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A Log of our 8th Guest Speaker in the Songwriting Lounge - May 17, 1999
with the author of Writing Better Lyrics, teacher & songwriter, Pat Pattison.

Pat was a wonderful guest. :-) There were a lot of questions to be asked and he patiently answered them all. Towards the bottom, there's mention of a guest appearance Pat is making. If you're going to be in Nashville around that time, you definitely should try to drop by. Thanks again to Pat for taking time out from his busy schedule to talk with us.


-- Log on patp.log started at Mon May 17 18:01:55 PDT 1999

JeffM I know Pat's ready, so Pat, can you start off by giving us a little bio of yourself?
pat We're only impeded by the slwoness of my fingers
pat oops slowness
JodiMuse Don't worry, Pat We're a patient bunch. Take your time. :-)
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DavidPiano Hello DKM and Bodeen.
pat I teach at Berklee College of Music. Songwriting for @20 years. 3 books. Seminars all over. On my way to Nashville tomorrow for a summer of writing and seminars
JeffM Hi DKM, bodeen -- we're chatting with Pat Pattison, please type "?" to ask a question
DavidPiano ?
pat Yes david
JeffM I guess that's it, go ahead david
pat sorry
DavidPiano Do you think there's an element of "Copycat-ism" or redundancy in modern pop music, and how do you suggest songwriters avoid it musically and/or lyrically?
IreneJ Oooh...good question :-)
DavidPiano :-) Thanks. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I figured Pat would be a good source for an answer, considering he's faculty at Berklee.
pat Of course. Part of it is OK, since we all have models. Part of it is laziness and part of it is the "me too" chase after something that just made money
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DavidPiano :-) Agreed.
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DavidPiano Hey Dana and Ben
DANA Type HEREHI
pat You have to go into WHO you are, DEEP. Look at chapters 1 and 2 of Writing Better Lyrics
pat The closer to the bone, the fresher. And write a lot
DavidPiano ;-) Will do. . .
JeffM Next...?
DavidPiano For all the people here, it
DavidPiano seems relatively quiet.
shewfly ?
DavidPiano That was supposed to be a private observation, hit the wrong button. Whoops.
DavidPiano :-)
JeffM Go ahead shewfly
DKM ? Pat, how do you feel about rhymes that are forced by pronunciation
JodiMuse That's ok, David. I heard an echo there for a bit. ;-)
shewfly could you explain double rhyming to frame a title?
pat There's no reason for it. Imperfect rhymes are fine, so there's no reason to force.
bodeen Type HERE Do song competitions offer a better than average songwriter a greater chance of success as opposed to submitting to publishers?
pat How do you mean?
JeffM Please type a "?" to raise your hand to ask a question. Otherwise it gets too confusing. Thanx
pat If your title is HARD LOVE, you could set it up in the verses with "far" on one unrhymed endline and "up" on another
pat Lots of other ingenious possibilities. I call it sonic targeting. See Ch 6 og Rhyming Techniques and Strategies
pat oops "of"\
shewfly Ok thank you.
pat I love song competitions. They give you a reason to write and validation when yoou win. Not a very good key into the professional arena though
blue ?
JeffM Go ahead, blue
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blue How would a person chose the right publisher?
pat When Colin Ray listens to a song he doesn't care if it won something done
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pat Someone who has contacts but most important, someone who is nuts about your writing. Hard combination to find, done
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JeffM Okay, I have a question...
DavidPiano Hello Lisa.
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DavidPiano WB Ben.
JeffM What was your first experience with Nashville or writing in Nashville?
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DavidPiano WB Dana
DANA Thanks
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pat SESAC brought me down and set me up with some of their writers. They had heard some of my songs and wanted to sign me. Pretty easy ride. I got to write with some wonderful people. Don't ignore your PRO's. ASCAP< BMI, SESAC can take you a long way. They are all very pro active. done
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DavidPiano Hey RC
RChapman HI DP.
JeffM Next question?
JodiMuse ?
JeffM Go Jodi
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DavidPiano Hey Mikey.
Mikey Hi All
JodiMuse I think this may very well be the first question I've ever asked a guest. ;-) I'm curious about something, Pat. I'm in Toronto - and frankly, I have no intention whatsoever of moving to Nashville or L.A. or New York. I know it's harder, but do you have any advice for someone who wants to get songs heard, but isn't in the same city (or country!) as the people who are listening?
DavidPiano :-)
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DavidPiano I'm interested in the answer to this too. . .
DavidPiano :-) Being a fellow Canadian.
DavidPiano WB Bodeen.
bodeen thanks
bodeen ?
DavidPiano ?
pat American Airline is good. If you're serious, you need to establish some presence in the centers. It's about relationships as much as it is about songs. Find a way to go there.
JeffM Maybe not the answer she was hoping to here. You're up now bodeen
JeffM (hear)
JodiMuse So what you're saying is that it's all or nothing? I'm just curious about this.
DavidPiano :-)
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JeffM Oops
JodiMuse Oops! Sorry...
pat The telephone is good after you've been there. You'll have to start small with a few contacts on the fringes and work your way in.
JodiMuse Good advice. :-) Sory to interrupt, bodeen.
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DavidPiano WB Blue.
Immaculate77 Maybe getting a good manager would solve at least a part of the problem
blue thanks
bodeen I'm having difficulty targeting publishers. My style doesn't clearly fit any category. Suggestions?
pat Of course what it's all for is that writing is fun. If you want to get paid for it you have to treat it like you would any other business and get to know the people you want to deal with
JodiMuse Very true, Pat. It takes people skills. ;-)
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Lisa ?
DANA ?
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DavidPiano WB Ben.
bodeen James Taylor, Firefall, Neil Young
pat Don't target publishers. Who can you hear singing your songs (that doesn't write their own). Find his/her producer or A&R. Find the publishers who are involved in those songs.
JeffM DP's up next, then Lisa, then DANA.
bodeen Thanks Pat
JeffM Go ahead DP
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DavidPiano Pat - What do the summer songwriting workshops at Berklee cover?
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DavidPiano That's my millennium project.
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DavidPiano WB DKM and Irene.
IreneJ :-)
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DKM ?
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pat The whole range. Melody, harmony, performance, lyrics, midi, business. It seems to work well. We're only in year 2.
DavidPiano WB RC
DavidPiano Cool. . .that makes it even better.
DavidPiano I might go next year. ..
JodiMuse Go for it, David! Write me a report. ;-)
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pat We've got Gary Nicholson coming up this year
JeffM Yes, David, write me one too!
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DavidPiano Will do. . .Only reason I'd have to postpone it is because next year I reach the age limit!
JodiMuse Ooooooo! World, be afraid.... ;-)
JeffM You're up Lisa, go ahead
pat You'll be too old?
Lisa What is your top advice about matching lyrics to melody, how do you go about that personally. It is so important that the lyrics perfectly marry the melody and visa versa and I wonder if you have any specific advice about how to do that more easily since it is hard.
DavidPiano No, as of now I'm too young.
DavidPiano Minimum age is 15 - now I'm only 13.
pat See you soon then.
DavidPiano Hopefully.
pat First, check out my website at gasp: members.aol.com/ptpattison/lyricpages/ and download "Looking for the Perfect Match". I've been doing all day seminars in just that recently.
DavidPiano www.members.aol.com/ptpattison/lyricpages/ That brings it up immediately
DavidPiano www.members.aol.com/patpattison/lyricpages (let's try it again)
DavidPiano Darn. . .not coming up.
pat It's about locating the stressed places in the melody. It's not guesswork --some notes are stressed and others aren't. It's all in their positions in the bar. The match stressed syllables with stressed notes. That isn't guesswork either.
DavidPiano :-)
JeffM It's just: http://members.aol.com/ptpattison/lyricpages/
JeffM No www, DP
pat done
DavidPiano Ahhh.
DavidPiano That's why.
DavidPiano Hold on again.
JeffM Go ahead, DANA
DavidPiano BRB
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DANA Where's a good place to find a children's song publisher?
DavidPiano TAA DAA! IT worked Thanks Jeff.
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pat I dunno. If I were looking, I'd start in the record store in the children's section with you notebook.
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JodiMuse You know, Dana, I actually have an answer to that one if you'd like. There's a woman named Terry at a web site called "Kididdles". Any of you guys heard of this site?...
pat Thanks Jodi
JeffM Okay. Go DKM
DANA I Thank you too Jodi.
JodiMuse Check out http://www.musesmuse.com/children.html and you'll find Terry's link there. Ask her about that and tell her I said hi. :-)
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DKM I hear a lot of cliches and idioms in lyrics on the radio. I guess if they fir the context of the lyric use it?
DANA Thanks again.
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pat O dear.
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DavidPiano It's easier if you just write instrumentals - no word rules to worry about!
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DavidPiano :-)
DavidPiano WB Irene.
IreneJ David...you're a great "greeter" :-)
DavidPiano :-)
JeffM What was that last sentence, DKM?
DavidPiano I should be an usher. . .:-)
JodiMuse We should give him some pom-poms. :-)
IreneJ I don't think he'd go for that
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DavidPiano I wouldn't. . .
pat Don't you dare, unless you can make it fresh again. Or if you want the listener to focus on something else. Like melody. They get you so much less than meets the eye. done
JodiMuse Why not? I think it'd be cute. :-)
JeffM But not a cheerleader's outfit
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DavidPiano Why do proprietesses always poke at me. ..
JodiMuse Ok. The outfit can go.
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DavidPiano Proprietesses and Floridians. . .when the proprietess is a Floridian watch out.
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DavidPiano Hello Bul.
JodiMuse lol
bodeen ?
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JeffM Go ahead, bodeen
Bulheded Type HEREthanks , hi
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pat Prefabricated language takes all the fun out of expressung yourSELF
DavidPiano WB Mike and Lisa.
JodiMuse Ooo. Good point, Pat.
pat sing
IreneJ Ha! I like that phrase "prefabricated language" :-)
DavidPiano ?
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pat thanks
DavidPiano Hey Mad and Ed
Madcap hello.
bodeen When a publisher says "We love your song, but we can't place it with our company now", what are they really saying?
JeffM Sounds like prefabricated language to me
blue :-)
IreneJ lol
JodiMuse lol Is the signature real or stamped? ;-)
DavidPiano Don't call us we'll call you.
Madcap ?
pat You shouldn't care. You are auditioning THEM. If they're not foaming at the mouth and begging you, they won't do it justice anyway.
Mikey good point!
DavidPiano True.
blue go to another publisher then?
bodeen You're right Pat, thanks for making me feel better.
DavidPiano :-)
pat No sense having something tied up in a dark room, unless you're into that sort of thing done
DavidPiano LOL
JodiMuse :-)
JeffM Hmmm....
Madcap this may sound like a dumb question, but does mailing a copy of your song to yourself and not opening it legally copyright it?
IreneJ Jeff's into it
JeffM Effective use of imagery Pat
JodiMuse Don't get any evil thoughts now, Jeff. ;-)
DavidPiano I'm researching copyright law right now. . .this should be interesting. . .
DavidPiano :-)
pat You are looking for someone who loves what you do. The first step is making what you do as lovable as possible. Co write. Write with people better than you. Get as good as you can, then get better.
JodiMuse So you feel co-writing is an important step, Pat?
DavidPiano ?
Immaculate77 Yes, Madcap, you can also deposit the tape in a bank vault and get a receipt.
DavidPiano I think I was after Bodeen. . .
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Madcap If anyone wants to trade ideas or collaborate on some things, I can be reached at madcap@endmail.com
JeffM Go ahead DP (after Pat answers about co-writing)
pat Don't bother. You already own it. I say a prayer every night that someone will steal my song and get rich. Then I collect. WITHOUT ANYTHING REGISTERED IN WASHINGTON.
pat '76 Copyright Act. Fixed form.
Immaculate77 I would recommend Donald S. Passman's book , "Everything You Need To Know About the Music Business". He talks elaborately about Copyrighting your material etc...
JodiMuse That is definitely a good book, yes.
Madcap what do you mean, don't bother? Dont bother mailing it to yourself? Just send it to people without proof that you wrote it?
DavidPiano Also "This Business of Music" by Sidney Shemel and Bill Krasilovsky
Immaculate77 yes, that one too
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DavidPiano As long as you know it's original and you didn't just rewrite Hey Jude. . .
DavidPiano :-)
IreneJ ?
DKM .US copyright homepage has info you need.
DavidPiano I have a real quick question to pop off before I have to run. . .
DavidPiano I'd hate to cut Pat off though.
pat Industry standard. But please don't get your undies in a bunch. NO ONE WILL STEAL YOUR SONG (who can make money off of it)
DavidPiano LOL
Madcap I heard that if you mail it to yourself, then the person that you mail another copy to can become the publisher or something like that.
pat done
pat Not that I know of.
DavidPiano OK Pat - one final question and then I'm outta here. . . What advice do you have for someone who likes to "genre-hop"?
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pat revel in it. I adore hip-hop. I've learned volumes about prhasing. I adore Verdi. Talk about melody... done
blue ?
DavidPiano Thanks.
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DavidPiano Nice seeing all of you.
JodiMuse Bye David! :-)
JeffM You're up Irene
IreneJ I just have a personal question, and then I have to run...which do you get more of a kick from Pat...songwriting, or teachng it?
DavidPiano Nice talking to you Pat.
pat Bye D
JeffM Then blue is after that
Immaculate77 Ciao David!
DavidPiano Hopefully I'll see you in 2000.
DavidPiano Bye all!!!!!!
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Madcap do you need to get published before someone can buy your song, or can that be done after?
pat I'm a teacher first, but do I ever love being in the zone
Madcap Sorry, I'm sort of new to this.
Bulheded i have a question
IreneJ Teacher first, that's interesting :-) Well, you're a good one...thanks for tonight!
JodiMuse No problem, Madcap. Just type in your "?" and Jeff will tell you when to go ahead.
JeffM Please type a "?" if you want to ask a question, everybody. Thanx
pat My pleasure
IreneJ Goodnight all :-)
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Bulheded ?
blue How do you suggest to meet quality writers to work with?
Madcap ?
pat Where do you live?
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blue Alabama
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blue North east
bodeen ?
JeffM Okay, Bulheded next (I think)
Mikey ?
Bulheded now?
pat You're close enough to make forrays into Nashville. That's the writer's mecca on this planet (Sorry Jeff)
JeffM Oh, after Pat answer's Blue's question
JeffM Sorry, go ahead Bulheded
blue thanks
JeffM Then Madcap, then bodeen
JeffM then mikey
Bulheded okay
pat Otherwise hang with bands. Find someone you like to listen to at a club and introduce yourself etc.
Bulheded after the song is written and finished , what then, where do you go with it?
pat Be out listening to music done
pat to the studio
Madcap Are there ant extra fees to look for when it comes to publishing so that I know when someone is just trying to milk me?
Bulheded after that, where to pitch
Madcap sorry...
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Bulheded i'm sorry i'm not used to this format
bodeen What about "Staff Writers". What is the real availability of these positions?
pat The million dollar question. Who can you hear doing it (that doesn't write their own)? Pitch to them. I wish I could give you a 900 number, but there isnt one,,, :/ done
JeffM ack, please wait until I call you, if you can guys
pat Shrinking daily. That's one position you have to be present to win (almost always)
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PhilGnCo ?
JeffM Okay, Pat, you can answer Madcap's question about fees...
bodeen Good info. Thanks.
pat If they ever ask for money, run done
Madcap there's no fees at all?
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Immaculate77 by everyone!
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pat Never. Only for services like recording a demo. You can hire a professional plugger, but I wouldn't. Most of them have no access to speak of, and if they did get into a producer, they'd probably play someone elses' song.
pat Bye
JeffM Go mikey
Mikey It seems that the lyrics to a lot of songs that I like seem to be written in pairs. There will be a line and then the next line will directly support it. Then it will move on to another pair. ie "Everything I say, Everything I do, Leads me down, The path to you". Is this my imagination?
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Madcap ?
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pat No. Look at my latest article in Performing Songwriter (great mag) called "Managing Couplets". There's a disease out there, but there's a cure.
JodiMuse Ralph! Hey there! :-)
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Mikey Thanks
neonralph Hey folks!
pat You're welcome
JeffM hi neon
JeffM Go ahead Phil
PhilGnCo Since a lot of publishers do use staff writers, what are the chances for freelance writers?
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pat Some chance, but you need to be in the thick of the fray. Establish a presence. Make relationships.
pat Accidents rarely happen.
pat done
PhilGnCo Thanks pat....
JeffM Go Madcap
Madcap Do you know who Jack Nordin is?
pat nope
Madcap Okay, I was just curious.
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DKM ?
JeffM that was an easy one :-)
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JeffM Go ahead, DKM
Lisa ?
DKM Hwo about independant pluggers or using the TAXI service to get heard?
pat Taxi is a good organization with good access, because they screen songs before they send them on. Independant pluggers a re a grabbag
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pat independent
JeffM Okay, go ahead Lisa
Lisa Would you recommend bombarding alot of publishers with tapes, and if so what is the best source for listings of the best publishers that indicate which publ. would be right for my songs?
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pat It is so unlikely that anyone with clout has the time to listen to mail ins. Anyone with the time rarely has the clout. Catch 22. You might start entering competitions.
Lisa I did and won - what to do now!
pat Though as I said before, they won't get you into the industry. They will help you guage where your writing is and if it's competitive.
pat Congrats. What contest? Where do you live?
Lisa John Lennon and Unisong - I live near NYC. I placed - top 50 or so out of 5,000 or so they say.
pat Good contests. What genre?
Lisa Pop and folk.
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DKM ?
JeffM More to say, Pat?
blue thats great!! lisa
pat Well, if there were any music business left in NYC you might go in. I'd try for appts at BMI, ASCAP and SESAC first. The win might be a helpful credit in getting an appointment.
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pat The NYC offices are still up and running last I looked.
pat done
JeffM That's what I've heard too. A contest win can get you appointments. Anything further is up to the song
JeffM GO ahead DKM
DKM What do you think of the American Songwriter Magazine contest and some of the winners?
pat I haven't seen the winners. It's a pretty good mag, but a small staff. Did they list judges?
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Madcap ?
DKM Not sure if judges were listed.
pat How were the winners?
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shewfly I've never seen them listed either.
DKM Yes a good mag. but some of the lyrics made me wonder about their judgement.
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PhilGnCo Thanx pat, and all. Gotta run.
JodiMuse Bye Phil!
JeffM DKM is up next once you're done, Pat
blue gotta go it's been great tonight!!!
JeffM Oops I meant Madcap
JodiMuse Bye blue. :-)
pat Depends on what they had in the pile to pick from. Thare are som many contests out there that sometimes the entries are thin. I judge 4 or 5 a year and even the winnowed pile (of 10) is often thin.
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pat done
blue bye eveeryone1`
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Madcap I was featured on a "Best of New Orleans" compilation, and my relatives told me that they were hearing my song on local cable access shows as background music. Can they do that without anyone's permission? No one came to me and asked.
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pat I don't think you need a sync lisence for cable access. I don't think they have to pay the PRO's (Performing Rights Organizations) You should be thrilled. Someone could hear it, fall in love, and want to record it, done
Madcap thanx
pat I'd find out who did it and thank them
Madcap I was thrilled, but I was just curious as to the legality of it.
Madcap I wasn't going to sue ot anything.
pat Don't know. Wayne's world
JeffM :-) I wonder why there's no royalty collection for that
Madcap cuz no one watches that stuff.
JeffM But do they listen to it?
Madcap except my relatives.
pat And no one really programms it
Madcap Well, no one has come knocking at my door yet...
JeffM I don't know what your schedule is, Pat. I don't want to keep you here all night -- we usually end about now or a little later
Madcap one more ?
JeffM Maybe we should just take 3 more questions
pat If someone liked it enough to compile it, you're on the right track. The trick IS TO KEEP WRITING. QUIT FLOGGING YESTERDAY'S SONG. YOUR BEST SONG IS STILL IN FRONT OF YOU
pat DONE
JeffM Yes, tie it up in a dark room rather than flog it
JeffM GO ahead Madcap
Madcap Pat, has this business made you filthy rich? And if so, will you adopt me?
pat yes yes yes yes
JodiMuse lol
pat no and yea
danNsara lol
Madcap no to rich, or to adopting me?
pat no to rich yes to the live in situation. Gotta house?
Madcap you can share my parents sofa bed with me.
pat better than I've got...
Madcap just don't steal the covers.
pat kidding
DKM Thanks, Pat, Dan Sara, and Jeff ...Bye
pat enough
JeffM Those covers again
JeffM Anyone else with a (real) question? :-)
danNsara bye
Madcap ouch...
pat bye
pat see u soon I'm off tomorrow
pat for Nashville
Madcap what's in nashville?
JeffM Okay, we'll let you go now Pat
pat for the summer
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danNsara yes, Batya was telling us about your seminar tonight in class
pat cool
JodiMuse Thanks so much for coming by, Pat. You were great. :-)
danNsara Sounds exciting...have you plugged it tonight yet?
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pat I'm glad she's studying w/ you. You've done her some good.
danNsara thanks :)
JeffM Thank you very much for coming tonight, Pat
shewfly Thank you Pat. I always enjoy your teaching. Wish I could here more.
pat no
Madcap Pat, what was the best song you ever wrote?
pat My pleasure. Thanx to my kind hosts
pat My next one
JodiMuse It was a pleasure having you join us. Hope we can do it again some time. :-)
JeffM Good answer
Madcap Okay. Bye Pat. Thanks a bunch.
JodiMuse lol! Perfect answer, Pat.
pat bye
neonralph Thanks Pat, sorry I didn't make it earlier!
danNsara Well, Pat will be giving a seminar on co-writing with another hit songwriter Josh Leo (also producer of Michael Peterson).
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danNsara What was the date?
Lisa Thanks Pat - good advice all around.
JeffM Everybody buy Pat's "Writing Better Lyrics", which is on sale at Amazon.com
pat June 13
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pat At the Bluebird
JeffM Support our guests :-)
danNsara June 13th if you're in Nashville....don't miss it!
pat Thanx 4 the plug
JodiMuse It'll be a packed house, Pat. :-) Good luck with it!
pat thanks
bodeen Thanks for your knowledge Pat. Bye now.
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-- Log stopped at Mon May 17 19:39:31 PDT 1999

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