This past Thursday, I had the privilege to be a part of a great songwriting get-together. While I have been a member of a local songwriting group here in the Detroit area called Songwriters Anonymous, I am also part of a national group called Songwriting Pro. It is run by Nashville songwriter Brent Baxter, and the concept is to help network songwriters from around the world doing specific genres so that they can showcase, critique and possibly co-write with each other.
One program that is part of Songwriting Pro is a monthly meeting called Pro Connect. Members submit a song that is related to the chosen genre, and 10 songs are chosen for review by a highly respected Nashville publisher. Brent and the publisher will listen to each demo and give honest advice, including good and bad points, suggesting restructuring of the arrangement, and possibly verbal agreements for further promotion of the song by that publisher.
I am not too keen on songwriting “contests,” but this particular session was for gospel music, as the guest was Randy Cox, a popular gospel and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) writer and publisher. A few years back, I co-wrote a bluegrass gospel song called “Superheroes” that I always though was a hit waiting to happen. I wrote it with bluegrass friends Dawn Kenney and David Morris. We had the late Steve Gulley record a demo with his wife (a different bluegrass demo by Dawn appears on my ReverbNation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/mitchmatthews). We have shopped it around for a while, but have had no bites. I decided to submit it for this particular Pro Connect session, and fortunately, it made the Top 10 choices.
The meeting Thursday night was on Zoom, and Dawn was able to join me on the internet with Brent and Randy. Our song was ninth in line, so there were a few ahead of us. There was not really any bad songs in the bunch. I was a bit nervous mainly because the other songs were much more geared toward CCM, and Randy does more work with those songs. He was extremely helpful with each songwriter, but wasn’t afraid to give harsh criticism, which put off one writer. When “Superheroes” came up, I was glad to see that Randy absolutely loved the song. He was honest in saying that he did not handle bluegrass gospel music, but was so much into the song that he provided a direct contact with a bluegrass record company that he felt would use the song.
Needless to say, both Dawn and I were extremely happy, so much that it motivated Dawn to join Songwriting Pro as well. If anything, it is motivating me to get back into writing full steam ahead, especially with a few bluegrass gospel bits and pieces that I have in my old notebook.
Of course, I got only about four hours of sleep that night, ecstatic that I received some notice on one of my works. Inspiration, as well as recognition, can come when you least expect it. I was not expecting much from this submission, but now I am glad that I did submit, and plan to pay a lot more attention to what Brent and Songwriting Pro have to offer.
Chew on it and comment.