Monday, February 23, 2015

Feeling Comfortable in Alligator Skin

Rejection, critiques, criticism (both constructive & otherwise), people calling your baby ugly are all things that fill a songwriter's world.  You've gotten a great idea, crafted it into a 3 minute movie that is a song, poured your heart and soul into making it "perfect" and are then ready to send it out into the world.  Kind of like letting go of your kids and sending them into a scary world on their own.  Once a song is "out there" it has to stand on it's own!!  No lengthy introduction, no "story on how you wrote it" etc.  Because if you are wanting to have your songs recorded it doesn't really matter how much I love my matters how much the artist and ultimately the fans/listeners love the song.

So you send your children (songs) to several artists to listen to (pitch).  Chances are good you won't hear anything back at all.  Sometimes "no feedback" is worse that "bad feedback" least you know where things stand!  Sometimes you do get the feedback that "the song just doesn't work for this project", "we have 2 songs already that sound similar", or maybe just "we just don't think the song is very good and don't send any more songs".  In other words YOUR BABY IS UGLY!!!

Now...if you have thin skin this can wash you out of the game pretty early or you can take it as a challenge and attack this with ALLIGATOR SKIN!  One important message here THE ARTIST DOES NOT OWE YOU ANY EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THEY DON'T WANT TO RECORD THE SONG!!!! Asking "why" they don't like the song is just not appropriate and many times a kiss of death for future pitches.  Some artists will offer feedback and if they do...learn from it and fight the internal reaction to get upset!  This is hard to do but will serve the writer well.

A couple things to check out:

1. Do you have a GREAT song???  I can tell you that every writer as soon as they finish a song thinks he/she has a GREAT song!!  At least I do!! LOL  And it should be that way if you are passionate about writing. is the artist and ultimately the listener that will determine that status. Do all you can to get feedback on your song "BEFORE" you start throwing it to the world.  Play the song for trusted friends that will tell you if the song sucks.  These are VALUABLE friends to have.  Play the song for anyone that will listen and pay attention to their reaction.  Most will say "yeah...that's a good song" or "sounds good".  Pretty "tepid" reaction.  You are looking for MAN I LOVE THAT!!!  PLAY IT AGAIN!!!  and reactions in that vein :)

2.Once you have a great song....BELIEVE IN IT!!  Your song isn't for everyone so make sure you analyze the style of the song and work to match the song to potential artists...don't send a great song to an artist who doesn't do that wastes both your time!!!  Target 2-3 great songs and be PROFESSIONAL about it. If you believe in the song keep pitching it!!  Remember Felice & Boudleaux Bryant pitched "Bye Bye Love" over 50 times before getting recorded and becoming one of the biggest songs of all time!

3. Don't just send songs out without permission.  I remember the old "query" card where I use to mail a postcard to ask permission to submit a song.  With the internet, mp3's, email, facebook it is easy to just FIRE off songs unannounced to many artists.  I have to say I've been guilty of this although I try hard to stick to asking first.  Once you have permission...DON'T send your entire catalog!  Send 2-3 songs that you truly believe are great and would sound even greater cut by the artist.

4. Be respectful!!  Be respectful of the artists time, talent, profession and most times common courtesy goes a LONG WAY.  Even if you don't receive that courtesy back don't let it bring you down.  Remember ALLIGATOR SKIN!!

So, today I'll try and contact a few artists and do my best to match a song or two to their sound and chances are HIGH that it will be rejected.  This is part of the game.  Remember, in baseball if you get a hit three out of every ten at bats you would be a lifetime .300 hitter and probably end up in the hall of fame!!!!  My goal is to be a lifetime .100 hitter in songwriting!!!  That's 1 cut for every 10 songs I write.  I think that is a HIGH goal to shoot for but shouldn't we all "aim high"!!!

Now get out there...put on your alligator skin...and remember:  Write more whine less!!

Have a great day!!!