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A Log of our 14th Guest Speaker, Jason Blume, author of 6 STEPS TO SONGWRITING SUCCESS, in the Songwriting Lounge - January 17, 2000.

A Short Bio:
Jason Blume's songs are on albums that have sold over 25 million copies in the past year. He is one of only a few writers to have singles on the country, pop, and R&B charts simultaneously. His songs have been recorded by the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Collin Raye, Boyz 'n Girlz United, John Berry, and the Oak Ridge Boys. For more information, drop by his website at http://www.jasonblume.com/.

Jason proved to be one of the most educational guests we've had so far. I was very impressed with the huge amount of information he had to offer to the songwriters that attended this chat. A great deal of fun and helpful information was had by all. Just in case you missed it, here's the log for you to have a read over. If you missed it this time, shame on you! :-) But there will be more. Stay tuned for our next guest speaker, coming soon!


-- Log on blume.log started at Mon Jan 17 17:58:02 PST 2000
Jason How can I help all of you achieve your goals?
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JodiMuse Well, who would like to ask the first question?
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JeffM You are moderating, I assume, Jodi?
JodiMuse At the moment - though you're welcome to help out if you like, Jeff. :-)
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danNsara yes, you do it so well
greygossamer I will
greygossamer LOL
JodiMuse Go ahead, grey.
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DavidPiano Hello Jackie, Gem, Lisa.
kmkcanada ?
AK hi everyone!
greygossamer O.k. Jason... tell me... what do you use, mainly for your inspiration in writing a song
WBJackie Hi all
greygossamer and Hello Jason!
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Jason Hello everybody. For inspiration I look for some truth; something I need or want to express. The key is finding a way to express what's real for you in a way that can touch millions of strangers.
WBJackie ?
AK ?
JodiMuse Just so that everyone knows, here's a hint - the system will automatically log you off if you don't type anything for about 10 minutes. So if you don't want to be logged off, just check off the private chat box, highlight your own name on the list and type a letter to yourself - just a 'i' or a '.' or something. You'll be kept online.
Kerry hi Tricia, big crowd tonight
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Jason To continue on inspiration . . . this is a business for me and I can't wait to be inspired. I keep a "Hook Book" with ideas so that if I feel like a slug tomorrow, I'll still have something I want to write about. (done)
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greygossamer ?
JodiMuse Ok kmk - go ahead.
kmkcanada thanks...I'm going to be producing a children's TV show, and attempting to write the lyrics for the theme song. What tips do you have?
Paddi"?"
Paddi I've often heard that when submitting a demo tape you should put an upbeat song
Paddi whoops sorry everyone
Jason I've just gotten my first two children's cuts - - on country star Collin Raye's album "Counting Sheep." The album's incredible and will be released Jan 25. It's "songs for parents and children to enjoy together." When I was approached to write for that project, I read the chapter in my own book about writing for children! (I'm serious). (continued)
JodiMuse We'll get to you soon, Paddi. Never fear. :-)
greygossamer ?
Jason The quote that jumped out at me said to think about what you wanted to impart to children; what ideas do I want to express to millions of little minds? I didn't talk down to them, but expressed my concepts clearly and most importantly, in a melody that was simple and easy for a child to sing and to remember. (done)
JodiMuse Ok. Next up is WBJackie.
WBJackie Hi Jason! ...
WBJackie When I get that call, from Youngstown or whoever...
WBJackie wants to cut my song and I'm the publisher...
WBJackie what happenes next?
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Jason Hi Jackie. If you're lucky enough to own your publishing on a song that an artist wants to record, you're in good shape. That's how I got my staff writing deal. I owned the publishing on an Oak Ridge Boys single. I still have that publishing deal nine years later. As a publisher, you need to issue a compulsory license for the first recording of one of your works. You should probably speak with a music biz attorney.
Jason Does that answer your question?
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WBJackie How about Harry Fox? Would he issue them a liscense on behalf of me?
Joy Hello all!
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Jason That's definitely one way to go. Harry Fox agency administers (meaning takes care of the paperwork and mechanical royalty collection) for many publishers - - for a small pertentage. (done)
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JodiMuse Ok AK, you ready? Go ahead...
AK Hi! Alicia King here. My cowriter, Candy Cameron, met you at the NCSA conference last year. You were VERY encouraging! I am DETERMINED to get a staff deal and move to Nashville this year. Any tips? Are you looking for new writers? Single songs? Thanks for coming tonight!
Jason Hi Alicia. I'm a songwriter, not a publisher, so I'm not looking for songs. In terms of getting a staffwriting deal and moving to Nashville, you probably have the order mixed up. Typically, a writer will have to pay some serious dues in Nashville before getting offered a staffwriting deal.
AK Optimistic then, huh?
JodiMuse Jason, can you elaborate what you mean by "dues" a little bit?
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Jason I used to think I could go into a meeting and say "I want to be a staffwriter." It doesn't work that way. You need to establish a relationship and prove your credibility with apublisher before they'll make an offer, unless you have a serious track record. (done)
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AK Denny Martin sings your praises regularly.
AK thanks
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JodiMuse Ok. Good advice. Grey, you're up. :-) Then Paddi.
greygossamer O.k. Jason, when u say establish a relationship with a publisher... I have heard that before...
greygossamer now,
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Jason Paying dues means learning the business; establishing connections and relationships; learning your craft. The competition is fierce and only the very best songs have a shot. Paying dues, partly means hanging in long enough to master the skills necessary to write those extraordinary songs. (done)
greygossamer I want to know are there actually publishers who will critique your work and give u feedback
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greygossamer in a way that u can actually help u... in that they will be willing to listen to changes u have made
greygossamer and want to hear more from you?
greygossamer and I also want to know if u r offering any discounts on your book sale this evening :-)
WBJackie ?
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JodiMuse Grey? Dream on. ;-) It's not a very expensive book. Support the artist. ;-)
Jason It's hard to accept, but publishers are in business to make money - - not to provide free song critiques. Many of them aren't even very good at knowing how to fix a song or WHY it's not a hit. Sadly, there are few publishers who will develop a writer. Luckily, I found one. (done)
greygossamer LOL o.k. o.k.
greygossamer sawwy Jason!!!! no offense intended of course :-)
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greygossamer so can I just ask a follow up jodi?
JodiMuse Ok Paddi. You're up. WB, you're after Paddi.
Paddi Hi Jason, I've heard that you should place upbeat songs first on your demo tapes. A lot of my songs are mid tempo to ballad type. Should I try to always put one of my upbeat songs first on all demos?
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JodiMuse Sorry, grey... Paddi's been waiting a really long time, but you can go after WB, ok?
MaryLiz"?"
greygossamer no probs
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AK ?
Ange ie
Jason I'd rather hear one incredible song - - no matter what the tempo is, than three "pretty good" songs. Put your strongest song first and resist the temptation to include more than 2 or 3 songs. (done)
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Paddi Thanks
JodiMuse Go ahead WB.
WBJackie Is it tacky to approach singers after concerts with a demo and ask if they will listen?
Ange OOOO
Ange Yes
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Jason It depends on the singer's personality whether they'll throw out the tape - - or give it a listen. There are no hard and fast rules and if I thought I had the perfect song for an artist, I'd do whatever I needed to to get it to him or her. (done)
WBJackie thanks because I get alot of opportunities to do that!
JodiMuse Grey? Go ahead.
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Jason Jackie, the key is having the INCREDIBLE song - - not just good.
WBJackie well said
Joy ?
greygossamer I guess I would like Jason to expalin a little more about what he meant by "establish a relationship with a publisher " then so I am clear on that
greygossamer sorry... I would like You Jason...
greygossamer talking like u aren't here!!!! LOl
JodiMuse After grey is MaryLiz, then AK, then Joy.
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Jason Establishing a relationship with a publisher is the same as any business relationship. It's about taking the time to get to know each other professionally; let them see how hard you work; how many cuts YOU bring in; how you work with their other writers, etc... At the same time you're evaluating their effectiveness and the connection between your personalities. (done)
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Paddi"?"
JodiMuse Hey there, Ralph! Glad you could make it. Jason, Ralph is our last co-host here - he helps run the UNISONG song contest.
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WBJackie ?
Jason Hi Ralph.
neonralph Hello Jason, thank you for joining us here!
JodiMuse MaryLiz? Go ahead.
MaryLiz Jason, I just wanted to tell you that I got your last book, and it has been a great to us in our writing
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Jason Thanks so much. I put 20 years of hard-learned lessons into that book and I hope I can shave a few years off of some of your journeys to success.
JodiMuse Judging from the response to the book, Jason, looks like you're doing just fine in that department. ;-)
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WBJackie (no cat food)
JeffM So it might only take 15 years after all
MaryLiz It is. It is written where it is easy to understand
greygossamer LOL
DavidPiano So now I only have 13 years ahead of me, OK.
DavidPiano LOL
Jason Thanks Jodi. The book is based on my belief that songwriting success is not about luck or who you know, but about acquiring skills that ARE LEARNABLE. (done)
Weylan ?
JodiMuse Ok AK. Go ahead.
AK I make regular trips from california to Nashville to demo and pitch. Aside from meeting w/publishers, what would you suggest I do while in town?
JodiMuse After AK is Joy, then Paddi, then WBJackie, then Weylan.
AK How do I hook up w/ new cowriters, for instance/
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Jason To those who are counting the years, I understand. I've been there and I hated working day jobs when I wanted to be writing. But the key is to enjoy the writing - - not the results. That's my prescription for staying sane in this business. (done)
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Jason When in Nashville, attend the writers' night late shows at the Bluebird. It's the greatest lesson to hear stripped down hits - - just the melodies and lyrics that went into successful songs. Also, check out my BMI monthly workshops in Nashville. They're free and a super networking/learning opportunity. (done)
JodiMuse Joy? You're up.
AK I'm SESAC, can I go?
Jason FYI, you can find out about my seminars and workshops at my website: www.jasonblume.com
Joy First of all, thank you for being with us. What things do you believe hallmark an incredible song? Strong mental imagery? Being stylistically unque? Any pointers are welcome!
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Jason The workshops are technically for anyone who's unaffiliated or affiliated with BMI - - but no one ever checks. (I never said that!)
AK LOL! thanks
Joy unique, that is :)
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JodiMuse lol
JeffM except that it's in the log...
JodiMuse Jason, did you get Joy's question or do you need a repeat?
DavidPiano Jeff - there's a lot to be said for revisionist history!
DavidPiano LOL
AK edit!!
JeffM only if you're the revisionist
Joy What do you believe hallmarks an incredible song? Being stylistically unique? Strong metal imagery? Any pointers are welcome!
Jason What makes a truly GREAT song? A fresh, unique angle or title; an idea that millions want to express or hear; a simple, direct lyric that communicates what's in your heart so the listener "gets it"; and a melody that's easy to sing and
Jason so memorable that you can't get the damn thing out of your head - - even if you hate the song! (done)
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Joy Thank you
Paddi Ive been an ASCAP member for nearly 2 yrs but I've not taken advantage of my membership. Do you know of any services ASCAP or other organizations offer to greenhorns?
Jason Imagery; showing the listener the scene so they feel included instead of telling how the singer feels is crucial in great country songwriting. In pop, it's a great idea encased in MELODY, MELODY, MELODY! (done)
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Paddi greenhorn...haven't heard that since Grizzly Adams!
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Jason ASCAP, BMI & SESAC are essentially collection agencies. Most of what they can do for writers happens after there's already money to collect. If you're near one of their offices, you may be able to get someone to review your work and refer you to publishers, but it's tough because they're deluged.
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Jason Also, if you're in NY or LA, they have yearly meetings that are excellent for networking with other writers and publishers. (done)
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Paddi That's what I was wondering...if they actually help you get hooked up with a publisher
Jason FYI, when I was living in LA, I was so poor I had to park a half mile away from the ASCAP meetings because I couldn't afford the parking lot!
Paddi Well I'm a little North but nothing a little planned trip could'nt fix. Thanks
andyXVI ?
neonralph How are things going with you and yours? Keeping
neonralph sorry folks...my brower is screwing up...be right back...
WBJackie Backstreet Boys just won best Pop group!!!
Ange ?/statement
Joy .
WBJackie Backstreet Boys has won best pop group on American Music Awards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Weylan Jason, how prevalent is politics in determining what songs go on an album? My publisher recently gave my song to a major Nashville producer. Generally speaking, is he more likely to actually consider the song itself, or just to see who wrote it and then toss it because he doesn't know the writer?
Jason While you're having trouble, there's some info I wanted to share. I'll be presenting all-day workshops and seeing private students in LA, Ft. Lauderdale, Dallas, and San Diego. GO BACKSTREET! That should be good for a few more million album sales.
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WBJackie good for you, Jason!
Ange ?
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Jason Weylan, good question. It depends on the situation. In Nashville, typically, an INCREDIBLE song will win out. A "good" song is a dime a dozen. There's definitely a lot of politics, but an extraordinary song will rise to the top.
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WBJackie And Britney won best new artist!
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andyXVI x
Jason But there are some situations that are self-contained due to the politics. (For example Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears have never recorded a song that wasn't controlled by Zomba, the company that owns their record label.
danNsara But that works to your advantage Jason, yes?
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danNsara even being in Nashville
Jason We can't control the politics. What we can do is write the best damn songs; songs that are so exceptional that the artist will bump one he or she has written because he believes that yours will be a Grammy-winner or spend 8 weeks at #1. (done)
JodiMuse Ok. Sorry about that, guys. Who's gone now? I had Paddi left to go, then WB then Weylan... Don't know if they've already gone?
Jason The politics at Zomba work greatly to my advantage. I'm the luckiest songwriter in the world because I get to write with Backstreet Boys and Britney. But, it took 8 years of struggling and clawing my way up the ladder to get these opportunities.
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danNsara It's good to see your hard work is paying off now :-)
Weylan JodiMuse, I already asked my question.
Paddi I've already asked my question Jodi, thanks
Jason There were years I was at Zomba when I earned $10,000 per year, worked a part-time job and lived in someone's attic.
JodiMuse Ah... Ok. I'm way behind then. :-) Anyone have the current order?
Paddi I just ordered chinese down the street
JodiMuse Ok. Everyone who still has a question, please type in a "?" and I'll start again. :-)
WBJackie ?
andyXVI ?
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Lisa ?
JodiMuse I don't think Jason is done yet - but when he is, the order is Ange, then WB, then andy, then Lisa.
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Jason I'm done. Sorry.
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JodiMuse Ok. No worries, Jason. :-) Ange? Go ahead.
JodiMuse It would appear that the log kept on going while I was knocked off, incidentally, so I think we're ok.
Ange Jason, thank you for being such an inspiration to a straving artist climbing that same latter you did.
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Ange At times it is scary wondering if you'll ever be able to write a good song.
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andyXVI to what extent do u think it's possible to network on the net and do u think there'
JodiMuse Andy, Ange is up, but you're coming up soon, ok? We'll call on you.
JodiMuse Ange? Did you have a question?
Bert Type HERE?
Jason You're welcome, Ange. Success is not guaranteed, nor is it easy - - but it IS possible. I see my students getting publishing deals and having successful careers. I hope you'll read my book. Not because I need the money (!) but because I believe I've broken down the steps necessary to write a successful song. (done)
Ange I'm finished, thank you
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JodiMuse Ok Ange. WB, go ahead.
WBJackie Do all labels have their own pub co's like Jive and Zomba...so if a label wants to cut my song their pub co will automatically want all my publishing?
Ange I will Jason, bye roomies
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MaryLiz Bye Ange
Bert ?
DavidPiano Bye all, I have to go now.
Jason Jackie, no. Typically, (except for Jive and Zomba) the publishing and recording divisions are quite separate. If Collin Raye on Sony Records wants to cut one of your songs, no one at Sony publishing would even know about it. (done)
DavidPiano Nice meeting you Jason, it has been an informative chat, definitely.
JodiMuse Bye David!
Barhab ?
Joy Bye David!
Jason Bye David. Good luck!
MaryLiz Bye David
WBJackie that's good news!
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JodiMuse andy, you're up.
Barhab Hello Jason...it's Barbara Harley..we met in November at your songwriters seminar
andyXVI to what extent do u think it's possible to network on the net
Jason Hi Barbara. I remember you well. You're very talented!
Barhab thank you
Barhab I will be seeing you in April at the NSAI symposium
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Jason Andy, I honestly don't know. It's not something I've done, but I know of instances of cowriting through the net. I think it's probably most effective for those writers who are geographically isolated. But it doesn't take the place of being in a music center. (done)
kmkcanada ?
andyXVI i'm in sydney, australia
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Barhab ?
Jason I don't know much about the Australian music scene, but I hear that's it's vital.
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JodiMuse Bert, go ahead. Then Barhab, then kmk
Jason Andy, I think you should bring me to Australia to present a seminar!
JodiMuse lol
Bert Jason, thank you for all your tips so far on my music. How much investment should on
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andyXVI so what may u ask ami doing in an american songwriter's chatroom
Bert should one make on song competitions and which one do you recommend?
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JodiMuse Actually, Andy - I'm Canadian - so technically... ;-)
andyXVI it's all north america
Bert did you get that question or should I repeat it?
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JodiMuse True - but Canadians are NOT Americans. Trust me on that one. ;-)
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Barhab [barhab] Jason, what will you be covering at the NSAI symposium in April?
JodiMuse Barhab, sorry but I don't think Bert had his question answered yet...
Jason Bert, are you the Bert I know from Song Camp and from Florida? I've had great success with song contests. One of my songs represented the US in a European festival and I got to go to Ireland to perform on live TV. So, IF the songs are strong enough to edge out the competition, contests can be great. (done)
Bert Yes, Siuberto from lthe Song camp.
Joy ?
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Songpainter I'll believe it when I see it LOL
Jason Barbara, at the April NSAI symposium I believe I'll be covering melody and lyric writing techniques.
andyXVI ?
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Barhab for anyone out there who has not gone to one of Jasons seminars, I highly recommend it
Barhab I'm sorry I'm new to chat rooms...I'm not sure of the protocol
Bert ?
Jason Bert (and others) FYI, BMI is hosting a series of songwriting cruises geared to the Latin market. I'll be teaching on three of them.
andyXVI u thinking of coming to oz jason
JodiMuse Ok Barhab - you're up. It's ok. People are typing a "?" and then waiting for a moderator to tell them when to go ahead - so you're up now. :-)
Barhab Oh, OK
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Barhab I just wanted to know about aprils seminar, and I believe Jason answered for me
JodiMuse Oh! Ok. That just came up. :-) Well then. kmk, you're next.
Jason Thanks for the kind words about my seminars. Teaching is my passion.
JodiMuse I'd love to make it to one of them if you ever make it to Toronto, Jason.
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Jason Jodi, I haven't had any success having any of the Canadian organizations sponsor a workshop yet. I'd love to come to Canada.
WBJackie lll
Songpainter It's refreshing to see a successful writer who wants to teach other writers. Most of them are too busy with their own careers.
danNsara Jodi, you should fly him up
JodiMuse You should be in contact with the Songwriting Association of Canada people - songwriters.ca, I believe.
Jason Thanks. I'll contact them
JodiMuse I *wish*, Danny. I barely have enough money to keep up The Muse's Muse. ;-)
kmkcanada Sorry, go to someone else, I've got a problem houston...:-(
Barhab It's also refreshing to meet a person who is as down to earth as Jason, given the success he's had
Duncan Hello
JodiMuse No problem, kmk. Ok Joy - that means you're up.
Jason You'll make me blush. But the truth is that my writing gets stronger because I get to teach the successful techniques over and over. It's gotten so much easier for me recently.
JodiMuse Hi Duncan. If you have a question for our guest speaker, just type a "?" and wait for a moderator to call on you, ok?
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Joy Do you think you might stand a better chance of being heard if you are cpable of performing your own work?
Duncan ?
Kerry ???
Jason It's not necessary unless your goal is to be a performing songwriter. Let your demos do the talking. (done)
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Lisa Jason, can you tell us the story of how your first cut came about, briefly what song it was and how much went into it, whether there was any luck involved and not just skill (which we all know you have). PS - You know Eric Beall?-, he called me recently and gave me wonderful advice and said I could send more songs. I live in NY and met him recently. He's a cool guy...and very very nice and supportive. Jodi, you forgot me, so I'm putting my two cents in :-) (-: (Ca
JodiMuse Oops! Sorry about that, Lisa.
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Jason Lisa, Eric's great and I'm glad he's giving you positive feedback. My first cut. . .
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Jason My first cut was "I Had a Heart" in 1987 by Darlene Austin. I rewrote that song and redemoed it 7 times. If I had stopped after rewrite #5 or #6 I might never have had this career. It lead to everything. It lead to a writing session when I wrote my biggest country hit, "Change My Mind." That's why I teach song rewriting - - not writing. (done)
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Weylan ?
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Lizzymuse Type HERE?
JodiMuse Ok Andy - you're up.
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Jason I have a question for all of you: What's stopping you from getting to the next level? How can I help?
andyXVI jason, do u think there's much scope for wordless songs
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Jason Andy, typically, the only instrumental songs that have success are written and performed by the artist (i.e., Kenny G, Jim Brickman, etc.) (done)
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Barhab ?
kmkcanada ? Can I try again JodiMuse? Problem resolved (I think?)Thanks. I wanted to talk a bit more about the
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kmkcanada Opps, sorry... didn't mean for all that to come so fast...
JodiMuse Guys? Feel free to pipe in with your answers to Jason's question and then we can get back to the question and answer thing. I think Jason wants more of a *discussion* going on for a bit here. So go ahead. :-)
JodiMuse What do you think is keeping you from the next level?
Jason I firmly believe that deep inside, we have the answers to the question: what's holding us back. I just want to challenge all of you to find your answers.
dew ?
Barhab Jason, to answer your question...what's stopping me? I need to know how to be "simple"
Barhab I have a tendency to use too many melodies or lyrics
Barhab how do we simplify?
Songpainter ?
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Kenna time and the fear that people won't accept my message
Duncan Jodi, I'm not sure if your invite to "go head" means "go head" so I'll just ...go ahead and ask my question: I've had some moderate success with having others record my stuff but have been searching years for a publisher. Any out there who are interested in, I mean REALLY interested in new songs? My website offers real audio demos but I've come to realize publishers and recording artists don't seem to be dropping by. My demos are recorded and produced in 24 track stud
MaryLiz You've already helped us Jason, by giving us a helpful critique to our songs
JodiMuse Actually, Duncan, it was a "go ahead" to answer Jason's question which was "What's holding you back?" Why not give that one a try?
stevie"?"
Jason Being simple is tough. Try OVERsimplifying at first and then pull back. Try sticking to one melodic theme in each section of your song (verse; chorus; bridge); Try focusing your lyric using the 3-step technique that's on my website this month. (done)
andyXVI zx
JodiMuse Anyone else have any reasons they think they're holding themselves back? Difficulties?
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kmkcanada What is holding me back? I write lyrics but not music, so I'm dependent on finding someone I can respect that writes music.
Duncan Well, I think what's holding me back is the usual roadblocks to the doors of publishers. There are so many established writers and recording artists who, although don't seem to have the writing down, know the royalty game is where the money lies. I don't believe my opinion is a cop out though others may disagree.
Paddi I'm trying to use home recording software which has been giving me a headache and non production so far!
Barhab sometimes melodies sound too redundent...how do we know what's too much of the same?
Jason Duncan, publishers are starving for incredible songs - - and have no use for really "good" ones. We need to get our songs to level that demands attention, by using great, fresh ideas (i.e., instead of "I wish you'd come back, I miss you" Diane Warren said "Unbreak My Heart") (to be cont.)
gemini Remember you said that you had no money at one point in your career to pay for parking. Money is my biggest set back.
Barhab I think money is almost everyone's set back
gemini I try and demo what I think are my best songs and push them first as I come up with the money
stevie i think that sometimes we forget the reason we started writing to begin with and this inhibits our ideas and we become critical before creative can have a chance
Jason Barbara, using the same rhythms helps melodies to stick in our brains. You can vary the notes and go for unexpected, interesting choices, while keeping the same, catchy rhythm. (done)
JodiMuse I actually have one too - not enough TIME. Never enough time. :-) Are there techniques to best use the small amount of time I DO have?
Bert My challenge is cranking out songs quicker so I can learn from them?
JodiMuse Good point, stevie.
Duncan Well, Jason, I have to disagree. Achy Breaky Heart no matter how much money it has generated in roylaties is a piece of garbage. Songs like Achy Breaky Heart becomes a"great" song in the minds of publishers only when it makes a lot of money.
danNsara Duncan,
Duncan Yes?
danNsara several people would agree with you
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danNsara I know the person who got that song cut
Barhab Achy breaky heart is quite CLEVER
JodiMuse Much as it was a silly song, it still had a nice turn of phrase. It obviously had *something* going for it.
Jason Remember that EVERY successful writer started out not being successful. Give me a moment to catch up and address the best use of time.
danNsara he was thrown out of several record companis
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Barhab that's where it stands out
danNsara he had the tape thrown at him
danNsara but he believed in it
danNsara and it got cut eventually
danNsara and was incredibly successful
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danNsara tenacity is what makes the difference
danNsara many times
WBJackie I've got that!
JodiMuse Then keep it up, WB!
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danNsara talent and perserverance are an incredible powerful tool
Duncan But tenacity doesn't make a song good
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Barhab I agree with Jason in that the song you pitch must be GREAT...in some way or another...whether
Barhab it's a new angle on the same old story
Barhab or a si,ple catch phrase
Barhab simlpe
Jason There's no way I could be creative after working 8 hours in a jacket and tie and driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I had to find the answers for myself. I woke up an hour earler and had my special creative time all to myself before the world got a piece of me. Then, I'd come home from work, take a nap and work in the evening, refreshed. (to be cont.)
WBJackie Sometimes songs are just okay but the production is great.
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WBJackie But I'm not a producer :(
Jason The bottom line is to find the way around the roadblocks. Everyone has reasons why . . .but my grandmother would have said "One excuse is as good as another." Look for the solutions. (done)
JodiMuse True, Jason. Thanks for the advice!
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Barhab a lot of publishers are not songwriters themselves, they only know what moves them
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Barhab if you have a song that can move people, that's the key
Jason Re: Achy Breaky . . . every "great" song doesn't have to be deep and intense. That song propelled people on to the dancefloor and it made them feel good.
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JodiMuse I was about to ask you what it was about that song that you thought worked.
Barhab the doors will be open if you have that special something in your song
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Jason I agree that moving people is the key. However, you can move people with something that feels good, as well as with deep angst-filled songs.
Barhab yes
Barhab feel good songs are also important
Jason I think a lot of developing songwriters are using their writing as catharsis; as therapy, without consideration that millions of people have to want to hear these songs after a hard day at the office.
Duncan Well, as mentioned, some may consider it a cop out, an excuse, but the music business being what it is you have to become established. It can happen with just one song or you may have to work you butt of for years. And here I am 30 years later with a ton of songs and about 50 pounds of material recorded by other atrists.
dew How do you know when the rewrite process is done?
Duncan When your song is a hit?
Barhab everything flows
Jason Don't get me wrong. I write deep, heavy songs, too. But I try to do it in a way that isn't exclusively personal.
kmkcanada Songs as therapy isn't always bad - Tears for Fears had a big hit with "Shout" ;-)
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JodiMuse Now THAT'S therapy. ;-)
Songpainter .
WBJackie my problem is I can't tell if my song is good until someone ELSE sings it.
Jason Re: rewriting . . . it's done when 1) you're getting consistently strong feedback from professionals AND 2) you're satisfied that it's the very best you're capable of.
JeffM which incidentally says "You shouldn't have to sell your soul." ironic, isn't it?
gemini Look at a song like Yellow , Polka Dot Bikini, silly but a big hit...something like Achey Breaky, It made people feel good and have fun
JodiMuse Ok guys - I have to do this - time to return to moderation, ok? I think andy was up - unless he'd already asked his question?
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kmkcanada Ironic, yes. They built a career on songs of pain, and it worked.
Jason Re: "Shout" - - I love that song and album, but it would NEVER have been recorded if it wasn't written by the artist. There's a whole different deal when writing for outside acts.
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Jason Sorry, Jodi. I just wanted to stir things up a bit and I think I did - - too much!
MaryLiz Dew, you will know it when your song gets to the point when you don't need to rewrite anymore.
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JeffM Songs From The Big Chair is one of the best "produced" albums I know (personal opinion)
JodiMuse lol! No problem, Jason. I just don't want people to think that they won't get a chance to ask their specific questions. :-) It turns out that andy's already asked his question - so Bert? If you're still up for it, go ahead.
WBJackie I have to go. Thanks, Jason. See you in Feb.
Duncan Bikini was a novelty song and written during a period when radio was interested in giving airplay to such nonesense. And it is there, the saturated air waves of anything and I mean anything, where the hit song secret lies.
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JodiMuse Bye WB! Thanks for coming by!
Barhab may I say that songwriting is subjective BUT you have to follow the rules
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Bert So one should write their best song from day one?
kmkcanada Sorry, I have to plug this quickly - http://members.xoom.com/kkarmazyn --Any TFF fans, please visit my site. 40 pages of info on TFF
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Bert How do you prevent from wanting to be perfect?
JodiMuse Now THAT's a TFF site! 40 pages? Wow.
Jason Duncan (and all), there's nothing we can do to get that saturated airplay other than to wrtite the very best songs we possible can - - and take care of business. (done)
Songpainter What's TFF?
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Duncan Ok, Jason, done. You got time to critique a song or two of mine? Just wonderin'
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kmkcanada Almost all the TFF lyrics are there, and chords, etc.
JodiMuse Tears for Fears, Songpainter.
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Jason Bert, by virtue of the definition of "best", every song we write can't be our best. But, we need to do the very best work we can on each song; do our best to find it a good home; and let it go. (done)
stevie"?"
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Jason I do run a song critique service. It's very reasonable and the response to it has been 100% positive. Check out details at www.jasonblume.com (done)
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Bert Jason, do you think that the best songs have to have the extras like bkgd harmonies, strings, , etc.
Duncan Awww dang! I gotta pay?
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Duncan Lol
Lizzymuse ?
Bert Jason's critique service is outstanding and he is direct. It has helped me greatly!
JodiMuse Ok dew - you're up.
dew alread answered, thanks
Jason Bert, those things are important (and depending on the song) sometimes crucial to the demo. But they're separate from the song itself. A great ballad can stand up with a simple demo, but if you're writing dance music, you better make the listener want to boogie! (done)
JodiMuse Ok. Songpainter? You'r eup then.
Jason Thanks, Bert for the comments about the critiques.
Songpainter Tell us something about your technique for fighting writer's block>
andyXVI zx
JodiMuse Ooo. Classic questions. I love it.
Jason I don't always do my "best" writing, but this is a business and I write whether I feel like it or not. If I've got writer's block, the problem is that my competition down the block is writing a hit! (to be cont.)
Bert ?
Barhab ?
Jason If I have a hi-pressure cowrite (with a major artist) and I don't have a great idea, I'll prowl bookstores for titles, rent movies, go for walks in the woods, and pray a lot! Then I make myself write whether I feel like it or not and sometimes something good comes out and surprises me. (done)(done)
Lisa ?
JodiMuse Oops! Sorry, Barhab. I thought you'd left already! Why don't you go ahead since I missed you before?
Duncan http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/chorus/906/audio-1.html is my demo site Gemini
Barhab Since songwriting has become your occupation..does it start to feel like "a job" to write?
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Barhab You know how we all get those days at work when we don't feel like being there
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Jason Sometimes it does, but it's the best job in the world. I don't always feel inspired and writing is very different from the days when I wrote solely because I felt like it. When I sit down with Britney Spears there's a huge amount riding on what comes out of my pen. That's serious pressure. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. (done)
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JodiMuse Ok. stevie? Go ahead.
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Barhab ?
stevie have you ever had a "great" idea go bad and what did you do to get it to achieve it's potential?
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Babe Dan and Sara, thank you for helping me get through
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JodiMuse We're pretty full here tonight, Babe, it's true. I think Dan&Sara are still having problems...
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Jason I had several "great" ideas that didn't turn out so great. But the results aren't carved in stone. I wrote a song with Steve Seskin (a truly GREAT writer) and I loved the idea that I brought in. We just didn't nail it. I asked if he'd be okay with my using the title again and he sai, "Sure." "I Never Stopped Loving You" became a hit single when I wrote it again, with Steve Azar. (done)
JodiMuse Lizzymuse - go ahead.
Barhab ?
JodiMuse Hmmm... I don't think she's still here. Ok. On to Bert.
frank no problem
JodiMuse Go ahead, Bert.
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Babe Hi Songpainter, I had a tough time trying to get through to the chatline tonight, I'm really sad that I have missed so much
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Bert What's the best way to study hit songs? How many artists and songs should one focus on. Sometimes it feels overwhelming
JodiMuse There will be a log, Babe. No worries.
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Babe Hi Kerry
Kerry ???
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Jason Study hit songs one at a time. Write out the lyric. Buy the sheet music or transcribe the chords. Analyze what techniques the writers used to communicate the idea that started in their hearts in a way that got through to the listeners. What lyric style did they use (i.e., conversational, clever twists on words, heartfelt); (tb continued)
JodiMuse Ok everyone - we're on to the last questions here. Lisa is after Bert when Jason's finished there, then Barhab, then Kerry - and that's all we have time for, I'm afraid.
stevie"?"
Babe Yes, thank you
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Jason Analyze the rhyme schemes; how many syllables are in each line of each section; is there a lot of "shape and range" to the melody; where's the repetition, etc.. (done)
JodiMuse Lisa, go ahead.
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Jason Ideally, the goal is not to copy successful songs, but to internalize the techniques that allowed to communicate so successfully.
Lisa What is your main instrument and do you have a classical music background? Do you play piano, guitar? I am curious because different instruments seem to effect my writing style, also whether I use drum machine in the initial stage of writing...
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Jason I'm so glad you asked about my main istrument. It's the mini-tape recorder and I highly recommend it. The biggest pitfall I see developing writing falling into is playing chords and then attaching predictable melodies that work with the predictable changes. BORING! The guy in the shower doesn't have a piano. The lady in the car doesn't have a guitar to strum the chords. We need to write memorable melodies that stand up on their own. (cont.)
Jason For dance music or pop that is strongly reliant on the groove, it can help to work with a drum loop, but I leave that up to my collaborators. I write melodies and lyrics. Ultimately, you need to find what works for you and it may be different for different types of songs. (done)
JodiMuse Go ahead, Barhab.
Barhab As a staff writer, how many songs are you required to write in a year, with AND without co-writers?
Jason The staffwriter quota depends on the company. I'm required to turn in 15 songs per year if I write them myself; 30 if they're 2-way cowrites. But trust me, if I wrote three songs per year and each was a #1 single, my publisher would be ecstatic! (done)
JodiMuse Ok Kerry - you're up - and then that's it, folks.
Barhab Thank you Jason. Good night and I'll see you in April!
Kerry I've got about 20 demo's finished and am trying to get published, any suggestions?
JodiMuse Oh - and Jason? Will you post your web site's url again before we end this?
Jason The key to finding a publisher is networking. Interact and cowrite with writers who are meeting with publishers. Attend industry functions (even if it means going to Nashville, LA, or NY a few times per year); try to meet with reps at ASCAP, BMI or SESAC - - and write GREAT songs. I'd like to make some closing comments if you'll give me a moment.
JodiMuse Sure.
Kerry thank you Jason, lot's of good advice tonight . I appreciate it!
kmkcanada thanks Jason - great tips - appreciate your time :-)
JeffM thank you very much, Jason!
Bert Thanks Jason see you in Fort Lauderdale.
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gemini Jason, thanks for a great evening
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danNsara Thanks for you time Jason
JodiMuse I think he has some last words to say...
stevie ? for anyone
JodiMuse Hold on until Jason's done, stevie, ok?
stevie anyone gotok
stevie sorry, ok
Jason Success is NOT based solely on luck or who you know. Those are good things to have, but if you write truly wonderful, HIT songs, demo them so they effectively communicate your song's potential - - AND TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS you'll have a serious shot at success in the greatest business in the world. It'sm not easy, but it IS possible. I hope you'll visit my website: www.jasonblume.com and take advantage of the 20 years of experience and interviews with 50 industry p
Jason Goodnight.
Kerry thanks Jason
Barhab good night!
JodiMuse Thanks very much for your time, Jason! We appreciate your coming by.
Lisa Thank you Jason.
Scott thanks Jason good night
frank ya thanks alot
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kmkcanada TTFN, thanks and I drop by your site!
MaryLiz thank you Jason
Paddi Loud Applause!
Bert Good night all. Thanks Jodi.
gemini As I clap my hands and whistle...
Songpainter Thanks Jason - Goodnight!
Scott jodi what time did Jason start?
JodiMuse Lots of fun, guys! Thanks for coming!
JodiMuse He started at 9pm EST, Scott.
Barhab danNsara...would you be Dan Arena and Sara Light?
JodiMuse It's been a long night for him. :-)
Paddi Thanks Jodi great session!
danNsara yes Barhab
JodiMuse Ok guys - I'm ending the log now.
-- Log stopped at Mon Jan 17 20:06:39 PST 2000
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