SongTown: Keeping The Craft Of Songwriting Alive

by Clay Mills
Feb 12, 2022

Eight years ago, fellow pro songwriter Marty Dodson and I made a pact to do all we could to keep the craft of songwriting alive. We were chatting at a local coffee shop in Nashville, Tennessee. We discussed how we’d learned early on in our careers from master songwriters who passed their knowledge and torches to us: Hall of Fame songwriters like Kim Williams, Rory Bourke, and Richard Leigh.

Marty and I also had the same experience starting out: it took us both many years of writing before we were able to get in the writing room with top song craftsmen.

And boy, songwriting at that level was drastically different from what I had learned up to that point!

You see, I had read all the books, tried music college at a famous music school, and attended some workshops. But, they only served to confuse the hell out of me and leave my writing flat! However, when I sat in the room with great songwriters, things simply and elegantly made sense. Instantly, I could see I had to let go and unlearn what I had been told about songwriting before. I was now playing in a different game; I was learning intuitive creative skills that could only have come from the kind of knowledge that gets passed down from the doers themselves—just as they had learned from the one who came before them.

It was this day at Starbucks that Marty and I realized we wanted to start teaching aspiring songwriters the real way to write songs. To keep this craft of songwriting alive and well.

In SongTown, you won’t find sexy book theory. Instead, you get real, genuine artisan advice. Pros that want to pass along the love of the craft, the writing room flow, and technique that applied in the living breathing real world of songwriting. We wanted to keep the real art of songwriting alive.

Little did we know then how much sheer energy and drive it would take. The energy to balance our own pro songwriting careers writing for hit artists like Darius Rucker with feeding the endless hunger for knowledge of SongTown members.

The thing keeping us going has been the tremendous feeling of family from the creative artists and writers at SongTown—and getting to know many of you personally.

Being a songwriter can be lonely because friends and family don’t always understand us. But, everyone in SongTown understands and supports each other. And from day one, it’s been a vital, positive vibe.

Just know Marty and I appreciate your talent and the work you do showing up to learn in our classes and workshops, offering each other feedback on the website forums, and meeting face-to-face at SongTown events and our new SongCircles. I counted: 500,000 comments in the last few years. Wow, that’s a lot of feedback, learning, and support you guys have for each other!

Yes, SongTown has over 1 million views of our 1,000 lesson videos and courses. And yes there are 80 plus pro writers helping to instruct. But for those of you thinking of joining, know that Marty and I have an open-door policy.

Ask us anything you need, and we’ll get back to you when we are done with our day’s writing sessions.

The internet is filled today with marketers offering expert advice. And, I wish we had the energy or desire to market SongTown in a bigger way like those guys, but we are consumed by working at what we love. We are full-time staff songwriters for our publishers and passers of the flame to all of you who love songwriting as much as we do.

Write On! Clay

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


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