Songwriting

A Songwriter’s First Cut Is The Deepest

by Marty Dodson
Jun 27, 2016

People often ask me what it feels like to hear your song on the radio for the first time. What’s the feeling you get when you experience a songwriter’s first cut?

I remember precisely where I was the first time I heard one of my songs on the radio.

I was driving up Granny White Pike, almost to Otter Creek Road when I heard an intro come on the radio that sounded familiar. It took me several seconds to comprehend that it was really MY song playing on the radio.

I turned onto Otter Creek Road and Heath Wright, the lead singer for Ricochet started singing my song – “Can’t Stop Thinkin’ Bout That”.

It was an experience I had always imagined I would handle it well. I had envisioned that day for many years. But the feeling was so emotional I had to pull into a church parking lot. I put the car in park, turned the radio up, and leaned back in my seat.

And I cried. I cried because I had worked SO hard for SO many years to get that one song on the radio.

I cried because so many people had questioned whether I would ever have a song on the radio. And more than anything, I cried because my mother had died about six months before that song came out and she never got to hear one of my songs on the radio.

It was a beautiful and difficult moment all at once. I had paid a price to get there. But it was a feeling like no other to hear my creation coming out of the radio. Not a tape player. A radio. That was real. Therefore it felt validating.

When my song finished, I sat there a good while longer and reflected on the journey that led me to that moment.

It did involve sacrifice. But, it was worth it. WELL worth it.

That song topped out on the charts at #37. My first top 40 “hit” song. It paid about $8500 for each of three writers. Not bad, but not great considering how many hours it took me to get it.

That songwriter’s first cut inspired me to keep going. It let me know that it COULD be done.

And it got the “first cut” monkey off my back. So, It didn’t make it easier to get the next cut. It didn’t “change my life”. But it was enough. Enough to keep me going. Enough to keep me believing in myself. Enough to let me know that I was doing what I was meant to do.

If you’d like to hear that first cut, check it out below.  That “strange” noise you hear is a fiddle, in case you were wondering. And here’s wishing you a songwriter’s first cut.

Write on! MD

Can’t Stop Thinking’ Bout That by Ricochet

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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