||The Muse's News
Issue 6.6 - September 2003
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This issue sponsored by:
I n T h i s I s s u e :
@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart and Stacey Board
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - DREAMING 101 - by Sara Light
@-- Band In Spotlight - OK Go: Interview with singer
Damian Kulash, Jr. - by Lauren Jonik
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998/99/00/01/02/03 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
WANT A PIECE OF THE MUSE'S MUSE? :)
Visit http://www.cafeshops.com/musesmuse for great Muse's Muse
products like mugs, mousepads, shirts, and even wall clocks!
Start your own store too - with no up front costs!
See http://tinyurl.com/cqij for more details.
S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :
(Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!)
TAKE ONLINE SONGWRITING CLASSES AND GET CONTINUING EDUCATION
If you are looking to progress in your professional development
or need assistance in financing your online education,
Berkleemusic now offers more flexible options with Continuing
Education Units (CEU). If you are a teacher or employee in the
music industry, you may be able to seek Employer Reimbursement
for all or part of the cost of your online education.
Songwriters: sharpen your craft with Berkleemusic.com, the online
extension school of Berklee College of Music. Whether you're a
relative beginner or an experienced writer, our online courses
will help you generate more and better ideas, master the elements
of style and structure, and express yourself more effectively in
words and music.
Learn how to build great lyrical ideas into great songs. Discover
tips and techniques the most successful writers use in their
music. Master powerful programs like Finale and ProTools to
notate your songs and make great-sounding demos. These are just a
few of the skills you can develop this spring in our online
school. Study anytime, anywhere with Berklee's award-winning
faculty. Work with other serious writing students in a rich
Registration for October 6, 2003 is open now!
Visit Berkleemusic.com to enroll!
E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s :
Hi everyone. Well, summer is almost over. Bleh. Newmarket will
soon enter its six to eight month period of Winter. Double bleh.
But I do have to say that I really love the Fall with all the
leaves turning... and I'm very much looking forward to seeing
that happen in my first Fall here in Newmarket. There's some
beautiful country out here. Inspiring, you might say! :)
I do have some other news that you may find inspiring. Gary at
The Mountain Stage Newsong Festival has offered me two free
passes for folks here at The Muse's Muse! Here's some more
information, in case you're wondering if this is something you
THE MOUNTAIN STAGE NEWSONG FESTIVAL is devoted to the art and
craft of original music by performing songwriters. The event
takes place on the grounds of the historic 350-acre Claymont
Court estate, a few miles outside of Charles Town, W.Va. (about
an hour west of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.)
This year's festival takes place Friday, Sept. 26 to Sunday,
Sept. 26, and features a wide range of performing songwriters and
groups on multiple stages. They include Kathy Mattea, Tim
O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Jessie Harris, Vance Gilbert, Corey
harris, Last Train Home and many other acts to be announced. The
festival also includes workshops on songcraft and performing, a
national songwriter's contest, arts and crafts, kids music
workshops, campfire jams and music late into the night at the
Blue Cardinal coffeehouse.
See http://www.newsongfestival.com/index.html for more details.
So. The first two folks who email me (jodi@ musesmuse.com) to say
that they plan on attending, will get free passes. Those of you
who *don't* get the free passes though, this is a festival well
worth checking out! (Note: they've already been given away now!)
As I keep mentioning, I still have that subscription drive going
on... But you know what? I think I'm going to make this easier
on you folks. Maybe the idea of getting 20 new subscribers is a
bit intimidating. So I'm going to lower that number to 10. I
really want to give these t-shirts and mugs away. ;) Matt
Kealley now has eight new subscribers attributed to him. So just
two more, and he'll have his t-shirt or mug. Any other takers?
Here's what the t-shirts and mugs look like, in case you want
another look: http://www.cafeshops.com/musesmuse .
If you've just joined us this month, here's how it works: You
now only need to get 10 people to sign up to this newsletter, and
you get a t-shirt or a mug. That's it. And as extra incentive,
the person who has gotten the most amount of sign-ups
by the end of the year, will also get a free NSAI
(http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/) membership for 2004!
All you need to do, is tell interested songwriters or music
industry folks about this newsletter (back issues are at
www.musesmuse.com/musenews.html so they can see what they'd be
getting), and have them email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a
request that they be subscribed. In that email, they should
mention the name and email address of the person that told them
about the newsletter so that you can be credited. I'll keep
track, and when you reach 10, I'll email you to get your address
so that I can send you the shirt or mug.
Now for this month's raffle winners!
* Robert H. Brown from Ozark, Arkansas has won a copy of "The
Songs of John Lennon - The Beatles Years" by John Stevens
* Andrew T. Williams from Ottawa, ON, has won a copy of
IndieMusic.com's "Musician's Toolkit" (for details on this
package of useful indie musician-related tools, see
* Heather Kelley from Austin, TX, has won a copy of VSS's
helpful songwriting organization product (for a review of
Lyricist & information on a discount offered, see
Keep inspired and keep writing!
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S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :
(Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!)
LYRICIST! VERSION 2.2 HAS ARRIVED-INCLUDES ON-LINE COPYRIGHT LINK
Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist V2.2 -
The Songwriter's Best Friend: the first-of-its-kind word
processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The
software includes a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, album
categorization, chord charting, chord generator, song
arrangement, On-Line Copyright Link, and much much more - all in
a user-friendly package. Check out the review at
http://www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html . Muse's Muse visitors
can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price
just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review +
Free Priority Shipping in the USA if you order in August and
For more information, visit the review url above or call us at
888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726-4499 outside
C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A :
With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece
Q: I would like to thank you for the time and effort that you put
into your advice column at The Muse's Muse web site. I look
forward to purchasing your book..
I have put in serious effort writing memorable country song
lyrics that are radio and CD friendly. I now have a strong
catalog of lyrics. I do not sing and I do not compose music. I
just write hit lyrics for country and western songs. I seek from
your incredibly busy schedule, a small amount of guidance. I
need a brief road map of the steps to take to acquire a
publishing deal. Could you provide a very basic
outline/blueprint? I will take it from there. I just do not
want to waste any effort in the wrong direction.
A: I encourage you to look for other writers in your area that
may be willing to collaborate. Here in Nashville, the majority
of songs that get pitched are finished and have practical demos.
Because of that demand, you see more and more interesting
collaborations. Lyricist and composers, producers and singers,
it's like an indie co-op. I encourage you to find a way to plug
into the energy around you in the same way. There are resources
available about song plugging that the Muse's Muse can point you
Also - I had to delete the lyric you sent along with your
question because of strict guidelines imposed on me concerning
unsolicited material by our attorney. If you would like a
consultation concerning your work, please contact me separately
other than through this forum. Thank you for your understanding.
Q: I have lyrics to several songs I am planning to protect with a
copyright using the PA form. I would then like to get these
published and hopefully, recorded by an artist, if all goes well.
Can you advise as to what steps this involves and other than the
copyright fee, other fees involved? Thank you.
A: The other expenses involved would probably best be described
as "marketing expenses". You may, of course, self publish your
work. There is a chapter in the REAL A to REAL Q book that
outlines different ways to set up your own company. You
mentioned that you had written the lyric, you may choose to work
along with your colaborator to map out the best business plan.
If your goal is to pitch the songs to other publishers then the
proper packaging of the songs and the request for the approval to
solicit will be the first items on your list of things to do.
TOPIC: WORK FOR HIRE
Q: I wrote a complete song including lyrics and tune. I knew
exactly how the song should sound but I don't write music. In
looking for someone to write the notes down that I sang, I came
across a small recording studio that would record my songs and
inclusive in the fee was a musician to write music to what I
sang. This was done, but now I'm wondering if I have to include
the musician in the copyright. He did a little more than simply
write down notes, and made a very nice arrangement. I don't mind
giving him credit, nor, if the songs sell, a portion of the
profits, but I don't want to hand over any part of ownership of
my songs to anyone else. I will make other arrangements in the
future if it means I have to share ownership of my songs just to
get the music written.
A: You should have a receipt for payment showing what services
were performed and what fee was paid in full for those services.
This situation sounds to me to be a clear work for hire. You
came in with the full copyright on melody and lyric and unless
you signed a 'transfer of copyright' with this studio, you remain
the sole owner of the copyright. Keep in mind that you had
already 'written' the music, you hired someone to 'transcribe' it
for you. There is a chapter in the REAL A REAL Q book on 'Work
for Hire' situations that you may choose to reference.
ABOUT NANCY A. REECE:
Since 1998, Nancy Reece has been providing a question and answer
forum for Muse's Muse readers. Now all of the articles, forums
and Q&A's are compiled into an e-book called REAL ANSWERS TO REAL
QUESTIONS: THE SONGWRITER-PUBLISHER FORUM .
For information on how to pick up your copy today, visit:
How to Ask a Question:
If you have a question for Nancy about publishing or copyright
administration, you can e-mail her at email@example.com.
Please indicate in the subject of your e-mail that your
submission is for The Muse's Muse guest forum, Real Answers to
Real Questions. Thanks!
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M u s i c R e v i e w s :
by Ben Ohmart and Stacey Board
Robin Frederick - Blue Flame (by Ben Ohmart)
Had I realized that Robin's music sounds so much different than
her CD package would indicate, this review would've been done
weeks ago. She blends a beautiful song that is never hidden in
electronic devices, and she puts it up against a modern rhythm,
in much the same way that Enya, Enigma and Andrew Lloyd Webber's
wife spiraled into chart toppers.
1. Feel Your Way (Rev. 2.0)
2. Black Is The Color
3. This Is The Story
4. Been Smoking Too Long
5. Night Blooming Thing
6. Written In Sand
7. Sleeping In Byron's Bed
8. Catch These Wings
9. Blue Flame
The first two are especially gracefully hip. 'Feel Your Way 2.0'
is not overproduced, but it could easily handle itself against
any cool dance tunes currently playing. Not wild, but romantic.
In fact, that's the catchphrase of this release. If there's
anything more romantic than the blues-inspired 'Been Smoking Too
Long' or the intro groove to 'Night Blooming Thing,' let me know,
Robin has written and produced over 500 songs for every arm of
entertainment and used to be a director of A&R for Rhino Records.
She oversaw, among other things, the Schoolhouse Rock box set,
which should be in every home in America. So, this lady knows how
to make songs that appeal to the masses and that are appealing.
Her cover of the Celtic classic 'Black Is the Color of My True
Love's Hair' is the most entertaining version I've heard. It's
like a cobra's stare - it captures you with the simpliest of
measures. A voice and a lovely arrangement.
I'll leave you with the beginning words to 'Feel Your Way 2.0,'
an arresting opening to what I hope will become a popular indie
Feel your way, feel your way
Put your hands out before you
And feel your way
Take a train of thought to the border
through cities that burst at the seams
Listen to the sound of the motor
that powers the entine of dreams
OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE:
Robin Frederick (by Ben Ohmart)
The Wizard of Oz – The 1903 Broadway (by Ben Ohmart)
Suki Rae (by Ben Ohmart)
Arlon Bennett (by Stacey Board)
Mark Brine (by Stacey Board)
Dan Mayack (by Stacey Board)
Piecemeal Starts and Frequent Stops (by Stacey Board)
Doug Folkins (by Stacey Board)
Bonnie Hayes (by Stacey Board)
Gwen Jennier (by Stacey Board)
For bios on each of the reviewers, see
http://www.musesmuse.com/musicreviews.html . If you're considering
sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to
find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!
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S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman
The Songs of John Lennon - The Beatles Years
By John Stevens ~ http://tinyurl.com/ki4f
There are almost as many people who have a story about the first
time they saw The Beatles as there are people who can tell you
what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas.
I first saw The Beatles on February 9th, 1964 on The Ed Sullivan
Show while visiting my Aunt Ida's house in Toronto with my
family. I was 8 years old. The house smelled of pot roast and
dinner rolls and boiled turnip and I was lying on her living room
floor mesmerized by The Beatles music and their style.
I also remember being stunned by their effect on my teenage
cousin Judith who was embracing the console TV and weeping with
joy. As an 8 year old boy I had no remotely similar experience to
frame this in but one thing was certain, the music of my
generation had arrived and I definitely wanted a piece of the
To say that The Beatles became a major part of my life would be
an incredible understatement when you consider that I now make a
full time living with an electric guitar, almost solely due to
the impact of what I saw on TV that night in 1964.
Imagine my delight when I found out that I was going to be
reviewing a book about John Lennon's songs written during his
time as a Beatle.
The author of this book, John Stevens, approaches John Lennon's
songs from the perspective of a massive fan, and also from the
perspective of an academic.
John has a Bachelors Degree in Music Theory and Composition from
the University of Mississippi and a Masters Degree in Music
History and Literature from Florida State.
He has been teaching music at Berklee College since 1976 where he
designed and now teaches a course entitled The Songs of John
Lennon, for which this book now serves as a resource.
This particular book, subtitled "The Beatles Years", is actually
part of a trilogy which also features a volume about John
Lennon's "Early Period" (pre-Beatles) and a book that takes a
look at "The Solo Years" (post-Beatles.)
The book begins with some brief historical perspectives on John
Lennon's life and some captivating information regarding the
inception of his creative journey.
It would certainly help if you were a fan but I do think that
John Lennon was such a fascinating person, artist and social
phenomenon, that almost anybody would find this interesting.
Each chapter provides an analysis of a selection of songs from
each of the 6 years that The Beatles were a band, from 1964 to
1969. Each of the songs are explored from 4 perspectives;
background, structure, phrasing and prosody.
The background sections give you a brief history of the songs and
the circumstances surrounding their creation.
Structure deals with the analysis of the melodic, harmonic and
lyrical form as well as a brief look at the lyrics themselves.
Phrasing describes how the songs' elements are expressed through
each of the songs' sections (verse, chorus, bridge)
Prosody is a study of how the melody, harmony and lyrics interact
to produce a unified effect for the listener.
For those who have already broken into a sweat thinking that all
this academic stuff is going to cause major brain meltdown, fear
not! There is a music language and theory primer at the front of
the book, not extensive enough to have you armed and ready to
write a major symphonic work, but enough to get you through every
part of this book saying, "I get it".
25 songs in all are intensely broken open and extensively
analysed from the 1964 recording of, "You Can't Do That" to "Come
Together" from the end of John's Beatles days in 1969. I took the
author's advice and listened to the songs as I read through the
book and I really found it brought his insights to life.
I used this book in a songwriting workshop I conducted last week
by featuring it's analysis of the song "Rain." I found it to be
a remarkable resource for illuminating Lennon's uncanny ability
to be profound in the most understated ways.
The author also has been able to demystify some of the more
outrageous and whimsical Lennon writing and make it even more
impressive as it reveals that Lennon was as much a good reporter
of reality as he was a creator of fantasy. John Stevens shows
Lennon as a master of forming extraordinary lyrics from seemingly
ordinary experience and make the most whimsical notions seem like
This book would be a great read for anyone wanting to get a very
deep look at the work of a major songwriting icon and it would
also be great for those, like myself, who will also want to use
it for a trip back in time... I can still hear "A Hard Day's
Night" blaring from our console record player and my mom yelling
at us to turn it down. Now those were the good old days...
You can check out The Songs of John Lennon - The Beatles Years by
John Stevens at http://tinyurl.com/ki4f.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson,
songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket,
Ontario, Canada. He is the Songwriters Association of Canada
regional coordinator for Newmarket and leads a music workshop
program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting
articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician
Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine.
Contact James at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :
(Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!)
CREATE CDs ON DEMAND WITH CAFE PRESS!
If you want to have a professional looking demo but you DON'T
want to buy 500 or 1000 copies, Cafe Press' new product offering
is definitely for you. You upload your graphics (or have them
designed by someone), upload your music, and create your own CDs
- AS YOU NEED THEM. One at a time! And starting up an account is
absolutely FREE. There are no up front costs (in fact, the only
thing you DO get when you sell a CD, is PAID) and their system is
super easy to work with.
Getting your demos or your self-produced CD out there to the
masses has never been easier. Not only that, but you can sell
merchandise like t-shirts and posters the same way! No upfront
costs, no inventory, no brainer.
For more information, visit:
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 http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
http://www.musesmuse.com/markets.html . Please check there
regularly for updates!
SONGWRITERS WHO PLAY GUITAR:
Free newsletter gives pro tips to make you a better musician.
Signup Today! ~ http://www.guitar5day.com/gpopmuse.html
GREAT AMERICAN SONG 2003 WELCOMES SONGWRITERS & LYRICISTS!
The 5th annual Great American Song Contest offers awards & prizes
for 45 winners in 8 categories, plus a 'Lyric Writing' category
for lyricists. This year's event features well-known music
industry judges, including publishers, producers, recording
artists and hit songwriters. * All entrants receive written
evaluations of their songs.* Sponsored by Songwriters Resource
Network, an educational resource for songwriters everywhere.
Postmark deadline is Nov. 7. Visit the GAS website at:
http://www.greatamericansong.com/ or email info@GreatAmericanSong.com for
a printed brochure.
TAKE "SUCCESFUL LYRIC WRITING" WITH SARA LIGHT ONLINE ONLY AT
Join Tony Award nominated lyricist and hit songwriter, Sara
Light, for this exciting online course beginning September 25th.
Also, as a member of SongU.com, you can take over 30 self-paced
courses that are available online 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year. No airfare, no hotel costs, no time constraints. Right
from your own home, you can get quality education and personal
attention from a faculty of active hit songwriters and successful
Back-To-School Special for Musesmuse members. Use redemption
code: MMU8303 when you enroll for one year at SongU and get an
additional 3 months free!
To take the campus tour, go to http://www.songu.com/?sa=3 .
REAL ANSWERS TO REAL QUESTIONS - THE SONGWRITER-PUBLISHER FORUM
IS NOW AVAILABLE !
This 112 page DigitalWebBook is a compilation of 5 years of
correspondence between the Muse's Muse Readers and guest
columnist, Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management in
Topics Include: Demo/Recording Agreements ~ Licensing ~
Collaboration ~ Pitching/Representation ~ Audio Files on The
Internet ~ Registration ~ Partnerships ~ Performing Rights
Organizations ~ Children's Music ~ International Questions ~ Work
For Hire ~ Plagiarism ~ Derivative ~ Works/Parodies ~ Clearances
~ Trademarks/Servicemarks/Names ~ Publisher/Writer Splits ~
Books/Sources/Resource Guides ~ Management Agreements ~
Publishing Agreements ~ Production Agreements ~ Estate
DigitalWebBooks (DWB) are 3D page turning digital manuals that
are E-mailed to you as an attachment that can be saved to your
desktop and viewed off line. For best results, the DWB may be
viewed on-line for access to website links referenced throughout
It's a truly amazing experience! Order yours today!
ROCKET TO FAME TALENT COMPETITIONS!
Rocket to Fame, the biggest talent, songwriting and media arts
competitions in the southeast is coming to Atlanta! Hosted by
Earthlink Live, (www.earthlinklive.com) co-sponsored by 95.5 The
Beat and WUPA TV UPN69. Reality Radio Live Remote Broadcasts from
all Five Competition Events will feature On Air interviews with
ROCKET TO FAME Talent Competition Acts. 95.5 the Beat will also
be playing selected cuts from the Music Category Entry
Submissions. Preliminary competitions Sept. 26, 27 Oct. 3,4
Finals competition Oct. 18. Cash Prize Awards: Top Music Act
Grand Prize $5,000.00/Music Grand Prize $1000.00 Each
Category/Male-Female Vocalist Grand Prize $1000.00 Each Category
/Songwriter Grand Prize $500.00/General Performance Grand Prizes
$500.00 Each Category/Media Arts Grand Prizes $500.00 Each
Category. These are only some of the prizes available, for more
information on all prizes, sponsors, judges, entry forms and
general rules please visit http://www.rockettofame.com/ .
Entry fees for all categories are $35.00.
Deadline preliminary live performances categories: Sept. 10 2003.
Deadline songwriting competition categories: Oct. 2 2003
BERKLEEMUSIC.COM WEBSITE LAUNCHED
Berklee College of Music has launched its Berkleemusic.com web
site after nearly two years in development. This ambitious new
offering provides songwriters opportunities to take online music
writing courses and explore new music career directions. Users
can create a personal or band web page containing bios, MP3s,
images, reviews, news, and links that are useful resources to
potential employers, collaborators, and students.
For more information click here.
VS-PLANET STUDIOS FOR HIRE: TIME TO GET THAT DEMO RECORDED
VSS is proud and excited to introduce this new program to its
1400 registered Lyricist songwriters. Since acquiring
www.vsplanet.com, an international on-line music community
dedicated to recording and mastering Roland's VS line of digtial
workstations, we have been looking to match up our Lyricist users
with the commercial studios who reside and participate in the
community. Already we have 80 studios from all over the world
participating and more are coming on every week! Visit
f=29&DaysPrune=5 and see if there is a studio in your home town or
nearby that will help cut that demo at a very reasonable price.
Don't forget to bookmark the page as you may need to reference it
in the future!
GREAT ARTICLES TO CHECK OUT AT GALARIS INDEPENDENT MUSIC:
* Starting Your Own Music Business - By Jeffrey P. Fisher
* Producing Independently - by Stephen Conroy
* Achieving Your Best Studio Vocal - Part One - By Jeannie Deva
Visit http://www.galaris.com and Sign up for the Galaris
Independent Musicians Newsletter. Twice monthly you will receive
FREE, direct to your email box, articles containing: Promotion
tips, Career advice, Recording tips, Practicing tips, Legal
advice, Musician's health, Radio promotion, Songwriters tips and
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M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson
©1998-2003 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By
Of many songwriting and songwriter-related websites that I have
come across over the years, there is one that has remained
constant (besides the Muse's Muse, of course :-).
The organization has been around even longer than the internet,
since 1967, and is one that I find myself recommending again and
again when songwriters are looking to take a closer step towards
the business side of songwriting and pitching their material.
That organization is NSAI, Nashville Songwriters Association
International. Their annual membership fee is reasonable ($100
for US residents, $75 for International) and for all that you can
potentially get out of such an organization, it's worth taking a
good look. Their website http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/,
has an excellent section called "Advice", which takes you through
the process of what happens when you want to pitch your songs,
presented in a very simple and straightforward manner. You'll
also find a list of Nashville area open mics, an extensive list
of local and regional NSAI workshop coordinators in North
America, legislative updates (US) and links to events such as Tin
Pan South and other conferences, camps and getaways, including
the popular Song Camps.
If you become a member, you can join the scheduled chats with
pros and participate in their messageboards, but beyond the
online benefits there are many others including song evaluation
services, NSAI guide, Bluebird Cafe auditions (members can
bypass the usual audition procedures), one-on-one phone
counselling, a mentoring service...and on and on.
If you are seriously pursuing songwriting as a career and want a
good place to get a whole lotta bang for your songwriters' buck,
NSAI is certainly worth a look!
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 eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is
finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention
everywhere from Japan to South America.
Songwriting Tips: http://www.irenejackson.com/tips.html
Songs on MP3:
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F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e :
DREAMING 101 - by Sara Light
© Sara Light, 2003 All Rights Reserved. Printed with Permission.
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and
endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet
with a success unexpected in common hours."
You may recognize these inspiring words by Henry David Thoreau.
Thoreau is saying that the art of dreaming and the act of goal
setting go hand-in-hand. In other words, once you have the
dream, you must take the logical steps to realize it without
backing down. Admittedly, I wasn't always very good at this line
of thinking. For the longest time, I thought dreaming was
another way of saying, "Here's something I want to do that I know
I won't ever really do."
Then I had a dream - a real one - the kind that happens in the
middle of the night when you're fast asleep. This dream occurred
in 1994, about a year or so after I moved to Nashville. I had
arrived in Music City with a non-committal notion that I wanted
to sortof-kinda-maybe make my living as a songwriter. I already
had a Masters degree in education and knew I could really
continue making a living as a teacher. I had spent the previous
couple years writing a few lyrics to my husband, Danny Arena's
music and attending a few songwriting seminars where I didn't
actually admit to anyone that I was a songwriter. Then, I had
the dream. Here it is:
I'm in the lobby of a nondescript high school or college
auditorium. The lobby is full of people with nervous energy
waiting for the auditorium doors to open. We're all there to
take some sort of exam (maybe like a big standardized test or
something). I start to look through the sea of people and begin
to recognize some faces. One is an aspiring songwriter, Phil,
who recently moved to Nashville as well. I see a couple more
faces like his and I realize that whatever's going on has
something to do with songwriting. Then I notice Lisa Palas in
the crowd. Lisa is a professional staff songwriter who penned
two #1 hit songs for the group Alabama. I met her when she was
instructing at one of the songwriting seminars. She was someone
I aspired to be like. I keep my eyes on Lisa as the doors to the
auditorium fly open and the crowd rushes in.
Inside, the auditorium is set up like a fair, with activity
booths. Each booth has a task that you must complete before
advancing on to the next booth. Clearly it's a race. The tasks
are not particularly difficult. They just take concentration.
I'm at a booth in which I have to push a small ball through a
maze. I look up and see that Lisa is already way ahead of me,
and we've barely begun. I figure I'm destined to lose. Then the
strangest thing happens. I get so involved in each little task
like untwisting a knot, completing a drawing or solving a puzzle,
that I completely forget to look up. When I finally do look up,
there I am - right next to Lisa. And then suddenly I'm ahead of
The dream ended and I woke up with a feeling of peace, purpose
and accomplishment. My subconscious told me what I already knew:
keep your head down, do the work and you'll reach the finish
line. Over the course of the next several years I began setting
goals with inspired vigor. I tried to keep them simple, choosing
tasks that, with some effort, I was pretty sure I could
accomplish. For example, I took some singing lessons to get over
my fear of performing. I wrote for at least three hours every
weekend. I studied the songs of songwriters I admired to improve
my craft. I saved money to demo songs. Eventually, I started
making meetings with performing rights organization writer reps
and publishers. I got a staff deal. I got a cut. I got a
single. My song went to #2 in Billboard (that's another story).
I got an ASCAP airplay award for over 2 million spins. I landed
songs in a Broadway musical. I got nominated for a Tony Award
for Best Original Score. Then I looked up.
I told Lisa Palas about my dream during one of our, now frequent,
co-writing sessions. She said simply, "Well, now that makes a
whole lot of sense." So go for it... advance confidently in the
direction of your own dreams. And when you look up, you might be
a lot closer than you think.
Sara Light had a different dream three years ago (really, it's
true). This time, it was of an online songwriting university
called SongU.com where songwriters from all over the world could
meet, learn, and help each other reach their goals. It took a
while, but with more than a little help from my friends, Sara
Light and Danny Arena launched SongU.com in July of 2003. You
can visit http://www.songu.com/ to find out more.
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B a n d I n S p o t l i g h t :
OK Go: Interview with singer Damian Kulash, Jr.
By Lauren Jonik
At its best, art is an invitation--- a kind of welcoming into a
place where the distinction between the moment and the creation
is blurred, at once becoming tangible and timeless. Enter OK Go,
whose self-titled Capitol Records debut proves that the
combination of intelligence, accessibility and fun are not
antithetical in the world of music, but in fact, deliciously
With their instantly catchy first single, Get Over It, receiving
airplay on radio stations in the US and abroad, OK Go has been
touring with bands like The Music, Phantom Planet, Rooney, and
The Donnas to bring their music to the masses. Audiences far and
wide have been most responsive to the fun and sassy tale of
unrequited love, You're So Damn Hot, Don't Ask Me and Get Over
It, which blends the sonic fullness of handclaps and stomps with
the rousing reminder of "hey, get, get, get, get, get over it,"
But, it has been the response to the ballad, Return, whose
subtlety makes it one of the most undeniably evocative tracks on
the album, that has surprised lead vocalist and guitarist Damian
Kulash, Jr. "We've gotten an incredible response to Return,
which didn't strike me as the kind of song that would necessarily
be good live, but people have been enjoying it." As a band that
thrives on the energy from the crowd, OK Go appreciates the
experience of feeling the same enthusiasm that they pour into
their performance being mirrored back to them. Remembering the
shows that he saw during his musically formative years, Damian
has a special appreciation for all ages shows. "I grew up in
Washington, DC and around the time I turned fifteen, I got into
rock and roll. I was into what was on the radio before that. DC
had an incredible music scene at the time and I started going to
shows and thanks to Ian McKaye, all shows were all ages,"
explains Damian. Noting the influence the plentiful diet of live
music had on his consciousness, Damian compares his musical
metamorphosis to that of the cognitive development of a baby. "I
feel like my young, soft, little head was able to completely form
around rock between the ages of fifteen and eighteen." The
effect indeed proved to be a positive and lasting one, as it is
the totality of the experience of performing that Damian enjoys
the most. "I'm sort of vaguely conscious of specifics. . . I
notice little things, but I notice them almost more like I would
expect a fan to, almost like I'm watching us."
It has been said that enthusiasm rules the world. Following that
logic, there is no doubt that when on stage the Chicago-based OK
Go is in complete control of the aural landscape and the axiom is
simple: have a good time. The band, who in addition to Damian
Kulash, Jr., is made up of drummer Dan Konopka, bassist Tim
Nordwind, guitarist and keyboardist Andy Duncan and keyboardist
Burleigh Seaver, brings their own mix of fun, wit, showmanship,
and musical skill--- all while managing to be poignant without
being pretentious. "Rock and roll music is about a feeling and
inspiration and just entertainment. . . We try not to put on a
show that's too silly, but we just try to have fun," explains
Damian. Cover songs like Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl, Toto's
Hold The Line, and Elvis Costello's Oliver's Army are an integral
part of their repertoire, but the decision of which song to do on
any particular night is usually in part left up to the audience,
whose vote is tallied by the volume of applause and cheering when
each of the possible selections is named. "The other deciding
factors are what else I have to sing that night because some of
them I really blow my voice out on and what the crowd seems to be
into--- whether they are going to like something that is more
absurd and indulgent or something that seems more heartfelt and
just what we want to play. . . We try to keep it rotating so we
don't get bored and so that people don't see the same show
Finding inspiration in the work of other writers and in
particularly resonant situations has allowed OK Go to create a
cohesive album, one in which each song has its own identity.
Both the creative process and the sharing of that work with
others is something to be equally valued, providing a sense of
balance to the life of artists of any kind. "In the short term,
for any given half hour, I would rather be on stage, but I am
more inwardly satisfied by having recorded something that I
really like. The spikes of bliss are higher in on stage stuff,
but in the long-term level with recording," said Damian Kulash,
Jr. "I write feeling like it is an open-ended communication---
I like people hearing what I do." Having musicians like Jon
Brion, Josh Freese, and Wendy Melvoin contribute to the album
enhanced both the recording process and the final result. "I had
a bunch of my musical idols come in and I just had them play over
stuff to see what their instincts were." Bouncing ideas off of
each other helped to hone the album.
As the seizing of opportunities always leads to other
opportunities, OK Go has had a chance to appear on The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. "It's one
of those things where you sit back and wonder, "Am I really doing
this?" It's a weird experience, but a good one." And, while any
kind of exhibition of one's talents is a leap into the unknown,
albeit often a fun one, perhaps Damian Kulash, Jr., sums up an OK
Go show best. "It's sort of like being on a waterslide. It's
exciting and fast--- like a waterslide in the summer."
Lauren Jonik is a freelance journalist and photographer who lives
in the suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Deeply valuing
the beauty of creative expression, she enjoys combining her love
of music with her passion for writing and photography. She is the
founder and editor of an online music publication called
SoundAffects.net (http://www.soundaffects.net/). Lauren can be
contacted at: lauren@ soundaffects.net
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" O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E :
Finishing Touches - by Mary Dawson
If we were building a house instead of a song, we would be almost
ready to move in by now! We've been careful to lay a strong
foundation comprised of our Great Idea and the Hook. We have
carefully planned and constructed the framework of the Lyrics and
the Melody. We have used crafting tools like Cadence and Rhyme to
make the rooms fresh and interesting without sacrificing comfort
and familiarity. It's time now for the wallpaper and the
curtains. This is the fun stuff...so read on!
C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s :
HEY SONGWRITERS! POP QUIZ. GIVE ME THREE RHYMES FOR
Locate every song's lead sheet you ever wrote, their genre, and
album. What's the fingering for a G#sus4 chord at the ninth
fret? Now copyright a song from where you're sitting without
removing your hands from your mouse or keyboard. Your time is
up! You know what you need? LYRICIST! It's the songwriter's
best friend. Includes Rhyming Dictionary, Album Categorization,
Chord Charting, On-Line Copyright, and more. Check out the
review at www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html . Muse's Muse
visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular
selling price + Free Priority Shipping in the USA if you order in
August and September 2003!
For more information, visit the review url above or call Virtual
Studio Systems at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or
603.726.4499 everywhere else.
NEED TO BOOK GIGS & ADVANCE YOUR CAREER? ORDER THIS UNIQUE
It is packed with essential tools to save you time and money, and
give you a competitive advantage in the music business. Compiled
by Suzanne Glass, author, speaker, and founder of
Indie-Music.com, the ToolKit comes with nearly 50 articles,
printable copyright forms, templates for common music items like
flyers, music fonts, musician papers, software, and much more for
THE 4th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE!
The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your
songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its fourth edition, The
Indie Bible has 310 pages of valuable contacts and music-related
The 4th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
3500 publications from around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
2900 radio stations from around the world will PLAY your songs!
350 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
400 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
500 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
39 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!
For details and to order online visit:
THE GALARIS MUSICIANS DIRECTORY - 2003 EDITION
If you are serious about pushing your music career to the
next level, getting your music into the right hands, promoting
yourself to others and creating a buzz, YOU NEED THE GMD!
Visit us to check out the demo, and see what industry
professionals say about the GMD.
Receive a 10% discount if you place your order through The Muse's
ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where
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For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising
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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
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