The Muse's Muse  
Muses MailMuses Newsmuse chatsongwriting resource home
The Muse's News

Issue 4.2 - May 2001
ISSN 1480-6975

[ Back to The Muse's News Index ] [ Home ]

This issue sponsored by:PowerGig


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
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by Allison Durno
@-- Featured Article THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC: GROUP NAMES : How to
                     Choose a name and Protect it - 
					  by Charles Katz
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - by Irene Jackson
@-- Songwriter In Spotlight - San Francisco-based, performing
                              songwriter, AUSTIN WILLACY
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - 2001, Jodi Krangle.  For more 
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= This ezine featured at - the Ezine Search Engine(tm) - ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ POWERGIG.COM, THE BETTER WAY TO BOOK MORE GIGS. Free PowerPromote gig promotion to CitySearch, Pollstar, Musi-Cal/Mojam, more. Be found when talent buyers search for acts. Get more gigs-receive and submit booking requests online. Fill tour dates by finding new venues. Save phone/fax costs, details at "one-click" for directions, contacts. Ratings for both the performer AND the talent buyer. Free media kit--drive traffic to your existing Web and MP3 sites. Musesmuse Special: 50% off membership! $4.98/month, $40 per year (Use promo code: MUSESMUSE when you join--thru May 31, 01) ================================================================= E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hello again and thanks for staying with the newsletter! There are a few really fantastic additions to the web site this month that I'd love to tell you about. RADIO MUSE IS NOW ONLINE! Radio Muse - is a radio show/webcast put together especially for songwriters to showcase their music - and the first show is online at this very moment! :-) I hope you'll drop by and support your fellow songwriters by having a listen to the show. There will be a new show each month at around the middle of the month. Jan Best has done an *incredible* job as the host of the show and it really has come together nicely. I'm super pleased. If you'd like to hear *your* music on the show, simply drop by the url supplied above, follow the instructions and send in a CD. We can't guarantee that we'll put you on a show, but we CAN guarantee that all CDs submitted will be listened to and considered. NEW MUSE'S MUSE MESSAGES BOARDS: The Muse's Muse now has its own message boards. You spoke, I listened. ;) Drop by and participate in the ongoing discussions at . Some of those ongoing discussions include how to overcome writer's block, tips on how to get the most out of home recording equipment, ideas on how to find inspiration for songs and strategies on how to get radio airplay. The message boards are a *great* way to network with other songwriters and to discuss issues of importance to you. If there's anything you think I should add to the forums, or if you'd like to be a moderator (there are still several opportunities available!) please feel free to contact me about it at . I would love, for instance, for someone to moderate a topic and make a short editorial every once in a while in order to start discussion. My intention is to occasionally post those editorials in this newsletter (along with a 100 word bio on the author) so that everyone here will see what's going on over there and possibly be intrigued enough to participate. ;-) There are tons of things that can be done. Let me know if you're interested. Hope to see you there! And to top it all off, you can now also register a domain name AND register your copyright, through The Muse's Muse! Check out the index page for details - . The links for those handy services are right at the top there in the "Songwriter's Tool Kit". That index page has been changed just a bit to make it easier for you to find what you're looking for. JUST PLAIN FOLKS SHOWCASE UPDATES: As per the newsflash that I sent out to this list a little while ago (there's further information in the "Musical Notes" section below), there are Just Plain Folks showcases coming up all over. (See for details). The event in Toronto will be taking place on June 18 @ Ted's Wrecking Yard - 549 College Street (west of Bathurst) between 7:00pm and 12:00am. I fully intend to be there so if you're there too, please do introduce yourself! I'd love to meet you. There's also a show in Ottawa on June 16th @ Rasputin's Folk Cafe, 696 Bronsan Avenue between 7:00pm and 12:00am, and there are many other shows as well, all over the US. Sign up to participate asap. The shows are filling up fast! MEANWHILE (I should probably actually mention the NEWSLETTER, huh? ) there's TONS of useful information in this issue and I'm really happy with the way the interview with Austin turned out too. I hope you'll find it an interesting read. The winner of this month's book give-away is Chris Squier from Buffalo, NY (and check out his web site too! ). He's won himself a copy of SONGWRITING AND THE GUITAR: A Complete Guide, put together by the folks at Acoustic Guitar Magazine (so you *know* they know what they're talking about!). It's a fantastic book and a full review of it is included below. If you're a guitar player, this is a book that can give you tons of tips. Best of luck with your writing, folks. --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= SHAMELESS PLUG: Drop by today to pick up your very own Muse's Muse shirt, mug or mousepad! And while you're at it, think about starting your *own* store. It would be pretty cool to sell your own band's logo or design on promo items, wouldn't it? And starting up a store requires no investment of money on your part at all. Details on how to do that are only a click away... ================================================================= 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: Dear Nancy, Two questions: (1) On Oct. 26, 2000 I submitted several of my songs for copyright registration, sent certified mail that confirms the date for my own records. I am not familiar with how long the process takes, but meanwhile, there is an upcoming opportunity to submit a couple of my songs in a songwriters contest. Must I actually wait for my registration to be issued before safely submitting my songs to public view, or am I sufficiently covered since the copyright application has been submitted? And just because you submit an application, do you always get registration of it, or are there some circumstances that would cause it to be rejected? (2) I am vaguely acquainted with patents, and that when a patent request is submitted, actual research is completed to make sure you are not infringing on a previously acquired patent. Is similar research done on copyright material, or is your proof of registration merely a way of legally acknowledging in the copyright office a "dated registration" your material, should a situation arise down the road where proof is required on "who registered first"? Thanks for your help to these questions. -- Karen M. ------------------ A: Hi Karen. Duff Berschback, our resident law expert, ( has answered these questions for you. His response is below: "Registration typically takes about 6-8 months. Registration is a time-stamping mechanism that triggers additional rights, and gives you "prima facie" validity. In other words, in a later fight, if you've got first registration, it becomes a swearing contest about who thought up what and when with burden on challenger b/c of your first registration. I wouldn't hold back submitting for a song contest b/c I hadn't gotten my registration back. Yes, you can do some due diligence, but as a practical matter it's often not worth the hassle--way too much material = effective searching is too time intensive. --Duff" ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Dear Nancy: I was recently contacted by a publisher who heard through a mutual acquaintance that I had some songs worth listening to. He asked me several questions and then asked me to forward these two songs to him. He then asked me to do two things which I thought kind of strange: 1. Please e mail just the lyrics while the package was enroute to him so that he could review the lyrics. 2. Please include information regarding the registration #'s so that he could begin to check on the copyright info. Unfortunately, I complied with his requests. I just want to know if his requests sound strange to you and is there anything illegal he could be up to. Thanks for your response in advance. ------------------ A: I suppose that looking at a lyric in advance can't hurt. The publisher has opened themselves up to "access" and may want to be sure that the works are registered before proceeding with review for legal protection from you. Keep copies and dates of all correspondence. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Some months back I signed a publishing contract. .... but if they do get some artist to record/release the song, are they obligated to tell me? Should I join BMI now? (According to what I understand from BMI, I should only join if I know the song has been recorded and is about to be released.) Thanks for your time. ------------------ A: Single song agreements can be difficult to manage form both perspectives. It is to your advantage that you are clear as to when statements are due and follow up if you do not see a statement at the designated time. This may be semiannually or quarterly. You'll have to look at your agreement to see. Sure, go ahead and fill out your songwriter application with BMI and register that song and any of the others in your catalogue that may be available for public performance royalties. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: If an artist owns the mechanical license for an ASCAP song then the artist is free to use that song on because of's association with ASCAP. Know anything about this? See the response to this question online at as answered by guest columnist, Steven Cass of Solid Walnut Music/ASCAP, Solid Maple Music/BMI. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TO VIEW OTHER QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES, SEE NANCY'S COPYRIGHT & PUBLISHING Q&A ONLINE AT . Please note: Nancy received a *lot* of e-mail in a month. If you sent in a question but have not heard a reply, it's very likely it already *has* an answer online. It's always a good idea to thoroughly look through the Copyright & Publishing Q&A online to see if your question has already been asked before you send in a request. Thanks! ----------------------------------------------------------------- ***** 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 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Tina Vero - In the Waiting Tina's 10 track, 45 minute CD is a personal tribute to life and lessons. Her record company is well-named: Handmade Muse Records. Very fitting, since Ms. Vero's very acoustic album is a collection of guitar poetry that is calling upon alternative pop, contemporary folk and demon-freeing modes of music. 'Another sleepy, rainy Thursday / Finds me alone / I'm walking home / With the rain getting heavier now / They say I'm safe and sound / but there's something going 'round' is seeking to exercise rather than 'Live With the Demon'. Not a misprint. No one believes she wants to exorcise her demons because Tina radiates strength from the powers that drain. A believer of the 'without pain, there's no pleasure' syndrome, and you know at once she's right. Some think folk music has to mean country or political, but consider this collection of songs a public domain diary that has been opened up after 100 years and set to music. And yet, the rains and the laughs are definitely of this time. 'In the Waiting' is public confession of weaknesses and hope that singing these with a true and highly desirable voice will give credence to her prayers over all others. 'Never mind me / That's just the other / Part of my life now / You can spare me / This is blue to gray / And the rest is all behind me / Try to believe these words / Pack a grin, ease your way in / There's no back door to my life now.' A talent, a voice like this doesn't just happen into the studio one day. Tina's abilities are constantly stretching and confident, she has obviously been trying at life and song so long, she's got it half right. The songwriting/performing part. Life ­ it's still a mystery, still a 'Hunt For the Red', seeking always a fall that isn't dying, but is dying to be seen. 'And the summer gives out / To autumn instead / And I hunt for the red in October instead / What I wanted, died in the heat / What I needed, refuses to sleep.' It is a beautiful song; my favorite. Tina speaks to the poet in us all. That part of our person which half-seeks truths, but also wants to discover. Read her words once, you might not understand fully. Read them again, and the language becomes clearer. Listen to the music and all eyes will open. ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Yoon Ju Lee - Left Coast: Jerry Gontang & Tony Irvine - Chrissy Lomax - Brian Cline Band - Joe Turley - Molly Zenobia - April Hall - Jack Kid - Lorraine Ferro - Angelhaus - ------------------ ****** 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 ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by Allison Durno SONGWRITING AND THE GUITAR: The Complete Guide ( Acoustic Guitar Guides) Edited by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers For a taste of what the book has to offer, see the article by Patty Larkin at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This songwriting guide is a useful and inspiring collection of interviews and essays by well-known songwriting guitarists. Among those songwriters who share their creative tips and techniques for writing songs with the guitar are Paul Simon, Patty Larkin, David Wilcox, Gillian Welch, Don McLean and Joni Mitchell. The book explores the intense link that exists between a songwriter and their guitar when trying to write an effective song. The book is divided into three sections. As explained by editor Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, the first section, In Their Own Words, is a series of nine interviews where renowned songwriters, including James Taylor, The Indigo Girls, David Crosby and others, explain how they get ideas and how they use assorted guitar techniques in writing their songs. The second section is a series of Workshops by experienced songwriters and teachers on how to fine tune melodies, lyrics and chord progressions. The third section is on Tools and Resources and it offers tips on buying guitars, using a capo and using a tape or digital recorder in your writing. There is also a list of 25 alternate guitar tunings, to help launch a guitarist in whole new directions on how to use the guitar in their songwriting. I found the ideas in this book helpful and thought-provoking and I have been inspired to talk to other guitarists about their experiences in writing with the guitar and their experiences in using alternate tunings because of the ideas and the motivation I found while reading these essays. I would recommend this book as a good place for guitarists to find fresh inspiration in their continuing efforts to "break out of familiar habits and patterns" and find "words and music that really -sing-.". ****** Allison Durno is an elementary school teacher who also teaches vocal and instrumental music to children. She plays guitar, sings and writes songs for the folk/filk group, Urban Tapestry ( ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : Charles will be providing us with a series of articles discussing common problems performing songwriters might face within the music business. THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC: GROUP NAMES : How to Choose a name and Protect it by Charles Katz ©2001, Charles Katz. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Name Game" was a song performed by Shirley Ellis in the 60's. It was a play on rhyming with peoples' names. It was a tremendous hit and was no. 1 for several weeks on the charts. For a Performing Song Writer, it is essential to have a name that is original but easy for the public to remember. Great names all have a story. Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, U2, Pearl Jam, Korn, Puff Daddy, Greatful Dead, LL Cool J, Jefferson Starship etc. Where to start in searching for your name is not an easy task. A well known Toronto Indie artist did a simple but remarkable act by claiming an Internet Domain name for her performing name. In today's Cyber world that is where you start! Think up some eccentric memorable name. Then go to the top Indie Music sites such or Another place to check is the BillBoard International Talent and Touring Directory: . Do a search on the name you've chosen or similar names. You will have just gone through a database of some 200,000 names. If your name is unique then you are successful. If not, you can get some creative ideas. After you have chosen your name, then determine if that domain name is in use. You can do this by simply typing in "uniquename".com or www."uniquename".com (Do not put in the quotes - only your chosen name!!) If you get the ugly message unable to locate server you have hit the jackpot. Go to and pay your $75 and register your domain name. Now , one last task. Go to Results are from 5 sources of data: The US Federal trademark database The Canadian trademark database The Internet domain name database The Info USA company names database NEW The European Trademarks database Hopefully there has been no known use of your unique name. You now have a service mark and you can obtain a federal service mark registration, even for an individual performer. Now you must protect that unique name. In the city where you live, register your unique name with the municipality as a trade name. The cost is about $100 and usually lasts for four years. Go Online to the Trademark Registration of the country where you reside and register the name. If you feel confident as a Songwriter/Performer, incorporate the name as a legal entity with your attorney. He will also do one final name search. Performing these boring, meticulous tasks saved me a small fortune several years ago. My company Printerm had developed some computer software, CheckRite 2000, that printed checks on laser printers. Some company in Ohio had the name CheckRite for manual check signing plated machines. I had received an ugly letter from their attorney demanding I stop using that name. Fortunately I had obtained the trademark on the name and was in the clear. Stay tuned for next month's article: Collaboration Agreements : Let the Songwriter Beware ****** Charles Katz owns a high-tech company, Printerm, established for 20 years, and manages a Record Label, Windrift Music Inc. He currently has a CD "Night Driving Music" installed at Internet sites in the US, UK, and Asia collecting royalties. Charles is presently working on his second CD with a female recording artist and has established a virtual band, Spencer K for that project. As a business leader, musician, publisher, and promoter, he is now providing his expertise for fellow artists. Contact: Back to Menu ================================================================= 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. Song listings are only $29.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= 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! ----------------------------------------------------------------- JIM BEAM ROCK BAND SEARCH TURNS UP THE VOLUME ON NATIONAL TALENT: The fifth annual Jim Beam Rock Band Search is now on for the nation's best-unsigned band. Unsigned musicians are encouraged to compete for a five-market tour aboard the Jim Beam tour bus, as well as other cool prizes. Jim Beam will accept applications until May 9. For additional contest information, visit or call 866-JBB-ROCKS. ----------------------------------------------------------------- NEW 'RADIO MUSE' WEBCAST FOR INDEPENDENT SONGWRITERS - NOW SEEKING MUSIC! The Muse's Muse & Host, Jan Best of Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine, are putting together a series of shows, one every month, featuring the songs of independent songwriters just like you! See for details on how you can send in your own music for consideration. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE NASHVILLE NEW MUSIC CONFERENCE: NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Headquartered in "Music City USA" The Nashville New Music Conference is a 5 day event designed to showcase and empower independent bands, labels and artists from all over the world. The Nashville New Music Conference will take place October 10th through the 14th, 2001 in Nashville, TN, at various clubs and venues throughout the city. Better known as 2NMC, the Nashville New Music Conference is designed to provide maximum benefits to attendees with high profile showcases and networking opportunities in one of the top music centers in the World. Visit for more information and click here: (for the PDF) or (for straight ascii text) for a special Muse's Muse $10 showcase application. ----------------------------------------------------------------- SIBL PROJECT SONGWRITING COMPETITION: Have you written a song inspired by a book, poem or play? Kate Bush did: "Wuthering Heights" was inspired by the novel by Emily Brontė. Bruce Springsteen did: "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was inspired by John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Tori Amos did: "Cornflake Girl" was inspired by Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy. Have you? If you have, submit it to The Songs Inspired By Literature (SIBL) Project's Songwriting Competition. Submit your song inspired by any book, play or poem, in any style you want! You can win: o $2,500 o Inclusion on a star-studded compilation CD o Prizes from our sponsors 30 finalists will be chosen, and from those, 10 winning songs will be included on Chapter One, the first SIBL Project Compilation CD, including SIBLs by some of the top musicians in the world. Did you know that 1 in 5 American adults cannot read to their children, fill out a job application or pass a written driver's test? Your song will play a vital role in the fight. All proceeds from Chapter One toward the fight to increase adult literacy. Deadline for entries is September 7, 2001 For more information on The SIBL Project and for entry forms, official rules and regulations, go to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- JUST PLAIN FOLKS 2001 NORTHEAST US/CANADA ROADTRIP SHOWCASE: Every Just Plain Folks member (becoming a member is free and all it requires is signing up for the Just Plain Notes newsletter!) is welcome to participate in any of these events, even if you live in another area of the world. All levels of experience are encouraged to get involved and even if you aren't a performer, we want you to come out and meet your peers and fellow members. If you want to know what our showcase are like, please visit this link to answer most of your questions. If you would like to sign up yourself or your band to perform at one or more of these showcases, you MUST follow the instructions located at, or your request will not be honored. For those who will be in the Toronto or Ottawa area on the dates below: Locations have just recently been found for two showcases in those areas in conjunction with the Songwriting Association of Canada & The Muse's Muse: June 16th - OTTAWA: Rasputin's Folk Cafe - 696 Bronsan Avenue - 7:00pm - 12:00am June 18th - TORONTO: Ted's Wrecking Yard - 549 College Street (west of Bathurst) - 7:00pm - 12:00am For further information and more locations, times and dates of other showcases, please see ----------------------------------------------------------------- JAI JOSEFS SEMINAR - SATURDAY MAY 19th: Jai Josefs "Secrets of Songwriting Success" Seminar- Part 2 Saturday May 19th, 2001-10:00am till 5pm @ Schuba's 3159 Southport 773-525-2508. At the door $55. Pre-Register now or before May 9 and it's only $45 Those who have attended Jai or/and Pat's previous seminars only $40 To reserve a space call Frank Polancic @ 773-935-3856 or email . Send payment to 4036 N. Hoyne Chicago Il 60618. JOHN BRAHENY AT THE NATIONAL GUITAR SUMMER WORKSHOPS: ----------------------------------------------------------------- JOHN BRAHENY will teach a rare week-long CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF SONGWRITING workshop for the National Guitar Summer Workshops June 26 ­ July 1, 2001 at Loyola Marymount College in Los Angeles. John has conducted three previous workshops for NGSW in Murphreesboro TN. Tuition is $695 if you register before June 1. go to their website at, Along with great songwriting craft and business info, critiqes and workshops, John's special guests are hit lyricist Will Jennings and Songwriter guitar giant/hit songwriter, Steve Lukather (pending availability). John is the author of the best-selling Writer's Digest Book, "The Craft and Business of Songwriting," (see for a review) a Music Biz Magazine columnist, former co-founder/director of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase and a songwriting and music business consultant. Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2001 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- I very often get emails from people asking about song structure, or lyrics sent to me that incorrectly identify different parts of the song. I notice that many writers haven't yet understood the purpose of each part of a song...what is the chorus supposed to convey? What is a bridge? A refrain? When we're first sitting down to write, we're not always thinking too much about structure or form. Instead, we're focused on how the melody is flowing and/or what the song is about, and much of what we "do next" is very right-brained in nature. I've often mentioned one of my favourite authors on the subject of songwriting, John Braheny, and his well-known book "The Craft and Business of Songwriting". What a treat to find another partial chapter of his book online, and this is a great one. It's called "Constructing A Song: Words and Music Together" and it's featured at the ASCAP J.A.M. site. (Incidentally, J.A.M. means "Junior ASCAP Members" and is a branch of ASCAP for younger, newer members, especially teens. Wish they had this when I first started!) The webpage with John's article is here: This article covers all of the basics, from the components of a song that I mentioned above, to exercises, lyrical and instrumental hooks, dynamics, AND one of the most important parts...rewriting!! John always uses examples of popular songs as examples or to reinforce his points and has a very straightforward style of writing that takes a lot of mystery out of the process. This is an excellent read...AND, if after that you feel you'd like to read more of his book, you can order it through the Muse's Muse website, right here: Speaking of which, just about any book that was written on the topic of songwriting is also available online through the Muse's Muse, so be sure to visit and catch up on your reading! ****** 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 eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention everywhere from Japan to South America. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= S O N G W R I T E R I N S P O T L I G H T : San Francisco-based, performing songwriter, Austin Willacy ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: What are your earliest musical memories and influences? How do you think they've shaped the musician you are today? --------------------------------------------- A: My earliest musical memories are like little mini-movies. I took this music and movement class with my brother when I was very young, 3 or 4 yrs. old, and we moved around to music and balanced sticks on our heads and stuff. We had an advantage with the stick thing because we both had little Afros and the stick nestled in there very comfortably. The next mini-movie is of taking recorder lessons with this tall strawberry blond man named David (I think). I had a brown and white recorder and my dad played, too, so we played a few duets. I loved the way the parts fit together. The last musical snapshot is of listening to 8-track tapes of Stevie Wonder in my family's buick regal on long road trips to Jackson, Mississippi. It was about a 13 hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio (where I grew up) and my brother and I slept as much of the way as possible. But Stevie Wonder's Musiquarium and Johnny "Guitar" Watson were playing a lot as I drifted in and out of sleep. I think that the music and movement class didn't influence me all that much, but playing the recorder led me to the clarinet and saxophone as an elementary and junior high schooler. I think that playing these instruments did two things. One, they got me pretty firmly rooted in a sense of tonality. Unlike fretless instruments or trombone, once you're in tune, if you finger the note and blow, the note will come out. I think that helped me out when I started singing. The other way in which they helped me was that both clarinet and sax (sax particularly) have a rather human vocal timbre. I really got into that and the funk, soul and r&b music in which I heard them (sax more than clarinet) played. My dad's a huge blues fan. I grew up hearing blues all the time. Johnny "Guitar" Watson is one of many bluesmen I grew up hearing and humming along with, but he's the one we had the 8-track of. Stevie Wonder has such a versatile, powerful voice that I can't help but be inspired and intimidated when I hear him sing. I love a lot of his music, from the early motown music through the jungle fever soundtrack. Over the years I've sung a number of his tunes in a number of different contexts. As a songwriter, the fact that he wrote about social and political issues, and did it so powerfully, had a big effect on me. It raised the bar for me in terms of the type of lyrical content that I expected of myself once I started writing. I felt that I had to push myself to write about my thoughts, feelings and experiences in a different way so that I didn't get bogged down in "oohbabywannarubyouallnightlongcomedancewithme" land. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: So what got you writing songs in the first place? I mean, there's a big leap from listening to great songwriters to wanting to be one, right? :) Was it just a natural progression from the instruments you were playing? The singing? Or was there a specific reason you started - and then continued? --------------------------------------------- A: I'm a very communicative person by nature. I love to read and learn new words. My conversation skills in French and Spanish are dull from lack of regular use, but I can understand both languages reasonably well. I had a problem writing poetry in high school; I was just too embarrassed, but there was this woman that I was totally into my sophomore year of college and there were things that I needed to tell her that were in that delicate and beautiful place that exists only when words are set to a melody. It felt so good to have what I needed to say out of me, but I also loved the process of getting there. I didn't play any instruments at the time, so it took me a while to get up to ramming speed on the writing front, but even back then, I was definitely hooked. I was listening to lots of great, and rather eclectic music and that lead me to approach my own writing from a comparative standpoint. I was listening to Peter Gabriel and Tom Waits and Bob Marley and The Beatles and Stevie Wonder and Prince and Patty Larkin and Sting and trying to find a voice for myself that I would want to listen to. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: So how long have you been writing now? And which song do you consider to be your most successful? Why? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For the remainder of this interview, see . ----------------------------------------------------------------- Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : The Hit Song Puzzle by James Linderman James gives us some hints on how to look at songwriting from the publisher's point of view. A very useful and insightful article! Back to Menu
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- USA INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING COMPETITION Songwriters! Enter to win a grand prize of over US$50,000 in cash, merchandise and more! This the largest prize package in any annual songwriting competition. Also, winners' songs will be featured on a nationally syndicated radio program serving over 60 cities in the US and Canada. Judges include A&R Managers from Major Record labels and publishers. Visit: ----------------------------------------------------------------- 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 at and download your free 30-day trial today. Call us at 888.732.1176 U.S or 603.726.4911 outside the U.S. and mention this ad to receive a $10 discount towards your purchase. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE SONGWRITER'S GUIDE TO DEMO SUBMISSION... Everything you need to know to get your songs heard! Updated for 2001, our guide can give you an edge over the thousands of other songwriters trying desperately to get their songs listened to. You'll learn how to package your demos like a pro, discover where to send your demos, learn how to market your songs online, locate songwriter organizations and more! ----------------------------------------------------------------- WINDRIFT SONGWRITING COMPETITION Windrift Music, a new music label in Toronto is sponsoring a free songwriting competition. THERE IS NO ENTRY CHARGE: Grand Prize * $500 in cash * Make Your own demo CD * 50 CDs courtesy of Windrift Music * Web Hosting of Your Song on Windrift Music Site * Artist Home Page with download of music * 1000 promotional Flyers of CD * Free promotion of artist CD to major labels. The deadline is June 30th, 2001. Contest details are located on the Windrift web site: ----------------------------------------------------------------- OPPORTUNITIES AT POWERGIG:, has 3-5 hour/week opportunities for enthusiasts of live entertainment. Commissions paid for memberships and updated venue profiles. Easy, low-pressure work and a great way to stay connected in the industry. If interested, email or call toll-free 866-GIG-POWER. ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, no setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ----------------------------------------------------------------- GET YOUR COPY OF THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE & START MAKING WAVES! 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". I highly recommend you pick it up in order to compliment your other music marketing techniques. Have a look at this url and read through a few sample pages to see what I mean: (Full review at ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$25 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . Back to Menu
================================================================= 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 All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
Library of Canada ecollection: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back to Menu

[ Back to The Muse's News Index ] [ Home ]

Help For Newcomers
Help for Newcomers
Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources
Berklee Music Resources
The Muse's News
Entertainment Cyberscope
Newer Articles
Past Columnists
Past Columnists - After March 2007
Market Information
Songwriting Contests
Chat Logs
Songwriting Books
Regular Columnists
Services Offered
About the  Muse's Muse
About Muse's Muse
Subscribe to The Muse's News, free monthly newsletter for songwriters
with exclusive articles, copyright & publishing advice, music, website & book reviews, contest & market information, a chance to win prizes & more!

Join today!

Created & Maintained
by Jodi Krangle


© 1995 - 2016, The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource. All rights reserved.

Read The Muse's Muse Privacy Statement