Taking Chances With Your Songwriting

by Clay Mills
Sep 9, 2015

Taking Chances With Your Songwriting

By: Marty Dodson
Several years ago, my publisher asked me to attend a song camp in Sweden. I love to travel, but Sweden is a long way from the comfortable confines of Nashville. The trip cost a good bit of money. My publisher paid for it up front, but they recouped it from me later. I wondered at the time if I would ever make back my travel costs. But, I decided to give it a shot. At the camp, I got to write with Germans, Swedes, Icelanders, and Danes. It really opened my eyes to the broader world of music beyond my comfort zone. And it introduced me to Malmo Sweden – a beautiful place. When we arrived, they took us to “The Roasting House”. It was an old coffee roasting complex that was now a publishing company. Roasting House had writer/producers in every possible corner of the facility. All of them played every instrument and sang, so they were a song factory. Each day, we would write from 10 AM until noon. Then the producers would start working on the tracks. At 6 PM each evening, we had a “Wine and Listening” party to hear the completely mixed tracks that had been written THAT MORNING! It was crazy to hear the finished product the same day you wrote it. The song camp turned into such an amazing growth opportunity. I still write with some of the Swedes that I met there. One of the songs I wrote at the camp with Alexander Holmgren and Carl Utbult was recorded by a Korean artist named Cho Yong Pil. It became a single and bumped Psy out of #1 in Korea. Then it became the song of the year in Korea AND all of Asia. The lesson I learned was – You Just Never Know. The probability of having the song of the year in Asia written by two Swedish guys and a redneck from Nashville would be extremely low. No one would have bet on that before the camp started. The same goes for any opportunity in life. You just never know. You have to weed through the ones you think give you the best shot, but you have to take chances. Betting on the sure thing doesn’t give you much return, even if you win. Take chances. Dive in. You just never know. Marty Dodson

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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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