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The Muse's News

Issue 2.5 - August 1999
ISSN 1480-6975

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I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart
@-- Featured Article - HOW TO BECOME A POP STAR IN 10 EASY STEPS
    by Tor Hyams
@-- Book Review - by Jodi Krangle
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - by Irene Jackson 
@-- Songwriter in Profile: Michael Sherwood
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure. @-- Classifieds & Useful Services @-- Contact information ================================================================= ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle. For more contact information, see end of issue. =================================================================
If you enjoy The Muse's News, why not suggest it to friends? ----------------------------------------------------------------
This ezine featured at - the Ezine Search Engine(tm) - ================================================================= Sponsored in part by Samurai Consulting. To set up a mailing list or for UNIX consulting, please contact Bryan Fullerton (Owner) at, or see their website at . ================================================================= Also sponsored by: -------------------------------------------------- ENTER TO WIN "MP3 Power! with Winamp" by Justin Frankel SDMI: BOOM OR BUST FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY MusicDish has launched the 4th survey in its Industry Survey series on SDMI's Portable Device Specification whose goal is to provide a technical environment for the secure distribution of digital music over portable digital music players (PDMP). We are offering five (5) copies of "MP3 Power! with Winamp", co-authored by Justin Frankel, the creator of Winamp, the most complete guide to understanding and using MP3 technology effectively. ---------------------------------------------------- Please visit The Muse's News sponsors as they help to make this publication possible. Thank you!
E d i t o r ' s   M u s i n g s :

WOW is this summer hot!  I don't know about you folks, but I
spend most of my days melting in this sweltering heat and it's
beginning to drive me slightly insane.  So if I break into
hysterical giggles at any point during this newsletter, please do
slap me. :)  Toronto has been reaching highs of 35 deg. C +.  I'm
not sure what that is in F but I'm pretty sure it's around the 95
or higher mark. Ugh.  Ah well.  At least it's not snowing.  My
only consolation.  I'll be complaining to you again in January,
just you wait. ;-)

There's a new search engine on The Muse's Muse!.  You can now
search the Open Directory Project right from the first page of
the site!  Cool, eh?  One problem is that the "next ten" function
at the bottom doesn't seem to be working when you do an
individual keyword search.  That's a function of the program
itself and the fellow that wrote it IS working on the problem.
He should have that fixed by the beginning of August. Meanwhile,
the directory is still very helpful and I invite you all to take
it for a test drive.  I decided not to limit the subject matter
to music simply because I wanted the directory to be a useful
tool for you no matter what you were looking up.  I hope you like
it. If you have other suggestions about how I can make The Muse's
Muse and this newsletter better, please do feel free to voice
them by e-mailing me at .

I actually have a direct question for you folks.  I've been
getting a lot of complaints lately that the subscription method
for The Muse's News is quite difficult and confusing.  I
understand this and I apologize for any inconvenience it's
caused.  I'm considering moving this list to and I
wanted to get your opinions on that.  Please do take a moment if
you have time, and check out the many features and lists
available on Topica - and let me know what you
think, ok?  I've actually started a Muse's News list to
give the system a test drive, but please don't subscribe to the
list there.  I'll be transferring my subscriber list there as a
whole if I decide to make the switch and I don't want people to
be subscribed twice.  Thanks!

Our winner this month of David Nevue's book, HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR
MUSIC SUCCESSFULLY ON THE INTERNET (reviewed below) is Stephanie
L. Hammonds.  Thanks for your support Stephanie.  Your book is on
its way. :)  Stay tuned for next month's book give-away - Pat &

Once again, thank you for your support.  Feel free to spread this
newsletter around and let me know about your songwriting
successes!  I love to hear about them.

Take care and enjoy.

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================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : with Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Nancy, I have 2 questions concerning copyright. 1. Is there an organization in Canada equivalent to the US Patents and Copyright Office, or do Canadian songwriters use the US office to register their songs? 2. I am interested in promoting my songs by submitting them to radio stations as well as to music publishers. Should I register my songs with the Canadian Mechanical Recording Rights Association (CMRRA) in order to receive any airplay royalties, even though the songs are as yet unpublished? Thanks very much. I appreciate your help. --Ian M. ----------------- Thank you for writing Ian. I have had a lot of experience with Canadian writers and performers over the years and we have always registered in the United States only. I have absolutely no knowledge concerning Canadian copyright laws. Therefore, I asked a writer we work with out of Winnipeg to give his advice concerning your questions, here is his response: Some info for you: CMRRA: I think that CMRRA is who you deal with if you want to license a song to someone or from someone. They administer mechanicals. It would be best if the person with the question contact CMRRA to ask them. They can be contacted at CMRRA 56 Wellesley St. Suite 360 Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S3 (416)926-1966. URL: To ask them a question:$$Query There is a Canadian Federal Copyright Office, I believe they are in Ottawa. I think they charge $25.00/song (Canadian) to register the titles. Note: Since the "Burn Copywrite Convention" in 1929, there has not been one case challenging copywrite ownership in Canada. At least that is what I hear. Further info about them from SOCAN at 41 Valleybrook Dr. Don Mills Ontario, M3B 2S6 Tel: 416-445-8700 or from SAC (Songwriters Association of Canada) 3600 Billings Court, Suite 204, Burlington, Ontario, CANADA L7N 3N6 Tel: (905) 681-5320 URL: or E-mail: Hope this info is helpful, most people I talked to seem to think it is not worth it to register with the Canadian Federal Copywrite Office. (the US registration is sufficient protection) --------------- OTHER NEW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS SINCE LAST MONTH CAN BE FOUND AT: --------------- ***** Carpe Diem's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). **If you would like to ask Nancy a copyright or publishing question for our continuing Q&A section, please send your e-mail to She can't guarantee she'll get to all of the questions, but she'll certainly try.** Back to Menu
================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart -----------------------------------------------------------------
Joni Laurence - Short Time Ever been to Epcot? Remember that song called "Two Brothers" they play in The American Adventure? Well, I've just listened to cd from a voice that reminds me SO much of that song, it's scary. "Another Moon" is smooth, with a beautiful voice leading it onto "another time, another place, another moon, another space'" With elegant violin helping it on; not to mention the overdubbed backing vocals that... well... I used beautiful already. Fudge. But let's start at the beginning. Before "Another Moon" there is "Courtyard Café" which is a brilliant satire on the open mike night life of your typically frustrated café. She's coming on after terrible comedians, trying to perform amongst people reading and talking, hearing only her friends clapping for Joni, the first timer. This really is quality stuff. I like the way she does her lyrics - in paragraph style. Frankly, that's how some country or folk songs Should be, since they're so story-oriented. "Contentedly Ever After" has a simplicity that lends it more power. And the title says it all. Again promoting the power of this positive woman, "I wanna live my lifefrom one day to the next day", after soft, solo guitar, starts "I've Been Thinking". Deep cello drips in to underline moments of supreme wishing. I grew up with Capt. and Tenille and Helen Reddy. Yes, I did. Joni puts a soft 90s spin into that musical movement that, Thank God, is still intoned into the soul of certain gifted people. Joni is gifted. CONTACT INFORMATION: Browntown Productions P O Box 2278 Champaign, IL 61825-2278 217-352-1927 CDs and further info is available at: --------------- OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Spring - Randy Allen St. Clair - Sharon Difronzo - Phyllis Renee - The Painted ID - John Gilliat - --------------- ****** Ben Ohmart has had 100s of stories and poems in zines and journals, and had 4 plays produced last year. His lyrics will be on 2 CDs this year, 1 a gothic album, the other a rock album. He's currently writing films, with hopes of having one done in Malaysia soon, and is also trying to break into the prison of television. He's white, 26, single and loves British comedy. He lives in Boalsburg, PA, and enjoys watching rabbits eat his garbage. Contact him at: . **Ben has kindly consented to do music reviews for this publication and also for The Muse's Muse itself. If you have an independently released CD or tape that you'd like to get reviewed, send it off to: Ben Ohmart, P O Box 750, Boalsburg, PA 16827 or drop by his Music Reviews web section at for more details.** Back to Menu
================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : HOW TO BECOME A POP STAR IN 10 EASY STEPS By Tor Hyams ----------------------------------------------------------------- Every day, I hear from another band. The questions are piling up and, although I am not the authority, I have definitely been through the wringer in this business as a musician, record label representative, and music critic. Step 1.) Mindset: Know what you are doing and where you want it to go. Ask yourself the following questions. Am I a singer/ songwriter? What style of music do I play and where would my CD sit in Tower Records? How will I get exposure? Don't worry if you are good or if you have talent. These factors are arbitrary and almost impossible to quantify. Step 2.) Goals: Do what you have to do to be happy in your music. The rest is really up to fate. This is not to say that you shouldn't pursue the ever popular record deal, but it can not be your final aim. It's way too easy to get caught up in an idea and never pursue the action. Step 3.) The demo (demonstration) tape. If you don't have one already, this is absolutely crucial. This tape will be the base from which everything else will spring. Not too many artists have made it too far without one. You will need this for club bookers as well. Playing live is and always has been the best way to gain exposure. This tape can also be used for soliciting record labels, but I don't suggest doing so until you and/ or your band have really flushed out a sound - one that is truly your own. So, don't spend too much money on the first tape. Reason: You will make a second tape and you just need the first to get some gigs. Step 4.) Love Thyself: This is a basic required tier in all multi-step programs. If you can¹t do this, you still might become a pop star (see Curt Cobain, etc.), but it won¹t be as much fun. Step 5.) Playing Live: If you're lucky, you won't have to forge an image. One will be there already, based on the personas in the band. However, if you have hired a band or you just don't know the other guys/ gals too well, think about an image. Don't get me wrong. This could be anything, but there should be a common thread between the players that is separate from the music; a reason why the audience thinks you're cool. In this case, the more far out, the better. Step 6.) Promotion: This is where things get tricky. The best option one has, with regard to self hype, is to get someone else to do it. Do you have a friend who has always wanted to manage and promote a band? Why not start out with yours? Remember, this area of the biz is the lowest, hardest and scummiest part of the whole shebang. Don't do it yourself or at all, if possible, but whatever you do, don't hire a lawyer. They're the lowest on the record industry scum scale. Step 7.) The mailing list: This is so crucial, it merits a whole step. Develop a mailing list. Enter the addresses of everyone you know into your favorite file maker program and start with your mother. Then, be sure to get the address of everyone you ever meet anywhere and for whatever reason. You can't talk about your band enough. Repeat after me: "Under no circumstances will I ever delete anyone from the mailing list." Step 8.) Persistence: Remember, it is not possible to run out of pursuits or contacts. If, at first, you don't succeed try and try and try again. Call that A&R rep time and time again. Annoy and charm that club owner until he books you a gig just to get you off his/her back. Never toss a contact and don't burn any bridges. Everything goes in this business. Step 9.) Management: Under no circumstances should you ever pay anyone to manage, represent or shop your music. If they're charging you for their contacts, they're sleaze. I would wait until someone approaches you that, because of sincere liking for your music, asks if he/she could act as your liaison to record companies, club bookers and the rest of the hipsters. If this works out, then you will find your job as a musician much easier. If it doesn't, manage your own band life until you absolutely can't take it anymore. Step 10.) Luck: When it comes right down to it, you have got to be in the right place at the right time. So, don't worry. If it's in the cards, you'll make it. If not, we're probably all better off. ****** Tor Hyams is a singer/ songwriter living in Los Angeles and sometimes, New York. He has written over two hundred popular, jazz and R&B songs. Tor has licensed material to NBC's Homicide, scored and packaged a show for Lifetime Television called New Attitudes and has composed score for two Shooting Gallery feature Productions, "Niagra, Niagra" and "Hudson River Blues." Currently, his latest demo CD project, Vultures (, is being shopped for a label deal. Previous to doing music 'full-time', Tor has held positions in the record industry as a radio promoter, publicist and record producer. He has produced numerous indy demos and played for several New York theatrical productions as a piano player. For the last three years, he has acted as a consultant for a number of Internet companies including Infoseek, Sonicnet and Buzz Magazine. At the twenty-fifth hour of the day, Tor somehow manages to update his surprisingly popular and obnoxious website called Fierce (, the site for Web Elitists. Back to Menu ================================================================= B o o k R e v i e w : by Jodi Krangle HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC SUCCESSFULLY ON THE INTERNET by David Nevue
The #1 thing that impresses me about this book? Due to the fact that it's a ring-bound printing, it's updated on a regular basis. I'm looking at the Spring Edition, but I believe there's already a Summer Edition out. It's constantly being updated - and considering the changing state of the net - where a month can often equate to a year in "real time", that's a good thing to know. The information here will never be stagnant. Besides being a fantastic musician (you should drop by David's site to hear some of his piano instrumentals. Wow!), he's also a great writer. His style is easy-going, informative without sounding too high-handed. I found the publication very easy to read. David takes you into the world of cyberspace right from the beginning - telling you what you'll need to get started, information on web hosting, domain names, what tools you can use to start making your own killer site - and takes you through to the end where he talks about how to get targeted viewers for your completed web site, information about meta tags, other web sites that will be invaluable resources, how to use your offline material to promote your online presence, etc. The Quick Reference guide at the back of of the book would be worth the price of the publication itself, all on its own. In short, I will definitely be using this as a reference myself. The information provided within the pages is a way for me to focus my efforts a little more - and should be a great place to start for any musician wanting make his/her own presence felt on the web. This publication receives a definite "thumbs-up" from me! ****** David Nevue's HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC SUCCESSFULLY ON THE INTERNET was our book give-away for this issue of The Muse's News. Next month's review and give-away will be Pat & Pete Luboff's new book, 12 STEPS TO BUILDING BETTER SONGS. This book has only been out a few months now, folks - and it's a *great* read. So stay tuned! Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- The GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST is an innovative new song competition that offers benefits for every songwriter and lyricist who enters. The contest features prominent music-industry judges - hit songwriters, publishers and recording artists. Entry fees are low and *multiple awards* are offered in each music category so more people can win! Contest Highlights: ALL entries are reviewed by qualified professionals in the music business; ALL participating songwriters receive written critiques of their work; ALL music categories provide multiple awards and prizes. The Great American Song Contest is sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network. To find out more, visit our website at: Or e-mail SRN at DEADLINE: October 15, 1999 ----------------------------------------------------------------- 16TH ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC SONG CONTEST: BMI and the non-profit Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW) present the 16th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. Other sponsors include Oasis Duplication, Omega Recording Studios, TAXI, and Writers' Digest Books. The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest is a great vehicle for recognition for up-and-coming songwriters, with results printed in national, regional and local press. There are a total of 10 categories with prizes ranging from $1,000 in cash to gift certificates for free CD mastering by Omega Studios, memberships to TAXI (An independent A/R vehicle), and a collection of Writers Digest Books. In addition, all first and second place songs from each of the 10 categories will be included on a Winners CD, compliments of Oasis Duplicating, to be distributed to top personnel in the publishing and A&R departments of several major record labels and publishing companies. The judges consist of local and regional industry representatives from the Washington DC, Baltimore & Virginia area. Past judges have included representatives from BMI, Warner Chappell Music, EMI, Sony Music, Polygram Music, Opryland Music , Sony Tree, regional producers, promoters and radio station personalities. For more information, contest rules and regulations, or to enter, call 800/218-5996 or check The deadline for entries is August 21, 1999. ----------------------------------------------------------------- CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITER MAGAZINE & IMAGINE A BETTER WORLD PRESENT THE MILE HIGH TALENT CONTEST FOR ARTISTS & SONGWRITERS: All winners will receive a complimentary subscription to ConTEMPOrary Songwriter Magazine AND will have professional studio time along with potential recording, publishing, and marketing deals with IMAGINE A BETTER WORLD'S ANGELS RANCH STUDIO. ARTISTS: To enter: send a demo tape (3 songs maximum per entry), bio, picture, your name, address and phone number along with $8.21 entry fee (please make checks out to Imagine a Better World) and a self-addressed stamped envelope to MILE HIGH TALENT CONTEST, P.O. Box 938, Castle Rock, CO 80104-0938. SONGWRITERS: To enter: send lead sheet and lyrics (3 songs maximum per entry) typed or neatly printed, with your name, address and phone number along with $8.21 entry fee (please make checks out to Imagine a Better World) and a self-addressed stamped envelope to MILE HIGH TALENT CONTEST, P.O. Box 938, Castle Rock, CO 80104-0938. All entries must be original, written or co-written by the entrant. All entries must be received no later than August 21, 1999. You may submit as many entries as you want (3 songs per entry), with one check submitted for the entire amount ($8.21 times number of entries). Giving false information on any part of the entry will result in disqualification. ConTEMPOrary Songwriter Magazine and IMAGINE A BETTER WORLD shall have no liability concerning any entry that is submitted using false information. All entries become a permanent part of the MILE HIGH TALENT CONTEST and will not be returned. The judges' decision is final. All winners will be notified by mail and/or phone. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1st ANNUAL HANK COCHRAN SONGWRITING CONTEST: GRAND PRIZE Writing appointment with Hank in Nashville. Two nights accommodations at the world famous Spence Manor. More prizes to be announced later... If you are a songwriter, this is the dream contest for you!! One very talented songwriter will win the opportunity to come to Nashville and write a song with the man known simply as 'THE LEGEND'. There are no tricks or gimmicks here. There is only one grand prize. The winner could easily become the next big hit songwriter in Nashville. There are a few rules and regulations, so drop by the RULES page, then go on to the FORM and send in your entries. Entries must be postmarked by October 15,1999 Winner will be notified by November 30, 1999 ----------------------------------------------------------------- VMG ACCEPTING NEW MATERIALS FOR NAME ARTISTS VMG has been approached by INVESTORS to provide both UNPUBLISHED materials (new music) and BUDGET for next/subsequent recording projects for the following Artists: BYRON WHITMAN - CABIN CREEK/VMG CAROLYN - VANDOR/VMG CELINE DION - 550 MUSIC/SONY CHER - GEFFEN/UNIVERSAL CHYLON - ICEFIRE/VMG CREED - WIND-UP/EFA EVERLAST - TOMMYBOY/WEA JANET JACKSON - VIRGIN RICKY MARTIN - C2/CRG SABRINA PIKE - VANDOR/VMG SHANIA TWAIN - ISLAND/UMG SHERYL CROW - A&M/UNIVERSAL SLIM WHITMAN - CABIN CREEK/VMG TOM PETTY - WARNER BROS Copyrighted material only. GREEN RETURN RECEIPT from the Copyright Office will stand as copyright until certificate is issued. Cassette or CD - No Song Limits - BEST DEMO is a ONE instrument ONE vocal. Existing recordings are acceptable. Name, Address, Telephone number and affiliation (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, if any) on TYPED lead sheet w/copyright date & number! Staple lead sheets in same order as content! NAME AND TELEPHONE NUMBER ON CD OR CASSETTE! Return Receipt postage OK. We'll contact you. SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE RETURNED! MAIL TO: VMG WORLD WIDE ATTN: NEW PROJECTS 1826 POPLAR LANE SW ALBUQUERQUE NM 87105 ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE SOUTH FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL INVITES SINGER/SONGWRITERS TO PARTICIPATE! We would like to extend to all Singer/songwriters a warm invitation to participate in this year's competition. The Singer/Songwriter Contest was created by the South Florida Folk Festival to encourage and facilitate growth for singer/songwriters. Each year the festival strives to invite noteworthy guests from the folk music industry to be final judges. This year we are proud to have: Beth Judy (Spirit of the Suwanee Springfest), Theresa Pyott (Philly Folk Festival), Paul "The Perfesser" Schatzkin (, Michael Stock, dj WLRN's Folk & Acoustic Music Show. Some past winners have been: Jack Hardy, Amy Carol Webb, Carla Ulbrich, Jo Serrapere, Daryll Purpose and Marie Nofsinger. Some of our headline acts so far for this year are: Still on the Hill, Kim & Reggie Harris , Kat Eggleston, Rod MacDonald, Sam Pacetti and Bill Shustik. To request an application package by email (indicate whether MSWord 7.0 or text format is preferred) or by snailmail send info to Deadline is Aug 15, 1999. ----------------------------------------------------------------- SCHOLTES MUSIC SUPERVISION IS NOW SEEKING ALL TYPES OF MUSIC FOR VARIOUS FILM AND VIDEO PRODUCTIONS SHOOTING THIS SUMMER. Please send your latest releases and further inquiries to: Scholtes Music Supervision PO Box 438 Brookfield, IL 60513-0438 We are currently seeking music for 3 film projects. We are seeking mainly rock, alternative, folk, hip hop, and blues, but we also need music for scoring etc. Our needs change daily, so it is best to send anything you like, and it will be added to our library. Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Since Jeff Mallett has stepped aside for the time being, I thought I'd focus on a part of his website and toot his horn for him! The whole site is great, and this time I'd like to point you to an article written by Pat Pattison that he allowed Jeff to reprint online at his site. It comes from his book "Writing Better Lyrics". This particular chapter is titled "Clichés: The Sleeping Puppy" . I have been telling everybody about this opportunity to get an insider's look at Pat's book...and now I can tell more of you! The most common complaints I hear from newer songwriters are: "My song sounds cheesy", or "I'm not very good at writing lyrics, how do I make them better?". My first thought is to tell them to read the lyrics of well-known songwriters, and notice how they use interesting words and phrases in their lyrics. Pat's article gets down to the "nitty gritty". He covers the age old topic of clichés in a very thorough way, covering rhymes, phrases and metaphors. What is a cliché metaphor? How many times have you used rain as a description for sorrow? There you go! It's exciting to be able to define what it is that isn't working in your song, so that you can fix it! Pat compares what he calls "generic language" to a stanza from a poem by Yeats. The difference is amazing, and really points out how the use of language has EVERYTHING to do with getting the message across. He also has a list of well-worn clichéd phrases and rhymes for you to compare your latest lyric to...something you may find yourself referring to time and time again! "Clichés: The Sleeping Puppy" can be found at And check out Jeff's website at as well, for lots of other interesting bits and pieces! ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her latest CD "Motor Scooter" has had attention everywhere from Japan to South America, and a new release is due out sometime in 1999. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t e r   I n   P r o f i l e :
Michael Sherwood
When I heard this CD I knew I *had* to interview Michael.
"Tangletown" is a wonderful piece of work and Michael & Julius'
songwriting is the type of masterful creation that inspires. I've
added a real audio sample of one of their songs to The Muse's
Muse Songwriter Spotlight section so that you can hear just what
I mean - . Drop
by his web site for more details on how you can pick up a copy of
this great CD (information on that is listed at the end of the
interview). How do he and Julius do it?  Well, that's what I
asked him...
* Q * :  Where do you think your music comes from?  By that, I
mean, what events in your life and your background have shaped
the music you make?
* A * : Well.....At the risk of sounding "Full of myself!"  I
submit the following....

My great grandparents were classical musicians.

My grandparents Bob and Gale Sherwood were Vaudevillians.
Trombone and Piano respectively.

My Father Bobby Sherwood was an arranger-guitarist with Bing
Crosby and Artie Shaw / A Trumpet playing big band leader with
Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn etc...His two sisters were singers
with "The Skylarks"

My Mother sang and played vibes and sometimes drums with my dad's
jazz group in Vegas in the 60's & 70's. At 64 she's now a
performer in the Palm Springs Follies....Dad's gone....But you
can see him in the movie "Pal Joey" with Frank!

My Little Brother Billy is the newest member of the the
Progressive Rock Sensation known as "YES".  I always loved that

My cousin Carl Saunders is a jazz virtuoso trumpeter. "He plays
anything he can think of....and he thinks of everything!".

My cousin Sharon was a bass player in Vegas for years but now she
runs a phone sex business. I forgot the number!

Billy and I grew up in Las Vegas when it was still swingin!

My Music?........I guess have to blame it on my family.........I
wanted to be a fork lift operator!
* Q * : With that sort of a varied and rich musical background,
it must have been practically a done deal that you end up in the
music business.  How did it happen for you personally though?
* A * : I saw the Beatles on ED Sullivan..Girls
were screaming!...I liked that!
* Q * : And as you grew as a musician, how did you also grow as a
* A * : When I began my collaborations with Julius Robinson I
learned about the "Process" of songwriting...He really was my
teacher for a while....Now he's just my partner in rhyme.
* Q * : Can you tell us a little bit about how the musical
partnership between yourself and Julius came about and developed?
How did you two meet?  What made you want to write and make music
* A * : In 1982 I was looking for a day job that had something to
do with music so I sought out a piano salesman gig at Sherman
Clay Pianos in the Northridge mall. I was a trainee under
Professor Robinson's close guidance. He taught me about the fine
"Nickel plated tuning pins" on the Kimball. "Assume the sale!",
he used to say. He even showed me how to use the "One Finger
Play" on the front organ so I could lure unsuspecting potential
customers in to the store with such hits as "It's a small world",
and something I composed involving the "Rhumba" setting. But
way...way...back in the special room with special lighting was
the YOUNG CHANG GRAND PIANO! It was there that we began the
process that would inevitably lead to me getting fired. You see,
we were supposed to be up front with the "One finger play" but we
were in the back in the dim lights using all ten
fingers...(Sometimes twenty!) We wrote some pretty green stuff
back then, but we knew we were on to something. Not sure what we
we're on to....but we're definitely getting off on it!  We've
since written about 4 million songs but we really like the new
* Q * : Is the process of writing a song different for you
when you're writing with a partner as apposed to by yourself?
And if so, what are the differences?
* A * : Working with an accomplished lyricist is a luxury. Ask

It's a lot harder for me to go it alone 'cause I thrive on

I really have to have something to say in order to do it by
* Q * : So where do you find your inspiration?  How do you decide
what you want to say?
* A * : Inspiration is everywhere...You just have to keep your
antenna up....Catching life as it's going by. I find myself
inspired mostly because I want to be. I don't wait around for it.
It's already there. I just have to go get it....Bring it
home....Toss it around....Call my partner Julius.... Find out
that he has something better to work on....Finish that
one.....Bring it to rehearsal and make my friends play it.

"Oh shit! ... What was that other song I was talkin' about?"
* Q * : Do you have any advice for songwriters just starting out?
Things to watch for?  Resources they can use?  Books they can
read that have helped you? That sort of thing?
* A * : Start writing songs.. don't worry how good they are
because eventually you'll think they suck anyway. There's safety
in numbers so be prepared to throw your first hundred or so away.
Actually the remnants of the songs I wrote during the formative
years still come in handy now and then if I'm looking for a
section or something.......Also, if you get an idea, don't try to
just remember it later......record it before it leaves you. I've
lost many a motif thinking I'd remember it. Rhyming dictionary's
are helpful....there are some great ones on the web.  Listen to
people like Andy Partridge (XTC)....Elvis Costello....Paul
Simon....As far new kids go, I would highly recommend Ben Folds
Five and Jonatha Brooke.

Also, read the songwriters bible "Tunesmith" by the legendary
Jimmy Webb.  There's a lot of good information in there.
* Q * : What are your plans in the future, Michael?  Any gigs?
Tours? Upcoming album releases?  And how can people purchase your
current CD?
* A * : Right now I'm working with Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa on
Lisa'a new CD. Also I'm working with James Newton Howard on the
movie Dinosaurs. It's a 200 million dollar computer animated
thing that looks amazing!  I'm writing some songs with Steve
Porcaro. I'm writing lots of songs with a great musician named
Christian Nesmith (Yes ..that Nesmith) and of course Julius
Robinson on all accounts. I'm also producing some tracks for "The
Gluey Brothers" a group that I'm very excited about at  Got a gig coming up with The Gluey
Brothers on the bill at 14 below July 30th!

If anyone would like to find out anymore about my past work,
upcoming gigs, family musical history and where to purchase my
CD,s you'll find everything and more at  "Michael Sherwood's
Tangled Web" @


Michael Sherwood is the lead singer, songwriter and keyboardist
on his 1999 release Tangletown. His singing and songwriting has
won him praises through the music industry. His music has been
described as a mix of Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Sly Stone with
a touch of Randy Newman and XTC. Michael Sherwood began his
recording career as co-founder of the rock band Lodgic on A&M
Records in the late eighties. He went on to become a
Warner-Chappell writer who has had songs recorded by many other
artists including Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. Michael
toured in 1995 with then RCA recording artist Danny Peck, opening
for Richie Havens and Joan Baez. Michael Sherwood was frequently
featured local artist on Los Angeles' influential KSCA 101.9.

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    " O N   S I T E "   F E A T U R E D   A R T I C L E :

               THE REALITIES OF RADIO (PART 2) -
                       by Mary Dawson

More hints about how to write for your audience. Give them what
they expect and the natural tendencies of the human mind will
work in your favour - AND possibly net you more radio airplay!
Read on for details.

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