Songwriters New Year's Resolution

Four New Year’s Resolutions For Songwriters

Written by: Cliff Goldmacher

After looking back and taking stock of what last year had to offer, it’s time for us to dig in and start preparing ourselves for songwriting success in the year to come.  There are so many facets to life as a songwriter that there’s always something we can do to move the ball forward.  To that end, I’ve listed a few new year’s resolutions starting with the little things and moving up to the big ones.

1.Write down a song title every day

If you take a minute or two every morning to wake up your inner songwriter, you’ll be amazed at the cumulative results by year’s end.  Keep a small notebook by your bed and write down a song title first thing every day.  Don’t spend a ton of time on these, just write down the first thing that comes to mind.  Some of your titles will be uninspired but others will be genuinely unique and song-ready.  This notebook is a great way of not having to start from scratch when it’s time to sit down and write.  Sometimes a title that seemed dull when you were writing it down will inspire a great song when you see it again later.  It’s a small thing but it’s a reminder that inspiration is an active pursuit.

2.Find a new (or your first) co-writer

Carrying the weight of creating a song by yourself is both a worthwhile challenge and a discouraging burden depending on the day.  Sharing the load with a co-writer is a great way to stay motivated and explore different approaches to songwriting.  If you’ve already got an established group of co-writers, go find someone new to get you out of your regular routine.  If you’ve never co-written, now’s the time.  Finding the right co-writer who has strengths where you have weaknesses and vice versa will simply make for better songs.  It takes courage and a bit of a thick skin to open up your creative process to another writer but if you’re both respectful and have a great song as the ultimate goal, you’ll almost certainly be glad you did it.

3.Write a song in a genre that’s new to you

As a country songwriting friend said to me once, “there are lots of countries.”  In other words, try to write a song this year in a musical style that’s unfamiliar to you.  If you write country, try to write a jazz song.  If you write rock, try country.  By expanding your repertoire, you’ll force yourself to study different styles of music.  This, at the very least, will give you a better understanding of what goes into creating your preferred musical genre.  By filtering a different musical style through the prism of your experience, you’ll undoubtedly come up with something unique.

4.Don’t give up

Songwriting is not a profession for the faint-hearted or the easily discouraged.  It can be both exhilarating and demoralizing.  All this to say, no matter how bleak things may appear currently or how far away success may seem, the only trait all successful songwriters share is that they haven’t given up.  A songwriting career is a marathon not a sprint.  If things are tough, it’s ok to slow down, give yourself a break and go on “input” for a while.  Sometimes just living your life instead of trying to document it is the best way to regain your motivation.  Resolve to find the strength to keep at it this year.  There’s a great song out there just waiting for you to write it.

Happy New Year!

 

Bio

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site, http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter including a brand new HD video series available at the link below.

http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/video-podcast-series

Cliff’s company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos. 

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff’s eBook “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” by going tohttp://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EducatedSongwriter

Twitter: edusongwriter

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Submitted by Alison Williams on Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:19am

It's that time of year again.  Let me guess, you have an Holiday CD and you're wondering what to do with it?  You've gone to a lot of work and don't want to just put the CD out for people to use in their shops and parties.  A few dollars for one CD is crazy for all that effort you've put into it.  You've worked for months to write the songs and produce them, so why just hand it away for all to listen to....

It's a hard time of year to actually sell that CD, especially in December when you have finally put it together, right?  But, think again, there are plenty of locations looking for original music rather than the standards. Shops need to bring people in...ask them if you can perform and sell CD's in their business.  This way you are performing, offering support to a local business and getting your work out to the public.  There are customers looking for something different to give during the holidays and what a perfect gift is an original, wonderful CD that can be shared on that special holiday when gifts are opened and shared.

Get your CD's, go to the local shops or public spots and perform!  Bring your CD's and sell them.  Everyone will enjoy your wonderful music and will happily buy your CD as a gift and for their holiday events.  And, of course, don't forget that as the months progress through the year, your name and music will remain in their hearts.  You will have a new following and house concerts will be organized for the months ahead.

So don't be shy, get out there and offer your performance time as long as you are able to sell those CD's...You only have a short time to sell those songs, so join the "shop local" movement and support those small, independent locations and get your work out there for the public to enjoy!

A Conversation with Michael and Patty Silversher

A conversation with Michael and Patty Silversher

How did you get your start?  

MICHAEL-   I started writing songs when I was 8- As the years progressed, I had a rock band for many years performing all over the Bay Area with the band and as a solo act.  I became a staff writer for the 5th Dimension and
then ended up as musical director for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto for 10 years which gave me the experience of writing on assignment, for deadlines,  for characters  and for voices not only with  success as well as failure.
From TheatreWorks, I worked with the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep and composer in residence for the Sundance Institute and most recently, for the Kennedy Center.

PATTY-  I played guitar and wrote songs for fun while in college.  When I met Michael, we entered a Christmas song International songwriting contest and I worked with him on the lyric.  We won.  After that, we started collaborating on many songs and projects.

We started the South Bay Songwriter's Association to bring the craft and business of songwriting to the Bay Area. We  fell into Children's music as we were introduced to the publisher at Disney through a volunteer of SBSA and from there on, our collaboration with Disney expanded to writing and producing over 130 songs with that company.   We have been fortunate to write for the Jim Henson Company, Sony, Warner Brothers, MGM and Children's television workshop having songs recorded and produced by Luther Vandross, Little Richard, Melissa Manchester, Karla Bonoff, Brenda Russel and of course, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzy and our current favorites The Pajanimals!

Who are your major influences? 

MICHAEL-  The Beatles, of course!,  Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein, Traditional Irish music, Peter
Gabriel because he opened me up to a lot of World Music, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and just about everybody
except for Phillip Glass.

PATTY-  Motown, Supremes, Beach Boys, 50's rock and Roll, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Carole KIng,
Hall David and all of the Brill Building writers,  and also every dog I have ever owned inspires me to write
for little people!

What sparks your passion to write?

MICHAEL- What somebody says, hearing a sound and whatever music rises above the white noise

PATTY-  The child inside of me that always has something to say.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

MICHAEL- I love the folks I am already collaborating with-  if there was one person, I would say, Elvis Costello because he would draw the essence of me out of myself.

PATTY-  Actually, I love collaborating with Michael-  I think it would be fun to write with Dick Sherman

Where do you find the best place to write your songs, at home, restaurant, coffee house etc.,?

 MICHAEL-  Doing mindless activities like shopping or cooking and just walking around with my dog.

PATTY-  Well,  Lots of times I will wake up and write ideas down.  Also working at home writing while gardening,  cleaning and sitting in my back yard next to my babbling brook.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

MICHAEL- I want to continue songwriting but I have been composing the scores for some TV shows and I would like to continue doing that as well as writing for films and concert halls.
 
 PATTY- I would like to have a Bichon Farm with 250 Bichons running all over the place and me as the Alpha Dog. On the farm there will be a public Botanical garden with a nursery and a wildlife refuge. An amphitheatre will be in the center  for live community performances and concerts with a small gift shop that has a little cafe.

What made you join WCS?

M & P-  We started it in our living room in 1979  and look where it is today!

What made you decide to become Volunteer with WCS?  What do YOU get out of your participation?

No one would pay us as we had no budget and only volunteers to help us grow-  We started it out of a passion for music and community and also we felt it was vitally important that if one were to be successful in the music business it was 50% the craft of writing and 50% the business of music.

Anything else you’d like to add?

WCS was instrumental in introducing us to a career that has lasted 32 years where we have been privileged to write for every genre of music for all ages and for all people all over the world.

NYC & Nashville Songwriting

As a transplanted songwriter from Nashville to New York City, I’ve had the chance to observe, up close, the approaches to songwriting and the songwriting communities in both cities.  While there are of course many similarities, there are also quite a few differences. By the way, I feel I should mention that the following observations are really more my impressions than hard facts.

 

Differences Within the Similarities

In this article, I’ll start with a similarity between New York and Nashville as it’s readily apparent and then explain how, within that similarity, one city differs from the other.  One of the first similarities is that both cities have huge songwriting populations.  The depth and breadth of talent in both places encompass many more genres that the obvious country music for Nashville and pop and rock music for New York.  There are great pop writers in the suburbs of Nashville and extremely accomplished country songwriters living in Greenwich Village. 

Finding the Songwriters

One difference between the two songwriting communities is how easy they are to locate.  Because Nashville’s artistic community is predominantly made up of singers, songwriters and musicians, it’s much easier to find the music/songwriting community there.  New York, on the other hand, has a wonderful songwriter population, but it’s mixed in with the countless other artists and creative types that live there and is thus less obvious.  In other words, it takes a little more effort to find the songwriters in New York, but believe me, they’re there.

Before moving from Nashville to New York, I’d taken several writing trips a year up to New York and, by a process or trial and error, I found a core group of NYC songwriters that became my go to people on every trip.  This way, when I eventually moved to New York, I felt like I was instantly part of the community even though I had to discover it little by little.   I highly recommend this approach for anyone considering a move to New York as it eases the transition and makes the entire process much less overwhelming.

Co-writing

Although both New York and Nashville have large numbers of songwriters, co-writing is much more a part of the day to day routine in Nashville.  It’s not unusual for a Nashville writer to have five co-writing appointments in a week where they meet with a different cowriter every day in a publishing company office on Music Row.  This happens for several reasons.  First of all, as a hired staff songwriter for a Nashville publishing company, you are given a yearly quota of songs that you need to fulfill. The more songs you write,  the more quickly you’ll fulfill your quota.  Publishers make a real effort to connect songwriters they think will work well together and go as far as to set up co-writing appointments for their writers.  As a result, it’s fairly common in Nashville to be set up on a “blind date” cowrite. Secondly, even though you’re only credited with half a song for a cowrite, it’s easier to motivate yourself to write if you’ve got someone to collaborate with.  The act of scheduling appointments and being expected to show up significantly eases the stress of having to create on a schedule.  This approach seems odd to a lot of New York writers who are either artists themselves and used to writing with their own bands or are songwriters used to working with artists whose schedules are much less predictable.

Lyrics

Staying with the generality that you’re writing country in Nashville and pop or rock in New York,  I’ve noticed  that the rules of lyric-writing between these genres and cities differ significantly.  In Nashville, the story is king.  This means that the lyric has to make perfect sense, the images are concrete and the story has a logical flow from beginning to end.  There’s not a lot of room for poetic, impressionistic lyrics that don’t have the arc of a story.  New York, on the other hand, while it certainly has its share of great songwriter/storytellers,  has a broader tolerance in its pop and rock genres for words that “feel” and “sound” good together.  Please don’t misunderstand.  It takes just as much skill to write a great pop lyric where the words convey the emotion of the song and carry the nuances of the melody as it does to write a great story in a country song, but it’s a different skill set.  I’ve found that switching from one approach to the other can be creatively liberating and quite a bit of fun.  Also, it’s interesting to see how one city’s lyrical approach can bleed into the other’s.  In this way, you can end up with country lyrics where the words in the story sound good next to each other or pop lyrics with the arc of a story to them.

Labels

Speaking of artists, another similarity in the two cities is that they are both home to major record labels and their signed artists.  This alone attracts a huge number of songwriters to both cities.  The difference here is that country music artists are still largely dependent upon outside songs for their projects.  In New York, bands tend to write their own material and it is less common for these artists to go looking for outside songs.  Occasionally songwriters will be paired with these bands/artists in New York allowing the writers to end up with cuts on these acts.  Of course, all of these distinctions are lessening as more country artists write and cowrite their albums as well.

You Can’t Lose

At the end of the day, both communities are great places to work and create.  Ironically, after living in Nashville, working as a staff songwriter and writing for the country market for twelve years, my first cut was with a New York writer and was recorded by an Irish tenor on Universal Records named Ronan Tynan.  In my opinion, it was the blend of our New York and Nashville songwriting sensibilities that came together to create that song.  What I mean by this is that somewhere between the soaring melody more suited to pop and the lyric that had more of a country attention to detail, we came up with a classical crossover song.  So, if you’re a Nashville writer thinking about working in New York (or vice versa) I’d highly recommend it.  Sometimes it’s the differences that create the best art.

Good luck!

 

Biography

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site, http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter including a brand new video series available at the link below.

http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/video-podcast-series

Cliff’s company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos. 

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff’s eBook “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” by going tohttp://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EducatedSongwriter

Twitter: edusongwriter

Get your Music in Film & TV

One of the fastest growing areas for new music is the film and TV industry. With 24 hours of hundreds of TV channels and numerous films being produced daily, the need for  music/songs/soundtracks far outweighs what is available.  Perhaps it's your chance to have your music in TV/Film. However, getting your music to the right person is not the easiest. Have you checked online, magazines and every method for sending in your songs only to not hear at all or told "we'll keep your music on file"?  It's a hit and miss method of getting your music to the right person.

The only way to be certain to get your music heard is to meet the heavy hitters in the industry in person.  Sounds easy doesn't it...but how can you make an appointment and meet them.  Try finding their direct line, try cold calling or even stop by...and imagine the reaction!  

However, the opportunity is here.  Meet the TV & Film guests at the 32nd Annual Music Conference in person, network with them and perhaps you can strike up a good relationship where they will remember you and even call you when they're looking for your kind of music.  

Make the effort, come to the conference Sept 7th-9th and meet Jerome Spence, Darian Cowgill, Adam Levenson, Mason Cooper, Chris Austria and Ryan Gaines.  Imagine -- SIX TV/Film guests to network with in person!

So be sure to prepare your music and bio and study up on the music they're looking for and strike up a converstaion.  You never know what might happen next!  It's your chance to be seen, heard and remembered.

Graham Howes

As I sit working on the WCS Facebook page, I wonder how well it is received and how much is being actually absorbed by those who see the feed.  Now that Facebook only shares your update to roughly 15% of your "LIKES"  -  it's more important than ever to make those entries more powerful, more meaningful and something that will give the "wow" factor to your page.

For musicians especially, it's important to build your fans and keep them updated on your next gig, the award you've won and when the next album is out.  Social media is an ever changing phenomen and something often difficult to keep up with.  However, at the WCS Music Conference, we are bringing one of the most successful social media gurus for musicians to help you build your fans and fill the seats at your next gig.

Come to the conference and meet Graham Howes.   Graham has a multitude of talents.  He is a professional videographer, social media manager and web trend analyst.  He has crafted marketing campaigns for clients and received the following accolades:

Roberta Flack: 

"Graham is extremely resourceful, creative and well rounded.  My go-to for every facet of social media marketing"  Suzanne Koga, Personal Manager

Hiroshima

"Graham is that unique talent that blends youth -- a profound knowledge of Facebook and social media -- with a real passion for music and art on all levels.  Add to this his multi-media talents and amiable nature and you have an invaluable asset to any music or arts media pursuit.  Trust me"  Dan Kuramoto, Leader of Grammy-nominated Hiroshima.

Pamela Rose

"Graham always comes up with a fantastic product - not just great looking and sounding, but with a wonderful creative flair!" Pamela Rose

Tina Malia

"Graham helped me create a social media buzz and awareness campaign that took m;y artist from two outlets to seven outlets.  From outdated content to on-going mega content.  From marginal web presence numbers to a very competitive web presence numbers.  Graham in the hype man!"  Glenda Garcia, Personal Manager.

I think I shall join his seminar at the conference this year, just to make sure that all of us at WCS are doing our best to get the word out to our followers. How about you, shall I see you at the conference and participate in all the panels; seminars and workshops.  Where else can you have the opportunity to work with all these industry leaders who are coming to YOU in one spot for a weekend of incredible comraderie, spirit and education.  Sign up now for the workshops and one-on-one meetings with these wonderful people who are spending time with us.  

Mason Cooper

If you want to pitch your music for TV/FILM, there's no better place to go than the annual WCS Music Conference.  This year, we are thrilled to announce that MASON COOPER will be attending.  With many years of experience and numerous works under his belt - it's a great way to meet him face to face and perhaps entice him to use your music in the next production he's working on!

Mason and his company,  Songrunner Entertainment , are a  full service music supervision company for Film and TV.  Mason has worked on some wonderful projects and with some fabulous people.  Take a look at his past work and upcoming releases...

What's exciting is what he's looking for right now...

"JAMESY BOY"  -  FEATURE FILM

Starring:  James Woods (“Ghosts Of Mississippi” “Citizen Cohn” “Scary Movie 2”), Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds” “West Wing” “The Spiderwick Chronicles” Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction” “Mission: Impossible III”), Taboo (“The Black-Eyed Peas” “Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li”) Director:  Trevor White  Status:    Post-Production

MUSIC NEEDS: MUSIC NEEDS:    (please target the temp artists listed;  no country - stay on the alt.rock side of urban folk;  vocals and instrumentals okay)

  1. SPOT A:   Urban Folk Vibe songs – focus artist style is CITIZEN COPE – temp songs “Holdin’ On”, “D’Artangan’s Theme”, “Sideways”, “Penitentiary”, "Lifeline"  --  match the vibe and the production/sonic approach – lyrics can be general, but a plus if about life, life on the street, struggles, overcoming, redemption, prison (literal or metaphorical), family, dreams of a better future.  (wanting mostly 'songs', but some instrumental pitches okay) (please no 'country' music)
  2. SPOT B:   General Urban Alt. songs – sample artists Everlast, Matt Kearney, Wilco, Color Revolt (please no 'country' music)
  3. SPOT C:   Street Hip-Hop – nothing too heavy sounding – any lyrical themes (street but not too gangsta)  - think Nas, Lil Wayne, Drake…

"KING ME"  -  DOCUMENTARY FILM

Director:  Geoff Yaw;  Producer:  Think Media Studios; Status: Post Production

MUSIC NEEDS: Looking for replacements for the following temp songs as well as some additional styles (more interested in sound/production styles - lyrical content can be general)...

  1. SPOT A:   Temp song to replace:  "Ragged Wood" by Fleet Foxes  acoustic arrangement with the "gallop" drum feel (perhaps an almost african vocal wail/chant approach?)
  2. SPOT B:   Temp song to replace:  "The Click Song" by Miriam Makeba
  3. SPOT C:   Temp song to replace:  "Who Do You Love" by George Thorogood – just a good ol' mid American bluesy rock n roll song
  4. SPOT D:   Temp song to replace:  "Prizefighter" by The Eels (only possibly, don't over-pitch on this spot)
  5. SPOT E:    Temp songs to replace:  TIMBER TIMBRE songs<> "Magic Arrow", "There Is A Cure", "Patron Saint Hunter", "Demon Host"
  6. SPOT F:   South African 'traditional' ethnic or cultural music
  7. SPOT G:   Barbados/Carribean ethnic or cultural music

FUTURE FILM LISTINGS: 6,15,12

  1. "RAGING BULL II"  -   FEATURE FILM
  2. "FACE 2 FACE"  -   DOCUMENTARY FILM
  3. "BIG FINISH" FEATURE FILM
  4. "SWEETWATER"FEATURE FILM 
  5. "DRUNK DIAL" FEATURE FILM
  6. "THE NIGHT CREW"FEATURE FILM 

If you prefer sending in your music cold...check out the requirements: 

  1. PREFERRED SONG PITCH METHOD:  low resolution MP3’s via email to mason@songrunner.com (1 or 2 songs maximum per email, no zip files, under 10mb per email please)
  2. FTPs/Links NOT recommended:  please note that if you send me links, zip files, yousendits or point me to your ftp site (unless specifically requested or approvd), it will take me longer to review your material;  yousendit/linked downloads may not be retrieved in time if they have short expiration dates
  3. CONTACT:  No phone calls please – post questions via email.
  4. RESPONSES:  due to the large quantity of material being reviewed, you WILL NOT be contacted unless we are considering your pitch for a project.
  5. TARGET YOUR PITCHES:  please stay targeted to the “needs” or styles listed per project (NO GENERAL NON-PROJECT-SPECIFIC PITCHES!).
  6. LICENSING / INFO:  please include info with your pitch regarding what % of rights you license (master & synch), any relevant bio/info on artist and songs, etc.

So, do you want to send in your music and hope that Mason listens to it or would you love the opportunity to meet him in person, build a lasting relationship and pitch your songs for now and the future?  If it were me, I'd prefer knowing that I've met him and left a lasting impression...wouldn't you?  So go on, sign up for the conference, meet Mason and all the other industry leaders on Sept 8th & 9th.

Lisa Johnson

As always, West Coast Songwriters finds some of the top industry leaders to attend our annual Music Conference in the Bay Area.   This year is our 32nd Annual Conference and we're just getting bigger and better, yet remaining a fabulous networking opportunity for attendees.  No, our guests aren't at the stage talking ...they're in small seminars, workshops and love to network with every variety of musician imaginable.  So for the next few blogs...I'm going to share with you some of the fabulous people attending!  You won't want to miss it ... sign up now!

Lisa Johnson is the Vice President (Creative) of Razor and Tie  (Nashville).  Lisa joined Razor and Tie in 2011, leaving her own company Sweet Renegade Music, which she founded in 2006.  Prior to that, Lisa was the Vice President of Publishing at Still Working Music,  part of Orbison Productions

Lisa began her career at Sony Records in 1992.  From 1994-97 she was the coordinator for Columbia Records A&R and worked with such artists as the Dixie ChicksMontgomery Gentry and Chet Akins. She began her publishing career in 1997, becoming a song plugger at Sony ATV-Tree.  

She has had songs recorded by a roster of artists including Reba McEntireHank Jr., George StraightJimmy BuffetJake Owen,Brooks and DunnKeith UrbanRachel Proctor, Ronnie DunnTrick PonyRandy TravisJulie RobertsRodney AtkinsTracy Byrd,Clay WalkerEdens EdgeLucy EvansJesse James and Carrie Underwood.

Johnson was responsible for publishing and pitch "Before he Cheats" Underwood's most successful single to date and 2008 Grammy winning Country Song of the Year!

Johnson's most recent successes at Razor and Tie include Jake Owen's two week #1 ALONE WITH YOU, the current top ten single on Jana KramerWHY YOU WANNA, and American Idol's Phillip Phillips first single HOME.

Lisa will be at the conference to network with musicians and will take part in numerous workshops, seminars and panel discussions.  Don't miss the opportunity to meet Lisa in person and pitch your music!  Sign up now...before it's too late.

New WCS Location! Petaluma

 WCS has a new Petaluma Chapter Manager...but he is not new to WCS  as you will see below!  Thank you Mark for your wonderful support of  WCS and for taking on the Manager position! 

 

 

Hello
"If you can't beat em, join em."
It was just over a year ago that I had found West Coast Songwriters. I had heard about a song writing group years ago and had gone to the Sweetwater in Mill Valley to sign up but didn't. Because at that time I didn't have the $35. 

Back to 2011, my first contest/competition April in Petaluma. I was scared. I didn't know the rules, the etiquette. What to do,or how to behave, this from a 57 year old man. I was very unsure of my songs, I had only played for friends and family in the last 25 years, a motorcycle accident in Dec of 89 had changed my playing habits.

The night was a blur of talent, great songs and solid performances. I was out of my league. My turn came. I made it thru the whole song. When I got my critique from the judge I was pleased with his kind word. He gave me an honest and helpful review. Big mistake Steve. You do not want to encourage me. I went to quite a few competitions in 2011, made lot's of friends them went to the conference and helped set up tents and DJ for some song screenings, also made more friends.

Then I decided that my goal for 2012 was to write a song that would win me a competition. Also go to all the venues that WCS has. You have to have goals,
This year has  been memorable. I have lost track to how many gigs I have been to. Close to a hundred now. I haven't made Hollywood or Portland yet...... I'll get there.
I surpassed my goal of a win by pulling down three best song of the month, at San Rafael, Stockton, and Napa. I have two best performance of the month. Martinez,
And Saratoga, and I also have a really nice video from Palo Alto. I won recording time in San Rafael and used it!

Now its time for me to give back to this great community. Bobby Jo kept it alive, but now it's my job to keep it going. I will be hosting the Petaluma chapter PLAYOFFS Wed July 18 at Aqus and look forward to seeing you there!

Come see a Great Show and cheer on the following contenders for PETALUMA BEST SONG 2012.

Jay Gottlieb   Jay is special. He might be the oldest, records were lost in the great flood and his age is unknown. He will be doing a song called "Wyatt"
Rumor has it he knew the man. You should come and make up your own mind.

Chris Hanlin   Plays awesome guitar and vocals that send chills up your spine. (In a good way) sweet notes and a Powerful performer and soon to be a father.

Amy Hogan Uke playing, toe tapping, get up and sing girl. She will get you up and dancing with her songs. I saw her with Bobby Jo at the Mystic. Fun time , don't miss a chance to see Amy do her thing.

Jim Brumm Writer singer, player, knows his way around a fret board, a storyteller, mesmerizing. Jim will be taking us on the carnival ride of our lives. Strap in and hang on to every word

Emily Rose  one of our newest members, Emily moved back to California and is making he presence known, I can't wait to hear more of this lady. She has a guitar that shines like the sun and a voice that will rock your soul. Welcome to the family Emily.

Jim Thompson  Jim had to miss the San Rafael playoff because of a new job. I am hoping he can make it to Petaluma, Jim has a few wins at different venues and is a true Singer / songwriter, Hearing one of Jim songs will transform you. Hearing two will be more joy than you can handle in one evening.

Come hear the music. Sign in at 6;30, order of performance drawing at 6:45 and show starts at 7:00 pm.  This is a peer judged event, All active WSC members are eligible to vote. Come listen and VOTE!

Come hear Great award winning music at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma - Wednesday July 18 7:00 pm

Great Songs, good people, a fun time.
Come out and hear Original Music


Mark Rafferty    E=MC2

2012 International Song Contest Winners

Congratulations to Sylvie Simhon, Grand Prize Winner and Mark Keller, 1st Runner Up of our annual International Song Contest

Grand Prize Winning song was: Sylvie Simhon POP - "I Don't Love You Too" from Los Angeles CA and 1st Runner Up Mark Keller AMERICANA "The Devil Wants Another Dance" from Sausalito CA.

Our office was abuzz with all the applicants for the contest this year. After many hours of listening, discussing and deliberating, our well known industry judges determined the winners for each category.  Grand Prize winner Sylvie Simhon recieved the following:

  • Voyager-Air Package with Voyager-Air VAD-04 Songwriter Series Acoustic Guitar and Hard Case - valued over $700.  The Dreadnought is a legend among pro guitarists worldwide: there’s an unmistakable punch and clarity from its full-size body. PLUS......  . 
  • A Conference Pass for the 32nd annual WCS Music Conference - September 9 & 10 2012 (Value over $250)
  • Sylvie has been invited to perform her winning song at the Sunset Concert at the Conference in front of all the Music Industry Guests (invaluable) 
  • AND a WCS tshirt, and official Winner certificate 

Winners were selected by an Executive Committee comprised of noted singer/songwriters. Past judges and Conference guests include Hit Songwriters and producers Narada Michael WaldenSteve SeskinAndre PessisGeorge MerrillBonnie Hayes, and others. Songs were judged based on melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable). The quality of performance and production were not be considered.

Other Category Winners receive  an ADK Condensor microphone and are listed below:

ROCK Category: Tom Barrett, Daniel Liden and Tommy Liden  "Coming Home To Say Goodbye",  Farnham UK

COUNTRY Category: Chris Donohoe  "All Too Human" San Francisco, CA

SINGER/SONGWRITER Category:  Chi McClean  "Hole In My Heart" San Francisco CA

BLUES Category: Declan O'Donovan  "Cheap Souvenir" Yukon, Canada

FOLK Category: Larry Potts  "Captains of the Dream" Petaluma CA

CHILDRENS Category: Art and Amanda Sirota  "You Need To Go Live At The Zoo" Redwood City CA

GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL Category: Stephen B Steward  "Jesus Reign" Altadena CA

MISCELLANEOUS Category: Thu Tran "The Art Of Missing You" Los Angeles CA

INSTRUMENTAL Category: Eduardo de la Eglesia  "From Despair To Glory" Madrid Spain

Categories that received less than three submissions were moved to the Miscellaneous category per the rules. Thank you all for your submissions. So much talent!

Congrats to all our category winners and to all those who entered the competition.  Be sure to hear their songs  and meet them at the conference in September!

Rocket21 Winners

WCS is happy to work with the inspiring youth social network Rocket21, [where kids explore amazing possibilities for their lives and futures], once again. Rocket 21 announced that 17 year-old Moranda Rasmussen is the Grand Prize winner in the company’s “Dream Here. Dream Big. Shoot for the Stars.” songwriting competition.

Rasmussen, a junior at Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon, was selected by a panel of judges representing the music industry, NASA, and Rocket21, for her original song, titled “Flying”, which encourages kids to dream big and reach for their goals.

“NASA’s legacy has been created by extraordinary dreamers and doers – and Rocket21’s mission is to provide a new generation of kids with a place to dream, along with access to world-class experts and resources. Introducing Ms. Rasmussen and her song at the Kennedy Space Center event is an incredible first step in celebrating her talent,” saidJodell Seagrave, President & COO, Rocket21. “This competition has been a wonderful opportunity for Rocket21 members to showcase their dreams, inspirations, and role models through music and writing.”

Ms. Rasmussen will attend the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Contest Awards ceremony to be held April 12th at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Orlando, Florida. Rasmussen – and her winning song - will be introduced at the event by Country Music Artist Ansel Brown. Brown was selected to perform his original song, “When You Fly,” to honor the Space Shuttle Program on multiple occasions in 2011.

“Music is the pathway to the soul. Music is inspiring, intriguing, exciting and exhilarating. Having today’s youth actually put their hearts and minds into writing an inspirational song to share with the world, is a wonderful thing”, noted country music artist Ansel Brown. “Like the products that NASA has invented throughout its history, songs are invented by creative ideas, thoughts and then words! It was energizing to review the incredibly inventive songs introduced by Rocket21 members in this very cool contest!”

In June, Rasmussen will travel to Nashville for a recording session of “Flying”, with Ansel Brown and acclaimed music producer, Cliff Downs. The song will be available on iTunes later this year.

TV Filming Exhibition

BY STARR SAUNDERS

Hello There,

Sunday I had the privilege of sharing the stage with several other talented WCS members and a newbie songwriter with heart!  I was chosen to perform one of my songs "We Were One" (Written with Robert Lindsey) at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.  It was filmed for a TV Music production which will be aired in May/June.  The energy of the day was so great - I ran into old friends and made new ones.

It is events like these that make me love the Bay Are and WCS (West Coast Songwriters) even more than I do. (If that is possible).  I was on camera a bit talking with the young newbie artist and he and his mentor on the show were asking about the Bay Area music scene.  It came up that the music scene can be so competitive and the vibe can come across really unfriendly etc... Well, I shared about how I don't feel it is that way at all here in the Bay Area and with WCS.  I feel like it is a family and we all have our time to shine.  Today for me, felt more like I was hanging out at Thanksgiving with my cousins and we all just happened to be performing songs.  I think so much of this community vibe comes from all of us being a part of the WCS family as that is where I've met so many wonderful artists and learned so much about how this business works.  I would not have had this opportunity today if I wasn't a member, so I am very grateful to WCS for this experience and I got a ton out of it.

I was proud of the young artist from the show who performed for the first time today.  It takes a lot of guts and trust to put yourself out there and debut your first performance on TV with other experienced artists.  It was inspiring and a great reminder to take chances and follow your truth.

I feel there is room for everyone in this business as there is always room for good music.  This event was filled with good music, people and positive energy.  A great formula for a fabulous Sunday!

As some of you know, I took a break from songwriting and music for a while and last July a "switch flipped" and now I'm back in full force following my heart with music in the driver's seat.  Today was a great little wink from the universe that I am right where I am supposed to be.

Other WCS performers from Sundays Music Showcase included:  KarminaDavid LuningThe ReelPeter ChungChi McClean;Kelsey Jessup and Matt Jaffe.  Industry guests included Michael AczonSteven MemelMira Veda and Jodell Seagrave and hosted by Kaitlin McGaw.

Please note: all photos and details of the show will not be shared until the air date in May/June...so hold on!

MaJor Film/TV Crew at WCS Song Event

The cat is out of the bag...YES... WCS is working with a well known TV Show to produce a Special Song Competition for their final show.   Held at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on March 18th, this FREE event is open to the public so whatever you do, don't miss coming out to cheer on your fellow WCS Members who were chosen by the TV Producers to perform. The screening will be seen on TV ... probably not for a few months, but here's your chance to see a TV Music production filmed...and even perhaps see yourself on the show!

Here at WCS we have been working hard to put this together with 9 West Coast Songwriter members from the show, 3 judges and the Freight and Salvage.  The judges will be Steve Memel; WCS Board Member Mira Veda; A TV Network Producer.  Memel will work with the TV Show participant, which should be great to watch (and learn some personal techniques too);  The judging will follow the normal WCS Song Competition guidelines - Best Song and Best Performer.

All 10 participants will be filmed for the show, as well as the audience... so call your friends, come out and enjoy an afternoon of wonderful music, great fun and the excitement of participating in a special TV production.  One thing...remember, you will be one of the few who knows the answer before the show is screened which makes you one of the elite. Shhh no sharing the winning  information though, you don't want to spoil the surprise for everyone else....  SUNDAY MARCH 18th.  DOORS OPEN AT 11:30 AM.  Show starts at Noon and finishes by 2:30PM.  FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so get there early to make sure you get in!

So who will win? Who is participating from WCS....   OUR HOST will be WCS Board Member: Kaitlin McGaw.

  1. Karmina
  2. The Reel  --  Winners  of the WCS 2011 International Song Competiion!
  3. David Luning
  4. MYSTERY PERFORMER
  5. Matt Jaffe  
  6. Starr Saunders
  7. Chi McClean 
  8. Kelsey Jessup 
  9. Peter Chung  

Enter the Song Competition Now

Photo of 2011 BEST SONG by Cameron Stymeist of THE REEL

photo by John Williams

Have you entered the WCS Song Competition yet?  The deadline is March 13th, so be sure to get yourapplication in soon.  

And if you're thinking...it's just another contest...think again!  Five years ago, Sara Bareilles won our BEST SONG which was the first award she had ever received for her songwriting.  At a benefit  concert for WCS Sara stated that winning the WCS Award spurred her to continue her songwriting and persue the career she always wanted.   She entered the now famous song GRAVITY which had plenty of airplay on the radios. 

Two years ago Michael Jade from Chicago won the BEST SONG Award for Invisible. Michael was also one of the top 40 contestants for last year's American Idol.  With the millions that try out for that show, that is quite an achievement and we were thrilled to cheer him on.

Last year,  Cameron Stymeist and his band THE REEL won Best Song for MADE FOR YOU and have continued to gain a strong following. 

So, don't miss your chance to become the 2012  WCS INTERNATIONAL SONG COMPETITION WINNER!  Sign up now!

Each Entry must include the following: 

  • Completed and signed ENTRY FORM (or photocopy). All signatures must be original.
  • CD each containing one song only, five (5) minutes or less in length.
  • Lyric sheet, typed or printed legibly (please include English translation, if applicable) with each entry. Sheets not required for instrumental compositions.
  • Check or money order for $20.00 (U.S. currency only) payable to “WCS Songwriting Contest”. If paying by credit card, $20.00 per song will be charged to your account.

ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN MARCH 13th 2012

  1. Each song submitted must be contestant’s original work. Songs may not exceed five (5) minutes in length. No song previously recorded and released through major national distribution in any country will be eligible.Songs may have multiple co-writers, but please designate one name only on the application. Contestant may submit as many songs in as many categories as s/he wishes, but each entry requires a separate cassette or CD, entry form, lyric sheet, and entrance fee. One check or money order for multiple entries/categories is permitted. (Entrance fee is non-refundable. WCS is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, postage due, stolen, or misappropriated entries.)
  2. We have some great prizes: The GRAND PRIZE Winner will receive a a Voyager-Air Package with Voyager-Air VAD-04 Songwriter Series Acoustic Guitar and Hard Case - $708.00 msrp -The Dreadnought is a legend among pro guitarists worldwide: there’s an unmistakable punch and clarity from its full-size body. PLUS...... WCS tshirt, and official Winner certificate. They will also be given a Conference Pass for the 32nd annual WCS Music Conference - September 9 & 10 2012. If the winner is a performing songwriter they will also be invited to perform their winning song at the Sunset Concert at the Conference in front of all the Music Industry Guests
  3. • Each category winner will receive either an ADK Condensor microphone (If they don’t win the overall prize) or can choose a Ukulele plus WCS t-shirt, and official Winner certificates.