Someone Singing Along

 

I have had a number of amazing experiences because of songwriting. I’ve been able to travel the world and see places like Barcelona, Malmo, Nassau, Vancouver, and Toronto simply because I wrote songs that became hits. I’ve met and worked with people from all over the globe. Those experiences have shaped who I am and have made me a better, more well rounded person.

I’ve also had the extraordinary experience of driving down the road and hearing my song played on the radio. The first time that happened, I had to pull over into a parking lot. I had worked for YEARS to make that happen, learning in the process that you can’t really MAKE much of anything happen in life. You can increase your odds of it happening, but you can’t make it happen – and that’s a whole blog unto itself. Anyway, I pulled over into the parking lot and cried. I cried with joy. I cried for all of the blood, sweat and tears that had gone into getting that song on the radio. I cried over the validation that “I really can do this”. And I cried for my mom who passed away while I was struggling to get things going and never heard any of my songs on the radio. I’ll own it – it was ugly crying. The snot producing, shoulder shaking kind. But it was real and bittersweet and happy at the same time. I will never forget that moment.

Another amazing experience as a songwriter is picking up an album or CD and seeing YOUR name in the credits. As a kid, I would buy a vinyl record, rush home, put it on the record player and then I would take the record sleeve and read along with the lyrics, wondering who those mysterious people were that had written these songs and not even imagining that I could someday BE one of them. The experience of that first cut with my name in the credits as a writer was surreal. I remember just standing there staring at it trying to comprehend what that meant and wondering if the names I had read as a child had worked as long and hard as I had to see their names in 8pt type on liner credits.

Billboard Magazine was another surreal experience. All of my life, I’d heard of the Billboard Top Forty. As a kid, I never dreamed that it was even possible to see my name there. But, the same song that was my first single wound up going to #37 on the Billboard Country chart. And, there was my name listed as a writer on a “hit” song. Later, I’d get to see my name at the TOP of that chart. Opening that magazine to see my name beside “#1” was amazing.

All of those things have been amazing. But, to this day, the most “blow your mind” experience I have had in regard to songwriting is to see and hear someone singing along to my song. Those other experiences are “disconnected from reality” in a way. But to see someone sitting in an audience singing along to words and music that I wrote is completely, utterly unbelievable. To hear 60,000 people singing along is beyond comprehension. Why? Because those experiences prove that what we do MATTERS. Spotify, Pandora and Apple can tell us that what we do is insignificant and only worth fractions of pennies, but when I look out and I see someone – ANYONE – singing along to my song, I KNOW that what I wrote impacted a human being. There is no price tag you can put on that. It still blows me away every time I see it happen and I wouldn’t trade it for any of those other experiences.

If you are trying to get that first cut, don’t give up. There are unbelievable experiences ahead if you don’t quit and you keep working to get better. What we do matters. Right now, you might not have anyone singing along, but you will. Keep digging deep and keep going. It’s worth it!

Marty Dodson
Songwriter/Producer/Persistent Dude

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Marty Dodson is a multi #1 songwriter and co-founder of SongTown.com

18 thoughts on “Someone Singing Along

  1. Love this! I suspect the same will be true for me (some day). Seeing people sing along, and maybe even tear up, over a song that I wrote. I get misty just imagining it. Actually, I do get to experience this on a small scale when we sing songs I’ve written during worship. It’s very moving! Thanks, Marty, for opening another window into your life, so we can all peek in!!

  2. As not a songwriter, but the person who plays songs over and over writing down the lyrics -so that I CAN sing-along- I thank you. I unfortunately came into Music later in life ,so I missed a lot along the way. It is now part of my daily routine and feeds my soul. You musicians, writers and performers are all very much appreciated.

  3. I haven’t had anywhere near the songwriting success you have Marty, but I can say one of the best things was seeing even a dozen people singing along to my songs at a show. They were smiling and knew every word. Kind of surreal the first time it happens unexpectedly. 🙂

  4. Marty, thanks for the encouragement and for reminding me why I wanted to be a songwriter in the first place!

  5. Hi! thanks Marty for sharing this. It´s really encouraging.

    The other day, I was playing one of my songs (at home) and my 7-year-old daughter came in singing and stood in front of me rocking it. I felt like I wanted to burst into tears to see her giving me so much love…she had no clue what she was doing to me.
    To see her brown eyes closing to hit the higher notes and her little hips moving up and down to the beat would have been enough for me to melt, but the fact that she knew the words and was really into it felt like the biggest validation I could have wished for.

    It was definitely an incentive for me to keep going.

  6. I’m always inspired by your stories. Thanks for sharing such specials moments in your life and giving hope to many of us Dreamers to keep doing what we love … Songwriting.

  7. Great read Marty! It’s hard to beat hearing your song on the radio for the first time. It felt like a million bucks. Sure it was just a one-off feature on a non-home-town station, no charting, but it still felt like utter magic. And then, playing a song to a crowd that had heard that song on the radio, and seeing the look of recognition, smiles, and perked-up looks when we played the opening bars…..that was unbelievable! They didn’t sing along though……that would be the next step. It felt good to see my friends do it. I can only imagine the thrill of seeing strangers do it! :). Thanks for the read!

  8. Hi Marty, You are not only an awesome songwriter but you are an inspiration! Your blogs always inspire me and sometimes they trigger a memory as this: I remember the first time I heard my first radio single … as a singer/songwriter … it was an exciting moment! I had seen & heard myself on TV, but it was nothing compared to hearing my first radio airplay! I was driving from Ontario to Nova Scotia. I stopped @ a small grocery store, and my single was playing. I can’t describe how it felt hearing my single play for the first time! 🙂 It was even more special to see a couple elderly ladies, who appeared to be shopping together start dancing around the aisle. I have always regretted not telling them who I was ha I wanted to burst out ” That is ME singing, I WROTE that song!” I think I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! ha! That was a few years back, I still dream of getting # 1’s, Billboard Top Forty’s 🙂 & songwriting awards .. I write and I dream … dreams do come true, when you study, write and rewrite!!

  9. WOW!!! All I can is God bless you Marty. Thank you for being so real & transparent. What a blessing & breath of fresh air. Greatly inspired ?

  10. I have written some songs with a popular performer and although they didn’t make his last album he performed one of them frequently at shows all over the country so that was pretty cool also.

  11. Hi Marty,

    Thank you for your inspirational words and constant support and encouragement. I love reading your articles. Your insight helps keep me focused and on track with my songwriting, but most of all you help to remind me of why I became a songwriter in the first place. Thank you, thank you for all you do for us!

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