The NSAI update for the Los Angeles
by Seth Jackson
We write songs because itís what we love to do, and
we dream of being able to earn a living from our music. Weíve all been
told how important it is to take care of the business end of being a songwriter,
and many of us have put considerable time and expense into demoing and
pitching our songs.
The music business can seem like a big, intimidating,
mysterious entity even to those of us who make regular visits to Nashville,
have signed publishing contracts, and have had some of our songs recorded.
It often seems like a lottery, a game of who you know, and how well you
We spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of
demos we need, where to make them, and how much money to spend. We hear
conflicting advice from industry experts and from each other.
We know about the politics involved in getting songs
cut, and we strategize on how we can make the right contacts that can help
put us into the position of the insider. We ponder moving to Nashville
and wonder if itís a necessary step in our careers.
The business side certainly can absorb a lot of our
energy. It can be exhausting and even discouraging. It seems that taking
care of business leaves little time for the creative side of songwriting.
While thereís no denying the importance of getting
ourselves and our songs out there, the good news is that thereís a lot
we can do that doesnít involve publishers, travel, or expensive demos.
It involves continually working to improve our craft and our songs.
The truth is that the business is extremely competitive,
and the best schmoozing, contacts, and demos in the world arenít going
to help if the songs arenít strong enough. On the other hand, if we have
songs that are truly great, much of the business will take care of itself.
The workshop provides an opportunity to help each
other learn and grow as writers. I look forward to a lot of growth in 1998.
January-February '98 Workshop Schedule
Sunday, January 11, 4-7pm at Musicianís Institute - Goal Setting for
the Organizationally Impaired. Do you love the creative side
of songwriting and hate the business part of your career? Do you
sometimes realize that two weeks or two months have flown by and you havenít
written a thing? Perhaps you know you should be networking and pitching
your songs, but you just never seem to have the time. If this sounds
like you, make a point to attend this workshop. It will help you develop
tools you need to boost your songwriting career to the next level while
balancing income, family, community, and personal goals. Craig Lackey,
Workshop Coordinator Emeritus, will be our guest host.
Sunday, January 25, 4-7pm at Musicianís Institute - Group Song Critiques.
The process of giving and receiving critiques helps you to improve your
latest song and to write better songs in the future. Bring one song
(on cassette or play it live) and 20 copies of your lyric sheet.
We also critique lyrics only or music only.
Sunday, February 1, 1997 4-7pm at Musicianís Institute - Build a Better
Song with Guest Speakers Pete and Pat Luboff. Pete and
Pat Luboff are songwriters with cuts by such artists as Patti Labelle,
Bobby Womack, the Ray Charles Singers, and more. They are also well-known
songwriting teachers and authors of the book ď88 Songwriting Wrongs and
How to Right ThemĒ. Pete currently teaches the Monday night workshop
at the National Academy of Songwriters (NAS) that the couple founded 19
years ago, and he serves as the NAS. Secretary of the Board. In this
seminar, Pete and Pat will teach us to build better a song starting with
a strong foundation. They will discuss what distinguishes hit titles and
ideas from those that are run-of-the-mill. From there, they will talk about
how to develop the concept into a song that stands out from the rest.
Sunday, February 22, 4-7pm at Musicianís Institute - Group Song Critiques.
Bring one song and 20 copies of your lyric sheet.
Unless otherwise noted, workshops are held from 4-7p.m. at Musician's
Institute, 1655 McCadden Place, just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.
Admission is free for NSAI members
and NAS members, $10 for non-members. For more information, call Bev Nelson
at (714) 733-2717 or email Seth Jackson at email@example.com.
Bill Bliss is starting an Artist's Way workshop. Call (213)939-2805.
Cathy Carlson recently returned from Ireland where she participated
in the Celtic Harmony project, writing with successful recording artists
and songwriters. She also toured Japan as a backup vocalist for Elvis
Presley, Jr. and Route 66.
Michael Crawford has signed a co-publishing agreement for five songs
with Dixiana Music in Nashville, plus an exclusive writing contract. Three
of the five songs were co-written with Gene Kinzer.
Lisa Blue Fasman's song "On the Wings of Tomorrow" recently appeared
in the #1 hit movie "I Know What You Did Last Summer". The song was produced
and performed by Lisa as well. "I usually write country, and this is my
first song ever for a horror film, but whatever works!"
Rob Meurer has a friend who is looking for country musician/actors
for an original musical theatre production. Call Rob at (818)980-0358.
Los Angeles Area NSAI
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