Pretty Persistent In Pink
by Molly-Ann Leikin
Five years ago, when I had a little windfall from some unexpected foreign royalties, I decided to decorate my master bedroom so it would look like one of those delicious, designer bedrooms in the New York Times Sunday magazine. I co-ordinated sheets, paint, wallpaper, duvets and dust ruffles. Everything was absolutely beautiful. My sheets were Laura Ashley Pink Ticking stripe with ruffles, and every time I got into bed, even after the worst day of dumping by dysfunctional maniacs in the music business, I felt like a pampered lady.
Then, a few months ago, I was writing in bed and fell asleep without putting the top on my pen, and in rushing to change the sheets the next day before leaving for a meeting, I didn't know that pen was still rolled up in my bed linens. Pulling them out of my clothes dryer a few hours later, the blood drained from my entire body when I discovered huge, black splotches all over absolutely every sheet and pillowcase. And it wouldn't come out, either, no matter whose grandmother's midwestern remedy I tried.
I finally forgave myself, because after all, I did write a beautiful song while destroying my bedroom. Sighing a lot, I managed to stuff my disgusted self into the car and moan over to the Bed and Bath store to replace the sheets. They weren't in stock, but the sales clerk told me she could order them. Fine. A month later, she said they were out of stock, and weren't manufactured anymore. I refused to believe her, and launched a crusade to find and replace my pink ruffled sheets. When Bath World told me they were sold out, I called Bath City. When Bath City told me the same thing, I pushed on to Sheet Soup. When Sheet Soup came up empty, I called Laura Ashley herself, convinced she surely must have one set of queen sheets and six pillowcases hiding somewhere in a warehouse. She didn't. So I called jobbers and prayer rooms and even checked the yellow pages to see if there might be somebody who found discontinued sheet patterns, like people do with books. Nothin'. Absolutely nothin'.
My whole bedroom decor was centered around pink Ticking Stripe, and when I thought I would just go with another pattern as long as it was pink, not one sheet store in the Western Hemisphere had anything in that color. Pink had fallen from grace, and earth tones had replaced it. Swell.
So I came home, made myself some hot, peppermint tea, put on my Winnie the Pooh slippers, trudged up to the master bedroom, plopped down crosslegged on the floor, and decided it was time to redecorate. I'd find a new color scheme in earth tones and do it all over. Fine. Teacup in hand, and still wearing my Winnie the Poohs, I roared over to the Bed & Bath store, ready to shop. If I'm lyin' I'm dyin' and I'm not dead, the minute I walked in, I absolutely collided with a display of Laura Ashley Pink Ticking ruffled sheets that were not only suddenly available again, but on sale.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, what does this woman and her bedding problems have to do with my songwriting career? Well, the point is, I was obsessed with this project, just as we all are about our songs. I explored absolutely every avenue, and when people told me no, I refused to believe them. When they said no again, I still wouldn't accept their answer, because I was convinced I could get the results I wanted, and acted accordingly. Then, when I finally had to concede it was time to explore a different path and release my old agenda, then, with the demand off it, poof - there was what I wanted in the first place.
I have often had similar experiences with my songs. For example, after calling Mercury Records every day for three weeks trying to get some information about Vanessa Williams' recording schedule, I finally threw up my hands in disgust and stopped calling. Six weeks later, when I'd forgotten all about it, Aaron Jacoves himself called me, asking me to please send him some material.
So it seems to me it's up to us as songwriters to do absolute everything we can do, and then, when we're convinced we've exhausted ALL the possibilities and have moved on to other projects, guess what suddenly floats in from far left field? It never fails. It never will.
I hope you'll keep on pushing your material. A publisher I interviewed for my second book told me he always pitches a song at least one hundred times before giving up on it - not 22 times or 89 1/2 times - 100. So if you're getting turned down wholesale, and you're only at number 6, you've got more work to do. Lots more. Pick up the phone. Make another call. And another. I bet you'll get what you want when you least expect it. And please let me know when you do. I'll be very proud of you.
Molly-Ann Leikin is a songwriting consultant in Los Angeles. The author of "How To Write A Hit Song" and "How To Make A Good Song A Hit Song", she helps songwriters polish and market their material, in private sessions by e-mail, phone, fax, and in person. A hit songwriter herself, Molly has one platinum, and two gold records, an Emmy nomination, she wrote themes and songs for 32 t.v. shows and movies, including "Eight Is Enough" and "Violet", that won an Oscar. She was a staffwriter for 8 years, won 4 ASCAP awards, taught songwriting at UCLA, and makes a world-class sour cream, cinnamon, raisin coffee cake, nuts optional.
Her clients have a Grammy nomination, an Emmy, and in the past 19 months, 64 of them have made deals. Molly's url is http://www.songmd.com/ and features the Songwriter's Collaboration Network, where good songwriters looking for writing partners, and singers looking for songs, find each other. Come by for a visit.
If you are interested in setting up a private consultation with Molly to polish and market your songs, and you quote this article, she is happy to offer you a $50 discount on one session, as long as your package plus payment in full reaches her office within 30 days of your e-mail request for an appointment.
(c) 1995 Molly-Ann Leikin