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Q&A: How do I get started? I'm lost!
By Mary Dawson - 06/02/2002 - 12:03 PM EDT

Dear Mary,
Hi! I am a 15 year old girl, live in Anderson South Carolina and I have a strong love for music. Every since I was a very small child I had a very strong love for music. Ok so my question is basically how do I get started?...I'm lost! I don't know who could make me a demo or anything of that I don't have any money. is it possible for me to just be able to send you just the lyrics. I would do almost anything just to have a chance at this so if you can help me please reply! Thanks, Quantella S.

Hi Quantella:

Thanks for your email.

You sound like a very talented and motivated young lady, but I have to tell you straight up that becoming a songwriter is just like any other profession. It requires lots of education and hard work.

My first suggestion is that you begin your career by doing some reading on the subject of songwriting, so that you will know how it works. Two books that are very good on this subject are "The Craft and Business of Songwriting" by John Braheny (Writers Digest Books) and "Six Steps to Songwriting Success" by Jason Blume (Billboard Books). My next suggestion is that you locate and join your local songwriters association. Most mid to large size cities have one. There you will meet other songwriters in your area with whom you can co-write and learn more about the craft.

You can NOT break into the music business by writing lyrics only. SONGS are the commodity of the music business just like shoes are the commodity of the shoe business. For you to try to break in with lyrics only would be like a shoemaker trying to break into the shoe business by selling only LEFT shoes. Just as shoes are meant to be sold in pairs, so songs are meant to have BOTH words and melody.

Even if a writer is better at words than music, publishers will pair a lyricist with a composer so that they can co-write a completed song. The song is what is pitched to artists.

You mentioned that you don't have money for demos. You will HAVE to HAVE demos if you hope to pitch your songs effectively. However, you can do great demos on home studios for very little money -- another reason to join your songwriters organization and ask around as to who does demos. You may be able to co-write with a musician who also has a home studio. Then he/she can do the demo for you.

Hope this helps. For more helps and resources for songwriters, please visit my website at and continue to visit the Muse's Muse which is filled with help for aspiring songwriters. Whatever you do....keep writing!

Best of Luck, Mary Dawson

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