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The Muse's News

Issue 3.4 - July 2000
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by:
Lyricist - A Songwriter's Best Friend

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

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@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by Jodi Krangle
@-- Featured Article - OUT OF THE BOX by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - by Irene Jackson
@-- Songwriter In Spotlight - Dove nominee, Chuck Leonard
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
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ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle.  For more contact
information, see end of issue.
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If you enjoy The Muse's News, why not suggest it to friends? http://recommend-it.com/l.z.e?s=333678 ----------------------------------------------------------------
This ezine featured at EzineCenter.com - the Ezine Search Engine(tm) - http://www.ezinecenter.com/ ================================================================= ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LYRICIST! THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND HAS ARRIVED . . . Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist, the first of its kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. Includes rhyming dictionary, spell checker, thesaurus, album categorization and more. Visit our web-site http://www.virtualstudiosystems.com/ to download your FREE 30-DAY TRIAL COPY and find out about our low 45-day introductory sale price. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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E d i t o r ' s   M u s i n g s :

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Lots of changes at The Muse's Muse this month!  First of all,
you've probably noticed by now that I'm starting to introduce a new
design.  I find it much more streamlined and quick to load than the
last version - and a *lot* less cluttered.  I hope you'll like it
as much as I do.  Gradually, the entire site will be converted. For
now, just the top layers are completed as I carefully make sure
everything's working properly.  If you find a problem, feel free to
e-mail me about it, ok?  I really appreciate your patience.

There's been a new addition to the Songwriting Spotlights this
month too.  Have a listen to Tris McCall at
http://www.musesmuse.com/samplesong-m.html#tris . Great music, fun,
educational (everything you ever wanted to know about New Jersey
but were afraid to ask! :-)) - what more do you need?  Seriously,
folks - Tris is extremely talented as both a musician and a
lyricist and I was very happy to add him to the spotlight roster.
Well worth the listen!

The winner of this month's book raffle, a copy of David Wimble's
THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE, goes to Craig Evans from Richmond, VA.
Congratulations, Craig!  I'm certain you'll find the book
incredibly useful.  For a review of this book and information on
how you can get your own copy, read on.

We have a new columnist!  Danny McBride has been an ASCAP writer
for twenty-five years, and is best known as a performer from his
days as ShaNaNa lead guitarist and television personality "Dirty
Dan" on the ShaNaNa Show. You've probably noticed a few of his
articles around The Muse's Muse already.  One of his articles was
in the Muse's News a few issues back, in fact.  His column will
deal with the more humorous side of songwriting.  Let's face it.
Most of us are so caught up in the business/work end of things that
we forget what it's like to LAUGH about it.  Danny will help us
remember. The two articles he's already submitted are included in
his section at http://www.musesmuse.com/amusemyself.html - but
there's going to be lots more to come, so stay tuned!  (Thanks,
Danny!)

And I think that's about it.  As per usual, best of luck and above
all, love what you do.

--Jodi
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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 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Hi Nancy, Am a recent subscriber to muse's news and would like to know what the legal fine points of the word "phrases" means pertaining to copyright registration in which they state : "Phrases are not copyrightable." I would like to submit my original music to film and TV industry contacts (as well as A&R departments in the record industry) and want to know how my copyright (registered or not) would protect me when a great deal of music used is in the form of clips, if you will, and hesitate to send material for this reason! This would also be helpful when considering the use of short, but recognizable portions of other copyright material, (owned by others) as well, in my own work. Thanx much, Andy ------------------ A: Thank you for a unique question Andy! The use "phrases" refers to titles and slogans that should be trademarked instead. You need to go ahead with your PA and/or SR forms to register your copyrights. When you pitch portions of the works, be sure to indicated your copyright notice as you would the entire work. Be sure that you have permission to represent any other owners of any works or portions, thereof. ------------------ Q: Hello Nancy, I have two copyrights done as a collection, ten songs on each. The only reason why I did it this way is to save $360.00. A friend of mine told me that I will have to pay 20.00 a song in the long run anyway,so why not pay it now? Is this true? Thank you, Sam C. ------------------ A: Hello Sam: The registration fees are up. Be sure to visit the U. S. Copyright Office Web page for current registration procedures. http://www.loc.gov/copyright/reg.html To be fully protected on each composition, you would want to register each separately, as well as each sound recording. Many publishers choose to register groupings. Review the procedures again and see what best fits your situation. ------------------ Q: Hi Nancy, I am a little confused over the copyright and publishing laws. When copyrighting something through the US Copyright office do you or don't you own the rights to its production ie... you wrote a song (lyrics and music) but did not record it and applied for the copyright. Somebody else records the song and copyrights the recording. Do they own the publishing rights? Thanx, Confused in Alaska ------------------ A: Don't be confused Lance. When you hear a recorded song you are hearing 2 separate copyrights. The copyright to the underlying work, the composition, is one item of intellectual property. The sound recording is another, separate item of intellectual property. You can have an 10 song project where there are 20 separate copyrights and a 21st on the compilation! Even more items of property may exists if there are co-publishers. If you write a song and retain the publishing rights, you would need to issue a mechanical license for someone else to record the song. The rights in that license are specific. The owner of the sound recording can not exploit the use of that copyright beyond what is in the agreement. Further permission would need to be secured for additional uses. Without a written transfer of ownership, the creator of the composition retains ownership. ***** 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 nreece@musesmuse.com. 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 -----------------------------------------------------------------
Stanley Davis Nice… Nice I agree with the cd title. Sometimes it’s nicer than that. Tracks like ‘Time Strands’, with the World Music vocals, the bongos, the busy piano, the whatever the hell else there is, combine to make a thoughtful listening experience. Then there are the ‘See Whirled’ tracks that bridge the gap between jazz, new age, a twist of regal Christianity, and surprise rhythm. This is an instrumental cd, unless you count the non-English voice that comes in on a couple tracks. Don’t count on it, but sit back and listen to something Nice… Nice that is awfully good on the whole. There are moments of hokey sounds, but they are few and far between. What is mainly the Point of this cd is a mixture of styles, to be embraced in a relaxed state. Sometimes you’ll feel you’re listening to the plants at Epcot, and you will pause a moment, and contemplate. ------------------ Sly Dog The b&w cd cover shows a little bit of a demonic bull dog peeking out from a tree. He seems to be waiting for his nemesis. He seems to be pissed, or freshly without piss and mean. Any explanation can be sewn onto the jackets of this hard rock band playing like the old Van Halen spirit minus the intricate lead guitar breaks. The guitars are hot and wired, as is Carl Hampton who yells across the street at the audience who just may fear getting too close. The hard edge of what happens musically can be summed up in a couple song titles like 'Flesh Hangover' and 'Black-N-Blue Collar Man'. Some of the licks remind me of a stronger Brian May, sometimes Kiss smacks up. In any case, if you like your liquor hard, break the bottle over here. mccrecords@aol.com --------------- OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Alastor - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-alastor.html Eric Alexandrakis - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-alexandrakis.html Alice Project, The - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-aliceproject.html Brotherhood of the Rose,The - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-brotherhood.html Stone Coyotes, The - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-stonecoyotes.html Trespassers William - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-trespassers.html Joyce Harrison - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-harrison.html Haunted Groove - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-hauntedgroove.html Sue Valentine - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-valentine.html Jengurl - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-jengurl.html --------------- ****** 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: ohmart@musesmuse.com . **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 http://www.musesmuse.com/musicreviews.html for more details.** Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by Jodi Krangle THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE - compiled by David Wimble http://www.bigmeteor.com/muse/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WOW is all I can say. Well. I guess I have to say more than "Wow" or you're not going to get much out of this review, are you. ;-) Here's the thing: This is an absolutely priceless resource for indie musicians. If you want your music reviewed, on the radio, *heard*, THIS is the resource you need to have. It's not going to tell you "how" but it will *certainly* tell you "who". Everybody is in here. And I do mean *everybody* (yup. The Muse's Muse too!). David has listed everyone's name and e-mail addresses where applicable, along with their urls. Why only urls, you ask? Because by going to that url, you can likely locate all the latest contact information and those things change pretty quickly. Trying to keep up with that would be an impossible task. Still, there's a lot that needs to be kept up with anyway. Because of that, two or three issues come out per year with updated information that David himself and the readers who use his bible, find out about. There are five sections: reviewers of independent music, radio stations that are willing to play independent music, services that will help you sell your music over the internet, sites that will allow you to upload music files, and sites that will allow you to upload information about your band for FREE. Each section is divided into genre, then by geographical location. It's enormously useful and should save you hours and hours of trawling the net only to find dead links and information that doesn't apply to you at all. The Indie Contact Bible is a great tool and one I highly recommend you pick up in order to compliment your other music marketing techniques. Have a look at the url above and read through a few sample pages to see what I mean. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Until July 15th, Muse's Muse viewers can make one FREE submission. Further songs are only $19.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. See www.musesmuse.com/songscope.html for details or contact: writerinfo@songscope.com ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : OUT OF THE BOX by James Linderman © 2000, James Linderman.
All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Most people feel that the phrase "out of the box" is already getting stale from being overused and yet, I'm still exhilarated every time I see it. The more I see this phrase the more it seems to be telling me that we want to see things approached from a fresh perspective. A guitar magazine may hire a guitarist with little or no experience at using recording equipment to write a review about a new digital multitracker. They will want the guitarist to log every impression of the experience from "first sight" to "end result". The effect they are looking for is a genuine and innocent testimony from someone their readers can identify with. From the viewpoint of the technical people at the company that makes the digital multitracker, it must seem ludicrous to have the review written by someone with no technical knowledge or experience. The writers at the magazine may be equally astonished that all of the rules that apply to their submissions will be overlooked in an article that will be heralded for it's "spirit" and not for it's technical accuracy or literary style. Like the magazine editor who hires the guitarist to write about the digital recorder "out of the box" (excuse the pun) I often get the opportunity, in a workshop, to invite a songwriter who knows a great deal about, lets say, astrology (and references that knowledge often in his or her songs) to write about, let's say, fishing. When he or she responds to this challenge with an admission to knowing nothing about fishing I always simply say… "good". Songwriters will often want to write songs based on their lifelong interest in trains, nature, their heritage, war, ecology, even romance. These songs will, obviously, vary in "quality of craft" but what they will have in common is that they will have been written from a perspective that is knowledge driven and not exploration driven. A songwriter at the task of writing on an unexplored topic will be inclined to approach this experience as an explorer with all of the excitement, energy and fear that pursuing "things unknown" has to offer. This is good. The songwriter who is asked to write about fishing may not write about fishing, per se, but could use fishing as a catalyst in which to frame the spirit of the song. The goal will be to create uniqueness, innocence and freshness…as in "fresh out of the box". How this exploration is executed varies from songwriter to songwriter. Some interview enthusiasts, some read books, magazines, news clippings, etc. Some writers will watch people fish, some will go fishing themselves. Others will gather nomenclature, which is language indigenous to that topic. If we were to list the terms common to the wonderful world of fishing, our list would include words like; boat, oars, water, fishing line, lure, shore, dock, tackle, cast, bait, morning, stream, and nets. We will now want to metaphorically match these fishing terms to words that represent human emotion, human condition and/or spirituality. If our specific human theme was suffering, a list of these words will include; charity, pain, give, need, sympathy, loss, shelter, hunger, understanding, fear, tears, relief, loneliness, and help. By connecting our fishing terms with our human condition words we can build images that will be unique from the ones we usually pull out of our "songwriting tackle box". We do this by imagining what a boat might symbolically represent to a human condition of need. We might also want to consider what kind of suffering (or relief from suffering) could be connected with our image of a boat. As songwriters, looking to only use fishing terms to provide a metaphoric setting, we will find that we are less likely to get stuck on thinking of what fishing is and be more likely to see all of the things that the elements of fishing could be symbolic of. Thinking "out of the box" can place us on a city street, on a cold night, where a homeless teen steps into a shelter and a worker there "fishes" through her soul by casting out a line of hope. This same "out of the box" thinking can place us fly fishing in a quiet stream, on a hot summer morning with our father and brothers, in a scene that offers us a sanctuary in the middle of the breakup of our marriage. "Out of the box" can take us to a setting that we can almost see and touch and hear and feel. The picture that we create for our listener's imagination will be worth the thousand words that we cannot use when writing the lyrics of a song. ****** James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a private music lesson, songwriting and pre-production facility in Newmarket Ontario. He is a songwriter and consultant for the Youth Office of the Toronto Diocese of the Catholic Church and leads music workshops across the country. James has a Canadian University and an American College education in music composition and is the author of The Contemporary Songwriters Workbook. E-mail James at theharmonyhouse@home.comBack 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 http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html & http://www.musesmuse.com/markets.html . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- NSAI ANNOUNCES EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR PERFORMING SONGWRITERS The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) presents Play for Pay 2000 sponsored in part by Songs.com on August 4 & 5 in Nashville, Tennessee. The event is a two-day educational conference and trade fair designed specifically for performing songwriters of all levels. Attendees will participate in sessions on everything from producing your independent album and creatively increasing your bookings, to utilizing the Internet and marketing your material to Indie labels and radio. Opportunities for industry showcase! The event is open to all. Cost: $275 for NSAI members, $350 for non-members. To learn more, visit http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/ or call NSAI at 800-321-6008. ----------------------------------------------------------------- CALLING ALL SONGWRITERS -- SAW Announces the 17th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest! The Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW) presents the 17th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest sponsored by SAW, BMI, Oasis Duplication, Omega Recording Studios, TAXI, and Writer's Digest Books. The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest is a great vehicle for recognition of up-and-coming songwriters, with results printed in national, regional and local press as well as on the internet. You do not need to be from the Mid-Atlantic region to enter . There are a total of 11 categories of music including jazz, children's, folk, country, adult contemporary and rap with prizes ranging from $1,000 in cash to gift certificates for CD mastering by Omega Studios, memberships to TAXI (an independent A&R vehicle), and a collection of books from Writer's Digest Books. In addition, all first and second place songs from each of the 11 categories will be included on a Winners CD, compliments of Oasis Duplication, to be distributed to top personnel of several major record labels, publishing companies, and web sites as well as regional radio stations. 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 go to http://www.saw.org/. The deadline for entries is August 8, 2000. Enter today! ----------------------------------------------------------------- NCSA SONG CONTEST The Northern California Songwriters Association announces The NCSA Song Contest, and entries are now being accepted. The entry form is reproduced below so that entrants can print it out and mail it, or you may request one by mail, or print it out from the NCSA website (http://www.ncsasong.org/). ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN AUGUST 15, 2000 PLEASE take the time to read the rules and regulations carefully. If you have any questions regarding the contest or any other matter related to entering, please contact us via email at info@ncsasong.org or phone (650) 654-3966. ----------------------------------------------------------------- SONG SHOPPING CENTER - http://TrowbridgePlanetEarth.com/T2/T2C1.html SUBMIT YOUR SONG - http://trowbridgeplanetearth.com/T2/T2S1.html%20 McClure & Trowbridge Publishing, a Nashville TN niche and alternative music publisher, announces today that its WWW, Internet, and office song promotion services, previously available only to Trowbridge Writers, are available to Trowbridge Associates as well. Associates, independent songwriters whom McClure & Trowbridge sign to promotional contracts, now have a "leg up" into the fast paced world of music plugging and the faster yet Internet. ----------------------------------------------------------------- CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITERS WORKSHOP: theharmonyhouse presents daytime or evening workshops through July and August. Workshops include: music and lyric writing plus music industry information. No prerequisites required, comprehensive workbook provided. Location: Toronto area, or to groups (7+) at location of your choice. Call or E-mail for more information, free brochure and registration form. (905) 853-5537, theharmonyhouse@home.com. ----------------------------------------------------------------- JOERECORDS.COM IS SEEKING MUSIC: joerecords.com is seeking compilations, unusual, weird, hard-to-find, ethnic and world music. If you are interested in submitting, send to: 4047 49th SW,Seattle, Washington 98116 or contact katehart@speakeasy.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I had an email recently from a songwriter with all kinds of questions about writer's rights, mechanical rights and a whole lot more, some of which I just couldn't answer at the time. His circumstances may have seemed unique, but in fact they were not! Wish I'd known about this particular page back then! http://www.halsguide.com/crashcourse.html The question this particular page starts out with is: "Why does Music Publishing seem so hard to understand?" Well, here is a place to begin your understanding...this is essentially a dictionary of publishing terms, written by Lynne Robin Green, who is herself an independent publisher. Now at first glance, this may be a little overwhelming to the less-than-seasoned songwriter...but read it through a few times and it'll start to click. There are song-shopping agreements, an explanation of cue sheets (fortunately I worked in TV and radio and already knew about these, but most songwriters don't at first!), and even a small recommended reading section at the end. In an earlier Muse's Clues, I suggested a site which had a huge list of contract examples, but so many of them would be meaningless without a rudimentary understanding of the terminology used. I know I've mentioned this before, but the biggest problem most of us have as songwriters is the fact that we do not know enough about this mysterious business of publishing before we throw ourselves into it...hence, my favourite "arm yourself with knowledge" addage! And as I have also mentioned before, you should always consider taking any contract to an entertainment lawyer before you sign it...someone who can explain every aspect to you in plain language. This may be an expensive proposition at first, but if it leads to a satisfactory relationship between you as a writer and a publisher or record company...it'll be well worth your investment. And the Crash Course is an excellent place to get started! ****** 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: http://www.irenejackson.com/tips.html Homepage: http://www.irenejackson.com/ Songs on MP3: http://www.mp3.com/artists/20/irene_jackson.html Back to Menu ================================================================= S O N G W R I T E R I N S P O T L I G H T : Chuck Leonard ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chuck Leonard has been writing songs for a good long while. He's had a great deal of success with it too - if 11 #1 hits is any indication. With 66 cuts at this point, he's still going strong. Having toured with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap, George Jones, Greg Crowe, Mark Gray, The Judds, Tammy Wynette, The Oak Ridge Boys, John Wesley Ryles, Bruce Carroll and Ron David Moore and having had cuts with such notables as John and Audrey Wiggins, Butch Baker, Greg Crowe, Bruce Carrol, Ron David Moore, Lisa Daggs, Gary Chapman, Regi Stone, Karen Peck and New River, N'Harmony, Wilcox and Pardoe and The Lyons, he has a lot of wisdom and know-how behind him when it comes to writing songs. I don't know about you, but *I* definitely wanted to hear what he had to say. ;) ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: What made you start writing songs in the first place? Did you have a musical family? Was there something in particular in your life that inspired you to begin? ----------------------------------------------------------------- A: I began writing songs at a very young age...9 to be exact...they weren't very good but you gotta start somewhere... I was inspired by Bob Dylan's "Hey, Mister Tambourine Man", Willie Nelson's "I Never Cared For You" and Paul McCartney's "Yesterday". It seems that those songs connected with the writer that was in me. I understood the lyrics and the form of the song. It seemed quite natural. I guess something just clicked and the "light" came on. I am the product of a family with a musical heritage of sorts. All the way back to my grandfather on my mother's side of the family. We had a family band growing up and I played drums at first and then took up guitar. I sang with my two sisters Charlene and Connie (who also played drums) and my oldest brother occasionally joined us on some dates. My mother played the bass and my step-father played the guitar. We hired a few additional sidemen to play steel guitar and rhythm guitar. We played mostly in Texas and then because my step-father was military we were transferred to Europe where we played the installations (NCO and EM clubs) across Germany, Italy and England. For about two years we also worked for Wrangler Western Wear in Germany. It was a great experience growing up there. I lived outside of this country for about 14 years. I was influenced by the culture and music of those countries and it probably molded certain aspects of what I write and the styles I experiment with at times. I write a lot of different types of music. Country, classical, jazz, pop, blues, gospel, contemporary Christian, rock'n'roll and some hybrids of all of those styles. Lyrically, I enjoy songs that tell stories and songs that connect with people emotionally, spiritually and cerebrally. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Do you remember the songs you wrote when you first started writing? What improvements do you think you've made over the years and how have you managed to do that? Experience? Research and reading? Anything else in particular that has helped you? ----------------------------------------------------------------- A: The songs I wrote when I first started weren't incredibly memorable. Only one really comes to mind. It was called "Billy Rio"... sort of went like this... Billy Rio was born down in Texas, the leader of an outlaw band, had a horse named Thunder and a dog named Blue, and two six guns in his hands... so, as you can see...a story song right from the start... kind of a ballad like "Streets Of Laredo" and it really went downhill from there. I hope I've improved or the 66 cuts I've had were all a fluke!!! Seriously, I've studied my craft and learned to re-write which is difficult for some writers. We often have a tendency to think our first thoughts are our best because they've come from that initial inspiration or emotion. The truth is...it is subjective in one way and like most things in life... when you get to looking back... you see things you would've done differently. Fortunately, with songwriting, you can go back and change things. Unless, that is, you wait till it's demoed or cut and then you have to live with what you created. It's always a challenge to top your best line, or best hook or best idea. More often than not we settle for less than our best because it sometimes is enough to get by. I've tried to be more disciplined in my approach to writing and re-writing. I think it has made me a better writer and has made my writing a little less prolific but much more productive as far as getting cuts and people wanting to hear more songs from my catalogs. I like hearing "what else you got, boy?" when they mean "we like your writing" as opposed to "what else you got, boy?" and they meant "you got any good songs?" Co-writing is a beneficial way to improve one's writing ability, as well. It's like playing tennis with someone who is better than you. It will ultimately raise your game. Co-writing with better writers will ultimately raise your quality. The downside of co-writing is when you have an idea that you could or should write by yourself and you dilute the essence of it by filtering it through another mindset. If they are on the same page as you... you're good to go... but if they have a different perspective you run the risk of your idea becoming something totally different that what you had in mind. It's a 50/50 prospect, either way. That's just the nature of co-writing. There are, of course, instances where you actually find that you've contributed more than 50% (sometimes 100%) and someone has their name on the song because they were "in the room at the time" or they "got the coffee", etc... I never squabble about percentages. I just try and be very conscious of the people I'm writing with and try to write with talented, competent and productive writers. In the end, it's just one song at a time and nothing to really lose sleep over. If you bring out the idea and you start writing a song around it... the deal is essentially done. 50/50 and that's the way I think it should be. There have surely been days when I didn't pull my weight and was given credit for a song that I didn't equally contribute to and it evens out in the long run. Experience...hmmm...well, I've been doing this for 14 years professionally. Meaning...I've gotten paid to be a songwriter. Before that time, I just wrote because I loved writing and I didn't have to worry with whether or not what I was writing was commercial or whatever. The rules change a bit once someone is paying you to write for their company. You have to work at it and show up for appointments and do your demos and pitch your material along with your publisher. You have a stake in what happens and a lot of writers sit around waiting for the gravy train to show up at their front door. It really doesn't happen that way very often. All along that road is where you gain your experience. You learn what works and what doesn't. You learn who you can and can't work or write with and who to trust as far a judging a song. In this business there are very competent people and very incompetent people. You just have to figure out those things as you build your reputation. It is a two-way street - writer/publisher - but I have long stopped totally depending on a publisher to determine my success or lack of success. I now have three companies of my own and co-publish some of my material. I have to say it takes many years to gain that ability and status. New writers generally will have to go through the trials and tribulations of starting at square one and moving forward. You rarely see a writer start off at the top of his profession. Regarding research... I read quite a bit and I observe the world around me. I draw from my own life and experience and I draw on inspiration from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The word of God -ala- the Bible... is an incredible resource that holds insight pertaining to every aspect of being human and living in a world that continuously challenges the heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love is probably the most covered subject in the world and I draw from the loves in my life, as well. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: What song of yours are you most proud of? Why? What makes it special to you or makes it stick out in your mind? (I'm not just talking financial success here, by any means.) ----------------------------------------------------------------- For the answer to this and many other questions, please go to http://www.musesmuse.com/int-leonard.html#newsletter ----------------------------------------------------------------- Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : MP3: Exposure for Indies; Access for the Consumer by Diane Rapaport http://www.musesmuse.com/mp3-rap.html Due to being extremely busy, Diane hasn't been able to keep up with her "Raps" as she might have wanted to. In order to let us all know she's still around though, she passed on this very interesting article to me. Confused about all the buzz going on out there about MP3, Napster and the like, and wondering how you, the independent musician can benefit from it? Read this article and get yourself kickstarted! Back to Menu
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================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at editor@musesmuse.com. All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: http://www.musesmuse.com/musenews.html The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: http://www.musesmuse.com/ For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- adinfo@musesmuse.com - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. info@musesmuse.com - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. editor@musesmuse.com - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at editor@musesmuse.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
Library of Canada ecollection: http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/300/muses_news/index.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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