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A Log of our first Guest Speaker in the Songwriting Lounge - August 17, 1998
Chat room Songwriting_Lounge with
Alan Roy Scott

After much thought, I decided to leave this log exactly as it came out, typos, giggles, loss of connections and all. The chat was very casual, as you'll no doubt figure out. No moderation through the chat program itself was necessary - and I liked it that way. The gathering was intimate and the feel of it easy going. Weekly chats go much the same way so this should give you an idea of what to expect when you join us on Monday nights (minus the typing of "?" to ask a question, of course). I thought Alan was a wonderful guest and I think after reading this log, you'll agree.

(Please note: In order to help Alan out with the technological end of this sort of thing, Alan went to Ralph's (neonralph) house and Ralph typed in his words as he spoke them. (Thanks so much, Ralph!) He typed "Alan" & "Ralph" to denote the difference between speakers though his username remained the same.)

Hope to see you at a chat some Monday night soon! Special thanks to all those that attended and asked such interesting questions! :-)

-- Log on guest1.log started at Mon Aug 17 18:12:51 PDT 1998
Alan: Hello everybody...thank you for inviting me to join in this chat room tonight. I'm very happy to have all of you supporting what I'm trying to do with UNISONG. It is my pleasure this evening to share 20 years of war stories from my songwriting career, international career, organizational career or any questions about anything that's on your mind about UNISONG or anything else that I can help you with.
JodiMuseOk Shelby. Here's how things are going. If you hav e a question for our guest speaker, please type a "?" and either Jeff or myself will queu you to ask it, ok?
JeffMThank you for being with us, Alan
JodiMuse Would also like to tell people that we are logging now. :-) And thank YOU, Alan. I'm sure this evening is going to be a log of fun - and informative too!
............................Sneak left ............. :(
DavidPiano Jodi - "log of fun" - pun or typo?
JodiMuseActually... I meant to do that. Yeah. Really. ;-)
JeffM You live in the LA area then, Alan?
Bob log of pun?
DavidPiano :-) Funny bob.
DavidPiano ?
neonralphAlan: Beautiful Woodland Hills, the place in the San Fernando Valley that they quote in weather reports on the evening news as the hottest point. Better yet, I live on the top of a hill with no shade to boot. Fried eggs anyone? Step outside....
DavidPiano :-)
JodiMuse Sounds beautiful, Alan! You're very lucky!
JodiMuse So DP? Go ahead with your question. :-)
DavidPiano OK, thank you, Jodi.
DavidPiano Mr Scott, what initially attracted you to songwriting and music as a whole?
neonralph First of all, I always feel strange when anyone calls me Mister, as I still feel about 10 inside, so call me Alan. (more)
DavidPiano OK. . .
neonralph I was one of those children who grew up in a musical environment, in my case, the south side of Chicago in the late 50s and early 60s. (more)
neonralph My father, who was like a God to me, sponsored gospel radio shows from the showroom of his Pontiac dealership, live every Sunday. This later turned into a live TV show every week. (more)
neonralphThe point is, my earliest memories are always about amazing gospel singers, gospel choirs, early Motown acts, hanging around backstage with me and calling me "Carrot top." The music had a profound effect on me, and I started thinking something was wrong with me until I was about 8 and realized my father and I were not the only white people around. (more)
neonralph With this as a basis in my early childhood, music was always an intregral part of my life, from that moment 'til today. [stop]
DavidPiano From what I do understand of that period, it was a very prosperous environment musically.
JodiMuse You've definitely been lucky to have such a wonderfully musical background, Alan!
DavidPiano You are also very lucky to have been in the middle of such a soulful music.
Shelby ?
JodiMuse Ready for another one, Alan?
JeffMI thinkShelby has her hand raised...
neonralph Ready, willing and able, ma'am!
JodiMuseThat's who I was referring to, Jeff. :-)
JodiMuse Go for it, Shelby!
Shelby Alan, when you write a song, do you already have the performing artist in mind, or do you write it "generically?"
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DavidPiano Welcome back Bob.
JodiMuse HI again, Bob!
Bob got booted
neonralphAlan: The answer to that has two parts: When I was a staff writer (for 11 years - 6 for EMI Music and 5 for Jobete Music/Motown '79-'90) I was basically a songwriting gun, have song, will travel. What I mean is that part of the pressure of that gig was being assigned specific artists that were looking for songs or film or TV projects that needed a song, and having to come up with it (almost overnight, or so it seemed). (more)
neonralph As terrible as that may sound, it really gives you the chops when you play that commercial game to be able to handle whatever is thrown at you. (more)
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DavidPiano Our GUEST SPEAKER got booted!
JeffM Ralph needs a new computer :-)
DavidPiano Sheesh.
JodiMuse Don't panic, folks. Ralph has to log back in every half hour. Something to do with his IRC program.
DavidPiano LOL
JeffM He's probably going to be invisible when he comes back ...
neonralph Alan/s back...
JeffM Yup
JodiMuse Yup. :)
DavidPiano Jeff, you know everything don'tcha?
neonralphAlan: But the craft I gained from those years of writing for assignment aids me greatly even when I'm just writing from inspiration.
neonralph [stop]
neonralph Ralph: Did you guys get all of that??
JodiMuse We did. No worries.
JeffM yes
DavidPiano Yes. . .in sporadic bits, but all of it.
neonralph Ralph: next question?
Bob ?
JodiMuse Go ahead, Bob
JeffM I'll ask one after Bob...
JodiMuse Sure.
Bobdid your career start out as a wish / hard work / or spiritual
DavidPiano Jodi - may I ask another ? after Jeff?
neonralphAlan: To be truthful, although I always noodled with music more as a hobby (the freedom of which I think lead me to taking it seriously later), I actually trained to be an actor from High School to college. I got as far as living the life of a starving actor in New York, going to Alpo dog food commercial auditions, etc. The highlight of this period was appearing in a broadway revival of Hair. But I was starving to death. (more)
JodiMuse Sure, David. :-)
neonralph At that point where I felt my life was heading in the wrong direction, it dawned on me to try music professionaly, which had always been something fun in my life that I did naturally. (more)
neonralph Once I made the switch from acting to songwriting, within about a year and a half I had my first success. Some people try many years to get to that level and for me it just happened easily. but I paid some serious dues through my acting torture days. [stop]
JeffM Here's a question your international travels...
JeffM We all know about songwriting LA and Nashville. I'm curious which other cities around the world are especially "known" for their songwriting.
JeffMAnd which countries are the most supportive of songwriters?
neonralph Alan: the point is, none. Maybe London, a little bit. But in actual fact, the whole idea of songwriting on assignment, regular collaboration, etc., is an American thing. (more)
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Bobthey're dropping one by one
neonralph That's why people are so excited when I bring that work ethic and craft to writing situations around the world. They're always amazed by the way I can work so fast and professionally. (more)
DavidPiano Hmmm. . .
JeffM Too bad Jodi :-)
neonralph They have no experience with this. (more)
JodiMuse Too bad about what, Jeff? ;-)
JodiMuse That just means we get Alan all to ourself. :-)
DavidPiano :-)
neonralph The countries in my own personal writing career, where I have made numerous writing trips (and had some good success, so far) are the Benelux countries (Holland And Belgium), Germany, England, and Australia. I'm going to South Africa for the first time next year and I'm very excited about that. [stop]
JeffM Go ahead David.
DavidPiano There's an old adage, "You learn something new everyday."
DavidPiano During your extensive career as a songwriter, do you still continue to find forks in the road that make your personal songwriting process different? And would you mind sharing some of the forks you have travelled down?
neonralphAlan: David, it's my understanding you are only around 13 years old...if that is true, I must commend you on your early maturity and obvious interest in songwriting as a profession at such an early age.
Bob you just want his pizza
DavidPiano Why thank you, Alan.
JodiMuse DP's been with us for a while here, Alan. We're quite happy that he drops by. :-)
DavidPiano Thanks a lot Jodi. . .
DavidPiano And, Alan, that comment from you, coming from a person of your status in this field, that means more than anything. A sign of validity, I guess.
JodiMuse Keep at it, DP! You're bound for glory. ;-)
DavidPiano Thanks. . .
neonralphAlan: I don't knwo if you would call them songwriting forks or personal growth forks. But one I can share with you from personal experience, as an example, would be when at Christmas, 1990, after 11 years as a staff writer, I couldn't get arrested, I was told by all the publishers in town that songwriters who just wrote songs for other people were basically dinosaurs and ready for the boneyard, and I faced that holiday with no money, a family, and no idea what the hel
neonralphAlan: That's when I discovered the international way of writing. (more)
neonralphAlan: It wasn't that my process changed, but my inner attitude about the process changed. Ånd this breakthrough allowed me to move down this whole new road, which I had mostly to myself for many years.
neonralph {stop}
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HEdges what?
Bob hi he
DavidPiano Hi Hedges.
HEdges hey, s'up?
JodiMuse Hi HEdges. We have a guest speaker here tonight. Say hello to Alan Roy Scott. :-) We're taking questions. If you're interested in asking a question, just type "?" and we'll call on you, ok?
HEdges please can you stop the noise i'm trying to get some rest, from all the unborn chicken voices in my head
HEdges who is he?
JodiMuse Read and you'll know.
JodiMuse And stop eating all those eggs. ;-)
Bob ?
JodiMuse Go ahead, Bob. :-)
HEdges hmmm. i'll just figure it out here....sorry that was a bit of radiohead
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DavidPiano Hello Lukah.
Lukah Hi! This is my first visit to this Chat Room.
JodiMuse Hi Lukah.
Bobwhen you sit to a lyric does the music come 1st or the hook. what catches you creativity?
JodiMuse Well, you picked a good night. We have a guest speaker tonight. If you're interested in asking Alan Roy Scott a question, just type a "?" and we'll call on you, ok? Meanwhile, if you want to read about him, you can go to in a second browser window. :-)
Bob for writing a song?
neonralphAlan: I have written in all ways, collaboratively, in my day. 3 writers and a dog, one artist who can't write at all and gets 50% of the credit, etc. (more)
neonralphAlan: I usually tend to work from sitting at the keyboard and coming up with some basic chord progressions or a hook melody and maybe a title will pop out and we'll go from there. (more)
Bob so your inspired by music mostly?
neonralph alan: I have, on occasion, worked with a finished lyric in front of me, but sometime I find that a little bit more difficult. I also, in the last years (on many occasions), have been given a music track where I wrote the melody and lyrics to that. [stop]
JodiMuse I have a question, actually... I'm just curious about something related to this question.
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HEdges ?
neonralphAlan: I find that music is more of a "feel" thing, whereas lyrics tend to come from thoughts in your mind. So I find the music is kind of like building the foundation of the house, which then allows the freedom of thought to build the upper floors, so to speak (i.e.; the lyrics). [stop]
neonralph OK Jodi...
JodiMuse Oops. I guess I'm moderating myself. Ok I'm curious about which method of songwriting created your most successful songs, Alan? Music first? Lyrics first? Ready made music track that you had to compose lyrics and a melody for? Which has worked best for you? That's different from asking which was *easiest*. ;-)
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JodiMuse Welcome back, Jeff!
DavidPiano Welcome back, Jeff.
Bob hi again jeff
JeffM My turn to get disconnected
HEdges sure
Bob dp's next
DavidPiano Hey. . .
neonralphAlan: Most of my most successful songs (and probably a good deal of the ones I'm most proud of) started from the music-noodling way I've described. although a few of my successes of late have been of the writing lyrics/melody to a track as mentioned. (more)
neonralphAlan: I think this is a great way to keep current with musical trends as after 20 years of writing I don't also have the time to keep up with all the latest production and studio techniques. [stop]
neonralphAlan: I'm sorry, but I tend to answer questions in long form. Please be patient if I can give very short answers sometimes. :-)
JodiMuse Collaboration is a great way to create something entirely new that neither of you separately would have created though. :-)
DavidPianoExactly, Jodi.
DavidPiano Especially when the two writers come from extremely different backgrounds and are able to find a middle ground.
JeffMor find the other writer's ground...
Bob ?
JodiMuse No problem, Alan. Answer however you like. HEdges? You had a question?
JodiMuse Bob, you're up after HEdges, ok?
HEdges yeah.
neonralphRalph: Hold on a minute...we have to resign on....
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JodiMuseOk. I'll start the musak playing...
DavidPiano Mmm-hmmm. :-)
JeffM We'll have to resign ourselves to their resigning
neonralphRalph: We're back!
DavidPiano In tribute to Alan, play some gospel, and Billy Joel and Elton John.
DavidPiano Welcome back, Ralph and Alan.
JodiMuse Or let HIM play them, DP. ;-) Feel free to ask your question, HEdges.
DavidPiano :-) Jodi.
HEdges do you find yourself being inspired by music you listen to, and/or do you listen to music to inspire new ideas?
HEdges or do you prefer to be free from other influences when writing for fear of sounding like it?
neonralphAlan: Certainly, as my career has become so full with many things requiring my attention, I don't have as much time to just *listen* to music as I used to. so I use what time I do have wisely. (more)
neonralphAlan: To keep up with the commercial trends, I listen to the weekend Top 40 countdowns, plus the stations I listen to daily just driving around. I also always ask my friends who have teenagers or kids what they like musically and I try to listen to those suggestions. (more)
neonralphalan: I also don't get to go out as much to hear music as much as I used to, since I have a family, but at least once a month I try to go and see something that everyone's saying is really cool.
neonralph [stop]
neonralphAlan: (more)
HEdges can i ask who's you're favorite new thing?
neonralph alan: But when it comes to writing, I try to let all those influences just free-flow in my head and when I sit down to write I just try to be "in the moment" as much as possible and really feel what vibes I'm getting from the universe, musically, at that moment. [stop]
neonralphAlan: Myself! (just joking....) Actually, I've just discovered some of the Lilith Fair babes in more detail than just knowing a single or two. I'm really into Sarah McLauchlan at the moment. (more)
HEdges your sorry.
neonralphAlan: This music, interestingly enough, is in direct juxtaposition to what's happening in Europe and other places. Musically things have really become individual to each country now, whereas before the whole world was really listening to a lot of the same things. [stop]
JodiMuse Ooo. I really love Sarah McLauchlan. Good choise. :-)
JodiMuse Ugh. CHOICE. Can't type tonight.
HEdges it's ok, that's how they spell it in the uk...jk
JodiMuse Bob? You had a question, right?
Bob what time of the day do you find the most creative for you, and do you write better so to speak when your tired?
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DavidPiano Welcome back, Lukah.
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Lukah Thanks - I got disconnected that time!!
Bob it's gonna get ya dp
neonralph Alan: That has changed throughout my life. But at this point, with so much going on, I realize how important it is to have a quiet, peaceful environment for writing. Therefore, I tend to write first thing in the morning (before the phone starts ringing) or late at night after the kids are asleep. [stop]
DavidPiano Incidentally, about Sarah McLachlan, she just gives me chills.
DavidPiano Hello Solomon. . .And Bob, would you stop saying that?!
Bob and a breeze
JodiMuse Hello again Lukah! Hello Solomon. If you have a question, just type "?" and we'll get to you. :-) Solomon, Alan Roy Scott is our guest speaker tonight. Feel free to join in on the discussion. :-)
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Solomonhello everyone
DavidPiano Hello, Solomon./
JeffM Hi Solomon
JeffMWho's next?
JodiMuse Hi Solomon. :)
DavidPiano We'll find out easily enough, won't we Jeff?
Bob you jeff
HEdges well, it's been a blast, but i gotta go.....btw, the pres just admitted to his affair with miss lewwhatever
JeffM Okay, I have a question
JodiMuse Whooooo boy. Thanks for dropping by, HEdges!
DavidPiano Nice meeting you Hedges.
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DavidPianoJodi - aren't you glad we live in Canada?
DavidPiano We don't have to put up with that?!
JeffM I'd like to know more about what you meant by "international style" of writing. Can you elaborate on that new internal perspective shift?
DavidPiano One of the upsides
JodiMuse Definitely one of the upsides. ;-)
DavidPiano I have a ? after Jeff gets a response.
Bob no or's in the water huh!
neonralphAlan: As I started to mention, every country now has its own market with its own artists, its own rules and ways of songwriting that fit that market. For instance, in Germany right now (where I recently was) everything is German hip-hop. German songs with an english rap. Also, remakes of old hits are huge there right now. (more)
neonralphAlan: At the same time, in Japan, it is a completely closed market, where 90% of their hits are by Japanese artists, written by Japanese producers and artists, with no outsiders allowed there. The music is of the "big ballad" style that sounds like Barry Manilow time to us. (more)
neonralphAlan: So every country is like this, and the trick to international success is learning how to integrate what you do into the musical tapestry of each country your working. [stop]
JeffM Hmm, I used to hear of rock bands touring in Japan, like Scorpians putting out a live in Japan album...
JodiMuse Um... While we're on the subject, might I ask what tips you would give to others in order to achieve that, Alan? (Wanted to ask this while it was still relevant, DP!)
DavidPiano OK, Jodi.
JodiMuse :-)
neonralphAlan: The interesting point is, big international acts will tour Japan, but that doesn't usually translate to hit singles or album sales...what they do see is mostly live concert ticket sales. The local market still consists mostly of their own artists with a smattering of the international artists to prove they don't live in an isolated cage musically (when in fact they really do, to some degree). [stop] joined............. :)
JeffMHi country
DavidPiano Hello Country.
Solomon hi country
country Hello everyone
neonralphAlan: Although there is certainly no manual or quick formula on how to do what I've described, a good starting point always is going to the big international music conventions (i.e.; MIDEM in January in France, POPKOMM in August in Germany, etc.). These are great international networking opportunities. It's a good starting point to meeting artists, record companies, etc. [stop]
JodiMuse Hi country!
country Hi
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Solomon Gotta go, but thanks for letting me sit in. Bye all!
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Bob I told him he was next
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JodiMuseYou did, Bob. Yup.
JeffM You were right, Bob
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JeffM So, this recent hiphop craze in Germany is really new?
JeffM for them, that is?
Bob sorry country but everyone getting the boot for some reason. you might be next. Hope not
country me too
JeffM Bob = prophet of chat doom
JodiMuse :-)
Bob wierd , but it's going in order it seems
neonralphAlan: To us, it's like what was happening here 3 or 4 years ago, in some ways...but to them it' new. For instance, the more acoustic/alternative thing that's been happening here (i.e.; Lilith Fair artists, etc.) is nothing over there yet. That will probably come back around in Germany 3 or 4 years from now when we're on to something else. [stop]
Bob but dp not coming back
Bob lost in cyber space
neonralphRalph: Sorry for the typos...he's talking FAST!
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DavidPiano I'm terribly sorry about that.
JodiMuse That's ok, Ralph! You're doing great. Welcome back DP! Just in time to ask your question. :-)
JeffM Jodi: now's your chance to move to Germany!
Bob welcome back dp
DavidPianoThank you.
DavidPiano Alan, which songwriters would you like to collaborateb with if you haven't already done so? And which collaborations have been most rewarding personally?
JodiMuseYup. I'm ON that plane... ;-)
Bob you getem girl
DavidPiano :-)
neonralphAlan: Some of my favorite collaborations with artists I really enjoyed working with were Cyndi Lauper (she's really like she seems), and Cher (she's *definitely* like she seems). I would love to work with some of the new artists that are cropping up. I love Ben Folds Five right now and I'm very pleased because Ben Folds is coming to my project in Cuba in November and I can't wait to meet him. [stop]
DavidPiano Hmmm. . .that should be a very interesting combination.
DavidPiano I've read in Keyboard Magazine that Ben "plays the piano like rugby."
JodiMuse Sounds great, Alan!
neonralph Ralph: Does everyone here have their UNISONG entries in? Who's going to Cuba with Alan and Ban??
neonralph Ben??
JodiMuse :-) I have two entries in. All I could afford. ;-)
JodiMuse <--- is a starving artist. ;-)
DavidPiano And Alan, I find it very interesting that you say that, because in reading your interview on this site, I see you're also a Billy Joel and Elton John fan. Folds evokes those two people in my ears.
JeffM I'm letting Jodi win this year
DavidPiano LOL Jeff.
JodiMuseThanks so much, Jeff. You're too kind. I'll wave at you from Cuba. ;-)
neonralphalan: I try to like the best of all styles of music (from Gilbert and Sullivan to opera) but I'm truly a sucker for well crafted, piano-based songs. [stop]
DavidPiano Who doesn't?!
DavidPiano :-)
JeffM Me too
DavidPiano I guess that's a pianist's bias, right?
neonralph Alan: By the way, Monica Lewinsky is also a very good writer and.......
JeffM Why the contest? When did you get that idea?
JodiMuse Yup. I'm extremely jealous of those with the talent to create that sort of music. Why do you say that, Alan? Is she going to go with you to Cuba? ;)
DavidPiano Writer by way of Dictaphone.
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DavidPiano Hi Lurch.
JodiMuse Hi lurch!
JeffM She probably wishes she was in Cuba bout now
JeffM Hi lurch
Bob lwo blow dp
lurch hello all
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DavidPiano Bob. . .I can take that comment wildly out of context.
DavidPiano And I'm not afraid to.
neonralph (more)
Bob gotta run folks, It's been fun. got to get back to the adats
DavidPiano WB You two.
JodiMuse Take care, Bob! hope to see you next week!
DavidPiano OK, Bob. . .Bye.
Bob nice meeting you Alan
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neonralph UNISONG sprang from the fact that I had entered in and won many song contests myself in the past and realized that they are usually organized by business people fishing for songwriter bucks (i.e.; John Lennon Contest, organized by David Sonnenberg, a big-time manager). (more)
DavidPiano Sonnenberg runs JLSC?
DavidPiano Hmmm. .
neonralphAlan: I wanted to be David to their Goliath, showing that songwriters could organize a contest too, for less money, putting something back into the community, and giving good opportunities to the winners. I think I've proven that to be possible. (more)
JodiMuse That's not necessarily a bad thing, David. It really just depends on what your goals are.
DavidPiano True. . .but I think that explains the high reading fee.
JodiMuse Probably, yes.
DavidPiano And Alan's motive explains his lower reading fee.
DavidPiano If I ever submit a song to any songwriting contest, it will be to UNISONG.
neonralphAlan: In fact, one of my greatest personal joys, was that I entered the JLSC last year and won 3 prizes of the top 120. It gave me great joy to tell Brian (the head guy) that besides being a songwriter I organized UNISONG! [stop] left ............. :(
JodiMuse What did he say, Alan?
DavidPiano :-) joined............. :)
DavidPiano Welcome back Country.
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neonralphAlan: He stumbled a little bit, but unfortunatly, the truth is, I don't think they gave a s--- about me or UNISONG or anything else. they had over 30,000 entries at $30 a pop. You figure out where they're coming from from there. [stop]
country Thank You
JodiMuseYup. I can see what you mean, Alan.
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DavidPiano Now this is why I didn't enter JLSC. . .30 bucks a head US, plus this sinking dollar. . .not good at all.
DavidPiano WB Lukah.
Lukah Thanks!!
neonralphAlan: Does anyone have any specific questions about their attempts at making it in the music business where I could shed some light on anything?
DavidPiano I have a question that sort of touches on that.
JodiMuse Go ahead, DP.
neonralph Alan: Go ahead DP.
DavidPiano Er. . .I don't really know how to put this without going into a rant!
neonralphAlan: Rant on, baby!
DavidPiano Basically, I'm asking if it truly is harder now to get into the music biz if you don't have a strong visual image.
neonralphAlan: The unfortunate reality, it has NEVER been tougher than now to be a songwriter and try to write for other artists or projects. (more)
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DavidPiano Because all of my heroes (Billy, Elton, Neil Diamond,Eric Clapton) are "old codgers" in the eyes of most record buyers. . .but people like Hanson, who can't write or sing for s--- are selling tons of records cuz they're cute.
neonralphAlan: That is why I've had to do so many new things to keep one step ahead of the curve. 10 years ago Barry Mann, one of the legendary songwriters of all time, told me that he were starting out today he would have never made it. (more)
DavidPiano I don't doubt that statement.
DavidPiano I'm sure if Elton or Billy were starting out now, they wouldn't have a hope of breaking in.
neonralph In his day, he could get a hundred songs recorded in a year. By the time he told me this, in the late 80s, you were luck to get 5 songs recorded in a year. Now if you get one song recorded in a year, consider yourself lucky. but as the royalty rates keep going up, that one song today pays as much as five songs 10 years ago. So there is an upside to this downward spiral, finacially and creatively. [stop]
neonralphAlan: (more)
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DavidPianoWelcome back Jeff.
JodiMuse Hi again, Jeff!
JeffM rehi
neonralphAlan: To answer your question better, in some countries like England, it's definitely ALL about image. I'd like to think that here and in Canada, although image is important, talent does count to some degree. Celine Dion or Jewel are not exactly "stunning babes" by music business image standards. [stop]
DavidPiano True, Alan.
DavidPiano And on that note, I must leave.
DavidPiano It was a pleasure meeting you Alan.
JodiMuse Thanks for coming by, DP. :)
JeffM bye dp
neonralphAlan: Pleasure meeting you David (more)
DavidPiano I now leave with fresh insight, and an intriguing new look inside the art and craft of songwriting.
country See Ya DP
neonralphAlan: And if you see Monica Lewinsky hising out in a Canadian music club, say hello for me! ;-)
neonralph hiding!
DavidPiano LOL
neonralphRalph: Bye DP!
DavidPiano Will do, Alan, but keep in mind I'm still underage!
DavidPiano Bye Ralph
JodiMuse LOL
DavidPiano Bye Jeff and Jodi, and Lukah and Country
DavidPiano Once again, Alan, thanks a lot.
DavidPiano Bye all, and keep writing!
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neonralphAlan: How can a 13-year-old kid be that smart??
JeffM I don't think Alan should be obligated to stay here all night... do we have any sort of time goal?
neonralphAlan: I'm here until at least 2 or 3am next no problem! ;-)
JodiMuse Yup. He's been amazing us for a while, Alan. :-) It's really up to Alan, actually. Let us know when you want to depart and we'll accomodate. You've been a wonderful guest!
neonralphRalph: Lotsa UNISONG/Music Bridges biz to get done...
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JodiMuse Is there anything Alan would like to talk about himself?
neonralphAlan: OK...
JodiMuse :-)
neonralphAlan: Just that I know sometimes how hard it is to hang in there in a business where there are no rules or manuals. I've always believed the best hope is that songwriters hang together and support each other. The industry really tries to keep that from happening sometimes, as I think they're really afraid of what would happen if the employees in the back took over the store. (more)
neonralphAlan: In my travels and my time on the board of NAS and other organizations, I have really seen there is so much apathy and isolation out there among songwriters. It has become even more apparent now that I am always reaching out to songwriters through my UNISONG and Music Bridges activities. (more)
neonralphAlan: I can only hope that songwriting chats like this continue and prosper. The day will come where we will not just be some little name buried in the credits of an album while the caterer's boyfriend and the engineer's pet iguana get mentioned over the songwriters. [stop]
JeffM Amen
country How do you ever get noticed?
JodiMuseThat's what sites like these are all about, Alan. As a matter of fact, I think Jeff has one of the best assembled lists of songwriters on the net that I've ever seen. Networking is a great thing for all of us. I hope to continue it for a long time to come.
JeffMThanx Jodi
JodiMuse :-)
neonralphAlan: I think the point is, instead of trying to be "noticed" by the big bad music machine, you become someone like Ani DiFranco, recording and distributing your own albums, organizing your own concerts, get to the point where you sell a million of those over some years that you become so famous on your own (and call all your own shots) that the big bad music machine comes begging on bended knee to sign you up. (more)
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neonralphAlan: And you say, "No, I don't need you!" Now that's the songwriting justice I dream of for everyone. Get noticed by your own efforts...not waiting for validation from some unfeeling machine. [stop]
JodiMuse Loreena McKennit is like that too.
JeffM That helps for the individual artist... would be nice if we all took over the big bad music machine though ...and planted flowers
country How do you get to that point?
neonralphAlan: What a guy....what a dream!
JodiMuseFlowers in a jungle...
neonralphAlan: You start by taking the little steps that are possible where you are. I'm told you're in New Mexico. I'm assuming Santa Fe or Albuquerque. (more)
neonralphAlan: Start by trying to be the biggest thing where you are. You could make enough money and earn a good living just by being the biggest thing there, for starts. (more)
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neonralphAlan: Try to make your own albums. Sell them at shows. Put up signs at local music clubs and colleges. Do ANYTHING you can think of. Think Global...ACT Local! [stop]
JodiMuse Alan, could I ask a question? I'm curious about something and I've asked this question on the songwriting newsgroup, as a matter of fact.
neonralphAlan: Shoot...
JodiMuse Have you heard about Web Radio? What I mean is the type of radio that accepts CDs and puts them into a radio format and plays them for an audience that is somewhere out there in the ether? Do you think it'll catch on?
JodiMuse It seems to me like a really great opportunity for the indies to get heard - but I think whether or not it works depends on a lot of things.
neonralphAlan: Although we both know it's probably not very big right now, it's a start and it's bound to grow. (more)
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JeffM he left to listen to some web radio instead?
JodiMuse :-)
neonralph back...
JodiMuse That half hour thing, hmm?
JeffM web radio...
neonralphAlan: Sorry for the interruptions, but Ralph and Rebecca run a Monica Lewinsky fanclub on the side in their apartment and it's been SO busy tonight! ;-)
neonralphAlan: OK...Web Radio
JodiMuse LAUGH
neonralph Alan: Any new technology is a good thing...the ones who get in the ground floor always reap the benefits if you can hang in through the pioneering days with it when no one makes any money. (more)
neonralphAlan: Personal story: When I first started my international stuff, all my friends and colleagues thought I was crazy and using it as an excuse to run away from the fact that my career was no longer happening (in ther eyes). (more)
neonralphAlan: Now those very same people call me all the time for advice, like I'm some kind of guru on the subject. Rather than be bitter about it I have to laugh at the irony of it. [stop]
JodiMuse So who believed in you along the way, Alan? (I mean, besides yourself?) ;-)
JeffM Monica?
neonralphAlan: I had a network of friends in strange countries I had met, like Finland, Lithuania, etc., who believed in me and my humanity. Their support made me feel like I was part of a big international music family that was much more important than the small-mindedness of my friends in the USA. That support saw me through some very lean and humiliating times. [stop] left ............. :(
JeffM Cool joined............. :)
JeffM Going back to something you said earlier... In what ways are the industry discouranging songwriters from coming together and supporting eachother?
neonralphAlan: By constantly trying to take away what little money we make already. There's a bill in congress now where restaurant owners would be exempt from paying ANYTHING for music played in small bars and restaurants. Can you imagine? (more)
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neonralphAlan: Also, anytime I am trying to pitch songs for anything, I always get the feeling that I am like a mouse begging for crumbs when the song is supposed to be the thing. (more)
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JodiMuse Yup. Both Jeff and I have notices on our sites, I believe. I think it was Seth Jackson that first drew my attention to it.
neonralphAlan: Here's another personal shocker: Everytime I've had a song on a gold or platinum album (i.e.; Top Gun, Celine Dion, etc.) I have to pay for the plaque myself. Can you imagne??? Again, the caterer, the girlfriend of the chauffer, everyone gets their's for free and the songwriter has to pay. [stop]
JodiMuse That's rediculous!
Lukah That's unbelievable!
neonralphAlan: Sad....but VERY true.
JeffM I'd pay :-)
neonralphAlan: You can pay for next one too?
JodiMuseI guess I would too, come to think of it. But it still sucks.
JeffM Uh, can I hang it on my wall too?
JodiMuse LOL
neonralphAlan: Those kind of things used to infuriate me and make me feel I just fight back where I can, in little ways, like this chat this evening, and know eventually the cockaroaches will take over the kitchen. :-)
neonralphAlan: I beg you to e-mail the JLSC site and see if their interested in anything you have to say.
neonralph they're!
neonralphRalph: Fingers getting tired...Alan talks too much! ;-)
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neonralphRalph: We have time to take a couple more questions...
JeffM Lukah, got a question?
JodiMuse :-) You read my mind, Jeff.
Lukah Sure
JeffMEven when you don't know it, Jodi
JodiMuse Get OUTA there. It's dusty. ;-)
JeffM I knew you were going to say that :-)
JodiMuse LOL
JeffMGo ahead Lukah
Lukah I got disconnected some, so hopefully you didn't cover this already.
JodiMuse You saw most of it, Lukah. Don't worry.
Lukah It seems the media (radio stations) are just looking for "fresh" blood, like the Hanson groups, etc.
Lukah (more)
Lukah How can we get ourselves "heard" and stay in the running, instead of having a single hit and then be never heard from again. (make sense??)
neonralphAlan: The problem with radio stations is that they can only play a few things at any given time, and they usually play the things they are paid the most money to play. This leaves all the regular people like you and me out of the loop. (more) left ............. :( joined............. :)
neonralphAlan: That is why, again, it is so important to do what you can yourself. Think of it this way: if you sell 10,000 album in a year yourself (at concerts, online, etc.) and you make $10 each, that's $100,000. Add in gig monies, as your career builds, and that's not a bad living, right? (more)
Lukah More than what I have now!!
JodiMuse More than MOST people have now, I suspect!
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JeffM Hi jim22
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Lukah HI jim!!
jim22 hey
jim22 how's everyone tonight
neonralphAlan: Even if you're one of the lucky few (like Hansen) that gets the big record company push and radio airplay payoffs, etc., they usually get advanced so much money that by the time they pay it back, hardly any of them have that much more to show for it than the regular guy who does it himself. AGAIN, power to the individual who beats the system. [stop]
JodiMuse Hi there. We have a guest speaker here tonight. Alan Roy Scott (you can read up about him at If you have a question, just type in a "/" and we'll call on you, ok? It's pretty casual right now though. :)
Lukah So, is there any way to get the "big" stations to play your "indie" type stuff?
JeffM 10,000 is still a high count if you have no money for promotion...
JodiMuse True...
JodiMuse Oops! That "/" was supposed to be a "?".
neonralphAlan: Usually, you try to target ONE station in your local market. Hit it hard, as a local boy/girl makes good until, somehow, you get them to play your record. If it then becomes popular, locally, it might spread to other smaller stations. (more)
neonralphAlan: Once a buzz is established among enough small stations, a big station might take notice and play it, or a major label might take notice of the momentum you've created yourself, put in some money, and make it happen in a bigger way off of your sweat. Sounds like a bank, huh? Making loans only to people who don't need them! The parallel is undeniable. [stop]
Lukah Thanks for the input! You're right - it does sound like a bank!! ;-)
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country I just want to hear one of my songs on the radio
JodiMuse I have to log off and back in, folks. :-) I'll be right back.
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JeffM I'd like to hear your songs on the radio too, country
Lukah Ditto!!
jim22 country: I hear you :-)
country Thanks
neonralphAlan: Country: Ditto, baby!
JodiMuse :-) It's possible... It's a lot of hard work, but it's possible.
jim22 It happens all the time country
country Thats what I keep thinking jim
Lukah Don't give up, country!!
country Even if it never happens I've had the time of my life
JodiMuse That's the point. It's a tough business. You have to love the creative end of it or you'd never do it at all, right?
JeffM That's right, no sane person goes into songwriting for the money :-)
jim22country: step back and look at your music from "aanothers eyes", shall we say, then ask your self if you would request your song
Lukah That's for sure!! ;-)
JeffM Oh, unless they're coming from acting... sorry, Alan
JeffM :-)
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country Everyone around here loves my music But the publishers dont
JeffM Would you request your song?
country I would
JeffM Good. I think we all have to believe in ourselves.
JeffM And like what we're producing
neonralph We're back!
country My problem is I still write country music and not the country rock everyone listens to
JodiMuse I'm a sucker for a good ballad, country. Country or otherwise.
country Me too
neonralphAlan: Country - I've been around a long time to tell you that EVERYTHING comes around again. In country music the pop phase they're going through will eventually return to more traditional country, which would be better for you. (more)
jim22 tell my about it.... I write ya'llternitive , and cant get crud on the air
neonralphAlan: The same thing happened in the early 80s, when I spent a lot of time in Nashville. Everything was pop, like it is now, because of Urban Cowboy, etc., and then Randy Travis came along and he was the voice of a new wave of traditional country artists. The same thing is sure to happen again if you hang on. (more)
neonralphAlan: A traditional country music backlash to the pop thing that's happening now.
neonralph [stop]
countryI hope so
jim22 but listen to pop radio, what is on country is what pop used to be, but not what it is
neonralphAlan: The main thing is you just be true to the way you write...make it the BEST it can be, whatever the style, and if you stick with it, eventually, music comes back around to your way of writing from time to time. It's all about cycles. [stop]
country I cant see myself changing my style just for the sake of money
JodiMuse I can't see myself writing anything GOOD by changing my style. ;-)
country Well said Jodi
neonralphAlan: An example from my own writing career: I'm proud to tell you I'm 42, and been around long enough that the R&B songs I was writing in the late 70s became outdated and passe in the 80s, and now sound *exactly* like what's back on the radio. I'm getting interest again on AINCIENT songs I'd long given up on. [stop]
JodiMuse And no one's going to pay money for crap. Well... Pardon me. They do it every day. Ignore me. ;-)
neonralph ancient!
JodiMuse We know you can spell, Ralph. Honest. ;-)
JeffM He can write too!
JodiMuse Incidentally, on an aside, just saw a short interview with Arsenio Hall - who had Diane Warren by his side. They were being asked about Clinton. ;-)
countryI remember my dad told me when I first started writing "You got good material kid but it's too country
jim22 country music has been changing since the 40's. what eddy and porter were doing wasn't the norm, then what waylon and willie was different. it has to change to stay freash.
neonralphAlan: I've known Diane Warren for 15 years....she NEVER leaves her office, has no personal likfe by choice, keeps pumping out those hits, can't imagine what she would possibly have to say about Clinton....but it will probably in her next song titled, "The Night I Fell In Love With An Intern"...........
jim22 clinton lied to us all......
JodiMuseEverything has to change to stay fresh. Incidentally, Alan - she was apparently out with Aresnio at some local L.A. establishment - a posh bar or something. They were being interviewed outside of it. And she never said a word. Wise lady. ;)
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JeffM The nights you wish you weren't famous...
neonralphAlan: I was at a NARAS awards dinner recently where they gave Diane a Lifetime Achievement Award and Quincy Jones made this 5 minute introductory speech praising her to the winds...and then she gets up and says, literally, two or three words after all that.
JodiMuse Heh. Arsenio said enough for the both of them. ;-)
JodiMuse She says what she wants to say in her music. Why would she need to make speeches? There's someone I admire.
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LukahI'm back ...
neonralphAlan: I agree. The beautiful thing about her is that she doesn't give a s--- about what anyone says or thinks. she's not even aware of it.
JodiMuse That's the best kind of songwriter, Alan. The kind that knows what she knows and puts it to music - and touches you more deeply because of it.
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country Don't everyone talk at the same time
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jim22 i smell a song in there somewhere jodi
neonralphRalph: I think it's time to wrap it up...Alan has a hot date with Monica's sister, Melanie....and he might get lucky!
JodiMuseNot a problem. Thank you very much for coming, Alan. :-)
JeffMThanks very much Alan!
neonralphRalph: Seriously....this has been a great time for us on this end. Did everyone have a good time?
country Thank you
Lukah Thanks, Alan. It was a pleasure "chatting" with you!!
jim22 thanks yall
JeffM Certainly
JodiMuse Most definitely, Ralph. If you ever feel like doing this again, Alan, just let us know.
neonralphAlan: I've enjoyed it immensely. I hope something I said made some little impact on the listener's self-esteem as a songwriter. That's really what it's all about now for me.
country I appreciate the help
JodiMuse I do too. It's tough to keep our spirits up sometimes.
neonralphThis is Alan and Ralph....signing off. Be sure to join us next week for our regular open chat.
I agree!
JeffM Bye
JodiMuse Bye guys! Thanks again!
country Bye
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JodiMuse Well folks, I'm off too. It's pretty late where I am. But it's been a pleasure and thank you all for coming!
JeffM I'm off too
country Thank you and bye
Lukah Thanks, everyone!
-- Log stopped at Mon Aug 17 20:46:28 PDT 1998

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