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Terri Ann Palumbo By Terri Ann Palumbo

2001, Terri Ann Palumbo. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

Note: Terri Ann is no longer writing regularly for The Muse's Muse due to life getting in the way as it tends to do. :) We thank her for all of her contributions to the site and wish her all the best in her future ventures. With any luck, she'll contribute an article or two when she has time. Thanks, Terri!

I'm happy to be joining the musesmuse team. In my column I'll be digging into the highs and lows of the songwriter's craft. From rock and roll legends to punk/ska/alternative writers, I'll share insights from creative artists of nearly every musical genre. When and where does the muse strike a songwriter? Who's turning inspirations into hits, and how? I'll give you the inside scoop from those who best understand the song-creation process.

Describing the nearly-indescribable is a particularly challenging enterprise, especially when it comes to songwriting. Beyond "what came first, the melody or the lyric" (every songwriter's least favorite question), I'll explore the elements of songwriting from both the creative and business sides -- sometimes I'll be talking with someone who has a platinum-album-lined wall, other times an up-and-coming writer waiting for celebrity status to arrive.

I enjoy trying to elicit explanations of intangible concepts, and most of the time it turns out to have been a valuable exercise for the interviewee as well (either that or they're just being polite). I like to think that as a creative (if I may say so) person myself -- I'm a writer, television producer and new website designer -- I understand the difficulties involved in trying to verbalize what leads one to produce artistic works, whether in the visual, aural or literary arena.

What motivates a painter to use a particular brush, hue, stroke or technique? Sometimes it's a carefully thought-out process, but more often than not it's the combination of talent, training and experience mixed with spiritual, emotional or just plain serendipitous occurrences (or the end of a relationship, the beginning of a romance or a thousand other issues that motivate and inspire); the same applies to songwriting. Was it a key change, a word change, or a complete re-write that led a songwriter to pronounce his or her creation "ready for the marketplace"?

My interviews will provide insight from a wide variety of writers, and hopefully engender a feeling of camaraderie among songwriters from seasoned professionals to those just putting Pelikan to paper (or cursor to computer) for the very first time.

Have a question you've always wanted answered? A favorite songwriter you'd like to see profiled? Let me know, and I'll do my best to sit them down for an interview!

A short bio


  • Behind The Door with Randy Jackson - He may have first earned industry recognition as lead songwriter, vocalist and guitarist with the rock band Zebra, but Randy Jackson has found the key to music industry success on many levels. Solo acoustic performances, Zebra concerts and symphony gigs (that's right, symphony gigs) keep his date book filled most nights - and he's just completing work on a new Zebra CD that's been three years in the making. Versatile, innovative and creative, Jackson has a lot to share in this look behind the door of one songwriter's journey.
  • Hip-Hop To The Good Side - Three cousins called The Logos will turn your opinion of hip-hop music around, no matter how you feel about the genre. Songs that go straight to the heart of issues we all face, regardless of our age or race, listenable melodies and on-target lyrics that speak to contemporary conflicts exemplify the group's mission - and their positive message comes through loud and clear.
  • Deja Vu All Over Again: Songwriter Chris Kennedy - Take a guy whose band logo once featured a straitjacket, who sings along with Marlene Dietrich, and is playing nearly every facet of the music business, and what do you get? Chris Kennedy. The former AND current songwriter and front-man of RuthRuth is reinventing himself yet again -- writing new songs, re-working old songs and finally doing it (as one of his favorite icons once sang) HIS way. Think you've heard it all about the agonies and ecstasies of songwriting? Kennedy can change your mind, in more ways than one.
  • A Songwriter's Many Seasons - An Interview with Don Ciccone - An interview with performing songwriter, Don Ciccone(The Critters, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells).

A short bio:
Terri Ann Palumbo is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer whose work has appeared on shows as diverse as "America's Most Wanted" and "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". Her current activities include work on a non-fiction book, as well as articles on subjects ranging from celebrity profiles to investigative pieces. She's also recently started designing websites (the first being, but she still hits the field to produce television programming for a variety of clients, and has three separate independent television projects in the works. In her spare time, Terri wonders what "spare time" means, and prays that she won't find an answer to the question for a long, long time.

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