Friday, February 13, 2015

DAY - 365

We have arrived!!  DAY - 365 for the second time.  I was just reading over my post on December 9th 2012, DAY - 365 and many other previous posts.   It's surreal to see the progression.  While you're living it, everything feels like baby steps.  But, when you get the chance to look back,  it's remarkable to see how far hundreds and hundreds of baby steps can take you.   For starters, they took my wife, Susan and I to Nashville, TN.  The very place in which this second blogging adventure began.

After my first Making It 365, I wasn't planning on doing another one.  I even said that in my final post.  I can't express how happy I am that I did.  I am so grateful for this project.  I am grateful for the drive, inspiration, and motivation the lord has given me.

No, I'm not going to laundry list my accomplishments.  Chances are, if you're reading this, you've been along for the whole journey.  However, this time, I can say, "YES!" I did reach my goal of signing a great publishing deal with a company I truly believe in.  It took me over 700 business days to do it. (actually, probably more like 1000 business days when you account for the time between chapters)  As I said in a previous post,  I have reached the top of that mountain.  The only thing left to do is climb the next mountain.  Cheers to the start of a brand new journey.  Wish me luck!

Finally, in traditional fashion, let's get back to business...

Today, I reached out to Dierks Bentley's management team.  I know he is looking for songs again for the next project and I sent two I think would be strong for his brand, image, and voice.  As always, fingers crossed and prayers being said.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DAY - 363+364

This week is flying by for me.  I can't believe it's Thursday already.  I had a great writing session on Tuesday night with Adam Ollendorff and Alex Berger.  We put the finishing touches on our song and started a new demo for it.  Very cool tune.  It floats in the same vein as some of the edgier British boy bands like, The Wanted.  Looking forward to finishing up the demo.  

About mid-day on Tuesday, I received a very cool email.  Jon D'Agostino sent me an email with an article on about my signing with Demolition Music!!   Obviously, I didn't need a magazine article to make it real, but it did honestly feel pretty surreal to see it in writing.  Here's the link.  Just scroll down to the 3rd article if you'd like to check it out!

Yesterday morning and this morning, I finished pitching David Nail's team.  I think David is a fantastic artist.  Very cool voice and a great live presence.  I've been a fan since one of his first singles, Red Light.  I'd love to get a song on his next project! 

Tomorrow is DAY - 365. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DAY - 362

This morning, I reached out to Cassadee Pope's team again.  I haven't received a response in the 6 months that I've tried.  Possibly 3rd time's a charm?  Possibly not?  We shall see.  :)

I also started lining up pitches for tomorrow.  There's a a couple really great artists looking right now that I've specifically written songs to try and place with them.

I had a great writing session last night at Demolition Music with Vince Constantino.  Vince and I finally finished a song we've been tweaking for over 6 months.  It's gone through a few different variations but hasn't really come together until last night.  It has a cool title and a great chorus, we just had to figure out how to coax it into working.  I think we finally nailed it.

Tonight, I'm working with the amazingly talented songwriting team of Adam Ollendorff and Alex Berger.  Looking forward to finishing our first tune and perhaps starting something new!

Monday, February 9, 2015

DAY - 358-361

My apologies for the delay.  The end of last week was a whirlwind.  At the moment, I'm trying to think back on everything that happened...

The majority of last week was spent scheduling/coordinating writing sessions and new demos that are going to production.  I'm totally booked for February and booking through March.  Staring at a full calendar of fantastic upcoming writes is honestly great AND a little overwhelming.  Maybe overwhelming is the wrong word.  I just want to make sure I'm on my game at every session with fresh ideas and music.  So that means a lot of work will be going on behind the scenes!

 Between Thursday morning and this morning, I pitched Rodney Atkins whole team (A&R, Producer, Manager) for this upcoming record.  Fingers crossed, prayers said.

Last week, I shot for the stars and also pitched George Strait's team.  They actually got back to me and let me know that they are done tracking songs.  Oh well, next time. :)

Tonight, I have a cool session lined up at Demolition with Vince Constantino.  Vince and I have a written a few together and we're hoping to knock another out tonight.  Also, my fellow Demolition Music writer, Adam Searan is performing at The Building tonight, 8pm.  If you've never heard Adam Searan you need to come check it out!!  Or, at least check out his stuff online. 

I'll end this post with some cool news.  I can't release to many details, but it turns out I'm getting another song cut!   I got an email from Jon D'Agostino, who said out of twenty songs pitched at a meeting, the artist chose to cut four.  Two of the songs happen to from Demolition and one happens to be a song I wrote with Jon.  Sweet! Let's keep 'em coming.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

DAY - 356+357

I can't believe how close we're coming to the end of "Making It 365 Chapter 2".   I haven't even begun looking back over the past 357 days to see what has happened but I know it's been life changing.

Between yesterday morning and this morning, I pitched Rodney Atkins' whole team.  I know he's still looking for songs for his newest project so I wanted to slide one in there to see if I can get any traction.  Last night, I had another great write via Skype with Indiana songwriter, Bill Gue.   Bill and I just finished a fun, upbeat, country song that we started a few months back.  After wrapping up on that one, we started work on a new pop song.

Tonight is track night.  I have a few songs that I need to record roughs to submit to my publisher.  I just set up a dropbox folder in which I will submit all my songs for approval.   Typically, the way it works is, you submit a batch of songs and your publisher/song plugger goes through and listens.  He/she then chooses the best of the best to do full demo versions.  Some songs are good enough to stand alone just as an acoustic/vocal or piano/vocal.   Some songs never end up seeing the light of day.  I guess they all can't be hits.  :)

More to come. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 30, 2015

DAY - 354 + 355

Have to keep this one quick!  Running late...

Yesterday and today, I've been in pitching mode.  This morning I pitched country star, Chris Young.  I pitched his A&R at Sony Music.  I've also been in "scheduling mode".  The calendar is filling up with some great writes with super talented people.  Looking forward to February and March!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DAY - 352+353

So you have a publishing deal...what are you doing now??  Great question!  The answer?  A lot of the same thing!  But more.  I'm scheduling writing sessions like crazy and my calendar is booking into March now.  Something new that I have in the works is that I'm beefing up my home studio.  One of the advantages I hold as a writer is that I'm pretty good at making tracks.   Not winning any awards here,  but I can definitely create a decent sounding production.  It's time to utilize those skills a little more.  I want to make sure I put all my songs, even the rough versions, in the best light they can be. So, I'm buying some new gear and updating a bunch of plug-ins.  Fresh sounds, higher quality interface, etc. Out with the old, in with the new!

Speaking of creating tracks, that's what I've been up to the past few nights.  I've been working on a song that I wrote with Jesse Walker and another song I wrote with Jesse and Alyssa Bagley.

Monday, I had a great writing session with Suzie Brown.  We started another cool idea.  This one is harder to write, but definitely worth the effort if we nail it!

This morning, I sent a rough version of the song I wrote with Bill Gue and hit writer, Michael Jay to Jason Garner to produce the full out demo! Can't wait to get this one done and start pitching.  We've got some cool ideas as well as the inside track on a particular artist.  Fingers crossed.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 26, 2015

DAY - 351

I'll keep this one short and sweet.  This morning, I spent time putting together a list of co-writers that I work with for Demolition Music.  I also began reaching out to my co-writers to book sessions.  Since joining the team at Demolition, I have a brand new tip sheet (artists that are looking for songs) so I have a good bit of researching to do on that.  Looking forward to a killer week!


Friday, January 23, 2015

DAY - 350

I am proud to announce that I have signed my first exclusive publishing deal!  As of last night, I am an official staff-writer for Demolition Music Publishing!!  Demolition is located in the heart of music row and consists of an incredibly talented team of writers and industry professionals.   I can't express how excited I am to see this dream come true.

What does it mean to have a publishing deal?  In layman's terms, it means I now have a team of industry pros pitching my music to famous artists and setting me up on co-writes, I have keys to an office on music row to write, I have a company that will financially back the music I write, and finally, I am no longer considered "unsolicited".   This is a goal and a step that many, many, songwriters do not reach.  I am both honored, and ecstatic to have this opportunity. Not to mention, extremely blessed.

How did it happen?!  If you've been following the blog, you obviously have seen how much has gone into it before reaching this goal.  However, out of ALL the networking I've done over the past 3 years, I can pinpoint it to two specific days.

Below are my actual posts from those days...

January 13th, 2012 - DAY - 131  (Making it 365 Chapter 1)

...From there it was off to ASCAP Nashville.  (This is where a little magic happened)  Just so happens, possibly because of chance of snow, that no one showed up to song pitch session except for me and Sue.  So we literally had an hour, one-on-one meeting with top Nashville publisher Shane Barrett!!  I got to play him 3 songs (20/20, Cupcakes & Wine, All I Need Is A Memory) and we chatted about my goals and aspirations as a songwriter/artist.  He really dug everything I showed him, gave me his card and said 'let's keep in touch I look forward to hearing more from you'!  This was a HUGE day.  I will be following up to say the least :)

Well, I did indeed follow up and Shane began hooking me with writers.  One of which was Jon D'Agostino...

August 21st, 2013 - DAY - 15 (Making it 365 Chapter 2)

Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed lunch at Edgehill Cafe on Music Row with NY born songwriter, Jon D'Agostino.  Jon and I met for the first time after being introduced by Nashville publisher/plugger Shane Barrett.  Two yankee songwriters in a southern cafe... we hit it off immediately.  I feel like Jon could totally be a member of my big Italian family.  Not only is Jon a successful lawyer in NJ,  but he's kicking butt here on Music Row as well!  Making the rest of us look bad!  I'll actually be meeting with Jon again on Thursday afternoon at producer, Jason Garner's studio.  Small world...I've been playing phone tag with Jason regarding new demo work.  Jon happens to already have a working relationship with him and just this morning invited me to their studio session this Thursday!  I love when little things come together so nicely.  

Who knew that Jon would be the future president of his own publishing company?! AND...that he would be the first publisher to sign me!  After reading these posts myself, it's almost as if I knew there were magic in those moments.  I even said it in the first post!

I have reached the top of a mountain.  The only thing left to climb the next mountain.  In a strange way, the journey has just begun.   Now let's write a hit!!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

DAY - 349

My apologies in advance, but I need to keep this one really short and sweet.  I have a meeting this morning before school.

The pitching machine continues bright and early with a couple songs to country music royalty, Alan Jackson.  I sent songs to his producer as well as his A&R at Universal.  Fingers crossed, prayers being said.

If you keep an eye out on FB tonight you MIGHT see some hints at the big news coming. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DAY - 348

This waking up before the sun is for the birds.  Lol!  I'm half kidding.  It's great to get an early start but I'm dragging today.  Last night's co-write with Chris Yurchuck was fantastic!  I was so amped for the rest of night that it was hard to sleep.  I had the song we wrote waking me up.  Love it/hate it when that happens.  Love it because I know it's a good one, but hate it because I need my sleep!

This morning, I reached out to a major producer who owns his own publishing company.  (must remain nameless for now) I emailed him with the intention of trying to set up some future co-writes with the company's writers.  The more I write with different folks the more I find I work REALLY well with strong lyricists.  In Nashville, it's actually a good thing to pinpoint and define your strengths so that publishers know what YOU bring to the table as well as who they can pair you up with.  I'm an all around utility player/collaborator, but my strong suit is definitely melody, music and arrangement.  So, naturally I work well with strong lyricists.

Hope you have a great Wednesday.  Big news to come soon.  Maybe even this week. ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

DAY - 347

Hope you enjoyed the 3-day weekend!  If you didn't have off for MLK Day I don't mean to rub it in your face.  I know a lot of people still went into work.  We had a beautiful weekend in Nashville.  The sun was shining and the temperature was between 50-60 degrees.  Thank God for the break from the grey!  I never realized, but Nashville is known for periods of gloomy, grey during the winter. If your mood is affected by the weather, like mine, it can be a little depressing at times. looks like another blue skies, sunny and 60 ahead, so I'll soak it in before the cold comes back.

Speaking of having off yesterday,  I had off from school but I took advantage of the day to do some writing.  I had a great session at Liz Rose Music on Music Row.  I wrote another one with the wonderfully talented, Jesse Walker and a new co-writer by the name of Alyssa Bagley.  Alyssa is a young country artist with a fantastic voice!  She's in the process of writing and recording songs for a debut album.  She has a killer team of people championing her career, including Liz Rose herself, among others!  Just a side note, if you're unfamiliar with, Liz Rose, she basically co-wrote every song on Taylor Swift's first album!!  A very talented person to have on your team, to say the least! Anyway, yesterday's co-write was great.  I brought in a vocal melody and piano riff that ended up a fully finished song in less than 3 hours.  It's an uplifting, uptempo country song about moving on strong after a bad break-up.  Very cool!

Tonight, I have a session with a new co-writer by the name of Chris Yurchuck.  Looking forward to it!

Stay tuned this week! :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

DAY - 346

TGIF!   Over a year ago, as part of this blog, I emailed a very successful Nashville producer named, Scott Hendricks.  He was nice enough to get back to me and offered some good advice.  This morning, I figured I'd reach out again to say hi and touch base, send an update, etc.  It was his advice I took that led to the news I'm waiting patiently to release. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

DAY - 343-345

This week has been a whirlwind of great writing sessions.  Finished up the song with Suzie Brown.  It turned out really cool.  Bluesy, folksy, singer-songwriter type tune that Suzie sings perfectly.

Yesterday, I had a great writing session with Adam Ollendorff and a new co-writer by the name of Alex Berger.  We worked at Adam's wood-laden, loft apartment/recording studio.   Super cool place with a great vibe.  Not to mention, some very talented gentlemen!  Adam, besides being a fantastic writer/producer, happens to play for some of my favorite Nashville artists, Kacey Musgraves and Will Hoge.  Alex is a piano-driven, singer-songwriter from London, England.  He moved to New York city to record a critically acclaimed album and has found himself here in Nashville.  If you haven't heard Alex Berger's music check him out!

I brought in a catchy song start.  It was merely a vocal melody sung over piano chords with some small lyrical thoughts.  In a few hours, we turned it into a fully written and produced Pop song in the vein of "The Wanted".   While Alex and I we're coming up with lyrics and melodic ideas, Adam was simultaneously producing a track and throwing out lyric/melodic suggestions from across the room.  Looking forward to doing it again!

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 12, 2015

DAY - 342

Hope you had a restful weekend!   Yesterday, kicked off a big writing week for me.  I got together with the very talented sing-songwriter, Suzie Brown.  If you haven't hear Suzie's music, check it out!  Very cool stuff!  Yesterday, we started whittling away at an idea for Suzie and her husband Scot's new project.  (If you've been following along, I've been writing with Suzie Brown and Scot Sax for almost a year now)  Very cool song and idea.  Looking forward to finishing it.

Today, I'm at meeting Tammy Jacobs and Jason Eustice at Rag Top Studio for a production meeting and then heading over to Demolition to write. Tammy, Jason and I are demoing a few of our newest songs and we're meeting with the production team tonight to go over details, and get a feel for the direction of the songs.  Pre-production meetings are very important when having a song recorded by live musicians.  In these situations, time (and money) is of the essence and you want to make sure everyone is on the same page before hitting the studio.

I'm pumped!  We've written some really cool stuff together.  Can't wait to get it demoed and start pitching!  Looking forward to meeting with Tammy's production team.  She sent me some of their work and it sounds fantastic!  It'll be a nice connection and another option when it comes to recording!


Friday, January 9, 2015

DAY - 341

Up bright and early this cold Friday morning.  Well, maybe not bright.  The sun isn't quite out when I wake up.  However, it's starting to peak it's head out right now and it looks to be a clear day.  I'll keep this one short and sweet since I have to be heading off to teach.

This morning, I pitched Eli Young Band's team.  I reached out to their producer as well as there management at Triple 8.  I know Eli Young was looking for songs about a month ago, but they may have finished up by now.  I figured I'd give it a shot anyway.

Looking ahead, I have a full week of writing coming up with some very talented folks that I've been working with as well as some brand new co-writes.  Looking forward to digging deep and striking  gold!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

DAY - 340

Too cold to go to school!??  Wow!  Just one of the perks of being teaching in the South. :)  Today,  the temperature is in the teens but the wind chill has us down around 4 degrees.  Yeah, it's cold.  And, of course, I've heard of canceling school due to snow, but, I never heard of canceling school because it's too cold.  I'll take it though! A paid day off is a paid day off.  :)

Fantastic timing too because there are so many little odds and ends I needed to do.  Today is the perfect day to get everything checked off the list.  Besides working on a track for a new song, I decided to pitch a country duo called, American Young.  They're signed to Curb Records and they had a single out last year called, "Love Is War".  It's a beautiful song.  Country meets the Civil Wars is how I would describe it.  Today, I decided to pitch their manager at Caption Management as well as their A&R at Curb.

I've also been working on getting organized.  For example,  filing all my songs, lyrics, and ideas into easy to find folders, coming up with pitch strategies for songs that I've written and artists I think they would be good for, scheduling writes and sending emails out about booking writer's nights.

It's almost 2pm central time so I'm going to get back to this track before I have to head out to teach at School of Rock.  See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DAY - 339

More pitching this morning.  Anticipating that Lady Antebellum will soon begin to look for outside songs and co-writes for their next project,  I swung for the fences this morning and pitched their camp.  A&R at Universal, management and producer.

Last night's writing session was postponed so, after grabbing some dinner and watching a little mindless television, (season premier of the Bachelor...I know what you're thinking...farmer Chris is the man ;) )  I hit the studio.  By studio, of course, I mean the guest room in my new house where my recording gear is currently located.  That is, until my beautiful writer's room is renovated!  We'll get there...first is the kitchen.  But now I'm off topic.  Anyway, I finished up a rough acoustic version of the new song I wrote with Bill Gue and Michael Jay and started another track for a song I wrote with Jesse Walker.  Let's keep 'em coming!

Alright, gotta go warm up the car!  It's 20 degrees in Music City!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DAY - 338

I have to keep this one short and sweet.  I got my dates mixed up.  Last night I thought I was writing with Tammy Jacobs and Jason Eustice at Demolition Music but that's next week.  Since I had the night off, I spent the time working on a good acoustic version of the song I wrote with Bill Gue and Michael Jay in LA.  We're planning on using Jason Garner for the demo.  I want to make sure everything "speaks for itself" on the rough version so that the demo will come out killer!  Planning on finishing that up tonight.

This morning, I pitched Cassadee Pope's team.  I think Cassadee is a fantastic artist.  She's extremely versatile and has a huge voice!  It would be an honor to have a song on her next project.  I reached out to her producer as well as her A&R at Big Machine.  As always, we shall see.  Fingers crossed, prayers said.


Monday, January 5, 2015

DAY - 337

Hello Monday!  Back to it.   While enjoying my second decent sized cup of coffee, I kicked off the morning by doing some song pitching.  I sent songs to Kip Moore's team, Randy Houser's team and Craig Morgan's team.  I know, I know, the object is "to network with at least one music industry professional a day..." but I wanted to get this new year started off with a bang!  And to tell you the truth,  the holiday break was so long I feel like I need to play catch up.

I know I've been talking about some "BIG BIG news to come...".  I'm getting closer to being able to tell you!  Exciting things in store for 2015.  I hit the ground running and ready to make this year a success!!  Stay tuned. :)