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Why Not Me?

Paula Carpenter By Paula Carpenter

2001 - 2010, Paula Carpenter. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

Note from Jodi: Paula has returned from a lengthy hiatus.  Please help me welcome her back! :)

I was exploding, absolutely exPLODING, to get my songs "out there"...and this in the mid-1980's, before the wide use of the internet. Getting traditionally "published" was the only way I knew to get my songs heard by the masses! So,here's the setting almost 17 years ago now: I've followed my desperately seeking heart to Colorado, and I'm sitting there in a huge music business seminar, hearing panelist after panelist tell their "story" of how she was a homemaker and Mom and former teacher, and she just GOT OUT THERE AND DID IT, and he used to be a professor, and he just GOT OUT THERE AND DID IT, and yada,yada, yada....same song, different verse, over and over. Slowly it dawns on me....if these people are like me, not living in Nashville, or LA, or New York...and they put their pants on one leg at a time, like me, and they TOO at one time were an unpublished, unknown songwriter-with-a-hunger-and-a-dream... (come on, everyone say it altogether now...) WHY NOT ME?? No! Not "WHY NOT ME?" but WHY THE HECK NOT ME???

Now then, lest I hastily appointed myself songwriting maestro of the universe, I needed to understand...talent had to be a given. Not--my FORM had to be in perfect shape, or my SONGS had to be without the teensiest little flaw...I just had to reflect and think a bit...did I have that seed, that inner spark, that strange little brain and logical (?) thought process... and heart... that sees the bigger picture, and can paint the picture for others...and I thought I did. And I wanted it BAD. I mean BAD. Because from there...I knew I was going to need to get on airplanes,(which I did and still do) or in my car,(which I did and still do) or HOWEVER...and get myself to see publishers, songs in hand. I knew instinctively too...that I needed to be flexible, workable, agreeable...willing to submit to rewrites, suggestions, and helpful input... I thought the people giving the input had a clue. And most did. Seeing yourself any at all yet? Cause if YOU too, have that hunger-and-a-dream, and you don't live in a major music center, I'm here to point you down the road.

And oh..know what's the most important phrase above? (italics the dead giveaway) I THOUGHT I DID! I was ANYTHING BUT overconfident--if anything, I was scared and insecure -- but really, deep down... I thought I had what it takes. Maybe that was the single most important thing -- I thought I could. From there I've come a long way...I've written for some of the most famous publishing houses in Nashville--I have had--& continue to strive for-- pop cuts, country cuts, and contemporary Christian cuts, written Christian music for choirs and worship teams, and now....find myself at the startup of my own company which produces and hosts music business Seminars and Retreats, does recording projects, print music collections of original themed songs,and more. I speak at other Songwriting Seminars, teach Music business and songwriting techniques on college campuses, do song critiques, career consultations, and we are looking at opening a publishing division... in the works.

So....come on down the road with me. I have a flashlight, and I've stepped over these potholes before. Step carefully, but don't be afraid -- I mean, just tell yourself: Paula did it...so WHY NOT ME?

A short bio


  • Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery! (subtitle: COPY ONLY THE BEST!) - We've all heard that tongue-in-cheek remark, 'I only copy the best!' and indeed, that very idea can be used as a wonderful songwriting 'TEMPLATE' strategy, a strategy that is sure to enhance your own songwriting skills.  Read on!
  • The 'Dave Ramsey' Approach to the Music Biz - When you ask yourself 'WHY NOT ME?' in reference to your ability to succeed in the music business...we certainly don't want one of those answers to be -- "because I spent too much money trying to get in and/or impress others"... so listen up!  Paula is a big fan of money matters expert/radio and television talk show host Dave Ramsey...and thinks he has the BEST FINANCIAL ADVICE OUT THERE!  Read on, for a few ways in which Dave's money smarts can apply to your songwriting and music business goals...(or your life!)...
  • Songwriting - It's a Piece of Cake! - What? You thought songwriting was hard?? And here Paula is telling us it's a 'PIECE OF CAKE' ?? Don't let this title fool you! Songwriting is ANYTHING but easy, and Paula's latest article will give you a very BASIC 'recipe' on how to cook up a song that your listeners will enjoy, savor, and remember!
  • The Swing of Things - Things have definitely changed over the years.  Paula returns after a hiatus to continue her discussions about songwriting in the digital age.
  • Go With The Flow! (of YOUR life...) - Here's an unlikely topic: I thought I would address the topic of 'sliding out of the saddle ' of the music industry...for a bit of time...because of important successes or demands in other areas of our lives, and what kind of prominence these situations, seemingly 'interference in our dreams', should take in our lives. (NOTE: The next column will deal with GETTING BACK INTO THE SADDLE, after a brief hiatus or after a postponement of the goal...)
  • Overcoming Our Own Mental Barriers To Success! - Don't we all find, that in life, there are these almost inexplainable mind games that happen to us, or those we know? One of those, I have found, is what I call "fear of success", or the subtle tendency in many of us to self-sabotage. Why, you ask? Well, not being a psychologist, I'm not sure, but I do know that it happens. What can we do to make sure we don't do this to ourselves? Read on...
  • Publishers -- the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY -
  • The Good News and The Bad News - With the music industry in crisis, I think it's time to realistically re-evaluate goals as songwriters. I know, I know, this tone sounds a bit negative, but unfortunately, the world of music publishing, recording, and therefore...writing, has forever been changed because of the very tool that enables you to read this column: the internet. For more of a taste of this REALITY-tone, and some info on some Napster lookalikes, read on....
  • Just The Facts Ma'am, Just The Facts - Hopefully this Spring is bringing each of you new successes and inspiration with your career goals. I wanted to talk about some ACTUAL organizations and events which really might be of practical use to you songwriters, in the ultimate goal of getting your songs signed, published, performed, and cut (or put into print...).... I wanted to bring you some FACTUAL, ACTUAL information! Now, read on...
  • Making It Matter - Everyone: writing is a gift--use yours well. I am reminded of an old 'exercise' phrase: Use it or Lose it.
  • The Three R's of Successful Songwriters - Hey songwriters! Hope everyone is meeting with enormous success in your songwriting ventures. Now...about this title: this was the title of a songwriting session I did recently for a Texas group, and I wanted to share it with the Muse's Muse as well. Usually when we think of the 3 r's...it obvious: Reading, "R"iting, and 'Rithmetic...the old school saying! But....I submit that it COULD BE, and for songwriters, SHOULD BE this: Rhymes, Resolve, and Resilience! Read on to learn more...
  • I Found My People! - If you've ever felt "misunderstood"....encouragement is here. Welcome to the planet of STRANGE. (songwriters and musicians) After reading my little piece here, you will indeed, breathe a huge sigh of relief and say...along with me.... I FOUND MY PEOPLE!
  • Do You See What I See? - As many people as there are in the world -- that's probably how MANY DIFFERENT approaches there could be -- to the same topic, in songwriting! There are SO many ways to write about ....LOVE, for example! Everyone "sees" it differently....plus another "Do you see what I see?" thought: If you get frustrated with varying opinions re: YOUR SONGS -- if publishers or other expert songwriting critiquers don't seem to "get it" -- maybe this will encourage you! They may "see" it differently, based on their own life experiences! Read on... to "see" more of what I'm talking about....
  • "Being There" - Did you see the movie, BEING THERE, from some years back, with Peter Sellers? It was a hilarious satire, and underlined the truth that SHOWING UP is one of the most important, admirable, even FATEFUL things we can do, to shape our destinies! In this movie's case, all that the character Chauncey (something -- can't think of the character's last name) was capable of... was "Being There", as he was pretty much a simpleton....I think the message for us, as part of the music business industry ...is....IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO BE THERE! You gain SO much respect/ networking contacts/knowledge...by "BEING THERE" at the Music Industry's "events" -- whichever ones are important to YOUR element of the industry....read on....
  • Skydiving Lessons For Songwriters - Hey everyone, once again from Texas! Feeling like a little SKYDIVING? Jumping out into the vast unknown stretches of blue yonder that we call THE MUSIC BUSINESS? Need some crash courses (no pun intended! : ) in FOLLOWING-YOUR-DREAMS-even-though-you're-scared-to-death? I have a few tips to share with you -- READ BEFORE YOU JUMP! : )
  • The Songwriting Identity Police! - Did you ever stop to consider, that maybe the reason you're finding it hard to take the next step as a songwriter...is that YOU don't quite yet consider yourself a "real" songwriter? Crossing this mental barrier...the self-belief that YOU BELONG IN THIS BUSINESS... is crucial to your success! Wanna find out more?? Read on!
  • A story of rejection, improving song skills, and adopting the WHY NOT ME mindset! - Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever had your "bubble burst" and had to come to terms with your need for improvement? Multi-genre, award-winning pop, country, and CCM Songwriter, Paula Carpenter, who has written for several of Nashville's largest publishing houses, tells you HER story of just starting out, of meeting rejection head-on with a smile and a never-give-up mindset, and how she did...and how you can...adopt a WINNING ATTITUDE of committment, consistency...and WHY NOT ME??

A short bio:
Paula Carpenter is a multi-genre songwriter, with cuts in pop (Jessica Simpson), country (Michael Peterson's DRINK SWEAR STEAL & LIE) and contemporary Christian music (4Him, Susan Ashton & others). Having made her mark as an exclusive staff writer for several large Nashville publishers, she is familiar with "making it happen when you don't live in a major music center"! Founder and President of StarBright Music, a Texas company which produces Music Business Seminars, she spends her time songwriting, speaking, consulting, & most recently, in recording the FIRST of several STARBRIGHT MUSIC instrumental projects, PATRIOT'S DREAM, due out in February. With a publishing co. in the wings, she has 17 years of expertise to share!

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