by Marty Dodson
Nov 22, 2016
Most songwriters I know have a lot of people who have helped them get to whatever level of success they are enjoying – even if it is simply being able to write regularly. Here’s my list. I’m guessing many of you have similar lists.
When I was a kid, I would sit on the stairwell to play my guitar and write. Mom would be working in the kitchen, on the other side of the door, listening to what I sang. She always told me that she thought I could be anything I wanted to be. I jokingly asked her one time if she thought I could be an NBA basketball player at 5’6″. She said “Sure, if you work at it.”. That kind of undying belief in me gave me the courage to step out and chase my dreams when the time was right. When I failed and thought about giving up, I would hear her voice in my head and be reminded that someone believed in me.
We had a difficult relationship and he was a drug abuser. But, he helped finance my early songwriting attempts. He was always eager to help me get the tools I needed to succeed. He helped pay for demos, bought me a keyboard and was the first person willing to “invest” in me as a songwriter.
She went back to work full-time for several years to help me get started. I couldn’t have done it without her sacrifice. She gave up time with our children to help me get established as a writer. That’s a big deal.
She listens to every song I write and is my biggest cheerleader. She gives me pitch ideas and is always encouraging and supporting me. She keeps me pushing forward and believing in myself.
The publisher who never listened to my CD.
I won’t name him here, but he kept leading me on for months. Every time I’d call, he would say “Your CD is right here on my desk. I’ll get to it as soon as I can.” I believe he probably threw away my CD and was lying to me, but he did give me hope for several months there. And, when I finally figured out what was going on, it inspired me to prove him wrong. That slight on his part really fueled my fire to succeed and let him see what he missed. He did call me after my first #1 and asked me to write with all of his writers. That was a sweet moment.
The publisher who almost signed me but signed “Joe” instead.
Again, the rejection caused me to dig in and work harder. After our 5 years were up, Joe had one cut and no singles. I had 2 top 40 singles, including one that hit #7 on the charts. I also had 10 other cuts and a quadruple platinum record. Shoulda signed me, dude! But thanks for the motivation.
The publisher who listened to my songs and rejected me (and them)…
but helped me see what I needed to do to get better. I was heartbroken at the time, but he did me a huge favor. Not only did he spend some valuable time with me, he helped me see where the bar was and WHY my songs were not where they needed to be. That’s a huge gift, even though he turned me down.
The publisher who took a chance on me.
He invested a lot of time and money and didn’t get a huge return. He made some money on me, but not as much as I wished I could have made for him. He taught me how to write and he gave me a chance at a career I love when no one else would. That’s huge! I wouldn’t be here today without Kim Williams.
Everyone who took a chance and wrote with me before I had anything going on.
I still write with many of them. They could have probably written with “bigger” writers at the time, but they scheduled me for a day here and there. I’m grateful for everyone who took a chance that a day writing with Marty Dodson might pay off. I don’t ever take that for granted.
There are many more people I could thank, but you get the idea. Take some time this week to make your own list – and then thank those people. “It takes a village to raise a songwriter”, they say.
Be grateful and write on! ~Marty
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