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The Muse's News

Issue 3.7 - October 2000
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by:
Lyricist - A Songwriter's Best Friend


I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by Jodi Krangle
@-- Featured Article - HOPELESSLY DEMOTED U2 by Danny McBride
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - by Irene Jackson
@-- Songwriter In Spotlight - 
    Singer/Songwriter/Producer, Blue Miller
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle.  For more contact
information, see end of issue.
If you enjoy The Muse's News, why not suggest it to friends?
This ezine featured at - the Ezine Search Engine(tm) - ================================================================= ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LYRICIST! THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND HAS ARRIVED . . . Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist, the first of its kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. Includes rhyming dictionary, spell checker, thesaurus, album categorization and more. For more info, please visit our web-site: . Mention this sponsor message and receive $10 off your purchase. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
E d i t o r ' s   M u s i n g s :

Hello once again. :-)  This musing is a long one, just to warn you.

First of all, you'll notice that there's an announcement about The
Muse's Muse joining forces with  I encourage you all
to have a look at this service, brought to you by a truly dedicated
bunch of folks.  Details on the alliance can be found at and more great things
are in store so stay tuned!

There are also some fantastic new Songwriter Spotlights around.
Those include: Tim Moyer, Kelly Brock, John Conti & Mel'n .  All of
these artists are *amazing* and I'm very happy to include them in
my list of favorite songwriters. I've been holding out for a while
on Songwriter Spotlights, mostly because I haven't had a whole lot
of time to give these talented folks the listening they deserve -
but some help has come!  Raina Mazor has started to help me with
these and has done three of the four new Spotlight blurbs.  For
more information on Raina, feel free to drop by her page online
here at The Muse's Muse at . I hope you'll help
make her feel welcome!

MP3 FOR MUSICIANS by John Hedtke & Sandy Bradley, is this month's
book raffle and review (see below).  The lucky winner is Charity
Cox of Hollywood, CA.  Congratulations, Charity!  As you'll see by
reading the review, if you're interested in getting your music
online, this is a MUST HAVE book. 

I'd also like to mention a little bit about the Just Plain Folks
organization.  WOW are these guys growing!  They're filled with
tons of helpful folks, providing places for spotlights, holding
performance nights, have begun their own music awards, are starting
up chapters all around the world, and there are only more good
things to come. :-) In order to help their membership drive, I'm
asking you to have a look at their site - .
If you like what you see and think this is an organization you'd
like to get involved in, this is how you can join:

Send an e-mail to with "Subscribe" in the subject
field of your message.  Please CC (Carbon Copy) the e-mail to me at  You'll hear about all their awesome events
through the newsletter that will be a part of your membership.  So
have a look and see if it might interest you!

There's a new and really hilarious article by James Linderman
online called "What Musicians Say... and what it really means!" at . Well worth a read
through to put a smile on your face.  It certainly put a smile on
mine (my husband had other things to say about it though... ;-)).

There have also been many other new additions to the site as per
usual so please do check for
the details.  And as always, if you know of someone who's
interested in songwriting but isn't yet subscribed to this
newsletter, feel free to pass along a copy for them to have a look.
Hopefully they'll find it worthwhile subscribing themselves so that
they can receive their very own copy on the day it's released. :-)

Good luck and keep writing!

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================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : with Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Basically, I don't understand the definition of a publisher. Is it necessary to be signed with a publisher if one's music has been released to the public? Also, I don't quite fully understand the importance of being affiliated with groups like BMI or ASCAP. What do they do for songwriters and musicians and are they that beneficial for an "unsigned" artist? -- Nick K. ------------------ A: A Publisher is a person, persons, or company that represents a copyrighted work. If you have not assigned that right to anyone, you as the copyright holder retain the publishing rights. The performing rights organizations (PRO) in the United States are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. In Canada you have SOCAN. In most countries the PRO is government sponsored or controlled. In the USA you have a choice as to who you want to represent you concerning your performance right*. When a work is performed in public (outside of friends and family) either the performer or the authorizing party must have a license to perform that work. The PRO job is to represent that right and gather fees in exchange for the license to use the work in a public way. If your works are being performed in public (TV, radio, web sites, live concerts etc.) then you will benefit from affiliation with a PRO. They all have good reasons to join - you have to visit their web pages and talk with representatives and look into how they do what they do to choose the one you want to be on your team. Ask them how they can be helpful and see if you like what you hear. *a performance right is one of the rights given to you in Title 17 of the US Copyright Law Sec 101 and Sec 106 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: My question is about the understanding of why major record labels and publishers desire for you to have an attorney or manager before they will listen to your music. I have decided this year to fully go after my song writing dream. What exactly would a manager do for a songwriter? I understand an artist needs a manager but why a songwriter? -- Richard T. ------------------ A: A very old friend of mine who used to be in A&R told me "there are more songwriters than people". The mere volume of creative energy creates a problem. You want to hear the "good stuff" but how to get through it all is an ongoing issue in the music business. You have heard it said before, I'm sure, but the importance of developing relationships is the most vital element in the music business. If you can get a trusted manager or attorney to help then you've cut through all the unsolicited material and will be heard with "fresh ears". ----------------------------------------------------------------- NEW QUESTIONS FOR THIS MONTH CAN BE VIEWED AT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- ***** Carpe Diem's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). **If you would like to ask Nancy a copyright or publishing question for our continuing Q&A section, please send your e-mail to She can't guarantee she'll get to all of the questions, but she'll certainly try.** Back to Menu
================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart -----------------------------------------------------------------
A Touch of Charm - I Caught An Angel Destiny's Child for the male singers' set. ‘Tell Me (I want to hear from you)' has that sort of sparse instrumentation and irregular rhythm that's all the rage in r&b now. And when you listen to soon to be hits like ‘SideShow' and the ever-lovely ‘We've Been Seein'', you could be swayed from your usual genre easily. ‘We've Been Seein'' is definitely my favorite. Lucky for me. Because there's a Spanish version near the end of this 9 song, 46 minute cd. It's THE love ballad. It's the finger-snapping cool tune, complete with magic dust spreading like a musical shooting star all the way through it. And for those of you seeking something classic, get an ear on ‘Just My Imagination'. This, and the others, they pump full of supple harmony vocals, and spread themselves like lost lovers among the good-sounding production. It's a treat. However, they could use a better look for the cd and case. Looks completely homemade, though it's shrink-wrapped. It's sad to say, but looks are important. Could be a great book, but if the cover is frayed and yucky…? Well, I hope this is just a reviewer's copy. A vocal group like this deserves to make it into the best stores. ------------------ Rhianon - Bard Song 8 songs and 23 minutes shows us the strong will and voice of Rene Zabel, a singer-songwriter from N. Virginia, and a set of pipes like Madonna on Ray of Light. Her soft 'You'll Never Be the Sun' could make a grown sadist cry, and is not recommended to mothers singing their babies to sleep at night time. But it's a night song with a looking glass quality. You see yourself and sing softly to that face you think you know. But in between the sad bits there are some great Irish stew pots of jig. 'King of the Fairies' has no words, but it's traditional arrangement is by Rene, and when track 5, 'This Irish Land', lands in your coffee, you've got to get up and dance. Sorry, but there's no way around it. If you can keep your frown going while everyone else around is losing theirs, you're quite miserable. Therefore, try more jig. And if you're one keen on arts festivals, turn to 'The Queen', another traditional arrangement, this time for voices seemingly outside in the open air. Recording is weirder, but therefore a nice change from the previous songs. This woman's smart in her genre. A few more bucks for cd production and promotion, and she'll be claiming anti-gothic fans within a fortnight. ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Lucid Nation - Kate Bennett - Jill Dawson - Yvonne Doll & the Locals - Rockenfield/Speer - Nelda Sisk and the Sisko Kids - Nacho Sotomayer - The Recipe - Mauro - --------------- ****** Ben Ohmart has had 100s of stories and poems in zines and journals, and had 4 plays produced last year. His lyrics will be on 2 CDs this year, 1 a gothic album, the other a rock album. He's currently writing films, with hopes of having one done in Malaysia soon, and is also trying to break into the prison of television. He's white, 26, single and loves British comedy. He lives in Boalsburg, PA, and enjoys watching rabbits eat his garbage. Contact him at: . **Ben has kindly consented to do music reviews for this publication and also for The Muse's Muse itself. If you have an independently released CD or tape that you'd like to get reviewed, send it off to: Ben Ohmart, P O Box 750, Boalsburg, PA 16827 or drop by his Music Reviews web section at for more details.** Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by Jodi Krangle MP3 FOR MUSICIANS by John Hedtke & Sandy Bradley ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I've spoken about John Hedtke's book, MP3 AND THE DIGITAL MUSIC REVOLUTION before - but this book outdoes even that one. The other is great for an opener, but if you're a musician, this particular book is a real keeper. Once again, the publication includes a CD of helpful resources, programs and music files. Once again, it includes tips on how to capture files, put them on your web pages, how to create and use playlists, information about piracy and copyright on the net, etc. But this time, it also talks in depth about certain issues that are near and dear specifically to the musician's heart - for instance, where to start if you want to give yourself an online presence. There's everything from how to find the best ISP for you, to how to make your MP3's the best sounding and quickest to load that they can be. A handy Appendix gives you a list of all the web sites that can help you learn more about MP3s along with great resources for musicians in general. Throughout, you'll find the concepts explained in easy to understand words, a healthy abundance of "tips" for quick reference, and lots of pictures to illustrate the key points (mostly displays of web pages or views of particular screens within software programs that are mentioned). I was greatly impressed by the entire package and I think you will be too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Songs listings are only $19.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : HOPELESSLY DEMOTED U2 by Danny McBride ©2000 Danny McBride All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- Man!! I was so excited the other day. A friend from the East Coast emailed me to say he was coming here to California for a "Demo Convention" - -his words- -and I thought "Boy! That's just what we need!! We'll all get together and play our demos and see what everybody's new tunes sound like. This should be fun! I'll get to play my favorite new song that I haven't finished writing yet." The new ones are ALWAYS the best!! And then I thought for a minute- -I don't HAVE a demo of my newest greatest song that I haven't finished writing yet. I better get busy and book a studio. Call some friends to play. Gosh, I only have a couple of weeks before my old friend arrives, and I better get busy or I'll have nothing new to play. That would suck. So here's the deal: First, calm down. A good song transcends all time and all arrangements. George Gershwin's Summertime was written in 1935 for the opera 'Porgy and Bess', but Janis Joplin's version thirty-five years later in the 60s made it sound as if it had been written for her. Every wedding band in North America, and some blues bands, still play their own versions of it now SIXTY-FIVE years later. You can afford to wait a week or two to record the new demo in order to prepare properly. If the song's a killer, it won't matter a bit. If the song's a dud, it will matter even less!! Relax. So what's first? Well the song, naturally. You always hear about how acts just "came up with that bit in the studio", but unless you have deep pockets, you better do all your homework at home, or wherever you work things out, when the clock's not running. Unless you have a brother-in-law with a studio, you'll probably pay by the hour. Even if you have a "day rate", it's still time away from recording and mixing your song if you're not fully prepared. This is true even if you have your own studio, or some sort of home recording setup, because the musicians will get totally bored if you're not ready for them, even if they're your friends playing for free. Okay, if you're at home and it's just you, never mind!! So what do I do to prepare? First I'm going to make a great leap of faith here and take for granted that "the song" is finished... Words, Music, Chorus, Verses, Bridge, Repeats, Intro, Ending... Everything that IS the song is written. Now I don't necessarily mean the whole ARRANGEMENT of the song, because when you put the song in front of professional musicians, one of them might just have an idea for a little instrumental lick that really brings the song, or a part of it, to life. But you have to have the whole thing formatted and ready to go... Intro, Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Bridge, Chorus, or whatever before you walk in the studio door. And this means written in some legible form with enough copies for everyone, including the engineer. If you can't notate music, you can at least write LYRICS!! And then write the chords above the exact syllables of the words where they change. The best thing if you cannot write even a chord chart for the musicians, is to ask one of them to help you prior to the session. Ask the lead guitar player or the keyboard player. Chances are they even READ music. (What a concept!) HOWEVER: Don't be intimidated if you cannot read music- -Irving Berlin didn't read either, and we all dream of a White Christmas year in and year out. Songwriters don't need to read music- -Musicians do!! Okay. The song is finished and you've had a get-together with the lead guitarist. Now there is at least a "chord chart" for the other musicians to follow. This can be any kind of a musical chart- -actual notes, chord symbols, or a numbers chart- - whatever is easiest for the players you've hired. HIRED?? Yes, hired. If you want the best-sounding demo of your great new song, then you need to find the best musicians you can to record it. I know we all have friends who play, but it will sound better with pros. Not only that, the session will go a whole lot faster and smoother, and the money you pay the players will be less than what you might pay in studio time if you and your friends try to do it all yourself, take after take, until you get it right. Now don't get me wrong. If you really can play, then go ahead, and your friends too, but if you have never done other people's recording sessions as a side player, even though you play clubs and think you're good, you ought to get some hired guns to make it the best it can be. A couple points. I have no idea who this couple is, but there they are pointing. Point one- -tempo. A cheap pocket metronome (not to be confused with one of those subway Metro Gnomes) will help you decide. This way you'll play the tune the same way each time. And in the studio you won't speed up if you get excited by recording. Point two- -key. This seems so obvious, but here's where you can really have a train wreck if you haven't pitched the song in a key where the singer (even if it's you) can really go for greatness. Figure this out in advance. What key is best for the singer? Just because the guitar player says "A" because he's lazy, if your key is "B-flat", then cut the track in B-flat. Tell them to use capos!! Take a "ruff mix" home and listen for several days before going back for the final mix. It will make the whole project take a bit longer, but it's worth it to make sure your final mix is everything you want it to be. Also, cut as many tunes at one session as possible, as long as you have the band there. Three or four is not too many. In fact, if you have everything written, and players who can read, you may even do twice as many, but do what's comfortable. Always go in with more tunes than you have time to do that day. If you're focused, you'll be amazed at how much you can get done. So now I'm ready to get back to work and finish this next greatest song of mine so I'll be ready for the Demo Convention. Gee. Funny thing. It just dawns on me. My East Coast buddy has never written a song in his life as far as I know. He's a TV news commentator. So why would he be coming to Los Angeles for a song demo- - - Oh, I get it. It's not a SONG DEMO convention- --It's the Democratic Convention. Never mind. ****** Danny McBride is a singer/songwriter/musician who has played guitar with dozens of well known acts such as ShaNaNa, including the TV series and movie GREASE, as well as Freddy Fender, Mary Wells, Chuck Berry, Delaney and Bonnie, Bo Diddley, Conway Twitty, Roger Miller, Bobby Day, and many, many more. Visit him at Danny's C D "16 TUNES...and whaddaya get...A Songwriter's Portfolio" is available from and other music sites. He lives in Los Angeles. Visit The Boston Rock & Roll Museum at (Danny is originally from Boston.) Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- COOCHE MUSIC'S AMATEUR SONGWRITING CONTEST Only a $5.00 entry! Win prizes and publishing contracts! Win a homemade acoustic guitar from Gregg Rogers Guitars! Retail value is $2195.00. For all the details and entry form go to Contest runs from Sept 1st, 2000 thru April 30th, 2001! ----------------------------------------------------------------- LIFE 100.3 CHRISTIAN CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITING WORKSHOPS Life 100.3 once again presents the Christian Contemporary Songwriting Workshop. This one-day workshop covers all aspects of music creation, lyric writing, professional recording studio production and promoting yourself in the Christian music scene. Join us at Bethel Community Church in Barrie on Saturday October 21st OR Saturday October 28th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The cost for either date of this all day workshop is $75.00, which includes everything you need including an amazing workbook. The Life 100.3 Christian Contemporary Songwriting Workshop. For more information, call the Life 100.3 office at (705) 735-3370. ----------------------------------------------------------------- N.S.A.I. LAUNCHES A SONG CONTEST WITH UNIQUE PRIZES The Nashville Songwriters Association International (N.S.A.I.) is having a song contest, The N.S.A.I. Song Contest for Aspiring Songwriters. The Grand Prize Winner will receive an all expense paid trip to Nashville for professional introductions to industry decision makers, a Bluebird Cafe performance, and a mentoring session with pro-songwriters. Plus, a major label artist will record a demo of the winning song to be produced by a top Nashville producer. The song will then be pitched to publishers, record labels and managers for one year. Also, a Big Baby Taylor Guitar with gig bag and other prizes from N.S.A.I. and our sponsors and patrons will be awarded to the Grand Prize Winner. Prizes will be awarded equally for up to two co-writers. The deadline for submission in November 30, 2000. The cost to enter is $35 for one song, $50 for two songs. For more information call 1-800-321-6008 or visit after October 1, 2000. Participating sponsors include Performing Songwriter Magazine, Nashville Music Guide,, Taylor Guitars and The Parlor at Emerald. ----------------------------------------------------------------- CHECK IT OUT! This FREE monthly E-Zine, brings you great articles on the business and craft of songwriting, gear reviews, songwriter classifieds, information on songwriting events and more! If you like what you see, drop us a line at to receive future issues. It's great! It's just for songwriters. And did we mention.......... it's free! EDITOR'S NOTE: You can *never* read too many of these, folks! And this e-zine's a great one. Check it out! --Jodi ----------------------------------------------------------------- FINALLY, ARTISTS GET ADVICE THEY CAN USE - NOT DREAM ABOUT Industry veteran Moses Avalon has just recently launched Created with the same candor and cool edginess as Avalon's top selling insiders' reference, 'Confessions of a Record Producer: How to Survive the Scams and Shams of the Music Business', the site is the first of its kind, offering a blend of unique resources and a safe haven for industry pros to candidly discuss the latest danger-zones of the music industry. The site includes a number of tools for anyone involved in the music industry. One example is the site's cutting-edge attraction, the "Moses Avalon Royalty Calculator" (MARC), an interactive application offered free of charge. The MARC applies the same formulas used by major label accountants and, with a few simple clicks, it instantly determines exactly how much (or how little) an artist will get paid on any contract, fast-tracking to the bottom line: how much is this deal worth? Some additional features of the site include: "Scam of the Month," where Avalon reveals how an emerging form of industry deception can be avoided. On the more uplifting side, there is the link "Breaking Away," where Avalon publishes actual stories from everyday people who have found ways of avoiding the industry pitfalls and succeeding in their careers. "Sneaky Lawyer Stuff" takes an industry contract and tells you what those wordy clauses really mean. "Cunning Producer Tricks" gives tips on how to spot when producers skim recording budgets. And in "Cool Links" Moses weeds out the riff-raff and posts those sites that he has investigated and feels are artist-friendly. For more information, see ----------------------------------------------------------------- Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2000 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What's the dirtiest word in the songwriting world? What? You haven't heard of clichés? Okay, so guess what I'm going to point you in the direction of this month? You guessed it! The site is called "The Book of Clichés"...but before I give you the URL, you're probably wondering why this site would be of any use to you, since you are probably doing your best to avoid these nasty little phrases. Well, you could look at this two ways: First of all, maybe you're not sure what a cliché actually is or if you have been writing them. Secondly, a clever songwriter can take one of these and actually turn it to their advantage. An example that pops into my mind is a song by Kim Richey (if you've never heard of her, please do check out her music, it's great!). Her song is called "You Can't Lose Them All"...the old "cliché with a twist" idea. Take a common phrase and turn it into something clever and interesting, and then write your whole lyric around it! Wow. Okay, now you're ready for the URL: On this site you'll find clichés in all kinds of categories...from "when you're waiting for something to happen" to "when someone broke your heart". The author has also added contributions from many others, and the site has been the recipient of many internet awards. Actually, to tell you the truth, there are some phrases listed as clichés that I've never heard before! Could it be that geography has something to do with what is considered an overused phrase? So use this site any way you can...and remember "if at first you don't succeed...." er, well you know what I mean :-) ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her latest CD "Motor Scooter" has had attention everywhere from Japan to South America, and a new release is due out sometime in 2000. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= S O N G W R I T E R I N S P O T L I G H T : Singer/Songwriter/Producer, Blue Miller (From his web page at "He's sung and played guitar with Bob Seger and Isaac Hayes.....He's led a 3 time charting Pop group (Julia) and a chart-topping Country band (The Gibson Miller Band). He's written songs for everyone from Gladys Knight to Neal McCoy. His many admirers include Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones), Ted Nugent, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm and Waylon Jennings. In a time when it's all of a sudden a GOOD thing to be "eclectic", Blue Miller defines the word." He also gives one hell of a fantastic interview. I asked him about everything from how he got involved in the music industry to where he thinks it's going in the future - and he answered all my questions with candor, humor and honesty. This is a keeper, folks. I hope you enjoy! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Q: What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family or did you just fall into songwriting all on your own? --------------------------------------------- A: I did grow up in a musical environment. My Dad was a classically trained guitar player and had his own band, The Quarternotes, for about 30 years. I remember being very little, sitting next to him on the couch, watching him play and knowing that I wanted to play like him. I was six years old when he bought me my first old Kay accoustic guitar, but it wasn't until I was nine that I really got serious and started practicing. I formed my first band when I was twelve with a few of my classmates and I was fourteen when I started writing my own songs. I remember being painfully shy around girls and the only way I could talk to them seemed to be through the lyrics in my songs. The problem then was that for a long time, I was still too shy to play them the songs I wrote. We cut our first record, a 45 rpm when I was sixteen, and I wrote both sides. That's when I realized how I could talk to girls. Since then, writing songs really has been the best way for me to express myself. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: What sorts of things have you done to improve your songwriting since then? Any favorite books or previous mentors you'd like to talk about? --------------------------------------------- A: Lennon and McCartney, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan's songs were all pretty important to me. Growing up in Detroit with two older sisters had me listening to whatever they were listening to... a lot of Motown and everything on pop radio. Thanks to them for being "big sister bossy" and for bombarding me with great musical influences. As I got older, I realized that Detroit also had its own very special rock scene, and at the top of the heap for me was Bob Seger. At first, it was as much about his voice as it was the songs, but his lyrics and stories really touched me. In a strange twist of fate, my band ended up being managed by his manager, and one thing led to another. Next thing I knew, I was in Seger's band. We never wrote together, but when I would write new songs, he would give me advice and critique me. It was a great learning experience for me. He taught me how important it is to say what I want, but say it in a way that the listener could clearly understand and share the experience. I've learned a tremendous amount from many different writers, but Bob Seger had the biggest impact on me. Before I left Detroit, I had the opportunity to write music for a few TV shows. Those gigs taught me the discipline of focusing within specific time lines in order to paint the big picture, and I thought that was great! I was even nominated for an Emmy Award three times and won once for best original music. From that I began writing jingles for radio and TV and found that I could complete an entire song in thirty seconds instead of three minutes. I moved to Nashville in 1990. There, I learned more about the Nashville way to craft a song and how to write with another person. Co-writing...that was a pretty new trip for me. I love it, but sometimes I still like to pick up my guitar or sit at the piano early in the morning with a cup of coffee, by myself, before the day filters in and clouds the muse and just see what gift I might receive. Lately, I've been co-writing with a couple of young artists that fortunately haven't learned what you're (supposedly) not supposed to do yet. It's always a fresh, new and exciting experience to stumble through their heads and discover a new way to see life. It's pretty amazing that through someone else's vision, you can truly see a brand new day. To sum this up, I've been writing all kinds of music all my life, and everyday, there is still something new to learn. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Q: How have you gotten your songs out to the industry who should hear them? Sounds like you've been pretty successful with this. Do you have any tips to offer other songwriters in this regard? ----------------------------------------------------------------- For the remainder of this interview, see . ----------------------------------------------------------------- Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : EXCELLENCE AND SONGWRITING © 2000 by Mary Dawson Mary Dawson talks about the road to success through excellence in songwriting. An optimistic, encouraging article full of hints and advice for the beginner and professional alike. Back to Menu
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================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at
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