One Email Away

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Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

It’s ironic that I posted about “8 Ways To Build And Protect A Positive Attitude” on Monday morning, because I felt anything BUT positive.  Maybe it’s just a Monday thing when you’re not heading off to do what you love, and you know you have a full week of not doing what you love ahead of you.  Maybe it’s just life trying to make a hypocrite of me for what I had just posted.

Either way, I was pretty sour.  My next success felt too far in the future, and my last success felt too far in the past.  I felt miles away from where I want to be.  I even had an old buddy return my call about a MvR opportunity, but I didn’t pick up.  I was in no mood to dream and plan.  The rock I’m trying to push up that mountain felt very heavy.

Ever have those Monday mornings?

Well, I eventually started pulling myself out of the funk.  I started listening to some podcasts which inspire, motivate, and fire me up.  That got the juices going some.  Then I called my buddy back and we had a good little chat.  That helped, too.

Then, around 2pm, I got an email from another old friend and cowriter, Roxie Randle.  She said we had just gotten a cut!  The song is called, “No Promises,” and we wrote it back in early 2008.  It’s been cut by an artist out of Oklahoma.  Her name is Sarah Dunn, and she’s on a radio tour right now promoting her first single on Audacity Records.  The album should be out in a month or two.  (You can check her out here.)

I’ve been hearing good things about Sarah, and it’s ALWAYS cool to get a cut.  But what I’m really happy about is that it’s Roxie’s first outside cut.  She’s a talented singer/songwriter and has put out her own albums (check her out here), but this is the first time she’ll get to pop in somebody else’s album and listen to her own song.  She was one of my first cowriters when I hit Nashville in 2002, and I’m so proud to be a part of her first cut.

It just reminds me how everything can change with just one email or one phone call out of the blue.  Believe me, the last thing I expected was to get a call about a cut on a 6 1/2 year old song.  But that kinda stuff can happen when you do good work and put it out into the world.

I have no big expectations for this song.  I’ve learned not to lean too much on what might be.  I’m just thankful for the cut, and anything else is gravy.  And I’m also thankful that tomorrow might bring another call or another email.

But enough about me. What about YOU?

Do you have a story of being in a dark place with your dream, only to have a ray of sunshine just when you needed it?  I think if someone else out there is in that valley, hearing your story might encourage them.  Thanks.

God Bless,

Brent

UPCOMING LIVE MvR EVENTS!

I have two special online small group coaching sessions coming up in August, and I’d love for you to make it.  The first is on “Finding And Focusing Your Idea.”  Learn some of the techniques I have used to generate song ideas that have led to cuts.  The second is a special small group interview/chat/Q&A with new Curb Records artist, Ruthie Collins.  This is your chance to connect with her as she’s recording her debut album and is prepping her first single for release.  It’s a very cool opportunity.  Just click on the image below to find out more about each!

Small Group Coaching 1

 

DON’T MISS A SINGLE MvR POST!

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Brent’s Instagram: Razorbaxter75
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8 Ways To Build And Protect A Positive Attitude

Man vs Row

Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

As I discussed in “A Positive Attitude Matters For Songwriters” (to read it, CLICK HERE), it is very important for songwriters to have a positive attitude. In this post, I’d like to discuss 8 ways to both build and maintain that positive attitude. These are techniques which I personally use (some more than others). Feel free to tweak for your own needs/personality.

1. Regular Bible study and prayer time.

It’s important for me to connect with God on a regular basis. It’s good to spend time focusing on something outside of myself, to remember that there are things more important than music. Aligning with truth helps me to keep the ups and downs of the music biz in proper perspective. Christ has a loooong way to go in making me who I will eventually be, but He’ll get me there.

2. Display trophies.

Sometimes it’s easy to think about present disappointments and forget past victories. Try displaying trophies from your success. My wall includes albums I’m on, a few awards, and some pictures. You might not have that yet, and that’s fine. Start where you are. It might be framing a lyric that was a breakthrough in your writing. It might be framing the comments from a positive song evaluation. A photo from your first writer’s night. Or maybe it’s more of a vision board where you post visual reminders of where you want to get.

Awards Wall

3. Listen to positive messages.

Garbage in, garbage out… so make sure you’re exposing yourself to positive messages. During my day gig, I do a lot of driving, so I’ve really gotten into podcasts. I mostly listen to entrepreneur podcasts, and songwriting podcasts and sermons. Not only do these podcasts inspire and educate me, they keep my dreams in front of me. For you, it might be posting motivational or inspirational messages where you’ll see them often.

4. Serve others.

Get out of your own life and help somebody. A disappointing publisher or pitch meeting loses some of its sting when you’re face to face with the homeless or the sick. Try it out and see for yourself. (Full disclosure: I’m lousy at this, and God usually has to put those opportunities in front of me because I’m too self centered to go look for them. But when I follow through and help somebody out, it always lifts my mood. Who’s really helping whom?)

5. Exercise.

Exercise releases endorphins and helps raise your mood. Getting in shape also gives you more energy for chasing your dreams. Plus, it helps your general self-image and makes it easier to see yourself as a disciplined person who does the right things. If you’re out of shape, that gives you one more thing to beat yourself up about. “The publisher didn’t like my song… and I’m fat.”

6. Enjoy the journey.

Don’t delay gratification until the night of your Hall of Fame induction ceremony. First of all, you might get hit by a bus the week before. Secondly, if you just put your head down and work work work until you reach some far off goal, you’ll probably burn out and quit first. The journey itself is the only guarantee- so enjoy it. Celebrate the small victories- go out to dinner with your team or hang a trophy on your wall. Don’t rest on your laurels, but celebrate along the way.

7. Eavesdrop on yourself.

What story are you telling yourself about your talent, your songs, and your chance of success? It’s important to listen to your internal monologue- that voice in your head that tells you that each obstacle is either proof that you’re a failure or just a hurdle that you’re going to overcome on your way to success. Retrain yourself to think (and talk) in more positive terms. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.  I know, I know.  It sounds kind of “woo-woo new age,” but it’s true.

8. Build a positive team.

Just as it’s important what you tell yourself, it’s important what others tell you. Are they lifting your spirits or pulling you down? Does your cowriter spend half the session complaining how nobody’s getting cuts and great songs can’t win? Or is he trying to figure out how your great song WILL win? You don’t want a team that refuses to see reality and how hard this biz can be, but you also don’t want a team that is defeated from the beginning. Align yourself with the folks who bring out the best in you – both musically and otherwise.

Well, I hope this has been helpful for you. Keep your chin up and keep writing!

God Bless,

Brent

THE PRO KNOWS

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro.  In this complimentary report, learn the mindsets that help the pro songwriter get cuts, earn respect in the industry, and maintain long-term success in the music business.  Just click on the picture below to download this complimentary report today!

The Pro Knows

 

DON’T MISS A SINGLE MvR POST!

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Brent’s Instagram: Razorbaxter75

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Wordplay Thursday #52

Wordplay Thursday

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a writing prompt for you.  It’s a simple fill-in-the-blank. You can use one word or several. Feel free to get as crazy, genre-appropriate, or as imaginative as you want. The point is to get the creative juices flowing. And it’s a good thing to dig deeper, so don’t stop at the first idea that hits you. Try coming up with at least five things.

“The rain fell as steady as _____.”

I’ll give you an example to get you started:

“The rain fell as steady as a surgeon’s scalpel.”

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

SHOUT OUT!

Thanks to Jeff Green, Launnie Ginn, jivauk, Barney Coulter, Debbie74, Matt Martoccio, Janet Goodman, Debbie Convoy, Michael Flanigan, Mae Young, Willa Thompson, Christopher Litz, Robert Sans, Paul Willis, Ken Matthiesen, Jerry Childers, and vodkajones for your great additions to Wordplay Thursday #51 (read it here)! Great job!

NEVER MISS ANOTHER MvR POST!

Hey, ya’ll. If you like this blog, then make sure you don’t miss a single post.  I’ll be happy to send each new post directly to your email inbox.  Just let me know where to send it by entering your email address in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” box either in the top righthand corner or down below.  And I love it when you share this blog through facebook, Twitter, and wherever! Thanks!

Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Facebook: www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Instagram: Razorbaxter75

God Bless,

Brent
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Awards

YouDay
Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

I got some exciting news last week when the nominees were announced for the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs). Gord Bamford, Byron Hill and I are nominated for Songwriters of the Year for our song, “When Your Lips Are So Close.” The song is also nominated for Single of the Year. (It went #1 with Gord as the artist.) By the way, if you happen to be a CCMA member, we’d appreciate your vote!

What award would you love to win? As a writer and/or artist, which award would you take if you could only have one? And, honestly, if you couldn’t care less about awards or if your dream reward has nothing to do with the music business I’m cool with that. I hope you’ll put whatever your answer is in the comments.

What award would YOU love to win?

As a writer and/or artist, which award would you take if you could only have one? And, honestly, if you couldn’t care less about awards or if your dream reward has nothing to do with the music business I’m cool with that. I hope you’ll put whatever your answer is in the comments.

I’ll go first, and I’ll keep it to music.

In 2005, “Monday Morning Church” won a “Song I Wish I’d Written” Award from NSAI. There were only 13 given that year, and the other winning songs included “Bless The Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts, “I May Hate Myself In The Morning” by Lee Ann Womack, “Hey Good Lookin’” by Jimmy Buffett and Friends, and “Memories Of Us” by Keith Urban.

To have one of my songs sitting along side songs written by Hank Williams and Rodney Crowell was simply amazing. What made it even more special was that the award was voted on by only pro songwriters. When I dream about success, it usually involves that award.

But enough about me. What about YOU?

God Bless,

Brent

DON’T MISS A SINGLE MvR POST!

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Brent’s Instagram: Razorbaxter75
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A Positive Attitude Matters For Songwriters

Man vs Row

Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

Success in songwriting and the music business is about so much more than just talent. For one thing, there is just so much talent in (and trying to get in) the business that talent alone is not enough. In a biz where talent is as common as water, attitude can make or break you. So today, I’d like to focus on why having a positive attitude is important.

A positive attitude keeps you going.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. A positive attitude allows you to tap into your deeper energy reserves. Without this, it’s too easy to quit when it’s been a few miles (or a few years) of uphill climb. A positive attitude gets you through the tough times.

A positive attitude draws the right people to you.

Wise, successful people want to surround themselves with positive people. They know that negative attitudes are contagious and toxic, so they intentionally avoid negative people. If you want to keep the company of successful people, it helps to be a positive person.

A positive attitude helps you be more creative.

If you believe you’ll be successful, if you believe your next great song is just around the corner, your mind will be open and receptive to song ideas in the world around you. In a cowrite, you’re more likely to shut down and not contribute if you’re more worried about not saying something “stupid” than you are about saying something that might be great.

A positive attitude opens your eyes to possibilities.

Pessimism focuses on the closed door, but optimism keep an eye out for an open window. A positive attitude allows you to move on from disappointments more quickly so you get back in the game. Pessimism sees only the reasons something won’t work. Optimism sees the obstacles, but it can also envision the path to victory- or at least believes that there IS a path to victory to be found.

A positive attitude helps you learn.

If you always focus on how “bad” the songs on the radio are or what hacks the hit songwriters are, you’re less likely to see what has made those songs and those songwriters successful. You don’t have to love every song on the radio, but they each might have something to teach you. Don’t miss the lesson.

Songwriting should be fun!

Listen, the chance of big monetary or commercial success in songwriting is very slim. If you don’t have a good attitude, if you aren’t having fun, then you should probably find something else to do. Music is meant to be a blessing. If it becomes a curse, you may need to step away for a while.

Take good care of your attitude, and your attitude will take good care of you.

What about you?  What other advantages do you get from a positive attitude?  What disadvantages of a negative attitude?  I’d love to hear your comments!

God Bless,

Brent

DON’T MISS A SINGLE MvR POST!

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Brent’s Instagram: Razorbaxter75
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Wordplay Thursday #51

Wordplay Thursday

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a writing prompt for you.  It’s a simple fill-in-the-blank. You can use one word or several. Feel free to get as crazy, genre-appropriate, or as imaginative as you want. The point is to get the creative juices flowing. And it’s a good thing to dig deeper, so don’t stop at the first idea that hits you. Try coming up with at least five things.

“She blew that town like _____.”

I’ll give you an example to get you started:

“She blew that town like a 50 amp breaker.”

(Hat tip to Aaron Goodvin and Matt Cline, who had this line in their song, “Holly Would.”  The line was just too fun NOT to use!)

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

SHOUT OUT!

Thanks to Debbie74, Matt Martoccio, Jaredith Mize, Christopher Litz, Martin Vipond, Gary Snead, Roger Russell, Barney Coulter, Christian Baxter, Janet Goodman, Robert Sans, Debbie Convoy, Jeff Green, Ronnie Jones, Justin Heath, Amy (Appointed2), Taylor, Willa Thompson, and Ross Hemsworth for your great additions to Wordplay Thursday #50 (read it here)! Great job!

NEVER MISS ANOTHER MvR POST!

Hey, ya’ll. If you like this blog, then make sure you don’t miss a single post.  I’ll be happy to send each new post directly to your email inbox.  Just let me know where to send it by entering your email address in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” box either in the top righthand corner or down below.  And I love it when you share this blog through facebook, Twitter, and wherever! Thanks!

Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Facebook: www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Instagram: Razorbaxter75

God Bless,

Brent
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Should You Copyright Your Song?

Man vs Row

Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

Should I copyright my song?

That’s a question I used to ask, and it’s one I’ve heard a lot over the years from other songwriters. Here are my thoughts on it. Hopefully, this will give you some answers, some guidance and some peace. By the way, I am NOT a lawyer, so this is NOT legal advice.  Always check with a legal professional before making big decisions.

What do the pros do?

I used to work in the royalty department of Bluewater Music. We wouldn’t send off a copyright registration until the day a song was commercially released. The last time I checked, it cost $40 to register a work, and it’s just financial suicide for a prolific writer or publisher to invest that much per song. I’ve had years when I’ve written 100 songs – that’s $4,000 just to register the copyrights! Even if you only register the songs you demo and pitch, it’s still not a good use of time and money.

What if somebody steals your song?

First of all, it’s hard to sue and prove plagiarism. You can’t copyright a title, idea or approach. Secondly, you have to prove the “thief” had access to your song. Thirdly, and most importantly, they’d have to make enough money off your song to make it worth your time to take legal action. Basically, it would have to be a hit. And that is VERY hard to do! The odds of that happening is so very slim that it’s a non-issue. Don’t let it stop you from pitching your songs or playing them out.

Do you protect your songs at all?

Yes. I leave a paper trail to prove the date of creation (which is a huge part of proving ownership). But, honestly, this is more to protect ME from someone suing me. I keep a paper calendar where I write my cowrite dates and cowriters. I write on a laptop, but I also copy the lyric into a series of notebooks with the date on each page. Additionally, I keep the Garageband file of each worktape. For songs which are part of a publishing deal, there’s an additional paper trail- assignments, Schedule A, etc.

You own the song the moment you write it down or record it. Registering your song with the copyright office just helps to prove it.

So, that’s me. I don’t copyright a song until it is commercially released (on more than just a small do-it-yourself indie project). But how you handle it is up to you. If it’s worth $40 a pop to help you feel comfortable sharing your top songs with the world, that’s cool. I hope that gives you some answers.

God Bless,

Brent

DON’T MISS A SINGLE MvR POST!

If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

Brent’s Instagram: Razorbaxter75
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