SongTown: A No Guru Zone- Why We Created Something Real For Songwriters

no guru zone for songwriters - songtown


SongTown – A no “Guru” zone for songwriters…


At SongTown, we’ve been pretty protective of our songwriting community. It’s a private community of some of the best up and coming songwriters around. Marty Dodson and I started it 8 years ago to help grow aspiring writers into world-class writers.

A lot of folks in the music business asked us why we would even do this.

We’ve had collectively over 300 major artist cuts, 16 #1 songs, and still are cranking out 200 plus songs a year with major writers, artists, and producers.

We didn’t need the money, we have day jobs as pro writers for our publishing companies. We’ve been fortunate to have a resume of 100’s of major artist recordings.

For us, the bottom line is we love songwriters, songwriting, and great songs.

We love the energy that great songs bring to the world. And we were tired of seeing “gurus” popping up on the internet promising to show aspiring songwriters the way to songwriting success. Almost every one of these self-proclaimed “gurus” had zero success themselves or had a little success years ago. And the sad part is the advice and instruction they were giving out was just not applicable to today’s changing music scene. Much of it needed to be unlearned to achieve real success. And worse yet, they were telling aspiring writers what they “wanted to hear” to keep them coming back! 

So, Marty Dodson and I created a private community where we were honest with writers. If their songs weren’t good yet, we said so. AND we told them how to make them better. Therefore, We give our SongTown family the tools to write good songs.

As real pro songwriters, we know everything you want to do in the music business is all on your shoulders and how good your songs have to be. So we created a no guru zone… A zero BS zone. 

SongTown members have many different goals but all share one thing in common.

Many of our members just love songwriting and want to be the best they can be. We love giving them the tools to accomplish that and help make their process more fun. IWhile other members seek writing careers. Writers like  Mary Haller, Conner Sweet, Nora Collins, and many others have signed staff writing publishing deals! Blake Griffith even got a Tim McGraw cut recently! The thing that ties this big family together is the support for each other’s goals and talents. We celebrate each other’s success no matter the size. Whether it’s writing their first complete song or landing a song in a major TV show. It’s all about the love of real songwriting.

As long as our members are game, Marty and I are going to continue waking up each day with the goal of helping aspiring writers write great songs.

Through our Members Only website, lesson & course videos, books, and personal mentoring… we put writers in real-world situations to succeed.


Write On! ~Clay


Clay Mills is a co-founder of and a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter. He has multiple Grammy nominations and is the co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing. 

New book, Mastering Melody Writing, coming in 2021!

28 thoughts on “SongTown: A No Guru Zone- Why We Created Something Real For Songwriters

  1. Because of SongTown I have read 2 books by Marty and Clay. I have taken 2 classes and a number of free videos.
    I have written better songs and have met great aspiring songwriters, melody and production people. Meeting the professionals is so inspiring and motivates me to be better at my lyrics.
    SongTown is a family and keeps people like myself busy with their gift of songwriting.
    I also read clays blog on video zoom and google pro for co-writing. For Christmas I have a better set up with my shure podcast and song recording Microphone, table clamp mic holder and cheap interface. Staying busy is good for retired veterans like myself.
    I never thought of myself as a professional but have singers playing my songs.I also strive to get my stuff published in future. I like being around professionals and have them give me pointers for next song. I write 2-4 songs a month but when I start co-writing will put them out faster with a team. I am completely satisfied with SongTown staff and friends, hobbyists and professionals. I am busy at times but will still write and then throw myself back into SongTown kool videos and more songs with friends.

  2. I’m addicted. There is no comparison in where I am in my songwriting now with where I was when I joined songtown about 4 years ago. I feel greatly supported by the amazing members and mentors and there is an endless supply of great learning material and resources available regardless of where one is on one’s journey.
    Being part of Songtown helps me ‘level up’ but also levels out the playing field for those of us who don’t live near a music city and feel that void.
    Well done Clay and Marty

    1. Maybe SongTown can all get together again next fall for our Birthday Bash… if the world starts turning again! 🙂


  3. Songtown has been a Godsend for my life. The amount of meaningful quality content and both you and Marty’s personal input and commitment continuously blows me away. Thanking you doesn’t even come close to how grateful I am for being a part of what you guys created. There’s no other place to study songwriting that even comes close to Songtown.
    You two are amazing. Songtown rocks.

    1. We are fortunate to have you in the community Ave. You not only write good stuff but you help a lot of other members raise their game!


  4. Thank you, Clay for the article. And SUPER thank you for starting Song Town. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the huge quantity and quality of content you make available to people like me that want to get better at writing songs. Plus the pro feedback, plus the opportunity to meet other people in the industry, plus, plus…

    I spend lots of time watching and reading material on the site, and I am continuously getting better. Thank you for that.

    Joe Taylor

  5. Thanks Clay and Marty for creating Songtown. Your sincerety to help songwriters comes through in everything you do.

  6. I’ve gotten a lot from these articles. I am just a hobbyist. I write in my spare time. But I wrote for 20 years. I am in a local songwriters group of hobbyists – most of whom have no college training in music – just learned how to play an instrument. Our monthly critiques of each other are as much opinion as fact. I recognize your forum is best suited for pros or wanna be pros. We hobbyists can’t always write a song in a day or two so your classes may not work for us. Do you have any thing for the serious hobbyist? ALL the people in my group (about 15 of us) have been writing for years and decades. Sure we’d like to have a major recording, but we also want to just do the best we can. There IS a personal sense of gratification and accomplishment with each song. I am in upstate NY. The ride to NYC is not something I can do casually or often. And who would take me seriously for one-song contracts? Thank you Marty – and please keep the articles coming.

    1. Louis, While we do have members that would like to be pro songwriters, our website is first and foremost dedicated to becoming the best writer you can be. We have many members who are hobbyist. Because whether you want to be professional or hobbyist, learning to be the best writer you can be, make both journeys a lot more fun and fruitful! Also our members love the support they get from each other in our community. The have 1000’s of videos on our website that focus on writing better songs. And local SongCircles in many communities. As well as virtual SkyCircles for our members that don’t have local groups or looking for something SongTown style 🙂


  7. I couldn’t agree more!! This avenue for songwriting is unlike anything else because there are real hit writers not only owning, but helping those of us trying to break into the business of professional writing. My mentor session with Clay is upcoming, and it will be a great joy to be helped, and learn from, someone with “real life” hit writing experience. I can’t thank Marty n’ Clay enough for this wonderful outlet!!!!

  8. One thing’s incredibly clear about you and Marty — no matter what “success” we aspiring songwriters do or don’t achieve, you are truly giving us your coaching out of hugely sincere and generous hearts. I’m so thankful Marty told me about this community. Thank you both.

  9. I loved reading this. I feel like when the student is ready the teacher appears and that is exactly how I feel about Song Town. Just a lucky fluke for me that someone I know mentioned this site to me as I was ramping up my writing and setting my goals. So, so happy I found you guys!!!

  10. In 10 months my songwriting has improved so much! My awareness of what makes a song great is one of the biggest things I learned from being a member of Songtown! Hard Work and writing everyday will hopefully get me to being part of the industry in some way!

    Thank You Clay and Marty and everyone in Songtown!

  11. When Quincy Jones produced “We are the world” back in 1985, he had a sign on the door that said, “Please check your egos at the door”. So true in helping to “keep it real”.

  12. I’ve been customer of a few (no, not quite several) of those other “guru” led business ventures. I have to say every word of this is spot on with my experience has been in SongTown.

    Thank You!


  13. I live in a small town overseas where the music scene is almost non-existent so Songtown has been a real blessing in my life. It’s allowed me to learn how to writer better songs from afar and collaborate with other songwriters. Thank you!

  14. You guys open the doors for songwriters and that is, well, i cant even explain how great that is. I’m so glad somebody out there knows how we feel. Its like the door is usually shut on us of ever fulfilling our dreams, and here you are, ready to help us achieve our goals in life. Thank you guys! You’re 2 in a million! ??

    1. Clay, is it okay to write verses and choruses that rhyme or is that cheesy? I realize that the ‘rhyme’ has to continue to incorporate the meaning or story of the song!

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