The Out-Of-Towners: Getting Your Song Cut By A Major Artist If You Don‰’t Live In New York, Nashville, or LA



The number one question that fills the email inbox at SongTownUSA is “How do I get a song cut by a major artist if I don’t live in a big music city?”

This is also at the very core of why Marty and I started this growing group of kindred spirits. To bring the Music City feel and know-how to anyone living anywhere. It can seem like a daunting task living outside the scene and calling ourselves songwriters.

How do we get our music heard by people that matter?

How do we find co-writers in our town?

Well, let me start by saying it is not an impossible task! I’ll give you a great example. Tom Douglas, who has written some classic songs like “The House That Built Me” and “Little Rock” didn’t find his initial success living in Nashville, TN. In fact Tom was a Real Estate agent bent on making a living and being responsible. He had a wife and family after all. He had actually given up the notion of being a commercial songwriter, and then he wrote a song called “Little Rock.” Tom decided to go to a songwriter seminar where he played producer Paul Worley his song. “Little Rock” became his first number one song and three years later he moved to Nashville. Now, Tom had been writing for years and years and had once lived in Nashville trying to make it as a writer. What was the difference? He had played publishers and producers songs before—but he had never played them a great song! His great song found it’s way all the way from Texas to Nashville to #1 on the charts. His average songs couldn’t make it down the street in Nashville.

As a veteran writer in Nashville, I hear these stories all the time. A writer comes seemingly out of nowhere to have a big hit. But usually after a little digging, you find the writer worked hard to become a great writer. That’s when the doors opened. That’s when things happened “overnight.” I am writing today to answer the emails we get about how frustrating it is not living in a music city. Marty and I want to help you up your game, tell you the real deal, and bring you opportunities when your songs are ready.

A GREAT song can open any door, move any mountain, and change lives forever!

Write On! ~CM

Clay Mills is a multi platinum Grammy nominated songwriter and co-founder of


3 thoughts on “The Out-Of-Towners: Getting Your Song Cut By A Major Artist If You Don‰’t Live In New York, Nashville, or LA

  1. Hi Clay & Marty,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Pro Blog – Songwriting Community has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 75 Songwriting Blogs on the web.

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 75 Songwriting Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.


  2. My question is slightly different. How can I get my songs heard? I had my song reviewed by a pro on Songtown and they said it was ready to be shopped to an artist. When I asked your staff if they had any suggestions on how to pitch it, they did not. So, what do I do? (I used to be able to walk into the Brill building and get a record deal, four in fact. Being out of the business for thirty-five years, I’ve learned that is no longer the case.

    1. Harry, you can set up a mentoring session with a publisher at anytime on our member website. We also have pitch opportunities for Diamond members. Email me anytime. Always happy to help.

      Cheers, Clay

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