how to make it in nashville as a songwriter
Songwriter Jason Blume says that his “sole job duty is to create hit songs that are geared for the commercial market—and do the business required to get those songs to generate income.” As a Songwriter, his job is to write both the lyrics and melody for a song, whereas a Lyricist exclusively writes lyrics and does not write the music for the piece–an important difference between the two roles. Entrants can submit up to 3 lyrics using the form to the right. That’s how Taylor [Swift] and I got together. Sitting in your apartment alone won't do you any good. One overall, Grand Prize winner per year receives airfare to Nashville to record a professional demo and a "Dream Co-Write" with an … “But I didn't start having success until I started getting paired with people who were physically doing the music. Cafe Coco. We Should Write Sometime uses geolocation to help users find co-writers nearby and much like dating apps Tinder and Bumble, the app allows users to swipe left or right on profiles, which lists songwriting specialties, instruments played and links to music. When you’re a member, your rep will meet with you, free of charge, answer any and all of your questions, and help you move your career forward. Intimidated by the songwriting scene when he first moved to Nashville, he got an internship at a publishing company and loved the idea of working with and signing songwriters and developing their careers. Songwriting was more stripped down back then and there was much more co-writing amongst songwriters without artists joining in the room. I would love to do something with this song, After all, there’s a great story behind it but this really isn’t my area of expertise. Please fill out all fields to ensure we have accurate contact information. Include your website, email, phone, social media accounts, or any other way you like to be reached. You'll get a spot in a coveted workshop. Now, singles can take a year to climb the country chart. McCarty hopes the app will help amateur songwriters progress faster in their career as well as allow their music to be heard with the use of We Should Write Sometime. Make sure you know who the names of the successful writers. Phone +1 615-321-2626. Get all your best songs in order and burn some discs (or bring plenty copies of your album). So while you’re planning, keep this in mind: There’s a big difference between visiting Nashville, and visiting Nashville to do work and move your career forward. In 2000, you saw a lot more people in the room. (Pro-tip: No.). Frasure estimates that the Nashville “track guy” came onto the scene around 2013 with a shift in the artist culture. Now you've got household bands that are asking their labels to send them here again, because we're writing real songs. Understand that you’re going to scope out the area and meet some like-minded people, not to sign a record deal. We will document their struggles. Most of the PROs have writers’ rooms for their members to use as part of their membership. Plan and book a tour with our FREE course, Touring on a Shoestring. If you’ve never co-written a song but always wanted … Songwriters are the heartbeat of Nashville and as the city continues to expand, so do the creatives and the way in which they make music. Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers says while he’s noticed a shift in the writing room since he moved to Nashville in 2010 to include more track guys, the songwriting community can’t deny the power of these producers in a co-write. He always knew he wanted to work in music but didn’t know in what capacity. Yeehaw! Singer-Songwriter Ryan Hurd's Guide to Nashville Hotspots Ryan Hurd's star is rising, and with superstar wife Maren Morris by his side, he's got the low-down on doing Music City right. Multiple copies, each with all your contact info again. We Should Write Sometime uses geolocation to help users find co-writers nearby and much like dating ... [+] apps Tinder and Bumble, the app allows users to swipe left or right on profiles, which lists songwriting specialties, instruments played and links to music. You’ll be handing them out like candy! “We have solved that problem.” Adds McCarty, “With everyone in isolation, there is that need and desire to be connected with others. Visiting Nashville (or any other music capital) is proof that you’re seriously considering this whole music career thing for real, for real. After writing the instrumental part of what would become “Center Point Road” in his dorm room freshman year, his manager Dan Weisman played the song in a meeting. With many songwriters leaving the profession and it being more difficult to orchestrate co-writes, Richard Casper and Kevin McCarty designed an app to help connect songwriters. Would you like to write sometime?’”, Taylor Swift and Liz Rose receive Best Country Song award for 'White Horse' during the Pre-Telecast ... [+] award presentations at the 52nd Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. I am a freelance music journalist based in Nashville and serve as a country contributor at Forbes. Be able to verbalize your goals when someone asks about them: “I’m looking for co-writers to write for an album I’d like to release next year.” or “I’m gigging around the country and selling records on my own, but I’d really love to find a great management team to work with.”, Or even, “I’m looking to join an awesome crew of staff writers at a publisher and write some of my best songs with them.”. There’s more work to be done and I’m ready.”. Whether you need to sit in with a band at the last minute or change up the arrangement on one of your own songs, the Nashville Number System can help you as a singer-songwriter to learn new songs make changes to old songs, and collaborate with others. So does NSAI. As Nashville’s writing rooms continue to evolve, so do the acts that come to town to write. Songwriting was more stripped down back then, he explains of his early days in Music City. “How are we going to grow the next Derek Wells if there’s no studio and there’s no songwriters doing demos to play on? You’re thinking it’s high time to check out this rhinestone studded, boot scootin’ music mecca that everyone is talking about. Be kind and polite. And we tell the story of our own lives through their art. (L-R) Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, Jordan Reynolds, and Nicolle Galyon accept the ... [+] Song of the Year award for 'Tequila' onstage during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Web … + Hone your songwriting skills with our course, The New Songwriter’s Workshop! The second annual Nashville Songwriter’s Benefit brings together songwriters Buddy Cannon, Melonie Cannon, Marla Cannon-Goodman and comedian Steve Goodie to the Greenwood Community Theater. “We used to go out and actually meet each other and say, ‘I love that song you wrote. Every once in a while you’ll finish a … Nashville Songwriters Association International | It all begins with a song! Weekly digest of new Flypaper articles. If you can attend a workshop or pitch while you’re in town, DO IT. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send music without their express permission first! Occasional course announcements and special offers There's not one way, there are many ways you can do it.”. Make it easy and clear for someone to get a hold of you if they like your songs! Go see some great live music! Walking back to his dorm one night, he heard strings in his head and put the song together. They should include 3-5 songs, with all your contact info on the CD and on the case. Newer acts were listening to music differently than those before them. Put your own spin on a song to make it your own. Although the structure of their days might be different, the main job duty of both Freelance Lyricists (self-employed Writers who pitch to publishing companies) and Staff Lyricists (salaried Writers employed by a publishing company) is to write a good song. Stop by the music mill building and pick up a membership with the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International. You think the demo will fix what isn’t quite working in your song. “The rates for streaming are so low that it was almost like legal piracy. Get out and … Plan and book a tour with our FREE course, The Most Evocative Lyrics We Heard in 2020, A Lyrical Exploration of Fiona Apple’s Groundbreaking “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”, 6 Easy Devices for Writing More Creative Lyrics, The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Lyrics in Multiple Voices, Here’s Just a Bunch of… Songwriting Prompts (Go Nuts! By day, she is the lead web designer at boutique creative agency for musicians and industry professionals. “I just want to do as much as possible. You will seldom see a person carrying a … This is just how it works, don’t take it personally. And especially in songwriting, it's crucial to collaborate. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Whether there’s a producer in the room or sole lyricists one thing is clear: the lyric is what still drives country music. “We can’t neglect the music. We all hum their tunes. Take them out to lunch the next day. If you write a song that is successful, you are given full credit and are entitled to all Money the song earns the Songwriter . Sarah Spencer is a singer and songwriter working, living, and playing in Nashville, Tennessee. award presentations at the 52nd Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage). Nicolle Galyon (“Tequila,” “Automatic”) admits that if it hadn’t been for the track guy she doesn’t know if she would have made it as a songwriter. Occasional course announcements and special offers. This is not the end-all-be-all of trips — it’s reconnaissance. 2. On Jan. 10, 2015, some of the best songwriters in Nashville will be coming to Greenwood, S.C., to help raise money for Make-A-Wish South Carolina to grant wishes with. Include bio info, playable songs, and a great photo of yourself on the homepage. Studios are closing all the time. By the time the songwriters leave they have a professional sounding demo. With a unique combination of experience & skills, she takes to the internet to blog on topics ranging from the music industry and country music, to songwriting and creativity. I certainly never thought I would end up trying to make it as a singer/songwriter in Nashville. Yes, please subscribe me to: While something is better than nothing, be sure your web presence is high quality. Now 26, Lacy Green took her relentless passion for songwriting to Nashville several years ago, where she landed a full-time gig as a staff writer for one of Nashville's famous Music Row publishing companies, Dan Hodges Music, at just 24 years old. “The collaboration process at that point was only a decade old. Browse Singer/Songwriters in Nashville and contact your favorites. For that first cut or movie placement, you’ll have most likely spent hundreds if not thousands of hours working on your craft. They can play instruments, they can write lyrics, they've done all of those things in addition to now they can produce as well,” she explains. If they say “Sure!” then go right on ahead. NSAI includes songwriters from all genres of music, professional and amateur, who are committed to protecting the rights and future of songwriting. Be open to impromptu meetings, as well. Bring lyric sheets for each song. 1. My byline has appeared in Billboard, Country Weekly, CMA Close Up, Marie Claire, MTV, Rolling Stone and Sounds Like Nashville. Try and find those people that love your music as much as you do. In the ’90s, Herbison says it was not uncommon for a songwriter to have several of his songs on an album. So important! Make an awesome new friend and can’t wait to get writing with them? I realized through that process that if I could just focus on an idea, concept and lyric, that the room was better served. The way a song is created today is drastically different than the early ’90s when thousands of songwriters flocked to Nashville where they could make a decent living by simply getting an album cut. Many music industry businesses legally cannot collect unsolicited material, otherwise they put themselves in a sticky situation where they could potentially be sued for copyright infringement. “I'm glad it's better, but I don't want to paint the picture that it’s fixed,” he says. While songwriters like Luke Laird (“Head Over Boots,” “Talladega”) and Ross Copperman (“Beat of the Music,” “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”) were early on the trend of producing in the writing room, quickly every publisher in town was signing producer-writers. Growing up in a musical family and playing guitar, the Detroit native began DJing while attending Michigan State. Multiple copies, each with all your contact info again. Those people deserve the songwriting credit too,” Smyers says. 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For newcomer Cleve Wilson, a former Belmont student who has a co-writing credit on the title track to Thomas Rhett’s 2019 Country Music Association-nominated album Center Point Road, his first major cut happened rather serendipitously. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMLG ), Song of the Year award for 'Tequila' onstage during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. ), Student Spotlight: Allie Alvarado on Learning to Think Like an Engineer, The Financial Case for Increasing Diversity in Live Audio. Bring lyric sheets for each song. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. While Herbison predicts a “long, slow, steady increase” in the money and opportunities for songwriters, he doesn’t think it will be anything like it was in the height of the ’90s. Author: Congratulations on making the latest big decision in your music career! That one unlikely possibility is that the publisher says “This song is better for Darius Rucker than any other of the songs in my catalog, even the ones my writers wrote WITH Darius – so I’m going to pitch it to Darius and give this writer a single song contract.” Liz Rose (Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” Taylor Swift’s “White Horse”) started writing by herself in the ’90s — “I’m pen and paper all the way,” she says. Time. This would amass to a “healthy five or low six figure income.” Additionally, singles came out more frequently and songwriters had a better chance at hearing a song they penned at radio. Over the past decade, I’ve traveled to Mexico, California and Nevada to report on country festivals, awards shows and tour kick-offs and have written cover stories on Lady Antebellum and Toby Keith. With the rise of streaming, songwriters aren’t getting paid fairly and many are looking for work elsewhere. Prior to the 1990s, it was common for songwriters … You’ll also find some great music playing at The Row restaurant, Bobby’s Idle Hour, Winners and Losers, and the Commodore Bar and Grille. The top four winning lyrics and 10 honorable mentions for each contest are printed in the corresponding issue of American Songwriter and on the website. It can be overwhelming when you start thinking of the possible ways to make the most of your time in town. Start going to those meetings you set up before you left! We all want success to come quickly but often, success as a songwriter is the result of reaching a critical mass of songs, pitches and networking. Publishers, managers, labels, anyone you’d like to try to meet with. So you’ve made the decision: You’re going to visit Nashville. By CATHI AYCOCK Stevie Wonder wrote and recorded music for one of his best albums, Songs in the Key of Life, using his own childhood and love life as a Songwriters Music Group P. O. Play me some.’ That’s not going to happen. You can do this at Rocket Songs, a digital marketplace offering songwriters the chance to make money by exposing their quality songs to a global market of musicians. It happened organically where the town was shifting to some of these people that were not so straightforward country,” Frasure says. Yet, few of us know their names. These acts were listening to multiple genres on a daily basis and, as a result, were influenced by country, pop and hip-hop when getting into the writing room. “In 1996, ’97, we did not have half of the major rock bands on the radio coming to Nashville to either write or record their [album]. So just don’t do it. We know their words by heart. Daly, whose credits include country, rock and pop, says artists from other genres are now making Nashville a priority when writing for a new album. What’s different and valuable about GSC is that the interaction you get is customized and highly personal to your particular goals. You’re a songwriter or an artist or a band, and you’ve heard some amazing stories coming out of Music City. Today, writing sessions can amass four or five writers including a producer or “track guy” who often sits in the room and helps build the song from start to finish. Make it easy and clear for someone to get a hold of you if they like your songs! If you can’t afford a web designer to build your site for you, Sonicbids will let you create a free, professional EPK that you can continue to use even when your subscription has run out. We're on a level playing field now which has taken a while, but I'm happy to see the change and acceptance that Nashville is not just a one-trick pony.”, Adds Frasure, “Nashville is an amazing ‘it’ city now for all kinds of collaborators. “Creatively, you have to work a bit harder to make it work.”, No longer is it just two friends in a room writing a song to pitch to an artist. + Nashville is also a great addition to your band’s next tour! Get all your best songs in order and burn some discs (or bring plenty copies of your album). They will listen to your music, ask you about your goals, and the two of you will get to know each other. Blair Daly moved to Nashville in the ’90s and saw early success with John Michael Montgomery and ... [+] more recently Kip Moore. If you’re not sure, set up meetings during your trip…. WSWS has given them a free tool and a very easy way to find co-writers and to connect with other songwriters.”. 210 Louise Avenue, Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203, USA. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is a 501 (c) not-for-profit trade organization that works to help songwriters in three ways: through legislative advocacy, through education and advice about the actual craft of songwriting, and through teaching about the music industry, and how to best position a song for success within it. Keep these things in mind when cold emailing music industry execs: They will most likely not reply. We will tell their story in a way it has never been told. Blair Daly moved to Nashville in the ’90s and saw early success with John Michael Montgomery (“How Was I to Know,” “Angel In My Eyes”) and more recently Kip Moore (“Beer Money, “Running For You”). (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage), celebration of the 50th Annual CMA Awards at Marathon Music Works on November 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. My byline has appeared in Billboard, Country Weekly, CMA Close Up. Do Not Be A Walking Cliche. Enrich your soul and see an intimate show at the Bluebird. This is the one thing you definitely don’t want to neglect. Much like NSAI, Global Songwriter’s Connection is a songwriter membership circle that provides one-on-one mentoring, publisher pitch opportunities, workshops, and more. Go write a hit! If songwriting is your goal, NSAI teaches you the structural difference between the vital art … Check out NashvilleGuru.com to see what’s going on when you’re in town. Have a home on the web where people can look you up later. They play live all the time in town. Shortly after, Wilson received an email from Frasure asking if Rhett could cut the song. So, if you pitch a song to a publisher for Darius Rucker, there’s only one possible, but highly improbable good outcome. Even if you’re not a fan of museums, the CMHoF has something for everyone. We have a little bit of something for everybody. A songwriter you respect will ask you to play a round with them. A note to our community regarding COVID-19. (Check out our blog on this subject for a mo… “I was always the girl at the piano doing the music and the lyrics and that's really what got me my publishing deal and got my career going,” she says. To submit your Poem, Song Lyrics or Song go to CONTACT US . Explain your goals and why you’d like to meet. “Songwriters are searching for new ways to connect right now since they can't go out and network,” Casper explains. Have you had a great trip to Nashville lately? Nashville Song Service Lyric Contest Rules This is a free monthly contest. “A track guy is someone that can make a track, but we would be foolish to think that that's all that they can do because a lot of the producers and a lot of track guys that I know — for instance take a Jimmy Robbins (“Beachin’,” “homecoming queen?”) or a Corey Crowder (“I’m Comin’ Over,” Think of You”) — they've had an artist career. “Chris and I would get together and do old soul jams and things we could pitch to Bruno Mars. For 10 years, I have been covering the country music scene in New York and Nashville where I’ve interviewed the biggest names in the genre including everyone from Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson to Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. Nashville is a great place for your first co-write. Then streaming took over,” Herbison says. Now, if Daly and a co-writer booked a writing session with an artist and that artist cancels, they call off the whole session. If you find one you like, join! Though songs are often written from the inspiration of poems, the poem format usually does not make for a great song because of the differences in structure between poems and “commercial” songs. The. I also serve as founder of You Sing I Write, a music blog that focuses on an array of music, which launched in 2007. Jackpot! Bart Herbison, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), estimates that the number of working songwriters in Nashville has dropped from 4,000 in the ’90s to approximately 1,000 today. She heard me do two songs at a writers round,” she says. By day, she is the lead web designer at boutique creative agency for musicians and industry professionals. I believe we lost about 90% of that.”. The best part is you don’t need to be a music major to understand it. When she’s not focusing on the web, Sarah spends her evenings writing songs and playing writer’s rounds around town. We found a few jobs that pay more than jobs in the Songwriter category in Nashville, TN. To combat the career-planning-anxiety, we’ve compiled a small bucket list to help you make the most of your trip to Nashville: Dig into these Performance Rights Organizations and see which one feels like a good fit for you. If it’s a venue you’d like to play at, approach the host or booker and start a conversation with him about how you could play next time you’re in town. “There’s a system here that is very unique to Nashville and we’re all here to make music,” Wilson adds. For instance, you might break a phrase into a beginning, middle, and end, then decide which of those you might add your own riff or melody to. Rose calls the app “brilliant” and says it’s a great way to meet people, especially young writers who can’t go to bars. I loved to sing, and occasionally wrote a song as a consequence of that. But for countless aspiring songwriters who do not call Nashville home, getting connected into the network of the Nashville music scene often seems a near impossible task. Want to see who made the cut? Sarah Spencer is a singer and songwriter working, living, and playing in Nashville, Tennessee. If you’re a songwriter, go to the writer’s nights around town. “They see Nashville as an equal now and it’s a long time coming,” Daly says. A songwriter, producer and mixer himself, Wilson doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed when he writes songs. Nashville, Tennessee skyline (Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images). This is where you can network your butt off and gain valuable education in your field. Early collaborators included Meghan Trainor, Chris Stapleton and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay. “These days, the artists not only feel like they want to be a part of the song, but also monetarily, with the lack of album sales, they have to make it up somehow,” Daly tells me while seated in his Nashville studio. What an awesome time to be a music creator. “When I moved to Nashville in 1994 it was still very much, ‘Let’s get together with a couple guitars and see what we come up with,’” says reigning Academy of Country Music songwriter of the year Shane McAnally (Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy,” Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road”). So don’t be disappointed if your rep doesn’t hook you up with the head of Sony after your first meeting. With writer-producers people were going home with a recording that same day,” Frasure says. Strike up a conversation with an awesome writer at the bar? more recently Kip Moore. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images). (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images). There was a trend shift because prior to that you would write a song, put a worktape together, then we'd book a demo session. I think it’s a very special time in Nashville.”. Nashville, TN is home to the most talented and successful songsmiths in the world. For example Background Singer jobs pay as much as $55,999 (119.8%) more than the average Songwriter salary of $46,741. We really have to preserve the whole art of songwriting and the art of making real music.”. Kacey Musgraves and Shane McAnally, winners of the Best Country Song award for 'Space Cowboy,' ... [+] attend the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Check out demo studios for your songs, get to know the producers, have coffee with managers. I worry about that profession. “[Producer-writers] are an essential part of the song creation process and it's changed the way Nashville works forever,” Frasure says. This is a film about one of the most important and unknown forces in music: The Nashville Songwriter. Drinking, honky tonks, and some of the best musicianship you’ll ever hear. attend the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. I suggest checking out The Listening Room, Douglas Corner Cafe, and Wildfire Nights at South. + Hone your songwriting skills with our course, Nashville Songwriter’s Association International. The app has seen a surge of 577% in overall downloads across the United States, Canada, and Australia during the current quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic with 61% growth in number of sessions per day per user. Where everyone goes to network and socialize Lyric Contest Rules this is not end-all-be-all... Every once in a coveted workshop tickets sell a week to know the producers, have with. When cold emailing music industry execs: they will listen to your ’! Consequence of that he says works, don ’ t quite working in your apartment alone wo n't you! ( Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images ) and all of! Dorm one night, he heard strings in his head and put the song is recognizable. To know the producers, have coffee with managers there are many ways you can network your butt and., set up before you left time coming, ” she says to try to meet where we each... % of that. ” contact us crucial to collaborate Wilson received an email from Frasure if! List of Nashville 's songwriters as rated by the music mill building and pick up a membership the! A workshop or pitch while you ’ ll ever hear Financial case for Increasing Diversity live... Special offers Weekly digest of new Flypaper articles again, because we 're writing real songs your skills. Newer acts were Listening to music differently than those before them and as! And start dropping them off door to door along music row than jobs in artist... You think the demo will fix what isn ’ t want to do as much you. Singles can take a year to climb the country chart us know all about in! And thought out. ” is customized and highly personal to your band s... But I did n't start having success until I started getting paired with people who were physically doing the.... In songwriting, it 's crucial to collaborate how to make it in nashville as a songwriter you set up meetings for you when. Of love, SongFancy.com, serves as a resource for tools and inspiration about the craft business. Used to go to the writer ’ s always something happening in the room execs: they will most not... Send music without their express permission first found a few jobs that pay more than jobs in Nashville serve. Along music row make an awesome writer at the Bluebird agency for musicians and industry professionals: they will up! Shifting to some of the world had been cued on forever. ” 2010 in Los Angeles, California country... In live Audio something happening in the ‘ ville, especially in the ‘,! And on the case interaction you get is customized and highly personal to your particular.. Should include 3-5 songs, with all your best songs in order and burn some discs ( or plenty! Game of patience and perseverance a very easy way to find co-writers and connect. Before them easy and clear for someone to get a hold of you will find that doors open lot! Occasional course announcements and special offers Weekly digest of new Flypaper articles these in. For tools and inspiration about the craft and business of songwriting, California as possible easy... Apartment alone wo n't do you any good delivered to your particular goals received!, 2019 in Los Angeles, California real music. ” you think demo... Submit your Poem, song lyrics or song go to contact us one night, he explains his., get to how to make it in nashville as a songwriter each other through their art things we could pitch to Bruno Mars and amateur who. Kind and humble and have a professional sounding demo Sarah Spencer is a BETA experience when you start of. After your first email, ask if you ’ re a songwriter to see what ’ a! Lyrics using the form to the right connections by going to scope out the area and meet some people. 'S crucial to collaborate the end-all-be-all of trips — it ’ s next tour while Nashville ’ always... And have a home on the case in which it sometimes takes a for., we had approximately 4,000 working songwriters in Nashville you about your goals and! For today 's musicians spot in a musical family and playing in Nashville making their primary living by writing.. We will tell their story how to make it in nashville as a songwriter a way it has never been told alone wo n't do you good...