Podcast

Episode 6: Doug DeAngelis (Part 1) – Nothing Beats Enthusiasm

Doug_DeAngelis_photo.jpg

 

I met Doug DeAngelis at a Music Supervision event in Nashville recently and was intrigued because he has been a pioneer in what we know as dance, pop and rock music. His unique work as a music director and supervisor for award shows got my attention and I knew I wanted him on the show. In part 1 of our conversation Doug and I discuss his time producing the biggest names in pop music, being a composer for hit television shows and what it takes to be a music director for live t.v.

Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.
Talking Points:

*I programmed analog synthesizers in the early days before MIDI and went to Berklee College of Music to study music synthesis.

*I saw music in colors and textures and layers.

*Enthusiasm is the single best ingredient in professional musicianship. Nothing beats enthusiasm.

*I started working at Syncro Sound studios owned by The Cars.

*It had one of the first MIDI rooms in the country and I worked programming.

*My first big project to work on was the debut album of Nine Inch Nails.

*Then went on tour with the band Inner City, one of the first pop/house (Detroit Techno/Club) music bands.

*Doug is a pioneer in Dance/Club music.

*Moved to New York to work for David Franken McMurphy and that was my start with working on all the big artists in pop music.

*When re-mixing an album, the record label picks the DJ and the DJ picks the producer to do the re-mix.

*Moved to L.A. to work on more records and ended up working in T.V. by accident. I got a call to be the music director for a live talent show called Next Big Star with Ed McMahon, a precursor to American Idol. I ended up becoming the music supervisor as well not knowing what that even meant.

*What does “clearing a song” mean for use on t.v. and film? It means identifying who the rights holders are for both the physical recording (the master) and the copyright (the publishing). Learning what cost is for all the different types of usages in t.v. or film. Learning how to do the paperwork and going out and getting the rights to license the songs to be used and have them signed off on before the show airs.

*Don’t say no to an opportunity. Say yes! Figure it out and do it.

*If you don’t take the opportunity when it comes your way, there are hundreds people waiting to take it from you.

*You have to be more enthusiastic than ALL the people you’re working with. More than your bosses, the contestants, the artists your producing music for, the songwriters you’re cutting demos for. That’s what people need. That’s the job.

*When you are making music for t.v. where you are on the clock, sometimes you are working for hours on a song and find out you can’t clear the rights to use it and you have to scrap it and start over knowing you have a lot more songs still do. Even then you have to stay enthusiastic. That’s the job.

*Don’t leave a project until you know you have made your client happy based off what you know you are capable of accomplishing.

*If you don’t impose your talent level on the client, you’re not finished yet. That’s enthusiasm.

*Elevate everyone around you.

*People who are great take everybody with them.

*If you want to work professionally as a musician, producer, songwriter, composer, music supervisor, etc. , make “that’s great” the base line for what you do and go beyond that until the client says “that’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.”

*Big things are easy to get right. It’s the little things that matter.

*How did you transition from Music Directing on live t.v. shows and music supervising to be a composer for t.v. shows?

*After multiple t.v. talent shows I produced a record for the group Love and Rockets and the singer and I started making music together that landed on some projects. We signed with CAA talent agency and pitched our reel to producer Michael Mann and landed the job scoring Robbery Homicide. That was my first job scoring a t.v. show.

*Why sign with an agency like CAA? my partner Kevin already had a connection with them because of his band Love and Rockets and we had an advantage of getting our music heard.

*When a new show is coming out, the studios will go to the big agents and say so and so has a new show and he is looking for a certain kind of music. Then everybody sends in their reels and the producer picks what they like.

*t.v producers and music supervisors, etc. go to licensing agencies and talent agencies for music and composers because they can vet you and your work to make sure your music is good and you can handle the pressure of the schedule, the pace, etc. which is very taxing.

*Scoring a drama is a 6 or 7 day turnaround which means 3 or 4 days to write the score because you have to have time for the producers and directors to hear it and make notes, then you revise the score and have it to stage the day before they mix the show.

*All of that is for about 35 minutes of score in an 60 minute show.

*What does a 24 hour day look like when you are scoring a show?

*Realistically you work 18-19 hours a day and sleep 5-6 hours.

* “Spot the episode” – meaning the composer, music supervisor, editor, director and the sound effects group meet together to watch a cut of the episode and you walk through it beat by beat, top to bottom of the showing making notes of what should be score, where there should be a song, where they want only sound design, end score, etc.

*Then you have to remember what you talked about and create score and songs around that because there are no sound effects, etc. actually there yet.

*When you’re scoring, understand that the better the film, the better your experience getting started at scoring is going to be.

*It’s very hard to score to picture that is not good. Film, dialogue, story, cinematography, etc. make everything roll easier.

*Music is all about you. When you’re scoring music for picture, it’s not about you anymore.

*You always have to keep in mind that the episode started as a script about a year and a half ago going through a bunch or re-writes and back and forth with the studio getting rejections. Then they shot it and re-shot it because the acting wasn’t great, etc.

*By the time it gets to you, It is what they want. So you have to be aware of that and score music that is subservient to the dialogue and the story that’s being told and it has to move with it.

*The real job of a composer is to make each emotional turn and twist moment by moment with the dialogue and to tell the stories that the director is having a hard time telling.

*You have to guide the audience to things that are important and away from things that are important with a score.

*You’re also fixing things that aren’t working in the picture. Bad acting, a script that someone is unhappy with, or even subtle things like a beat is too long, etc.

*You’re also fixing things as a music supervisor. The job is not just to polish something that was already great.

*A lot of times a scene is over done and you need to downplay with the score.

*You learn the banter between the executive producers and what they like and dislike so you can know how to fix problems in a scene with a score.

*Comedy is the hardest genre to put music to.

*The craft of a sitcom is to move from one scene that has a joke to a new scene in 3-5 seconds with a girl crying and getting from a chord that feels great with the joke to a heartbreak in two chords and it not feel horrible.

*Every genre is a different craft.

 

Check out Doug’s website

 

Doug DeAngelis is a composer/producer/musical director and music supervisor. He began his professional career at age 18 at SyncroSound Recording Studio in Boston while attending Berklee College of Music for music synthesis.

At age nineteen, he recorded the Nine Inch Nails hit “Head Like A Hole” with Trent Reznor and world-renowned producer Flood. In 1989, DeAngelis left Boston on a world tour with the Detroit Techno crossover dance artist Inner City. After the tour, he moved to New York City where he amassed over 300 album & remix credits including 31 #1 Billboard Chart singles. Album credits include New Order, Michael Jackson, Queen Latifa, Chaka Khan, Love and Rockets, Alicia Keys, and No Doubt.

Doug’s career then shifted to Los Angeles where his music was embraced by Hollywood producer Michael Mann as the score for his CBS crime drama series Robbery Homicide Division.  His music has since appeared in over 100 television shows including CSI, Baby Daddy, The Evidence, The Nine Lives Of Chloe King, Bones, Alias, Cold Case, CSI Miami, ER, as well as dozens of reality television programs. He has written main title themes for Chelsea Lately, CNN Heroes, E! True Hollywood Stories Investigates, The NASCAR franchise, and co-written the main title songs to the film Blades Of Glory starring Will Ferrell, and The American Country Awards.

Recently, Doug won a BMI Music Award for his underscore to the FOX series ‘Lie To Me’, and composed the score for an Academy Award nominated feature documentary film entitled ‘The Garden’.

Outside of the studio, Doug is the Conference Chair and Co-Founder of A3E, The Advanced Audio & Applications Exchange. A3E is a leading industry resource dedicated to the future of new music technologies. A3E is an educational partner to NAMM, The National Association Of Music Merchants.

Episode 5: Jared DePasquale – Love The Storytelling Process

Jared DePasquale photo

I recently met up with my friend Jared DePasquale who is a phenomenal at scoring, arranging and orchestrating music for audio dramas and tv productions. He has won multiple awards for his work and was kind enough to talk with me about his musical journey and give insight for you to put into practice if you want to create music for media.

Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*John Williams who scored Star Wars and Indiana Jones made me fall in love with music.

*Determination beats talent any day of the week.

*I wanted to tell a story through music.

*Tenacity and ability to take risks allowed me to transition from college into the real world more than talent did.

*I applied for grants for USC Film School but missed the deadline. The person I talked with said he had a friend doing what I wanted to do and connected me with composer Joseph LoDuca. He hired me to do some work to reprogram a synthesizer. I worked hard and he kept giving me more responsibility until it turned into a full time assistant job.

*Most of the time relationships are going to be what get you the work.

*I worked on the tv show Hercules: The legendary Journeys assisting Joe.

*A one hour tv show will include about 30 minutes of score and you have a week at most to get it done and move on to the next episode for 22 episodes.

*I was a jack of all trades for him on that show. I did temp tracks, programming, played on some sessions, I helped do some orchestration, etc.

*When you are an assistant or apprentice to an orchestrator, you have to learn how to think like that person and what their tendencies are.

*I also worked on a lot of commercials. The boss sets the tone and is guiding you the whole way and you execute it and he will give you changes to make until it’s where he wants it.

*For commercials you usually only get a few hours to create something and turn it in.

*You have to learn to go with your instinct and choose a direction and go with it.

*The biggest drawback of working for another composer is that it’s hard to find your own voice.

*Finding your own voice is a life long journey.

*I now score audio dramas.

* I hired an agent to pitch my demo reel and it took about 2 years to get work after I left working for Joe.

*My first composer job on my own was scoring an indie horror film and I had 3 weeks to complete it.

*They liked my work and I kept getting hired to do those kinds of films.

*My agent pitched me to do work on audio dramas for Focus On The Family.

*I got hired to work on a project and I was able to conduct an orchestra and have since worked on lots of audio dramas for Focus On The Family and other companies.

*A 3 hour score for Robin Hood took 6 months to write.

*What is the difference between an audio drama and a book on tape?

*An audio drama is a fully emersive story like a movie without the visual. It’s professional actors, sound design, music and production crew.

*You can stream them through sites like Audible.

*Books on tape essentially use canned music that hit transition points from chapter to chapter.

*Audio dramas that are 30 minutes will have 15 minutes of custom score.

*The old style of scoring is called “The Light Motif” which is: Characters have themes. It’s thematic driven.

*Modern scores are very “anti-theme.” Very Static, atmospheric and vibey.

*People love a melody.

*Audio dramas are looking for big time melodies because characters have melodies.

*Not having a visual has made me better as a composer because it has made me think of what the character is thinking about and his motivation. Or what it means when there is a mountain in front of you and you have to make it feel huge because even though you can’t see it, you can feel it.

*There’s no such thing as a bad day making music.

*I don’t give the word “inspiration” a lot of validity.

*If you’re going to write music for a client with a deadline, you have to learn how to write music.

*It’s a balance of discipline and understanding your craft and techniques and doing all the hard work that will internalize and come out.

*I wrote 50 themes for Robin Hood before it got approved.

*If you don’t feel inspired or don’t feel like writing music, go write music.

*Keep at it and you will find what you are trying create.

*It’s not glamorous and it’s hard work, but it is fun.

*You’ll never get there if you don’t do the hard work.

*Advice for getting into scoring :

*If you’re going to create music for any kind of media, love the story telling process more than you love music.

*They are hiring you to understand the story, go deep and emote.

*You have to love working with people.

*Music for media is a collaborative process.

*Starting out as a new composer you might have to work for free on low level entry projects with student film makers.

*Connect with your peers that are trying to do their first projects and get experience. That can lead to more work down the road.

*Build relationships.

*It’s a slow build.

*There is always something to learn.

*What’s the difference between composing and ghost writing?

*Shows require a lot of music in a short period of time. The composer will have a team helping create music but typically only the composer is getting credit for the work, so the other people are called ghost writers.

*They do not get credit for making the music and they don’t get paid the same as the composer. You’re basically an independent contractor that is getting paid to do work for hire. You’re signing away all your rights to the music so you get paid one time to create it but no back end royalties.

*Jared’s website is www.jareddepasquale.com

*Jared’s You Tube Channel

Jared is a storyteller. Music is his language.

For over twenty five years Jared has composed the musical scores for some of Western culture’s most celebrated stories and iconic characters.
The recipient of numerous awards and critical acclaim, his work is widely recognized for its ability to musically capture complex characters amidst stories that are rich in texture and meaning.

Jared has contributed music to over a thousand different projects including scores to The Legends of Robin Hood (Gwilym Lee of Bohemian Rhapsody), The Secret Garden (Dame Joan Plowright of Driving Miss Daisy), Little Women (Gemma Jones from the Harry Potter series), Les Miserables (Brian Blessed of Star Wars Episode 1), The Trials of Saint Patrick (John Rhys-Davies of Lord of the Rings), Ode to Saint Cecilia (Hayley Atwell of The Avengers series), and Brother Francis (Owen Teale of Game of Thrones).

Early in his career, Jared apprenticed under Emmy and ASCAP Award winning composer Joseph LoDuca. With LoDuca, Jared learned the business of composing for A-list projects including the globally syndicated television shows Xena: The Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Immediately following his apprenticeship, Jared was recognized by Music from the Movies as one of the three most promising and interesting talents among film composers today. He has won or been nominated for multiple awards over the years for his contribution to audio dramas.

2018: The Adventum, Volume 1, Wise King Media: WON for “Best Score for an Audio Drama” Audio Theatre Central Seneca Awards
2018: David & Absalom: Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family: Nominated for “Best Score for an Audio Drama” Audio Theatre Central Seneca Awards
2018: Operation Mosul: The Brinkman Adventures, Season 7, Beachglass Ministries: Nominated for “Best Score for an Audio Drama” Audio Theatre Central Seneca Awards
2017: The Trials of Saint Patrick, AIR Theater: WON for “Best Score for an Audio Drama” Audio Theatre Central Seneca Awards
2017: Brother Francis, The Barefoot Saint of Assisi, AIR Theater: WON for “Audio Drama of the Year” by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards)
2017: The Trials of Saint Patrick, AIR Theater: Nominated for “Audio Drama of the Year / Historical Non-Fiction” Category by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards)
2017: Les Miserables, Focus on the Family: Placed in the Top 5 for “Best Score, New Archival (Digital) Release” by REEL MUSIC
2016: Brother Francis, The Barefoot Saint of Assisi, AIR Theater: WON, “Best Score for an Audio Drama” by Audio Theatre Central
2015: The Hiding Place, Focus on the Family: WON, “Best Score – Other Media” by REEL MUSIC.
2006: At the Back of the North Wind, Focus on the Family: WON, “Achievement in Production” by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards). This award encompasses music score, sound design, and sound mixing
2006: The Hiding Place, Focus on the Family: Nominated for “Audio Drama of the Year” by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards)
2006: The Hiding Place, Focus on the Family: Nominated for “Achievement in Production” by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards)
2005: Little Women, Focus on the Family: Nominated for “Achievement in Production” by the Audio Publisher’s Association (Audie Awards)

Episode 4: Elizabeth Chan (Part 2) – Communication Is Your Biggest Assest


JMK and E Chan pic

This is part 2 of my interview with session/touring drummer and tour manager Elizabeth Chan. This week we continue our conversation about being a professional drummer and also focus more on being a road manager for different artist and what it takes to be success in that role.

Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*Moriah Peters’ road manager moved on and her management asked me to step in an take over.

*I had to learn what a road manager did by watching her road manager for 4 months.

*What does a road manager do? It begins about 4-6 weeks out by reaching out to the promotor and working through details for the show – backline gear, hotel, travel, ground transportation, etc. All of this needs to worked out so when the band gets to the gig it is all sorted out.

*Being the drummer and the road manager, the advancing of the show is even more important.

*“Advancing a show” – After the show is booked, having all the travel sorted, having the schedule for the show, making sure dressing rooms are set, etc.

*It’s important to stay in touch with promoters and management when travel issues come up and make sure everyone is in communication.

*The job of tour manager is in direct partnership with artist management.

*I want to have a great relationship with the managers just as much as with the artists because I’m making decisive calls with them.

*When a problem arises on the road, you have about 30 minutes to come up with a solution.

*To be a tour manager you have to have: good communication skills, a good personality, be able to problem solve and troubleshoot on the spot, good relationships.

*As a musician, know your stuff.

*Some artists Elizabeth has tour managed: Ellie Holcomb, Hollyn, Abby Anderson.

*Know when to set limits and boundaries.

*Advice for Drummers and tour managers:

*Get to a music city where the work is. You have to be able to get to a call.

*You have to be smart with finances.

*Chase down the right fit for getting an income while also creating flexibility for yourself.

*As your income increases, allow your savings to exponentially increase.

*As a musician work is not steady so put yourself on a salary by saving your money.

*Get out of debt.

*Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover

*It’s important to evaluate when it’s time to let go of extra work even within music so you can focus on what you really want.

*Take time for the things you love.

Elizabeth’s contact for people wanting a drummer or road manager: www.echanmusic.com or email info@echanmusic.com

Elizabeth Chan on facebook and instagram

Some of these links are affiliate links. This means the company we link to may pay us a few pennies for sending you to them. We only link to products we truly recommend.

Elizabeth Chan is a touring and session drummer from New York City, based in Nashville,

Tennessee. She has worked with a variety of artists, including seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Carrie Underwood, country music legend Darius Rucker (of Hootie & The Blowfish), multi-platinum artist Keith Urban, powerhouse country trio Lady Antebellum, The Voice Australia finalist Ben Hazlewood, Billboard AC/CHR chart topper Hollyn, and 2014 GMA Dove Award “New Artist of the Year” Ellie Holcomb. Whether playing to anthemic rock and country melodies or accompanying folk and pop ballads, one thing is consistently evident: There is never a lack of passion in what Elizabeth does.

Music has long been a part of Elizabeth’s life. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Elizabeth became highly involved in the rich local music scene of New York City. Under the direction of drum teachers Paul Tso and Phil Bloom, Elizabeth began diving into genres from rock to R&B, jazz to hip hop, and gospel to latin.

By the age of 17, Elizabeth was offered a full-tuition music scholarship to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and travel as a drummer with their touring music teams. By the end of her college career, Elizabeth had graduated summa cum laude, played more than 270 shows across the United States, participated in 7 tours, garnered multiple endorsements, and worked with a number of notable artists and songwriters.

Elizabeth now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where she serves as a touring/session musician and tour manager for numerous pop, country, and CCM acts. For further information, please email info@echanmusic.com.

Episode 3: Elizabeth Chan (Part1) – Show Up As Your Authentic Self

JMK and E Chan pic

I sat down with my friend Elizabeth Chan who is a professional touring/session drummer and road manager. She has played for some of the biggest names in country and Christian music including: Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Lauren Daigle and Moriah Peters. On this weeks episode we spend time talking about how Elizabeth found her way to Nashville and the immediate doors that opened which allowed her to quickly work her way into position as an in-demand drummer and tour manager on the road.

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*I sent a bunch of emails to different management companies I had contacts with from years ago. One manager actually needed a drummer for an artist. He said most emails get deleted automatically, but he felt like he should open the email.

*It was God’s grace that pulled all of that together.

*First artist to play for was CCM artist Moriah Peters at Disney World.

*The show at Disney had industry people there that I connected with.

*Blaine Barcus was Moriah’s A&R person and we connected and built a relationship and I got to know him and his wife. I wanted to learn more about his story, not for business.

*Be willing to be curious about people’s lives and know them for who they are, not what they do.

*That can lead to other opportunities because you add value to the person.

*Building relationships is key.

*There are amazing musicians everywhere, but the one thing that makes us all different is the character you bring to the gig.

*You spend most of your time with people on the road more than on the stage.

*Keep yourself healthy.

*If you’re not easy to work with or be around, no one wants to be with you.

*Likability is more important than talent.

*Create an outlet for working with something you believe in.

*Don’t sign up for something you don’t believe in.

*Don’t create a life where you only go 50%.

*How did you get gigs after playing for Mariah Peters?  A person connected to an artist I was playing for would see me play and reach out and it would lead from one thing to another.

*A lot of times you get called for one show but then it leads to more work with that artist.

*How did you land a gig with Carrie Underwood on the CMA awards? I was filling in playing at a church along with a keys player who ended up playing for Carrie Underwood. 3 or 4 years later Carrie’s music director called me with a reference from Carrie’s keyboard player to play the CMA awards.

*Don’t fake it. Just show up as your authentic self.

*When I have time off, I fill up my time just listening to the music genre I am working in to be more familiar with it.

*Be very intentional at breaking a part grooves to learn how different genres work.

Elizabeth Chan is a touring and session drummer from New York City, currently based in Nashville, TN. She has worked with a variety of artists, including seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Carrie Underwood, country music legend Darius Rucker (of Hootie and The Blowfish), multi-platinum artist Keith Urban, powerhouse country trio Lady Antebellum, The Voice Australia finalist Ben Hazlewood, Billboard AC/CHR chart topper Hollyn, and 2014 GMA Dove Award “New Artist of the Year” Ellie Holcomb. Whether playing to anthemic rock and country melodies or accompanying folk and pop ballads, one this is consistently evident: There is never a lack of passion in what Elizabeth does.

Music has long been a part of Elizabeth Chan’s life. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Elizabeth became highly involved in the rich local music scene of New York City. Under the direction of drum teachers Paul Two and Phil Bloom, Elizabeth began diving into genres from rock to R&B, jazz to hip hop, and gospel to latin.

By the age of 17, Elizabeth was offered a full-tuition music scholarship to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and travel as a drummer with their touring music teams. By the end of her college career, Elizabeth had graduated summa cum laude, played more than 270 shows across the United States, participated in 7 tours, garnered multiple endorsements and worked with a number of notable artists and songwriters.

Elizabeth now resides in Nashville, TN. where she serves as a touring/session musician and tour manager for numerous pop, country and CCM acts.

Artists Elizabeth has worked with: Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Hollyn, Lauren Daigle, Mandisa, Rachel Wammack, Sara Groves, Ellie Holcomb, Christy Nockels, Love & The Outcome, Ben Hazlewood, Sandra McCracken, JJ Heller, Jonathan Thulin, Moriah Peters, Lindsay McCaul, Charles Billingsley (of NewSong), Elias Dummer (of The City Harmonic), Jason Germain (of Downhere), Hannah Kerr.

Episode 2: Mark Irwin – Be Proactive at Networking and Songwriting

Mark Irwin JMK

I recently spent time with my friend and songwriting partner Mark Irwin. Mark is a hit country music songwriter in Nashville. He co-wrote Alan Jackson’s Here In The Real World which was nominated twice for Song of the Year by he Country Music Association. Mark also wrote the hit song Highway Don’t Care for Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban among many others. Mark has been signed to multiple publishing deals throughout his songwriting career. Today we are talking about how to network and make a name for yourself and how to make connections as a songwriter in a music town. We also talk about music publishers and the process of getting your foot in the door to get your songs heard so you can land a publishing deal if that is what you are looking for.

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Mark Irwin – Show Notes

Networked by getting a job in a music venue and building relationships.

I knew the songwriting business was in Nashville so I packed up and moved here.

NSAI – Nashville Songwriter’s Association International. They help connect songwriters with people in the industry.

Networking and going to writer’s shows and meeting people who are doing what you’re doing is important.

It takes time of focusing and writing everyday to build up the writing muscle.

This is a relationship driven business. You find out about a lot of opportunities by building relationships with people.

People blow opportunities and relationships because of ego or arrogance

The process of connecting with a publisher:

Some people say take your best 2 or 3 songs and make elaborate demos. I think if you make a really good clean guitar or piano / vocal, then the song will sell itself. Then call places on your own. Find publishers willing to listen to outside (unsolicited) songs. Publishers will connect you with other writers and artists to write with and that helps build connections and is how I met Alan Jackson and co- wrote his first hit song “Here In The Real World.” It takes a while to build this up, it’s not overnight.

You still have to work a job even if you get signed to a publisher at least for a while.

Discipline yourself to make sure you are writing everyday and know why you moved to town to do music.

I was still working when my first hit single was out.

What’s the purpose of moving from one publisher to another?

Some publishers don’t have the kind of money that is needed to support a writer where they can stop working a normal job. Having a song that is a hit helps open doors to meet with other publishers. Bigger publishers can sometimes pay a draw against future royalties that you can live on while you write for that publisher.

When the person who signs you to a deal leaves and new people take over and you don’t have a cut for a while then you get dropped from the roster. It’s still a business.

Usually when you’re at a publisher and you have a decent relationship with them, you’re going to stay as long as you can because it’s hard to talk away from a catalog (Collection of songs you’ve written for the publisher). Usually if you leave a publisher it’s because you got dropped.

How long are you typically contracted to be with a publisher?

They can be different but my first one was 18 months, then the company has the option to pick you up for another year or dropping you. Usually after that it’s every year. They look at what they are paying you and any money coming in and decide if they want to keep going.

How many songs do you have to write per year?

Average is 12 songs by yourself or 24 if it’s a 2 way co-write. But if your doing it every day you’re going to write more than that.

A publisher will usually give you 2 or 2 1/2 years to get something going.

These days it’s more writing with artists. It’s harder to get outside songs cut meaning a song that the artist hasn’t written. If you’re aligned with an artist before they sign a deal you can get a publishing deal because you are writing with them when they sign a record deal.

Putting a song “on hold” means an artist is seriously considering recording it and they ask you not to pitch it to anyone else during that time.

What do you tell new songwriters that are coming into town trying to get their feet wet?

Coming into town cold is a tough hill to climb but there’s a lot of opportunities and people here willing to steer you. NSAI is a great organization for new artists. They set up meetings to play your songs for publishers. Join a (PRO) Performing Rights Organization – ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and meet songwriters at workshops, etc.

Don’t have a meeting with a publisher and present yourself until you have your best. You only have one chance to make a first impression. It really help if you have someone recommend you to get connected with a publisher.

Someone at ASCAP made a couple of calls on my (Mark’s) behalf years ago and got me in to meet a publisher and I got a publishing deal because of that.

There are a lot of ways to find champions in this town. Again it’s about relationships.

Taking meetings with a PRO helps and going to writer’s rounds and try to get up there and play as much as possible and if you see somebody doing something that really gets to you, try to start up a relationship and ask about writing.

No one’s going to knock on your door and ask if you want to be a hit songwriter. You have to go out and make it happen. You have to be proactive.

There are still opportunities and everyone wants to discover the next great songwriter.

What happens to your song catalog when you leave one publisher and go to a new one?

I still have the option to pitch the songs and the old publisher can as well. Or, if you can negotiate to own a portion of your publishing, then you can sell off you portion.

When first starting out you will not get to co-own your publishing. They pay you a monthly draw to live on and the way you get paid if you have a single is through the PRO for performance (radio, tv, etc.) There is also mechanical (sales). Usually a publisher will re coup that draw through the mechanical (sales) and leave your PRO alone. At that point they own 100% of your publishing and you own 100% of your writer’s share. So you split it 50/50.

If you have hits and are doing well you can renegotiate and sign a new deal. You have the clout to ask for a co-pub deal, not just your writer’s share. That has real value and another publisher will want to purchase that from you.

It was 22 years between my (Mark’s) first number one and my second number one song.Then it was 5 weeks between my second and my third.

It’s in a publisher’s best interests to keep pitching your catalog even if you’re gone. But when they sign a new writer, that is their focus and it’s hard to look back even if they’re sitting on a great catalog of songs.

You can hire an independent song plugger to pitch your songs for you and you pay them a percentage of your share of the song or you can pay them out of pocket.

I (Mark) would rather give them a percentage (maybe 10% of the publishing and a cash bonus for every song you get cut.)

The song plugger might ask for an upfront draw to go out an pitch on your behalf. Each one is different but you can negotiate the deal, especially if they really believe in your songs.

Even if you’re an independent writer and don’t have a publishing deal and you own your publishing, you can hire somebody to pitch it. But you do need to register with a PRO (BMI, ASCAP or SESAC) because they are the ones collecting the money for you if you have a single out or on tv or performing live, etc.

These days it’s hard to get an outside song cut. There are a few writers still doing it but most of what you’re hearing on country radio, the artist or the producer is connected to the song in some way.

Sony Music Publishing has the clout to hook me up with young artists who are either signed to labels or they believe will be signed and trying to develop those relationships.

Large publishers have more access to artists that are on a label than some smaller publishers do.

Advice for writers:

Don’t get discouraged.

Write and much as you can.

The more you write, the better you get at it.

Find an hour a day to write. Even to come up with a couple of lines.

Wait until you really feel like you have something special before you take a meeting, especially with a publisher.

You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Don’t just pitch one song. Anybody can get lucky with one song.

For someone just starting out, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on elaborate demos. A clean guitar/vocal or piano/vocal is enough if you can perform it well.

If you write more pop music where the track has to do with the feel, that’s different.

Listen and try to meet as many people possible who are writing. Inspiration comes from being impressed with somebody else’s work.

Get someone who is a great singer who is going to sell the song to record your demo and sound like the genre you’re in.

As long the melody and lyric can be heard, I think that’s the most important part.

Don’t be afraid to ask people if they want to write or if you can come in and play them songs because if you want to get things out of this world, you have to ask for them.

No one’s going to give it to you. You have to ask.

Don’t be shy, make your presence known.

Episode 1: Gordon Kennedy – A Series of One Steps

Gordon K and JMK pic

Gordon Kennedy – Episode 1 Show Notes:

I sat down with hit songwriter, producer and musician Gordon Kennedy to discuss his successful career, the ups and downs of the music business and how taking a series of one steps can lead to a great career in the music industry.

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Gordon Kennedy’s social media links:
http://www.gordonkennedymusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/gordonkennedymusic

Talking Points:

* I think we’re supposed to pray about and do our due diligence and get a peace about what’s the next one step to take. Then when you take the one step, guess what you do? We do the same thing again.
* Just one step is all that matters and don’t get too bent out of shape over long-term plan.
* Gordon has been building industry relationships since high school.
* “Change The World” took years to write in small amounts between multiple writers. Once it became a single for the soundtrack, then that event caused me and Wayne [Kirkpatrick] and Tommy [Sims] to start getting calls from people about “would you write us a song?” “Would you do one for Bonnie Raitt?”, etc.
* For some it doesn’t make sense to do a publishing deal these days because publishing companies can’t really pay. In fact they’re embarrassed to offer what they’re able to offer these days to a seasoned writer.
* If people don’t buy music, then you see the these draws (advances) that publishing companies give writers diminish to the point where they’d rather not offer a deal than offer the kind of deal they can these days.
* Income streams for songwriters and publishers in performance royalties is still there.
* Mechanical royalties (CD sales, etc) has pretty much vanished.
* You have an advantage if you’re an artist because a publisher can see an artist as being somebody that is going to bring them recorded songs rather than songs they have to go hit the sidewalks to pitch to try to get recorded.
* Single steps lead to these other things.
* Advantages of a publishing deal – someone to connect your songs to major artists.
* Advantages of being self published – getting more money when a song is cut.
* Tip Sheet – an industry form for publishers and song pluggers that list artists going in the studio and types of songs they are looking for.
* Gordon has been a live player, a session player, a producer, a published writer, a self-published writer.
* This is a calling that is on my life.
* God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.

* I’ve tried the best I can to let priorities shape my goals rather than the other way around. A lot of times if your goal is to be a star, then your priorities can suffer as far as how you’re going to be a husband, how you’re going to be a father. They have to get in line behind these priorities, otherwise I’m not interested in that particular goal if I have to leave my family for weeks and weeks on end and be gone to achieve this goal, I’m not interested in that goal
anymore.
* If you’re getting called a bunch for something, pay attention to what that might be and maybe that’s something you should investigate.
* Ricky Skaggs talks about God wanting us to study on and think about what the next one step is. Pray about that and when you get a peace about it, take that one step and then do the same thing again.
* You’re writing your personal story right now. Be aware of that. Do the work now, don’t put it off.

Links:
* Podcast Facebook

* Podcast You Tube

* John Martin Keith Instagram

* John Martin Keith Twitter

Gordon Kennedy – BIO

Gordon Kennedy is a multi-Grammy Award winning songwriter and record producer, a virtuoso guitarist, and a music industry visionary in Nashville. With his love for storytelling, vintage guitars and his deep knowledge of music history, he has emerged as one of Music City’s most beloved Ambassadors. Kennedy’s live shows are a treasure trove of colorful backstories and outstanding performances that one only as talented and immersed in rich experiences can truly deliver. He came by it honestly as the son of legendary guitarist, Jerry Kennedy.

Kennedy sites his guitar pickin’, record producing dad and his singing mom, Linda Brannon, as his biggest musical influences. “While other families might gather around the TV to enjoy time together,” Kennedy recalls, “we gathered around a tape machine. My dad would come home every night and bring us new music that he had just recorded. My brothers Bryan, Shelby and I couldn’t wait to hear from Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, The Statler Brothers or Jerry Lee Lewis.” The Meet the Beatles album his dad gave him when he was five, and more records from his father’s days as an executive of the Mercury Records office of Nashville, provided him with a diverse diet of music. This, along with a basement full of his father’s guitars, a jukebox and a piano, nourished and inspired him as he became one of music’s finest songwriters, producers and players.

Kennedy’s most successful composition is the international hit song Change The World recorded by Eric Clapton for which Kennedy and his co-writers received a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1996. The song won Record of the Year for Eric Clapton, and spent a record breaking 81 weeks on the top of the charts. In 2007 Kennedy also received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album, co-producing, composing and performing on Peter Frampton’s Fingerprints album. Bluegrass Legend Ricky Skaggs’s Grammy nominated Mosaic, released in 2010, was produced and co-written mostly by Kennedy. It was a career bending recording that was a departure from Skaggs’s bluegrass records. Skaggs called in Kennedy to produce after hearing his song demos. He wanted to recreate the Beatle-esqe musicality that Kennedy captures on the record.

In his early career, Kennedy was a member of the Christian Rock band White Heart for six years in the 1980s. His substituting on a few shows for high school friend Dan Huff ultimately led to a permanent position as the band’s lead guitar player and songwriter. Huff became a successful record producer and would later hire Kennedy to play on many records that became gold and platinum recordings. Kennedy played on Reba McEntire’s first #1 hit, Can’t Even Get The Blues in 1975 while a young student at Belmont University.
Kennedy recalls that songwriting began to click for him in 1991 when he began co-writing with his friend, Wayne Kirkpatrick. Dogs of Peace formed in 1995. Their first album, Speak, was released in 1996. Twenty years later, in 2016, Kennedy, Jimmie Sloas, Blair Masters, John Hammond and Jeff Balding reunited for a second album called Heel. Kennedy, Kirkpatrick and Tommy Sims would later join forces in co-writing one of the biggest chart topping hits of their generation, Change The World. Kennedy not only received a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1996, but in 2002 a plaque on the Record Walk of Fame. In June 1997, the Southern Songwriters Guild inducted Gordon into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in a ceremony in Louisiana.

As a songwriter, Kennedy has written 15 songs recorded by Garth Brooks. Kennedy co-wrote You Move Me recorded by Garth Brooks which reached #2 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart in 1998. Brooks subsequently recorded ten more of Kennedy’s songs on his alter-ego album, The Life of Chris Gaines, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Kennedy will join Garth Brooks 2019 Stadium Tour on guitar. “Garth and I have been friends for many years. It’s a great honor to be asked to tour with him and the other fine musicians that will be a part of the band.” It’s a feather in the cap of a successful career for Kennedy to accompany his friend Garth on this legendary tour. “It’s not just anyone I’d leave my family, the comfort of my home and my studio to hit the road with, but Garth’s an exception.”

Bonnie Raitt has said that Gordon Kennedy is “one of her favorite songwriters.” It’s no surprise then, that four of her five recent singles have been Kennedy compositions. Kennedy’s songs have also been recorded by artists including Alison Krauss, Stevie Nicks, Faith Hill, Don Henley, Tim McGraw, and Carrie Underwood. His compositions have been heard in the film soundtracks of Tin Cup, Phenomenon, For the Love of the Game, Where the Heart Is, Almost Famous, Summer Catch, Someone Like You, The Banger Sisters, Instant Family, and Disney’s The Fox & the Hound 2.

He has lent his talents as a player to Don Henley, Kenny Loggins, Reba McEntire, Michael McDonald, Leanne Rimes, Bruce Hornsby, Little Big Town and Shedaisy, among others.
Seals and Crofts 2, the Beatles cover band Mystery Trip, and Tom Petty cover band The Petty Junkies are current projects Kennedy enjoys. He recently produced Shifting Gears, the new solo project of his longtime friend Larry Stewart of Restless Heart.

As a Belmont University alumnus, Gordon has been recognized as a Morris Family Mentor & Lecture Series, Curb College Distinguished Lecturer, and in 2014 received the Curb College’s Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence. Kennedy currently serves on the Belmont University Advisory Board, and has served on the Board of Governors for the Nashville’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Kennedy has continually given to Belmont and its students for years. He has spoken at seminars, hosted events (including Belmont’s Homecoming concert, Homecoming in the Round), is an adjunct professor, and a student mentor. Gordon is the fifth and final recipient of the Distinguished Lecturer, an honor given to industry professionals who inspire others through their work in the entertainment and music industry. In addition, Gordon served on Brentwood Academy’s Board of Trustees from 2007-2010 where he and his two children are graduates and remain active alumni.

Episode 0: Welcome from John Martin Keith

Marty Keely pic

In this welcome episode, host John Martin Keith sits down with his wife, Keely Brooke Keith, to discuss the purpose of this podcast and why it is important for people are who wanting to or are actively trying to make a living in the music industry.

Episode 0 Show Notes:

This episode is brought to you by Edenbrooke Productions. We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com or use the contact form.

Talking points:
* Today’s special guest is musician and novelist Keely Brooke Keith. Not only is Keely a successful creative, she is Marty’s wife and business partner.
* Who is John Martin Keith “Marty”, what is his background in the music industry, and why is he starting this podcast?
* If you’re interested in making a living in music or are trying to increase your music income, this podcast is for you.
* No matter how much you already know, there is always something new to learn from the professionals who will be our guests on the podcast.

* It’s determination and a lot of a lot of hard work and connections.
* It takes multiple streams of income which is true in any creative profession right now.
* For those that are married, you have to be able to take care of your family no matter what.
* You have to have a spouse that is supportive of you and believes in what you’re doing.
* There are several things you could be doing to get your income to where bills are not an issue and that pressure within a relationship, if you’re in a     family situation, is no longer an issue.
* We get one life time, let’s spend it doing something that we’re passionate about.
* During the 2008 recession while the economy was falling apart, I built a guitar teaching business during that time.
* There are multiple, endless ways to make a living in music. It’s not always creative.
* There’s still nuggets that I’m learning or re-remembering from the guests on the show.
* It doesn’t matter how good you are at anything. There’s always something to learn.
* It’s relationships.
* Technology has changed so much that you can do so much out of your home now.
* If you’re going to do music for a living you really need to be in a music city.
* Success is different for everyone.
* For me to be successful is to be able to support my family.
* There’s room for everybody.
* There are small steps you can start taking wherever you live to build a music career.

Links:
* Podcast website: www.youcanmakealivinginthemusicindustry.podbean.com
* Podcast facebook page: www.facebook.com/YouCanMakeALivingInTheMusicIndustry/

* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnmartinkeith/

Studio products Marty uses:
* Marty’s favorite interface is the Universal Audio Apollo Twin.
* A good starter interface, which Marty still uses for the road is the Focusrite 2i2.
* Ativa USB 4-port hub. https://amzn.to/31tDlji
* To connect an older Mac to newer tv screens, thunderbolt, USBs, and everything, get a Startech TB2DOCK4KDHL docking station.
* An electronic height adjustable desk that holds all of Marty’s equipment is the Realspace Magellan Performance Collection.
* Marty uses the Apple Magic keyboard so he can keep his laptop closed and focus on the big screen.
* And the beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm headphones sound great and feel comfortable to Marty.

Some of these links are affiliate links. This means the company we link to may pay us a few pennies for sending you to them. We only link to products we truly recommend.