they are planned out songs, there is not that much “jamming” on them.

And that is a good question about the etiquette. For me, I write most of my songs where you can sing them from the very beginning. That is actually the mark of a hit song, that people can either hum or sing along having never heard it before .It’s called “AIR OF FAMILIARITY” and is a hallmark of hit and really well written songs. And I hope I make it easy for people to sing along. If they don’t, I haven’t exactly done my job.

The song I played there and that show was interesting. “CAN’T BLAME NOBODY BUT ME” was one of my most famous songs when I moved to town. It was a “barn burner” always the last song and one that sent the crowds and other writers and performers into singing fits. I would have huge artists and writers like TOWNES VAN ZANT (very legendary writer, and I told the Townes story in this video) who sang or commented on it. It was a funny thing about that song in that record companies, producers, all seemed to know about it. People would approach me at parties and talk about it. Not just in Nashville. I had heard people talking about it in LA and New York, London, etc. Was one of those songs EVERYBODY thought was going to be a big hit. Was even approached by Garth Brooks and his manager Bob Doyle, (before he signed his record deal).

I’ve been fortunate to have a few of those. Songs everyone seems to know. In fact, this new CD, “A LIFE WELL LIVED” is really about that. They are ten of the most requested songs I have ever had all re-recorded, and remastered.

The show that video recorded was in Huntsville Alabama about three years ago. The girl and guy onstage are Gary Lloyd and his daughter Mara. When I first moved to town, Gary hosted the hottest writers night there was. People like Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Vince Gill, and others would come by to play that writers night before anyone was really known. They all seemed to think I was going to be the STAR and Gary would always put me on last, as the big finish. That song was the one everybody knew.
I had not seen Gary for about 20 years before that night. His daughter was not even born yet. Before we went on that night, she came up and was talking about all the things her Dad and mother used to say about me, she had heard all kinds of things but never met me and always heard about that song.

So the etiquette varies, but most of the time SINGING ALONG WITH IT is encouraged. Now what is NOT encouraged and has to be approached carefully is PLAYING on the songs. A lot of people want to go off on solos, put their own parts in and sometimes can be fine, if they are great players, but a lot of time, is wasted time. I don’t WRITE solos. l am a singer and my songs are really, really tightly written. Throughout my career, solos, guitar, keyboard, drums, bass, etc. were just things that bored me. So I don’t put them in my songs. I do have sections of songs, Turnarounds, bridge sections, etc. in the body of the song that someone can throw in a little sweetening.

But the more experienced people know when to play and when NOT to play. Younger kids are all about themselves. They just play all over the place, and I WILL tell them to STOP. One night, this 14 year old Fiddle player got up to play with me and was so excited, he was just playing all over the place. Not very well I might add. His parents thought he was a lot better than he was. In one of the “breaks” of my song, I grabbed his fiddle’s neck and put my hands over the strings so he couldn’t make a sound. Lesson learned.

On “physical CD’s” I ALWAYS get short runs. Never more than a couple hundred at a time. Many are giveaways. You always run into people who have a local radio station or might be producers, publishers, and ESPECIALLY potential artists who hear you and might be interested in recording your song. Can’t let an opportunity go to waste. So you can’t always get paid for CD’s. One of the reasons it costs so much for major label artists, is that a HUGE amount of product are PROMOTIONAL. Thousands of copies are just giveaways. So you have to have some for just general purposes, and yes, you do sell some of them.
But going to get THOUSANDS?” Nonsense. Takes up too much space and involved too much capital outlay.

My new one is sort of a “here is what I do” and like most of the things I do are a TEACHING LESSON with PRACTICAL APPLICATION EFFECT. I have to practice what I preach and if I tell other people, you have to have a demonstration of what you do, I have to do it too.

Good to hear from you Jenny, Jenny? Do you get that one a lot? In the 80’s, there was a band TOMMY TUTONE with a song called 867-5309.
Was a huge hit written by a friend of mine Alex Call.

“Jenny, Jenny who can I turn to? (8675309….)”

A lot of phone companies had to discontinue that number because people were getting calls all the time day and night.

A funny thing about music. Sometimes you can tell when a woman was born by knowing what songs were on the radio at that time:

CELIA- SIMON AND GARFUNKLE- 1968
“SHERRY”- THE FOUR SEASONS- 1967
BRANDY, YOU’RE A FINE GIRL- LOOKING GLASS- 1972
AMIE- PURE PRARIE LEAGUE- 1974
MY MARIA- BW STEVENSON- 1972 (I actually know the woman that one was written about)

Usually those songs were on the radio when the parents (or grandparents) were just starting out and….um…there were more than a few CONCEIVED to those songs. And yes, I’ve had a few songs that did that too. LOL! To date, I seem to be “responsible” for 8 children that were conceived after one of my shows.

Fun times.
MAB

[ Edited: 09 May 2018 08:05 AM by MBarne4908]
 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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May 09, 2018, 11:56 AM

Jenny, sorry if I took your thread into the weeds. My comments about persona were meant to be general and the Nashville references specific examples. If someone is trying to write for others, how the artist represents him or herself is an important consideration and is often overlooked. I guess you could file it somewhere in the critique of certain contest songs.

BTW, I visited your site. It has a great look and “Slave” is a well written song. I particularly liked the then and now aspect of the video. It’s striking and really brings your point home. Well done! Is there any possibility of radio airplay to let more folks know you’re out there?

 
     
LoRez Joined Jan 14, 2018
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May 09, 2018, 01:02 PM

Loraz,

One of the things about these threads is they will often go all over the place. While I can’t speak for Jenny, it actually serves a purpose and helps me illustrate some things that play into the overall topic. A thing about “CONTESTS” are that they are generally done by amateurs. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way more a designation of experience. The same as a church softball league outfielder is not going to suddenly be a World Series pitcher for the New York Yankees. It is just a different level.

We hear it a lot in this town because there are a lot of amateurs all coming in and trying to do this. WE all do shows constantly and usually on an average writers night will have 20-35 of those people playing. Then the “feature” who is usually a professional writer, will take the stage, and the difference is night and day. The songs are MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER, make their points, are instantly recognizable (even if they haven’t been hits) and you can tell there is a complete different in everything from the writing to the presentation. The same as if a church softball player actually ever got on the field with a pro team. The amateur would be destroyed. Just a different level.

When you mentioned Tony, that was a great in to show some differences in the writing levels. Jenny, who is in New Zealand, doesn’t get to see a lot of the people we do in the states and so it is a great way to show her what we are talking about. But when you see it up close and personal it makes a huge difference.

It is the reason I do wish every writer could at least visit Nashville to soak up the experience. There are some really amazing people that come here, become part of the fabric of the town, and in some cases take off, but not always.

A few years ago, a friend of mine brought a friend of his from California, to town. They were friends and co-writers and my friend had been coming back and forth for several years. His friend had never been here and while not terrible, was FAR FROM the level you have to be here. But he thought he was AMAZING! So they came into town and first heard a few people perform that were about the same level or less. His friend got pumped up and thought “Wait’ll they get a load of me..” Okay.  He actually did get a chance to play two songs on an open mic, and while he thought he did great, really got very little reaction.

The next night he came to see a show that I was on. There were nine other people playing before my set. Each one was a hit writer with notable songs. With each one, you could see him start to get weaker and weaker. My friend would come over and talk to me, and say “he’s getting it now.” And I saw it. With each performer he sort of got this sheepish look. And he would ask, “does that guy/girl have a deal?” Nope. was the answer most of the time. Finally it was our set.

I was performing with Jimbeau Hinson, my best writer friend two number ones and a Grammy Nomination. And Jefferey Steel, who at that time had 187 cuts about 30 top 30’s, 15 top tens and 11 number ones and every award you can win. And literally the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN of country. And dragging up the rear, was me.

We had a set that would rip your head off. Up tempo, very aggressive, every song a monster. The audience was blown away and we were having the time of our lives. With each song the out of town guy sort of sank deeper into his chair. After the show he left and never said another word about trying to be in Nashville again.

This is the big leagues folks. You get hot or go home. The contests never show that. They are simply very short attention spans of back patting. Gotta do a lot more to do this.

Want to see the KING? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ev-0l8YDHo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYG74rJW19w

Here’s me and Jimbeau in Atlanta doing his 1995 Country song of the Year “PARTY CROWD” 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRQnNd8iTUs

And our requested I’VE GOT A THANG FOR YOU   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MesEOsCjet0

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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May 09, 2018, 06:02 PM
MBarne4908 - 09 May 2018 07:50 AM

Hey Jenny. The “Guitar pull” is a joke. It is really called a “pull” because it is a bunch of people “pulling songs out of the air.”
.....
And that is a good question about the etiquette. For me, I write most of my songs where you can sing them from the very beginning. That is actually the mark of a hit song, that people can either hum or sing along having never heard it before .It’s called “AIR OF FAMILIARITY” and is a hallmark of hit and really well written songs. And I hope I make it easy for people to sing along. If they don’t, I haven’t exactly done my job.
.....
So the etiquette varies, but most of the time SINGING ALONG WITH IT is encouraged. Now what is NOT encouraged and has to be approached carefully is PLAYING on the songs. A lot of people want to go off on solos, put their own parts in and sometimes can be fine, if they are great players, but a lot of time, is wasted time.
.....
MAB

“Good to hear from you Jenny, Jenny? Do you get that one a lot? In the 80’s, there was a band TOMMY TUTONE with a song called 867-5309.”

Nope. You’re the first Marc. Neat song. Thanks for that.

I’ve just one thing to say to you about the guitar pull gag: Grrrrrrr.

“An air of familiarity?” Good one to know and aim for. It’s funny that some of these songwriting secrets are right there all along in front of your face. Of course we all know the sort of songs your’re talking about….those songs that get you singing from the first listen, but somehow, knowing that isn’t the same as being conscious of it. Somehow, your naming it makes it a thing. I find that happens a lot when I have conversations with you Marc.

Jen

[ Edited: 09 May 2018 06:45 PM by Jenny Stokes]

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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May 09, 2018, 06:43 PM
LoRez - 09 May 2018 11:56 AM

Jenny, sorry if I took your thread into the weeds. My comments about persona were meant to be general and the Nashville references specific examples. If someone is trying to write for others, how the artist represents him or herself is an important consideration and is often overlooked. I guess you could file it somewhere in the critique of certain contest songs.

BTW, I visited your site. It has a great look and “Slave” is a well written song. I particularly liked the then and now aspect of the video. It’s striking and really brings your point home. Well done! Is there any possibility of radio airplay to let more folks know you’re out there?

Hiya LoRez. No weeds here, just organic conversation that you are more than welcome to join. We’re just meandering all over the show here. Ain’t it great?! I think it’s valuable for everyone to have these conversations out in the open so that everyone can benefit from Marc’s vast experience.

The persona question is an interesting one for sure. It’s a particularly tricky question when songwriters are doing more and more online. If you’ve never met the person, how do you tailor a song for them? It’s a hard one for sure.

Thank you for your lovely comments about our song, Slave. It’s part of a larger concept album that tells the story of Hatshepsut a female Pharaoh of ancient Egypt. It’s been a very rewarding project. We’ve been connecting with people all around the world through the project. It’s been fascinating. I can’t agree more with your comments about the video. I love it. John is a whiz at making videos. I’m very blessed to work with him.

Radio? I don’t think we’re quite ready for radio. John and I self produce all of our stuff and neither of us is a trained sound guy. I had a producer friend of mine listen to a few of our tracks from our first album. His comments about our sound quality were very sobering. That said, we’ve come a long way with our mixing skills on our latest album so maybe we’ll get there eventually. I’m not holding my breath though.

Thankfully, in NZ there is great support for locally produced music so that’s where I’d start. Not yet though, but watch this space.  :)

Jen

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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May 09, 2018, 09:22 PM

Jenny,

“Air of familiarity works in a lot of different ways. Advertisers will use it to capture a moment in people’s lives, and use it to sell a product. I can’t tell you exactly how they do it in your country, but here it goes something like this:

There is a product here called a “SWIFTER” mop. It is a dry mop that people use to sweep their floors and has a lint cloth that picks up dust and dirt. Very handy if you don’t have a huge clean up job. The company who makes it, will license rock hit music from the 70’s and 80’s Songs like “SWEET DREAMS” and “KICKING IT OUT” from the group HEART. The reason they do that is because the women who are the main customers for that mop, were TEENAGERS in the 70’s and 80’s and now are in their late 30’s, and 40’s. So they REMEMBER those songs were on the radio when they were young and it draws attention to the product.

They do the same thing with guys in certain car commercials. Usually the more upscale cars. In those commercials, there wil be songs playing on the radio of the car, that are from the 70’s and 80’s, and sometimes 90’s. But they are targeting the guys who are 38-60 years old who remember when that was on the radio.

We do it in music when we get a groove, feel, tempos, that mirror something people know. Since it’s so easy to go “cookie cutter” with so many modern songs, if you go back a little bit, you can craft songs for an artist that is very familar to them. If you write them correctly, it hits the audience the same way.

I have a client who lives in Cairns’ Australia. He works with an artist over there and send me information on their area. I find certain styles and grooves and help put lyrics into that format. Then they take what I’ve done and put their own stamp on it. One of the songs was called “MADE IN AUSTRALIA.” I slapped it PURE AC/DC and used all kinds of Aussie references that they use, Bondi Beach, Queenslander, etc. all kinds of references. They just have to be real and natural. But it helps to have a starting point and that to me is AC/DC, which is all raw punch and power.

“Air of Familarity” will help you do all of those kinds of things. But you have to do some research on the styles you are doing. I’m lucky that I’ve been playing music since the 70’s so I’ve got a pretty wide selection of material I can draw on.

There is a LOT of psychology involved in writing music for the professional market. You have to personalize it yet keep it general enough to hook the listener you are going for. Doesn’t always work, but nothing is 100%.

But it is a lot of fun trying.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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May 10, 2018, 06:54 PM

So essentially, it’s get in their head, know their history and what they’re into (past and present), then write a song that addresses those points but is also generalisable. Sigh…there is so much to learn.  ;)

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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May 10, 2018, 11:23 PM

Music is all a PERSONAL experience. It is about being relatable to people. Think about your favorite songs that you write. What makes you want to sing them? What are the elements that you and your partner put into your music that makes you feel so comfortable about going out and spreading the word about yourself? What is it about any or all of your songs that make you HAVE to share that with as many people as you can?

Now. What if someone you DIDN’T know, was constantly trying to get you to do THEIR songs? What if you didn’t feel as strong or connected to their songs? While their songs might be good and close to your experiences, they still were NOT your experiences. They didn’t nail that EXACT time you realized your relationship was over? What about that time you fell HOPELESSLY IN LOVE with someone? Or that night you were hanging out with your friends that was just one of the BEST TIMES OF YOUR LIFE?

That’s what you are getting at in music. You are sharing your LIFE with other people. You don\‘t want to share OTHER people’s lives with other people. And how much are you willing to SPEND money on other people’s lives?

That’s where we are now. We are a cellphone generation. Everything we do are about SELFIES. We put up the minutia of our lives on Facebook and YOU TUBE. We TWEET every thought we have on TWITTER in 140 characters. We are about US. That is all that matters.

This is the reason you are just about NOT EVER going to get some one ELSE to sing YOUR songs. Anymore than YOU would sing THEIR SONGS.

I have been sitting in song circles and then a writers show all day long I have heard DOZENS of songs and NOT ONE was I interested in taking over my own. And if you look out at an audience full of songwriters, guitars in hand, waiting to go on stage, you know THEY are not interested either. Its just part of life. People look at music totally differently now. Music is not in the FOREFRONT. It’s in the BACKGROUND.

Look at the people who come in all day on this site. Young people, all “saying “hello” and wanting everyone to hear what THEY are doing.
How many do you see coming on and saying “Hey I’m looking for songs. Have any of you got anything for me?” Never.

So that is where we are. We do music for ourselves and if we want to “extend our reach. ” we have to write with other people, preferably younger artists. And for that, yes you have to get into their heads. You have to do some research and find out what they like and don’t like. You have to do character and music study. You have to have psychological understanding of what makes something work.

It is a very odd thing to me for people that just want to “throw songs out there.” and expect something to happens. One of the first things you do when you start writing for a publishing company professionally and getting money for it, is you STUDY what the industry is doing. You find up and coming artists. You know what the last record of the artist was. You have songs that have to FIT like a glove. This is basic songwriting 101. And if you went back through history you would find this always happened. Tin Pan Alley, in New York in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s. They knew what Sinatra, Jolson, Crosby wanted. They all competed head to head. The 60’s with the LA scene. Nashville, starting in the 50’s. London in the Beatles era. You name an era, and you find the people that succeeded were IN THE MIDDLE of the “SCENE.”

And it is even more so today with so many different choices for music. A lot more involved than just throwing some words down on paper and a few chords to back it up.

MAB

 
     
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