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Hit songwriter reveals how to write songs that artists want to cut!

The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Boats & Rivers

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on January 17, 2018

In the music business, songs travel on relationships like boats on a river. Think of your song as a boat and your network of relationships as the water in the river. You can have a big, deep river (a lot...

Bullseye!

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on January 10, 2018

Imagine you walk into a room called “Country Music” and Mr. Music Row hands you darts.  He says, “These darts are your songs.  Hit a bullseye with a dart, and that song gets cut.”  You look at the wall on...

Set your goals like dominos!

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on January 03, 2018

Prioritize your goals like you’re setting up dominos. Which of your goals, if you accomplish it, will make it easier to accomplish your OTHER goals? Like toppling dominos, which goal, when accomplished, will help to knock over your next...

You Don’t Have To Be Great At Everything To Be A Songwriting Superhero

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on December 20, 2017

I’m bad at a lot of things. I don’t sing well. I don’t write melodies. I’d be an atrocious producer. I hardly play guitar (don’t even take it to cowrites). Yet... I’ve written cuts...

Do you keep a Hook Book? You should!

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on December 06, 2017

I keep a hook book. It’s where all of my song ideas go. It’s a literal notebook I keep in my desk or carry around with me. There’s also a running list in a file on my...

Songwriting Success: Put It On Layaway

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on November 29, 2017

Remember the days when people largely believed in paying for something BEFORE they walked out of the store with it? A lot of stores like Wal-Mart and Sears used to offer something called layaway. Back when I was a kid,...

Songwriting Patience and Endurance

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on November 22, 2017

Be patient in your pursuit of songwriting success. It takes years of hard work to become a professional-level songwriter. It can also take years to develop the relationships that will open doors in the music business. So endurance is a...

Is Your Song Telling Too Much?

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on November 15, 2017

Are you telling TOO MUCH of your story in your song? Is it really important that you and your love had a fight over whether to go for tacos or pizza for dinner (and you wanted tacos because it was...

Debt is a dream-killer

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on November 08, 2017

Beware of debt- it’s a dream-killer. Financial debt limits your options. Debt raises the amount you have to earn every month just to make ends meet. How free are you to transition from your day job to the roller...

Songwriting Monsters!

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! There are more than a few monsters that haunt songwriters, so I thought I'd share a few of them with you today. Be on the lookout for these ghouls! SCAMpires- These suckers are looking to bleed your wallet...

Songwriting Truth Beats Real Life Facts

Tips & Resources by BRENT BAXTER on October 25, 2017

Remember, if you’re writing to get cuts, your songs aren’t about you. Your songs are about the artist and the listener. You might write a song inspired by a true story from your life, but don’t be...

You Win By Adding Value

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on October 18, 2017

You win by adding value. Opportunities come to those who add value. For example, I brought the idea of “Caribou Barbie” (a Ray Stevens cut) to Matt Cline and Max T. Barnes because they added value by being in Ray...

Are Your Songs Contagious?

Tips & Resources by Brent on July 19, 2017

I read this quote (of a quote) in the book “If You Want To Write” by Brenda Ueland. I think it’s worth considering, so I thought I’d share. “Tolstoi, in a famous essay called, ‘What Is Art?’ said...

$91 vs. $91,000

Tips & Resources by Brent on July 12, 2017

Right now, the statutory mechanical rate in the US (set by Congress) is $0.091 per unit sold. Meaning, each time someone buys an album at Wal-Mart or iTunes, each song generates $0.091 to be split among that song’s writers and publishers. ...

The Big Yes

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on June 28, 2017

When pitching a song, there is a “Little Yes” and a “Big Yes.” The Little Yes is a person who ONLY has the power to pass your song up the ladder. The Big Yes is one of those very few...

Jigsaw Songwriting

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on June 21, 2017

If you’ve ever put (or attempted to put) together a jigsaw puzzle, you know how you set the box right in front of you so you can keep looking at the finished picture? That’s how it should be...

Ignorance Is Bliss… And Sometimes Helpful

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on June 14, 2017

“My song is just as good as the stuff on the radio!” Beginning songwriters everywhere have said it, and I was certainly no exception. And, like beginning songwriters everywhere, I was WAY wrong. Not only did I not know I...

The Links Between You And A Cut

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on June 07, 2017

I think of getting a song cut as a chain- I’m on one end and the cut is on the other. Each link in the chain is someone who has to say “yes” to the song and pass it...

Pick Your Pain

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on May 31, 2017

Success comes at the cost of comfort. And once you have the dream of writing songs for a living (or just getting a song cut) pain is unavoidable. So pick your pain. You can either have the pain that comes...

Facts vs. Truth

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on May 24, 2017

Remember, if you’re writing to get cuts, your songs aren’t about you. Your songs are about the artist and the listener. You might write a song inspired by a true story from your life, but don’t be...

Busy is lazy

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on May 17, 2017

Too many times, our busy-ness is really just laziness. We keep ourselves busy with organizing our writers room, checking email, or checking out an artist’s new record. And none of these are bad things- but neither are they usually...

Going Nowhere

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on May 10, 2017

Do you have cowriters that are going nowhere and taking you with them? You can’t drag a cowriter or potential artist across the finish line. If an artist or songwriter isn’t willing to do the hard things it...

Why won’t a pro write with me?

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on May 03, 2017

I know it can be frustrating trying to land a cowrite with a pro songwriter. I've heard writers ask before, "Why won't a pro write with me?" The question you might want to ask yourself is, “Why SHOULD a pro...

What It’s About

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter on April 26, 2017

The publishers and A&R reps on Music Row don’t want YOU to tell them what your song is about. They want YOUR SONG to tell them what your song is about. Your song needs to be self-contained and...

Before Your Pitch Meeting

Tips & Resources by Brent on April 19, 2017

Before you call to set up a pitch meeting, assume the A&R person or producer will have an appointment with Luke Laird right before you and Don Schlitz right after you. (Look ‘em up if you don’t know...

The Necessary And The Difficult

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, hit songwriter on April 12, 2017

The music business is a tough, tough business, and the path to success travels through setbacks, failure, and doubt. The journey requires you to have patience, and it requires you to do difficult, challenging things. I don’t know of...

Education: “Keep Your Story Moving” by Brent Baxter

All, Tips & Resources by Guest Author: Brent Baxter on September 04, 2014

Today we are excited to have Nashville songwriter Brent Baxter contribute to the Frettie Journal. If you're not familiar with Brent Baxter, he's not just a songwriter with songs recorded by Alan Jackson (the top 5 country hit “Monday Morning Church”),...

Opportunity: The Indie International Songwriting Contest

All, Announcements, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on June 04, 2014

The Indie International Songwriting Contest is an annual song competition to give recognition to some of the best emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist. Over $54,000 in...

Opportunity: A Songwriter Spotlight on Country Uncovered

All, Announcements, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on June 03, 2014

Country Uncovered is the only show that features songwriters the way they should be! It's a two-hour radio program that airs weekly on WCLT-FM/T-100 in Newark, Ohio – part of the Columbus, Ohio radio market. In addition to interviewing hit...

Education: Cool Songwriting & Writing Spaces For Your Inspiration

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on May 19, 2014

When ideas start to run dry every songwriter knows the importance of their own hideaway to encourage inspiration. These spaces can be anywhere, though of course different places will encourage different thoughts. The key for many songwriters is to vary...

Sounds Garden 1: Alternate Tunings For Guitarists

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on May 12, 2014

Since we already started a series dedicated to helping lyricists expand their range and avoid writer’s block, we thought it would only be right to start a series to help out with the musical side of things. So we...

Open Exposure 1: Online Platforms To Start Releasing Your Own Music.

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on May 05, 2014

To start releasing music out into the general public is a daunting task that can quickly fill you with doubt. Will anyone like my music? Are my songs ready? Will people even listen to it? Once you have gotten over...

Education: Setting Up a Home Studio

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on April 28, 2014

Getting a professional sound from home recording gear has never been easier thanks to the range of cost effective, good quality equipment and digital recording devices on the market today. With a little time and research you can put together...

Word Games 1: First Person Character Writing

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on March 24, 2014

Word Games will be a semi-regular feature meant to start you thinking about your lyric writing. Do you feel your writing has gotten stale? Have you got writer’s block? Are you frustrated or even just bored by your own...

Education: Three Books to Jumpstart and Improve Your Songwriting.

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on March 09, 2014

Every songwriter has his or her process when writing. By learning about other peoples' processes, it becomes easier to find your own unique path. Let these books be a jumping off point for your own inspiration and creativity. 1.) The War...

Frettie + SongTopic

All, Announcements, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on February 01, 2014

Wouldn't it be great if you were provided an endless stream of song topics to write about? Well, let us introduce you to SongTopic.com. In their words; "SongTopic is an email based songwriting community that challenges songwriters to respond...

Education: 5 digital tools to help you capture your song ideas while on the go.

All, Tips & Resources by The Frettie Team on January 29, 2014

It's happens to all songwriters. You're going about your day and then all of the sudden a great song idea pops into your head. Great! But not so great if you don't have a way to capture that idea. And...

Education: The power of feedback.

All, Tips & Resources by Dennis Field on January 20, 2014

Feedback is an important part of any creation process. It's the core of what Frettie is built on top of. All songwriters know that feedback is important, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded about the true power of...