Songwriting

Songwriters: Job #1 As A Writer Means Doing Your Job!

by Clay Mills
Jan 30, 2020

Last week in a mentoring session I was offering tips to help a young writer understand a songwriter’s Job #1.

One of the demos had an extremely long guitar solo after the first chorus.

I suggested that:

#1- Guitar solos typically are after the 2nd chorus and not the first.

#2- The solo was so long it pushed the song to over 4 1/2 minutes. And that hurt the chances of getting the song recorded.

The songwriter I was mentoring shot back this question… Why can’t a publisher or producer who knows what they are doing, hear the song with all the changes and record the song anyway?

The short answer is this.

As songwriters, job #1 is to do OUR job.

Producers, publishers, and artists hear 1000’s of songs. They are extremely busy, and if they do take the time to sit down and listen to one of our songs, then we can’t expect them to do our job. We can’t expect them to analyze the song and say “if you cut the 2nd verse in half and re-write the bridge, then I will cut that and make you a ton of money.” 99 times out of 100 that is not going to happen.

We must do whatever we can to make a producer’s  job easier.

If we don’t another writer will! Who would you rather work with if you were in their shoes?

Our 2 main jobs as songwriters are to consistently write good songs and build relationships with the right people to record our songs.

The second part of that equation is MUCH easier if we do OUR JOB and bring publishers and producers songs that already have the re-write and are demo’d correctly. Hit songwriter Marty Dodson has a great re-writing checklist.

If we can start to approach our job with this frame of mind we start making doors open that we don’t even see right now. By doing our job, other people start to see we can be counted own. We start to build a reputation of knowing what we are doing and being professional.

There are lots of things that go into the job of being a songwriter.

I’m still learning everyday. Even after being fortunate to have had much success as a writer, I still gotta hustle, be professional, and write good songs. Learning these good habits now will serve you down the road on the journey of your dreams.

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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