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Learn the art, craft & business of songwriting from hit songwriter, Brent Baxter!

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 of good relationships), but if your boat (your song) isn't well-built, it's not going anywhere. Your song has to be built right to take advantage of your relationships. Just like your watercraft will sink if it has holes in it, your song-craft will end up at the bottom if it has holes in it. All those relationships just mean your song has further to sink.

But maybe your song is great. Maybe it's like a speedboat. Every square inch of it is built to "wow." That's awesome. But if the river is dry, you’re just sitting still. Your song has no relationships to support it. (Remember, songs travel on relationships like boats travel on water.) All that power is just stranded on the dry, rocky river bottom. Frustrating.

Amazing things happen, though, when you put a speedboat on a big river.

When your song is well-built AND you have a lot of good relationships in the music business, it can travel easily and quickly from you to publishers, potential cowriters, A&R, producers, and artists. It doesn't mean that hit singles come easy (they never do), but fast boats on big rivers have a lot of opportunities.

And speaking of opportunities, this brings me to a great one for you- one to improve both your boat and your river.

Each quarter, Frettie's "Know The Row" series brings in a music industry professional to reveal what YOU need to know about breaking into the music business. Ask YOUR questions- and get answers. It's online, so you can join this live video-conference from anywhere in the world. If you miss it, Frettie members will have unlimited access to the video replay in Frettie's Member Area.

Our next guest is hit songwriter, Byron Hill!

Byron Hill

Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron Hill’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles. They have earned ten ASCAP awards, thirty-four U.S. and Canadian top-ten chart hits, and have become hits in many other worldwide markets.

So, yes, YOU want to hang out with Byron Hill and get his advice on the music business!

This exclusive event is February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.

Again, this event is FREE for subscribers of Frettie.com! However, if you don't feel like taking advantage of all of Frettie's membership benefits, you can still get all the details and purchase a ticket with a CLICK HERE.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 the far side of the room, and you notice that there are bullseyes of all different sizes.  Some are fairly large, and some are small.  Some are so small, you’re not sure they’re really even there.  It’s up to you to pick your darts and start throwing.

The room is also full of other songwriters.  Some are just lobbing darts in the air.  They don’t aim at anything, they just throw.  They figure if they throw enough darts, something is bound to land eventually.  Some songwriters throw dart after dart after the smallest bullseyes on the wall.  Some throw darts at blank spots on the wall, where they would like a bullseye to be.  Some are so busy aiming, that the dart never leaves their hand.

If your goal is to get a song recorded by major artist, your best bet is usually by throwing at “the big bullseye.”

Well, how do we do that?

We make choices as songwriters.  And the better we are at our craft, the more options are available to us.  For example, you can choose to write an idea as a slow ballad, or you can choose to write it as an uptempo (fast song).  The uptempo song is the bigger bullseye, because more artists want to cut uptempo songs.  You can choose an idea that makes your singer look good (big bullseye) or look bad (small bullseye).  You can write the song from the point of view of an 85 year old woman (small bullseye) or as a 21 year old guy (big bullseye).

How do you know what the big bullseye is?  Well, size of the bullseye is simply a measure of how much demand there is for a certain type of song.  This changes over time, so you need to be aware of the market.  Trends shift.  What was a big bullseye in the 1990’s might not be a big bullseye anymore.

However, one type of song always seems to be a big bullseye.  This is the “first-person uptempo positive love song.”  That’s not exactly shocking news, if you pay much attention to the radio.  This type of song is probably your best bet to get a cut.  I’m not saying, however, to never write a small-bullseye song.  Those can be hit from time to time- it’s just harder to do.  What I’m saying is: be aware of the realities.

Be intentional.  Be aware of the choices you make.

If you'd like to make better, smarter choices, it sure helps to get advice from someone who IS where you want to be. And this brings me to a great opportunity for you.

Each quarter, Frettie's "Know The Row" series brings in a music industry professional to reveal what YOU need to know about breaking into the music business. Ask YOUR questions- and get answers. It's online, so you can join this live video-conference from anywhere in the world. If you miss it, Frettie members will have unlimited access to the video replay in Frettie's Member Area.

Our next guest is hit songwriter, Byron Hill!

Byron Hill

Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron Hill’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles. They have earned ten ASCAP awards, thirty-four U.S. and Canadian top-ten chart hits, and have become hits in many other worldwide markets.

So, yes, YOU want to hang out with Byron Hill and get his advice on the music business!

This exclusive event is February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.

Again, this event is FREE for subscribers of Frettie.com! However, if you don't feel like taking advantage of all of Frettie's membership benefits, you can still get all the details and purchase a ticket with a CLICK HERE.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

“Know The Row” with Hit Songwriter, Byron Hill!

Announcements by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on January 04, 2018


I'm excited to announce a NEW benefit for Frettie subscribers!

It's called "KNOW THE ROW." Here's the scoop...

Each quarter, hit songwriter, Brent Baxter, brings in a special music industry professional to reveal what YOU need to know about breaking into the music business. Ask YOUR questions- and get answers. It's online, so you can join this live video-conference from anywhere in the world. If you miss it, Frettie members will have unlimited access to the video replay in Frettie's Member Area.

Our next guest is hit songwriter, Byron Hill!

Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron Hill’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles. They have earned ten ASCAP awards, thirty-four U.S. and Canadian top-ten chart hits, and have become hits in many other worldwide markets.

The songs “Fool Hearted Memory” (George Strait), “Pickin’ Up Strangers” (Johnny Lee), “Politics, Religion, And Her” (Sammy Kershaw), “Nothing On But The Radio” (Gary Allan), “Born Country” (Alabama), “High-Tech Redneck” (George Jones), “Alright Already” (Larry Stewart), “If I Was A Drinkin’ Man” (Neal McCoy), “Size Matters” (Joe Nichols), “Nights” (Ed Bruce), and “Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous” (Tracy Byrd), are just a few of the notable songs in his recorded catalog that spans four decades and includes songs recorded by a long list of other iconic and current artists of our time including Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire, Don Williams, John Michael Montgomery, Anne Murray, Juice Newton, Joe Nichols, Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Conway Twitty, Jeff Bates, Highway 101, Barbara Mandrell, Mel McDaniel, Mark Chesnutt, Rhett Akins, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Whites, Ricky Van Shelton, The Seekers, Rhonda Vincent, Colt Ford, Mo Pitney, The Grascals, Blackhawk, Doc & Merle Watson, Asleep At The Wheel, Dionne Warwick, Toby Keith, Gene Watson, Margo Smith, Tom Wopat, Mark Wills, The Kendalls, Porter Wagoner, Sha Na Na, Moe Bandy, Clint Eastwood, Joe Diffie, Brooks & Dunn, Hank Thompson, Mila Mason, Doug Supernaw, The Road Hammers (Canada), Tyler England, Bill Medley, Clifford Curry, Doug Stone, Hey Romeo (Canada), Gil Grand (Canada), Gord Bamford (Canada), Rockie Lynne, Charles Esten & Connie Britton (from the Nashville TV series), Dailey & Vincent, and many others.

So, yes, YOU want to hang out with Byron Hill and get his advice on the music business!

This exclusive event is February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.

Again, this event is FREE for subscribers of Frettie.com! (However, if you don't feel like taking advantage of all of Frettie's membership benefits, you can still get all the details and purchase a ticket with a CLICK HERE.)

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 goal, then the next, then the next?

Look at your goals and how they interrelate. Pick the goal which can really kickstart the others, and focus on that goal FIRST.

For example, let's say you have a few goals including "get more sleep," "write more songs," "eat less junk food." These are common goals- especially around New Year's. So, how do we line up these goals like dominos? The big domino to put first might be a new goal "go to bed at 9:30pm." If you go to bed at 9:30pm, you can sleep until 4:30am. That's 7 hours (which is probably more than you're getting now). That helps with the "get more sleep" goal. But what what about your other goals?

Here's where it gets fun.

"Write more songs." Getting up at 4:30am may give you more time to write- in the morning. Of course, it depends on your particular schedule, but let's say it gives you from 4:30am to 6am to write. That's 1 1/2 hours every workday. So over the course of a 5-day workweek, that's 7 1/2 hours of songwriting! That's like one whole workday just for songwriting!

"Eat less junk food." If you're like me, your junk food willpower goes away late at night. I'll do okay all day, then I'll say up too late and WHAMMO... a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream right before bed. But you can short-circuit that routine with your lead domino- going to bed at 9:30pm. And since you're more likely to eat junk food during the day when you haven't had enough sleep (I can testify to that), getting more sleep also makes it less likely that you'll fall off the wagon during the day.

See how setting the right goal as your lead domino can make it easier for your other goals to fall into place? Take some time today to consider your goals and how you can line them up like dominos. When you do, everything is more likely to fall into place.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

Frettie just got more helpful for YOU!

Announcements by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on December 27, 2017


Frettie is taking it up another notch.

As you know, I want Frettie to be a great resource for songwriters like you. It's here to help you on your songwriting journey, and guess what? We've just added some great new stuff to help you even more!

Our top menu has changed. Now there's a button called, "Members Area." Login, and you'll see several new areas ONLY for Frettie subscribers, including:

PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

Connect with your fellow Frettie members in our private Facebook group page. It's a great way to get inspiration, share your successes and learn from each other and the pros, and it's available exclusively to Frettie subscribers like you.


J.A.M. SESSIONS
Frettie's monthly J.A.M. (Just Ask Me) Sessions are a chance to hang out face to face (online). I start with a short lesson/topic, then we open it up to YOUR questions and topics. It's informative and a good way to get to know your fellow Frettie members (and it's free for Frettie subscribers). Here, you'll find recordings of our previous J.A.M.s as well as the link to our next session. Let's J.A.M.!


KNOW THE ROW
Each quarter, Frettie hosts a "Know The Row" online videoconference with a music industry pro. This is FREE for Frettie subscribers, and you can find recordings of our previous events and a link to our next "Know The Row" here.

QUICK TIPS

Looking for a songwriting tip, but don't have much time? Then this is the spot for you. All-killer-no-filler snack-sized songwriting tips!

And that's not all! So jump on over and check it out.

WHAT IF YOU AREN'T A FRETTIE SUBSCRIBER?

Well, if you don't have a login for Frettie, you should definitely join today!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN FRETTIE TODAY AND GAIN ACCESS TO ALL OF YOUR SUBSCRIBER BENEFITS!

Enjoy the new and improved Frettie!

God bless,

Brent

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 and hits.

You don’t have to be great at everything. If you have ONE skill that is your superpower, it gives you value in the music biz. For example, my superpower is lyrics and song ideas. You won’t call me if you need a killer melody, but you might call me if you have a killer melody that needs a lyric.

It’s better to be great at one songwriting skill than to be “okay” at several. It gives you an identity. It allows you to clarify what problems you solve. (We’re all in the problem-solving business, by the way.)

What’s your songwriting superpower?

Is it production? Lyrics? Melody? Instrumentation? Business skills? Networking? Whatever your superpower is, there are people that need that thing. Find them, and you’ll be their hero.

So if you’ve been stressing out about trying to be great at everything, I’m giving you permission right now to stop worrying about it. Focus on your superpower. Focus on your area of “greatest contribution.” You don’t have to be great at everything. After all, that’s why God made cowriters.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

Songwriting Inspiration Is The Quarterback

by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on December 13, 2017


If songwriting were football, inspiration would be the quarterback and the songwriter would be the receiver. Like any good receiver, we all want to catch the deep ball- the great idea that’s like a 50-yard touchdown pass. But, also like receivers, we can’t MAKE the QB throw us the ball.

However, there are some things we can do to make it more likely that inspiration will throw us the deep ball.

Get on the field.

Show up to work with your pads and helmet on. Nobody ever caught a touchdown in the locker room. You have to get into the game. Pick up the guitar or the pen and get on the field!

Run reliable routes.

You know you’re not going to get the ball thrown to you on every play. But you still need to build the discipline to be where you’re supposed to be when you supposed to be there... just in case. This means you show up to your writing room on a consistent basis. That way, in case inspiration throws you a great idea, you’re in the right spot to catch it.

Work to get open.

If you run your route halfheartedly and let the defenders cover you, they’ll either keep inspiration from throwing you a great idea, or they’ll knock it down before you catch it. This means you don’t show up to your writing space and spend half your time on Twitter or thinking about what you need to get at the grocery store. These distractions are like the defense- they’ll keep you from being able to catch that great idea. You have to keep your mind “open” to catching it.

Catch the short passes just like the long bombs.

Not every pass (song idea) is supposed to be a touchdown. But just because all inspiration has been throwing lately are short passes, it’s still your job to catch them with good technique... then run like crazy.  That way, when inspiration throws you a touchdown, all you have to do with it is what you’ve done time after time with EVERY idea. You don’t have to freak out (and maybe drop it). You’ve prepared for this moment with every song.

Play like a champion on every play. Write like a champion on every song.

God bless... and Go Team Frettie!

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 computer. I’ve had it for years, and many of my cuts started out as a line in that hook book. Some of them sat around for a few years before I wrote them.

You probably need to keep a hook book, too.

Don’t just HOPE to remember your best ideas. Some titles might not even make sense right now, but they could in a few years when a new artist comes along, trends change, or you have new life experiences to bring to that title.

That’s why ALL my titles and ideas go in my hook book- even the “bad” ones.

I don’t do quality control when determining what titles/ideas to put in my hook book. Everything goes in. I keep my quality control focused on what I decide to write OUT of that book. But no idea is too stupid, dated, uncommercial, or whatever to go into the book.

Remember, it’s YOUR hook book. Nobody else has to see it, so you don’t won’t be embarrassed by what’s in it. Be bold, be fearless, be silly, be... a writer!

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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, it worked like this: My mom would pick out a big item like a bike for Christmas or something and “put it on layaway.” The nice folks at Wal-Mart would put it in the back with Mom’s name on it. She would come in periodically and give them some money toward the bike. When she finally paid off the whole thing, she could take the bike home to me. Merry Christmas!

Funny as it sounds, success is a lot like buying something on layaway.

We pick out our “bike” - our desired success. But just choosing your success doesn’t mean you get to leave the store with it. You still have to pay for it BEFORE you can take that success home. Your success, whatever it might be, goes behind the counter. How soon you get to actually OWN that success largely depends on how often and how much you put down on it.

You can have an awesome goal in mind, but if you never come back to the store and put payment toward it, you’ll never get it.

Even little successes never happen if you forget about them.

You put your payments toward your success with your time, your energy, your effort, and you wise decisions.

There is no credit card for success. You have to pay for it before you get it.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 major component of songwriting success. Being able to stick it out through the ups and downs, the rejections rejections and more rejections and just the time it takes to acquire world-class skill is, in itself, a world-class skill. Most people will quit before they get good enough or build enough relationships. But that doesn't have to be YOU. Your story can be different. You can be the one who sticks it out- the one who doesn't quit on the edge of success.

The antidote to quitting too soon is simple, but it isn't easy.

Keep working hard. Don't give up.

God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 Cinco de Mayo and they wanted pizza because it was a new restaurant out of Chicago with a lot of buzz)? And does it matter that you were already annoyed because your sweetie pie had been on the phone ALL DAY checking sports scores or sale prices instead of paying attention to you? And that it had been building up for days 'cuz your maybe-future-mother-in-law had been in town and kept quietly taking shots at you and your love handles and your honey bunch didn't stand up for you?

Yes, a certain amount of details (especially in country music) are important. But don't let the facts get in the way of the emotional truth. Don't let the little details distract the listener from the important stuff. Sometimes it doesn't matter WHY you got into a fight. Sometimes all the matters if that you got into a stupid fight, and now you want to make up. You can still paint the picture of the current state of your love life without having to paint all the events that led up to that.

Sometimes all that extra, unnecessary stuff shows up in the first verse, and it can all be cut out. This makes your 2nd verse a jump-right-into-the-heart-of-the-story awesome 1st verse. Try it out. See if some of your songs are telling too much. Then get ruthless with the eraser or delete key. You'll be glad you did.

Keep writing and God bless,

Brent

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 coaster creative life if you have to pay on a ton of unnecessary debt every month? How supportive will your spouse be if you're already stretched to the max NOW? How much money can you put back for the transition if you’re in those kinds of chains? Not only does debt keep you in your day job, it puts pressure on you to work those overtime hours instead of using that time to write.

Is that REALLY the lifestyle you want? Really?

Say “no” to the 97" 3D virtual reality spray tanning TV. Say "no" to the 8-bedroom house with the Koi pond in the front yard. Say "no" to the "big boy toys."

Say “yes” to your dreams instead.

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable and learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips about the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 dry. They may look like real pro writers, but they are the UNpro. They walk among us, but only to feed upon us. The best way to defeat a SCAMpire is to expose his or her lies to the harsh light of day.

WHEREwolves- Where the heck is your cowriter? They were supposed to be here 30 minutes ago! And they won't answer their phone or return a text, either. It's as predictable as a full moon. The only silver bullet to defeat these WHEREwolf cowriters is to schedule them as part of a 3-way write. That way, when they no-show, you and your other cowriter can survive to write a song without them.

SONGbies- These slow, plodding songs drag themselves up and down Music Row. They overrun amateur writers nights. Their relentlessly sad songs try to bring a tear to your eye, but they only seem to eat your brain. The only way to escape them is with some fun uptempo songs. That will help you stand out from the SONGbie horde.

Fire-Breathing DRAG-ONS- These monstrous cowriters spew flaming negativity all over the writing room and on everyone they encounter. They make your cowrites DRAG ON and on. They will burn your positive attitude to the ground. They cannot be defeated- your only hope is to escape! If you're stuck in a cowrite with a Fire-Breathing DRAG-ON, try faking a stomach bug or simply go to the bathroom and climb out a window. It might be awkward, but it'll be worth it.

I hope you can avoid these songwriting monsters and have a very happy Halloween!

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable and learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips about the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 so determined to keep ALL the facts true or accurate that it makes your song confusing, complicated, or boring to the outside listener. After all, real life is messy, and it doesn’t always fit neatly into a 3-minute song. Sometimes it does, and that’s great. But a lot of times, it just doesn’t.

What matters is the emotional truth- the feeling you want the listener to feel. The listener doesn’t care about you (heck, they probably think the artist wrote the song anyway). The listener cares about connecting to the song.

If you want to write the song (or an alternate version of the song) for yourself, that’s great. It’s a worthy thing to do. But if you want cuts, it’s to your advantage to give the truth a higher priority than the facts. It’s about communicating emotional truth, not facts.

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable and learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips about the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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’s camp and because they write that kind of song very well. The value I brought was a title that Ray himself told me I should write.

Lisa Shaffer and Bill Whyte brought the title and idea of “Crickets” (a Joe Nichols cut) to me because they thought my lyrical sensibilities would make the song better.

Artists bring the value of having a record deal. Published writers bring the value of experience and a team of songpluggers. What’s your value? Great hooks? Do you do your own demos, saving costs to your cowriters? Do you have artist potential? Great melodies? What can you do to add value? If you identify it, you can sell yourself on it.

PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable and learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips about the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

Welcome Our Newest Pro Song Reviewers: The Mizells!

Announcements by Brent Baxter on August 02, 2017


I'm pumped to announce that Frettie's newest song reviewer is... TWO song reviewers! Sam and Becca Mizell are hit songwriters who have had cuts in the country world by artists such as The Band Perry and Jana Kramer. However, it's in the Christian market where they have REALLY excelled.

Highlight cuts include:

“King Of The World”
Soft AC NO. 1 radio single, Grammy Nomination

"The Motions” recorded by Matthew West
ASCAP song of the year, Grammy Nomination, NO. 1 AC radio single 14
weeks(co-produced and wrote)

"You Are Everything” recorded by Matthew West
ASCAP song of the year, NO. 1 AC radio single 4 weeks (co-produced and
wrote)

"The Words I Would Say” recorded by Sidewalk Prophets
ASCAP Award, AC NO 1. radio single 3 weeks

"All That Matters”
ASCAP Award, CHR NO 1 radio single 4 weeks

"Hear My Worship" Inspo NO 1 radio single

"Give This Christmas Away"
duet with Matthew West/ Amy Grant AC NO.1 radio single

Some of their achievements include:

24 top 10 radio singles
2 Dove Awards

"Greater Than Grace"
Christian Country recorded song of the year

"Our Time" (written and produced)
Gospel Hip Hop record of year

2 ASCAP Song of The Year
11 ASCAP top 25 most played awards
2 BMI Awards

Crazy, right??? And this is just some of their highlights! They've had songs recorded by:

Matthew West, Amy Grant, Sidewalk Prophets, Mandisa, Jana Kramer, The Band
Perry, Billy Ray Cyrus, Avalon, Point Of Grace, Jamie Grace, Natalie Grant,
Jordin Sparks, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, Mark Schultz, 33 Miles, Salvador,
Phillips Craig and Dean, Addison Road, PureNRG, Building 429, Michael
English, Rush Of Fools, Geoff Moore, Anthony Evans, The Martins, Jump 5,
Rachael Lampa, Helen Baylor, David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Kathy Troccoli,
Chris Rice, Jenny Berggen(Ace of Bass), Bob Carlisle, Vestel Goodman and MORE.

These good people (and they ARE good people) are awesome songwriters! And as a Frettie member, YOU can send your song to the Mizells and get their professional feedback within a week.

God bless,

Brent

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 something like this: Art is infection. The artist has a feeling and he expresses it and at once this feeling infects other people and they have it, too. And the infection must be immediate or it isn’t art. If you have to puzzle timidly over a picture or book and try, try to like it and read many erudite critics on the subject so that you can say at last, ‘Yes, I think I really do begin to understand it and see that it is just splendid! Real art!’ then it is not art.”

Are your songs contagious? Do they infect the listener immediately with the feeling you put into the song? If not...

Keep writing.

PS- If you want to read more of my thoughts on the art, craft and business of songwriting, download my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter" at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

Welcome, Sandy Ramos!

Announcements by Brent Baxter on July 18, 2017


I'd like to welcome hit songwriter, Sandy Ramos, as our newest Pro Reviewer!

As a songwriter.... Sandy's songs have appeared on over 25 million CDs. Her first big cut came in 1989 when she had a Top 5 record "Don't Waste it On The Blues" by Gene Watson. Over her writing career Sandy has had major label cuts on Lee Greenwood, Faith Hill, Neal McCoy, Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray, The Whites among others. She's had Top 10 country hits, a #1 dance hit with Rhett Akins "I Brake For Brunettes" and her biggest album cut to date "Let 'er Rip" was on the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" debut CD.

If you'd like for Sandy to give YOUR song her professional input and feedback, she is ready to listen! Just choose the Frettie song you want her to review, then click on "Purchase A Song Review" for more details. It's simple!

$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.

Just for the sake of easy math, let’s say you write a song by yourself and own the publishing. All that $0.091 goes into your pocket. If you get one song cut on an indie project which sells 1,000 units, that’s $91. Okay.

Now, say that same song is cut on a platinum-selling album (1,000,000 units) That’s $91,000 you just made- before taxes.

Indie cuts are great, and I’m thankful for every one I get. But I’m careful about how much time I spend on them (pitching, writing for, etc.). After all, it takes 1,000 indie cuts like that to equal just one platinum cut. That’s 91,000 reasons to spend a lot of time working on a song and cut with platinum potential.

Keep writing.

PS- If you want to read more of my thoughts on the art, craft and business of songwriting, download my free ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter" at www.GiftFromBrent.com.

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 people on a project who actually decides what gets cut.

Don’t just assume that the artist is always the Big Yes.

If the artist is brand new, the producer might be the Big Yes. Or the head of A&R at the label might be the Big Yes. If you’re pitching for a specific project, don’t be satisfied with just pitching to the Little Yes. Try to identify the Big Yes.

Keep writing.

PS- If you want to read more of my thoughts on the art, craft and business of songwriting, check out SongwritingPro.com. Thanks!

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 with your songwriting career.

It’s hugely helpful to keep your “big picture”- your goal- in front of you as you sift through the massive stack of puzzle pieces. The pieces are your everyday choices- what you decide to do (and not do) and when you decide to do it.

Keeping your finished picture in mind helps you see how certain pieces might fight together and where they go on the board. Keeping the finished picture in front of you also helps you stay motivated. You can look at it knowing it’ll be beautiful when it’s complete.

Keep writing.


By the way, I'm so thankful that you've decided to drop by Frettie, that I want to give you a FREE GIFT! It's my ebook called, "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and you can get it at www.GiftFromBrent.com. In addition to some great insight just from that book, you'll also receive regular songwriting tips, creative kickstarters and advice right to your inbox. It's a great way to keep learning and to stay inspired. Thanks!

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 was wrong, I had no idea just how wrong I was. And I’m glad I didn’t know! If I had realized just how far I had to go, I might’ve been so embarrassed by my suddenly-bad songs and so intimidated by the journey ahead, that I might’ve put the pen down for good.

If you have that “I’m almost there!” mindset along with a strong work ethic and willingness to learn, you might eventually get as good as you originally thought you were!

By the way, I'm so thankful that you've decided to drop by Frettie, that I want to give you a FREE GIFT! It's my ebook called, "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and you can get it at www.GiftFromBrent.com. In addition to some great insight just from that book, you'll also receive regular songwriting tips, creative kickstarters and advice right to your inbox. It's a great way to keep learning and to stay inspired. Thanks!

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 along down the chain. However, each link is also a person who might say “no” and break the chain. The longer the chain, the greater the chance somebody will say “no.” If the chain is broken, you have to find a different link to pass along your song. It's kind of like a board game where you have to go back a couple of spaces.

Therefore, it’s worth taking time to build the relationships which make your chain shorter. This is one of the reasons it’s valuable to write with the artist or the producer- it really shortens the chain. Cut out as many links in your "cut-chains" as possible!

God bless and keep writing,

Brent

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 from trying or the pain that comes with NOT trying.

There’s pain in putting your songs out there just to have them rejected. There’s pain in getting up early to write before you go to your “day job.” And there’s the possible pain of failure- of never getting that cut or getting to make a living writing songs. There’s pain when you cut back on eating out so you can pay for that demo. But on the other side, there’s pain in knowing you didn’t try. There’s pain in not knowing what might’ve happened if you had really put your heart into it.

If you have a dream, pain WILL happen. So... which pain will you pick?

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 so determined to keep all the facts true that it makes your song confusing, complicated, or boring to the outside listener.

What matters is the emotional truth- the feeling you want the listener to feel. The listener doesn’t care about you (heck, they probably think the artist wrote the song anyway). The listener cares about connecting to the song.

If you want to write the song (or an alternate version of the song) for yourself, that’s great. It’s a worthy thing to do. But if you want cuts, it’s to your advantage to give the truth a higher priority than the facts. It’s about communicating emotional truth, not facts.

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 the BEST thing.

To many times, these activities are just a way to avoid the important things. And why do we avoid the important things? Usually, it’s because they’re difficult, unpleasant, or scary.

Staring at a blank page is hard- staring at a full email inbox is easy, and we fool ourselves into thinking we’re being productive. But we aren’t. We’re just scared and lazy. Or sometimes it’s easier to work on a song than to make those uncertain phone calls that might land that big cowrite.

So put on your big-boy or big-girl pants and do what you know is the important thing- not the lazy thing.

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 takes to be successful, you can’t make them.

It’s frustrating to watch people with a ton of potential waste it, but that’s their choice to make- not yours. It’s time to let go so you can have more time to partner with people as motivated and hard working as you are.

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 write with me?”

Remember, you are asking for at least half a day with a writer who has limited time and who is trying to keep a gig in one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Every day he or she says “yes” to someone is a day they say “no” to everyone else. This is not to say that pros never write with non-pros. They sometimes do. But when they don't, it's usually nothing personal. It's business. Part of YOUR job in this business is to position yourself to be one of those people.

Good luck!

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 self-explanatory. After all, if your goal is to get your songs on the radio or on an album, it has to stand on its own.

How many songs get a spoken explanation on the radio or a playlist? Yeah... that's what I thought.

Don’t let your introduction of “I wrote this song about..." or "I wrote this song because...” become a crutch to prop up your songwriting. Make sure your song stands on its own.

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 who they are.)

If your song can’t compete with the best of the best, put down the phone and pick up your guitar. You still have more work to do.

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 any hacks or tricks which avoid hard work.

In the marathon that is the music business, it's easy to want to avoid the difficult thing. For you, it might be picking up the phone or sending that email asking for a publisher meeting. Or it may be learning ProTools. Or finishing that stack of songs. But when those things are the things necessary for your success, you just have to suck it up and do it. But we often finding ourselves staying busy with the easy (unnecessary) things as a way of hiding from the necessary, difficult things. We have to be honest with ourselves, know what we tend to avoid, and face those things head-on. You might need an accountability partner (or the Frettie Members Forum on Facebook).

However, it is important to remember that not all hard things are necessary, nor are all necessary things difficult. For example, you may find writing lyrics easy, but writing melodies to be terribly difficult and just plain not fun. Well, maybe writing melodies is difficult but not necessary for you success (that's the angle I take). Or maybe it's the reverse. Your necessary/difficult mix will be unique to you.

But to maximize your efforts, you want to identify which is which, and avoid the unnecessary and do the necessary, whether difficult or not. Wisdom, experience, and the advice of the wise and experienced is vital to telling the difference. Good luck and God bless!

“The Song”

by Brent on March 29, 2017


I’ve run into some aspiring songwriters who believe they have “the song" - the song that will set the world on fire. And if they can just get “the song” to Kenny Chesney or Carrie Underwood, they know it’ll be a surefire hit.

Well...

The hard truth is that it’s foolish to put all your hopes on ONE song.

So much timing, luck, and networking goes into getting a cut, much less a hit, that you need a CATALOG of great, commercially-viable songs. If you have a bunch of great songs working their way through the system, MAYBE one will get cut.

If you've really written one great song, that's awesome. Now focus on writing more great songs.

So… what’s up with Frettie?

by Brent on March 22, 2017


So... what's up with Frettie?

Hello!
Just in case you missed the previous announcement from Dennis, I'd like to catch you up on some major new developments at Frette. The sad news is that Frettie's amazing co-founders, Dennis and Julie, will be stepping away from the daily responsibilities of shepherding the Frettie community. They've done a wonderful job, and I'm very thankful for them. I'm sure you are, too.

The exciting news, though, is that Frettie is NOT going away!

I've been a fan (and member) of Frettie for a couple of years now. So when Dennis approached me about serving the Frettie community as its new proprietor... I jumped at the chance!

I've been teaching the art, craft and business of songwriting for a few years now - through my blog, podcast, live events and workshops. Shepherding a great group of songwriters like you and the others in Frettie is an exciting next step in helping songwriters grow and earn success.

I want Frettie to continue to be a great place for you to post and get feedback on your songs. But I also have some exciting new things I want to make available to members of Frettie- things that are really going to add to the value of your membership.

I look forward to going on this journey with you!

God bless,

Brent Baxter
ps- If you'd like to know more about me, you can check out at www.songwritingpro.com/about

Indie International Singer-Songwriter Contest!

All, Announcements by Frettie Team on August 03, 2016


-The contest is only open to the Singer-Songwriter genre
-Artist can submit up to 3 songs
-This contest is capped at 150 entries..so limited spots available.
-Choose between a Basic Entry ($30) numerical score, or a Written Critique ($40) to which the pro judge will give feedback on different aspects of the song.

Deadline is Aug 26th, 2016

View complete rules & contest details here: https://www.indieinternational.com/rules.php

Check out Indie International Website

Get your songs reviewed by an industry professional today!

All, Announcements, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on February 17, 2016


Today we're excited to announce that you can now get your songs reviewed by a number of industry professionals right here on Frettie. Choose from hit songwriters, award-winning producers and more! We tested this service out awhile ago and the response was overwhelming so we decided to create a more integrated experience for you all and gather a larger panel of songwriters for everyone to choose from. We think is just one more great addition to the Frettie platform!

Here's how it works:

We're excited to connect you to some of the most recognized songwriters, producers and industry representatives in the industry so that you can get even more feedback on your music. Song reviews on Frettie are super simple:

1. Upload your song to Frettie or send them a song that has already been uploaded.
2. Select an industry progressional from the list.
3. Complete the order form and purchase your review through Paypal.

That's it. The industry professional will then be in touch with you and deliver the review back to you.100% of the purchase goes to the songwriter. We take nothing. All that we ask is that you tell your friends of this great new service and give a big thanks to the professionals who are making themselves available to the community!

Who's currently excepting song submissions through Frettie?

- Don Poythress, Hit Songwriter
- Holly Steele, A&R Rep and Award-Winning Songwriter
- Jonathan Roye, Award-Winning Producer
- Bobby Boyd, Hit Songwriter
- Lon Van Eaton, Platinum-Winning Producer & Songwriter
- And more!

Have questions? Check out our FAQ's page or drop a note in the comments below. If you'd like to be considered for the panel, please shoot us an email!

Spotlight: Meet February’s featured songwriter Mary Segato

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on February 09, 2016


We’re excited to announce that Mary Segato is our featured songwriter for February. Mary's been a member of Frettie from the very beginning and we're excited to finally get a chance to learn about her process and see what she's been up to these days. As always, if you like it and find it valuable, please don't hesitate to share it with others!

Where do you call home?
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Where did you grow up?
Halifax, Nova Scotia

When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song at 16 years old.

How did you get started in songwriting?
I had been writing poetry for a few years when my children were young. As they became older, I picked up my guitar after a very long absence and started writing songs.

Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
No, but my uncle had played guitar. This introduced me to my passion for music.

Do you have an ideal setup?
Although I did set up a small space for music with a tascam recorder and mic, I don't use that space to create, but rather to record my demos. But now with the usage of cell phones, I usually just record on that. It is always nearby when I'm feeling creative.

What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I recently finished "A house in the sky" by Amanda Lindhout, "The World in Six Songs" by Daniel Levitin, and "Virgin Cure" by Ami McKay. I am now reading "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters.

Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
This is difficult because I have many. But definitely Carole King, Diane Warren, and Adelle would be among my favorites.

What is your songwriting process typicaly like (from start to finish)?
Well I usually pick up my guitar by my fireplace, and if something is brewing inside my brain, it is usually apparent very quickly. I then keep playing what ever piece of the melody is with me until a song starts to take shape. Sometimes the lyrics and music come together in which case I quickly record and write the lyrics down. Other times, I just have the melody which I record and come back to at a later date if lyrics come. Other times a phrase has come to me that I write down which usually ends up being a title to a future song. Once I have the bulk of the song down, I then go back to it for a few days or longer to refine my lyrics. Often, I find if I don't at least get the majority of the song down, it is unlikely that I go back to it. I have lots of melodies on my phone that I never seem to get back to. If I think the song is reasonable, I will then have it recorded.

What album are you currently listening to?
Today, I have been listening to Adelle, Ed Sheeran, and Dean Brody.

What other creative outlets do you have besides songwriting?
Throughout the years I have done scrapbooking projects, knitting, beading, poetry, and cooking.

How do you stay inspired?
I think life experience everyday is what inspires me, either through my own personal experience or from others around me. It could be something I hear on the news that has a strong affect on me which inspires me to write down those feelings. I find songwriting to be a great form of self expression and dealing with feelings that sometimes we are not really conscious of.

What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
I think my biggest challenge as a songwriter is getting my songs heard. I am not a singer/songwriter and do not perform.

How important is environment in your writing process?
I am definitely a creature of habit! I always write in the same place. I like to have quiet and be by myself when I'm creating. I need to break out of this and start the co-writing process which I recently have done with my daughter. This was a very interesting process for me. I hope to do more of this.

What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I usually write in the evening by my fireplace, but the odd time have written in the morning; although seldom, because I don't seem to be that disciplined. There are always other things I feel I have to do first.

What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
I think my favourite memory would be the first award I ever received for placing a song in "Song of the year". It was one of the first songs I'd ever written and it was recorded with me singing and playing which I don't like to do. I guess it was a confidence builder to keep trying and writing more!

How do you maintain your professional growth?
Well I have only been into songwriting for the past 5 years, so haven't done a lot of networking with others. In the beginning there is a lot of self-learning, but I have gone to 3 or 4 songwriting workshops over the past few years. I also try to read the various articles to different music sites I belong to, for example Songwriters Association of Canada.

When it comes to lyrics: pen and paper, or computer?
I have never used the computer to write. I always have my notebook nearby.

What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
I have won numerous awards as a semi-finalist and finalist with ISC, UK, Song of the year and a few others. I also won Songwriter Universe January 2015. Most recently I won Toronto regionals for IMSTA FESTA songwriting competition. I am presently competing against the winner from NY, Chicago, and LA. We each had to write a new song with "Santorini" in the title. The winner will go to Black Rock Studios in Santorini, Greece. The winner to be announced at NAMM in California the end of January.

If you could provide any advice to up-and-coming songwriters, what would it be?
I think the biggest thing for me to realize is that you must be "thick skinned" and not take too seriously what anybody has to say about your music. Music is very subjective, and just because one person doesn't like it, doesn't mean you're not a good songwriter. Also, I will always learn something from every critique regardless of whether it is favourable or not. Most importantly, the more songs you write, the better you get. Like anything in life...practice, practice, practice.

What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I really don't use any online tools, sometimes the dictionary online if I'm looking for a word.

How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
I think Frettie is a great resource for songwriters, especially for getting feedback from other like minded people. When you are starting out as a songwriter, it is a little intimidating when there is no support network. Getting feedback on your song from non-musical friends and family is not as helpful as it is from other songwriters.

What's next for you?
Hopefully good things:) I don't really know, but hopefully the near future brings me to Santorini, Greece! I would like to concentrate on getting my music placed, and writing new songs. Maybe get another FACTOR Grant, which I was grateful to benefit from in 2015.

Thanks for the time Mary! One final question.. Besides Frettie, where can readers and songwriters find you?

You can find me on Frettie, Facebook, Soundcloud, and my Website!

We encourage everyone to give Mary a shout out, say hi and check out the awesome music she's writing on Frettie!

Until next time!

- The Frettie Team!

P.S. Want to be a featured songwriter on Frettie? Hit us up in the comments below!

Sell your music through Frettie with Gumroad, iTunes, CD Baby and more. What are you going to sell?

All, Announcements, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on January 15, 2016


Part of what makes Frettie so great is that it’s the perfect platform to share your song ideas with others for validation and feedback. Frettie makes it easy for you to share a song in progress, refine or rewrite it and then share it again for more feedback from the community or industry pros. That's been awesome, but we figured why stop there? We think that one of the ultimate forms of feedback, is whether someone will actually purchase the song or not, so we built a quick way for you all to test that.

Now, whenever you post a song on Frettie, you have the option to include a "Purchase link/URL” for that song and add a price. Once you add a link and a price a “Buy” button is then added to that song for anyone to purchase it. If someone clicks that button, they’re taken right to the source to purchase that song. A purchase link could be any link from iTunes, CD Baby, Paypal, Gumroad (our preferred) or wherever else you may be selling your music. Since no transactions are happening on Frettie, we take nothing from you. You’ll get 100% of the sale from our end. However, it’s important to note that you are still subject to any fees from any other service that you may be selling your music through.

Julie and I feel not only is this the ideal next step for getting feedback, but selfishly, it also finally gives us a way to purchase some of the great music that you all are posting to Frettie. Plus, there’s the added bonus of the community helping each-other fund their careers. And there's more.. this feature is not just limited to the community. If you share your Frettie song detail page with your fans or anyone else, they too can purchase the song though Frettie. This is a great way of maybe selling a song that may not be ready for mass distribution on iTunes etc., but does fit the Frettie mold of sharing and selling the music you’re creating as you’re creating it.

Want to see an example? http://frettie.com/track_detail/219

We think you'll really enjoy this new feature and we welcome any feedback. Let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing what you begin selling on Frettie!

Want to take your songwriting to the next level? Join Frettie today!

Spotlight: Meet January’s featured songwriter Wonder

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on January 12, 2016


We’re excited to announce that Wonder is our featured songwriter for January. Wonder's been with Frettie for some time now and we're excited to have had the chance to learn about her process and see what she's been up to. Check our her interview and songwriting process below. As always, if you like it and find it valuable, please don't hesitate to share it with others!

Where do you call home?
The grand northwest and everywhere else.

Where did you grow up?
Boomeranging back and forth between Portland and Olympia, Washington so I gestated a healthy sense of perpetual displacement.

When did you write your first song?
I was five. It was about rainbows and butterflies. I liked pink. If the pumpkin spice latte had been a thing then, I would have repped that #PSL swag for days. #basicwhitefiveyearold

How did you get started in songwriting?
As a kid who struggled to make friends, once I learned to write I became my own best friend and entertainer by writing stories. When I turned into a teenager and discovered that boobs and hormones do not in fact better equip you to talk to people, the stories turned ino poems of angst and self-pity. Then, one day, the poems became songs. And now the songs are stories again. (And I have friends who are real and not imaginary, so sometimes I even write happy things).

Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
Everyone on my dad's side of the family has a penchant for singing. The rest of my relatives love and fear musical ability as an unattainable sorcery which is either to be revered or probably kept as a hobby.

Do you have an ideal setup?
I performed spontaneously in the dining car of a train to Portland on morning and never recovered. I'm a sucker for ninja gigs and just being asked to play on the spot. But house concerts come pretty close. There's magic there I haven't been able to find anywhere else. That atmosphere of intimacy is what I live for.

What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I read "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer pretty religiously. "How to be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran, and "On Writing" by Stephen King keep me company often as well. I recently picked up "Poetry as Insurgent Art" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti when I was in San Francisco at City Lights. It's a tiny, beautiful book.

Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
That's a cruel question to ask someone who makes music. I worked on Carnival Cruise ships as a performer for the last year and a half, playing covers for four hours every day. It's a job that demands versatility and a huge repertoire. But if you want names, I'll give you names. The Band Joseph, Penny & Sparrow, and Harm (they're from Alaska. They're my friends. Go listen).

What is your songwriting process typicaly like (from start to finish)?
It varies, but usually the song starts putting itself together at a super inconvenient time when I'm far, far away from anything to write with or play on. Last night I started composing one in my head while driving home from Redmond at midnight. I burst in the door, brusquely informed my bandmate I would be ignoring him for the rest of the night, collected my guitar and notebook from my room, and holed up in the mostly-soundproof-but-tiny-and-also-freezing laundry room. An hour later, I had a brand new song finished and recorded onto my phone.

What album are you currently listening to?
The 1975's self-titled album. #allweseemtodoistalkaboutsex

What other creative outlets do you have besides songwriting?
I have a super secret morose poetry blog on tumblr that I nurse when I'm feeling extra pretentious. My Instagram is @WonderTruly, which is a public and smaller version of my blog but with pictures and less whining.

How do you stay inspired?
It's hard not to, honestly. I'm empathic to a fault, so I have the problem of trying to contain everything I'm feeling or sensing from the world around me. I immerse myself in art--sounds, colors, syntax--my creativity is a vital organ. I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't constantly running at the front-middle of my brain somewhere.

What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
What's challenging is not just being a songwriter. It's also being a human being, and trying really, really hard to be a good one. Like most (all) artists, and most (all) humans, I've got my messy bits. I entertain thoughts and say things that are brutal and ugly and mean. Sometimes I hurt people without ever saying sorry.

In my songwriting itself, I am constantly challenged weighing the honesty of my writing against the musicality and how digestible it is as a finished work. Ultimately I hope to never compromise on the integrity of my honesty to get something to sound a certain way.

How important is environment in your writing process?
Fairly important. I absolutely can't write if someone else is in the room with me, or if there's a TV on or other music playing.

What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I can write just about anywhere, at any time. I've definitely woken up at 4am to no alarm to write a song before. We just got back from our first tour, where on our 20-hour drive day I co-wrote a song with my bandmate from the driver's seat while he juggled a ukulele and a notebook in his lap to transcribe my neurotic songwriting process.

What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
The classic response of playing someone a song you wrote for them, and seeing them be touched in a way no other gift or words could reach them. That's really special.

How do you maintain your professional growth?
My friends and colleagues know me as a social media ninja. I'm constantly updating my platforms. I make a point of staying plugged in to the regional music community, always challenging myself to do better, and be inspired by my musical peers. I treat my brand like what it is: work. It's a job. I put more energy and time into this daily than I do with any other job or project I have. And it shows. The response wasn't immediate, but after three years of building a social media presence, I have a fanbase that's robust, devoted, and constantly growing.

When it comes to lyrics: pen and paper, or computer?
I'm very tactile. Pen and paper, all the way.

What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Finishing our first tour was a huge milestone. We played 23 shows in 29 days, playing down the west coast everywhere west of the Rockies. All our shows were donation-based, and most of them were house concerts hosted by my fans. More than one person mocked me to my face when I announced that I wasn't going to demand a guarantee for the shows, but we profited more from the house concerts than I ever have from a bar gig.

Also, on our second to last show of the #WonderWinterTour on New Year's Eve at the Beery House in Seattle, I got to play my music for Jason Webley, one of my heroes whose music changed my life. That was a big deal.

If you could provide any advice to up-and-coming songwriters, what would it be?
Be honest. Throw rhyme scheme to the wind. Don't worry about whether you're echoing what other people have said--as long as you're writing true to what's on your soul, it'll be authentic. Surround yourself in equal measure with friends who will fawn over your writing like it's the second New Testament, and also friends who are educated in music, better than you are at it, and who will give you some hard criticism. That's the only way we grow.

What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
Sometimes if I'm stuck and don't know what chord scheme I want to use, I'll open up Ultimate Guitar and find one of my favorite songs and pick through it on guitar until I get bored enough or inspired enough to play something new and different.

How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
When I first joined Frettie, I had only just moved to Seattle. I was playing at open mics, or "shows" where there was no guarantee and no bar percentage, so completely free labor. I was just breaking into the music scene and making friends. Frettie was a cyberspace parallel to that. It was awesome to get feedback from strangers on songs I'd just written, especially when most of the bars I played were either empty or semi-full of people who were there to ignore me.

What's next for you?
More touring! And finishing up the next couple albums that have been in gestation for the last two years.

Thanks for the time Wonder! One final question.. Besides Frettie, where can readers and songwriters find you?

You can find me on Frettie, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, YouTube and my Website!

We encourage everyone to give Wonder a shout out, say hi and check out the awesome music she's writing on Frettie!

Until next time!

- The Frettie Team!

P.S. Want to be a featured songwriter on Frettie? Hit us up in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Ray² Photography

Announcing the top Frettie songs of 2015.

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on December 28, 2015


2015 has been a great year for Frettie and we can't wait for 2016 and for everything that we have planned. Before we close the chapter on 2015, we thought it would be great to look back at some of the most popular song from the year. Below are the most popular and reviewed songs from this past year. We'd love for you to check them out and chime in on the discussions if you've not already. It's never to late to give some feedback!

1.) "Outta Your Head" By Luke James Shaffer
2.) "I'll Be Your Rain" By Jayne Sachs
3.) "Carnival" By Mikalyn Hay
4.) "Wishing" By Mary Segato
5.) "Get All Your Troubles" By Roman Villar
6.) "Hallowed Ground" By Ross Hemswort
7.) "Love Happens" By Sarah Spencer
8.) "Turn On The Light" By Martin Lorentzson
9.) "She's A River" By Brent Baxter
10.) "Light It Up" By Ryan Langford

Cheers to 2016 and happy songwriting!

Spotlight: Meet April’s Featured Songwriter Brent Baxter

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on March 29, 2015


We’re excited to announce that hit songwriter and blogger Brent Baxter is April’s featured songwriter on Frettie. Brent’s interview with us is full of great advice for songwriters at all levels. Learn how Brent first caught the songwriting bug, how he works songwriting into his busy schedule as well as the importance of staying lean so you can follow your dreams. As always, we hope that you enjoy this interview. If so, feel free to share it with others.

Q: Where do you call home?
I live just outside of Nashville, having been in Tennessee since 2002. But I grew up in Batesville, Arkansas, and that will always be home. It's a town of around 10,000 in the beautiful Ozark foothills.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
By accident, I guess. Growing up, I was always writing words- parody lyrics, bad poetry, short stories, making my own comic books, and even a song lyric or two. But it wasn't until my buddy, Tim Meitzen, put a melody to a lyric my sophomore year in college (1994) that songwriting hit me like a ton of bricks. I fell hard, and I've been writing lyrics ever since!

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
Growing up, my mom sang in the church choir and would do the occasional solo. Dad played a little piano. But that was about it. Of course, now that my folks are retired and have moved here to Nashville, Mom has her own band. I kid you not. They play shows. Maybe I should write with her...

Q: What is your songwriting process typical like?
Being a lyricist, I'm a title-first or idea-first kind of guy. Once I get a title that I think is interesting, I roll it around to see where it could go and if it would be a good fit for an upcoming cowrite or project. If so, I might map it out by deciding where the first verse, chorus, and second verse could go. I might have some specific lyrics written out. Then I'll take it in to a cowriter. I usually don't walk in with a complete draft of a lyric. I like to have a good nugget and leave things open enough for my cowriter to have a lot of melodic options. And once the melody starts happening, it'll inform the lyrics- the language, phrasing, tone, etc. But sometimes we'll work the other way around. My cowriter will have a melody or feel, and we'll look for a hook that fits that feel and go from there. I enjoy both.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
Laptop, cup of coffee, and a meeting somewhere on Music Row with a good trusted cowriter. I love the energy. Also having an artist in the room always helps!

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
Between the kids and work and everything else, I'm afraid I don't have much time for reading (though I love reading). Takes me forever to finish a book. I like non-fiction: Christian, economics, politics, business, and some history. When it comes to fiction, I usually grab a Vince Flynn or Brad Thor political thriller. Light reads, but fun books. As for blogs, I have my own blog on songwriting called, "Man vs. Row" at www.manvsrow.com.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Man, I'm sure everyone says that's a tough question! My top all-time artists would have to include Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jimmy Buffett... and everyone who ever cut one of my songs! As for songwriters, there are some folks whose songs just have staying power with me. Bob McDill, the Garth Brooks crew: Pat Alger, Kent Blazy, Kim Williams, Garth himself. It was really the songs on those albums that made me such a huge fan. Same with those George Strait writers like Dean Dillon and Aaron Barker.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I like the current Eric Church record. I'm sure by the time this interview gets out that I'll be spinning the new Garth Brooks. And the new Ruthie Collins album on Curb. She's a buddy and cowriter. And awesome. Plus I have a song called “Vintage" on there!

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I don't! I mean, I'm not ALWAYS inspired. Even when it's time to write, sometimes the craziness of life and stress can take you out of your creative headspace. The challenge is to find a little quiet and to push past the "I don't feel like it right now- I just want a nap or to veg out" feeling. I know I'll be glad I did. Walking into the writing room with a trusted cowriter is always inspiring, though. I'm just happy to see them, and I'm excited to see what the session will hold.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
Making time to write! I have two kids under 4 years old, a wife who (thankfully) likes me to be home, a full time day job... and I might try to sleep when the kids let me. It's hard. My job takes me on the road a lot, so I try to do some thinking in the truck and stay up after the family has gone to bed. And I get up around 5am to have a little time (although our baby likes to get up then so I end up with her a lot). Then I'll schedule a couple cowrites a month. I've had a full-time writing gig, and I hope this time away from it is just a season. But it's what I have to do right now to feed the family. I'll sleep later, I guess.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Anywhere and any place! Ideally, it's daytime somewhere on Music Row. But that's not an option right now. So I write at night at a cowriter's place or on the Row.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
Hearing Alan Jackson's cut of "Monday Morning Church" for the first time. It was at the Billboard office in Nashville. One of their writers, Deborah Evans Price, had a reviewer's copy of the upcoming single. My roommate at the time worked there and told her I hadn't even heard the song yet. So she invited me in and played it for me. It was a GREAT feeling. I had her play it for me twice! If you want to hear the demo you can listen to it on Frettie.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Professionally... Having a top-5 hit with Alan Jackson. Getting to write a song with Randy Travis. Getting to be a full-time songwriter for several years.

Q: If you could provide any advice to an up and coming songwriter, what would it be?
Be in it for the long haul. Keep your monetary overhead low. The more money you have to bring in each month to pay for mortgage/rent, cable, credit card bills, etc., the harder it's going to be to make enough to be a full-time songwriter. Build a side-gig that brings in enough money and gives you enough flexibility to keep writing and ride out the highs and lows. And keep hungry, humble, and teachable. Always work to stay current. Write better songs, build better relationships, repeat.

Q: What’s next for you?
Well, I hope to continue with the growth of Man vs. Row, turning my teaching into a solid platform which will allow me to write more (it's that flexible side-gig I mentioned earlier). And I'll continue to write as much as I can with a few select folks, mostly artists. With limited time, you have to be a lot more careful about where you put your energy and effort.

Q: What value do you think Frettie can bring to the songwriters? What value have you received from it?
I wish there had been a Frettie when I was starting out! First of all, the site isn't spammy- it isn't about people just yelling "look at me!" Folks are willing to share their feedback on others' songs, and that's cool. I think that outside perspective is really valuable as we grow as songwriters. Thanks for all your work!

Q: Thanks for your time Brent. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?
My home on the web is my blog, www.manvsrow.com. From there, you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Drop by and say "hi!” You can also connect with me on Frettie.

We hope you enjoyed that. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Until next month.

Spotlight: A Follow Up Interview With Sarah Spencer

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on December 08, 2014


It's great to hear what our featured songwriters have been up to since we last spoke with them. This month we reached out to Sarah Spencer who’s been with Frettie since the very beginning. She gave us some great insight on how Frettie has helped her and how she incorporates Frettie into her writing process. She also filled us in on a new project she’s working on called SongFancy and we think everyone will find that useful as well.

Q: Can you believe it has been over a year since we last interviewed you? What have you been up?
I know, right? Things are good! I'm still writing a lot, and doing a lot more co-writing. I found a group of friends that I really love writing with, and we've got some killer songs. I’ve also been playing out more and more - Played at the Bluebird, and did my first house show. I think I've also gotten a cut since we last spoke, so that's pretty cool. These days I’m also putting a lot of energy into a new blog called SongFancy.com. I started SongFancy as a place for other writers to go for inspiration. I’ve had fun taking photos, writing and planning out the content.

Q: How have things changed for you since the last time we talked?
Honestly, I feel like I was sprinting for a while, and now I've started to slow down! Certainly this is not in a bad way. I've taken a little more time for myself. I’ve been focussing on figuring out how I want to shape my career. I've started putting a lot more emphasis on playing, connecting with people, and writing for myself. More artist-type stuff.

Q: What have been some struggles this past year that you think other songwriters could relate to or would find interesting? How have you learned from them?
Funny you should ask! This past year has forced me to learn a lot of hard, but reassuring truths about being a songwriter. The main struggle I keep running into is, everyone has an opinion! There's a rule for everything! That drives me crazy. I really do appreciate guidelines, advice, and other people's expertise. However, this year, it's been all about finding my own voice in the mess of "proper commercial songwriting".

It's so easy to get caught up in workshops and feedback. One person wants the chorus to lift more. The next person thinks your verses are too long and that the song needs to be more conversational and blah blah. It can be hard to inject your own artistic vision into a piece when all you're thinking about is, "Will this song tick off someone who could potentially get it heard?" I'm learning that there's a happy medium between "commercial" and "innovative". I'm constantly writing to that.

Q: What have been some of your wins our proudest moments this past year?
Playing the Bluebird was pretty cool. And I'm playing it again on December 14th at 8pm, if any of y'all Frettier's are in town!

Q: How has Frettie or the Frettie community contributed to any of the successes you’ve had this year?
I've absolutely forgotten how helpful it was to have Frettie as a part of my songwriting process. I've posted a few new tunes this month, and I've already gotten some great feedback from the community. Not only that, but the addition of the new Frettie Facebook group has integrated itself into my social media life! I'm on Facebook more than anywhere else online, and it's nice to have the Frettie community right there for conversation and collaboration.

Q: Have you adapted Frettie into your songwriting process?
I have! It's so simple to just toss up a worktape when I first write a tune. I literally 1. write the song, 2. play it into my phone, then 3. upload the worktape and lyrics to Frettie. I get to ask specific questions about points in the song I could use some input on. Usually after the first round of writing a song, I'm full, and don't go back to it till later. So during that time, I'm sharing it with Frettiers and gaining valuable feedback to take into the rewrite. Frettie is perfect for my process.

Q: What is your next goal as a songwriter?
To always improve and write better. Ultimately, I'd love to be a staff writer at a publisher with a bunch of friends.

Q: What new projects are you working on?
Well, I just had my first online streaming show and I had a blast. I hope to do more of those steaming shows in the future, but this first one was a test run! Along with that, I've also started a songwriting inspiration blog called SongFancy.com. I write about my experiences as a writer, some things I've learned along the way, and really focus on getting people amped for their writing.

Q: Thanks for your Sarah, how can the songwriting world connect with you?
You can find me on Frettie. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook! I play pretty frequently around Nashville at various writer’s nights, so if you’re in the area, come on out and say hey!

Receive 50% Off On Frettie Membership and Advertising

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on December 01, 2014


We’re excited to announce that now through the entire month of December we're offering 50% off on Frettie memberships and advertising! Starting today songwriters can purchase their lifetime membership to Frettie for the price of a coffee ($4.97). But that's not all. If you’re interested in promoting your EP or reaching a network of songwriters our Ad blocks are now just ($35.00) a month!

Take advantage of this amazing sale while you can. Purchase your membership today! or contact us to get your Ads scheduled!

Of course we want every songwriter in the world to know about this great offer so please help us spread the word! Click here to Tweet this offer!

Happy holidays songwriters!

New Announcement: Join the official Frettie Facebook Group.

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on November 17, 2014


The Frettie brand has always stretched beyond the Frettie.com website. Since the very begining, we've supported songwriters, organizations and even publications. It's all been in an effort to create a brand that helps songwriters connect, grow and write better music together no matter where you are in the world. Today we're excited to add one more resource to the Frettie brand.

Introducing the official Frettie Facebook Group!

We've created this group so songwriters from all over the world can continue to learn from one other. This Facebook group picks up where Frettie.com leaves off. Here we encourage you to ask questions, have discussions around the industry and share tips and resources with one another to help each other grow as songwriters.

Many of you have asked for a resource like this on Frettie.com, but instead we decided it would be much more effective and beneficial to create this community outside of Frettie.com. Utilizing a platform that you're already sharing useful information on.

This is the latest resource created through the Frettie brand that will help you become a better songwriter and we are really excited to see how you all utilize it. We encourage you to join the group today and make an introduction by linking to your Frettie profile.

Jon the official Frettie Facebook Group Today!

Congratulations to Frettie member Amanda Williams for her cut on Garth Brooks’ latest album.

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on November 12, 2014


We want to congratulate fellow Frettie member and songwriter Amanda Williams for her latest cut “She’s Tired of Boys” that is on Garth Brooks' recently released come back album “Man Against Machine“. What an incredible opportunity to get to write with him.

Amanda has taken the time to write all about her history and experience writing this song with Garth Brooks on her "Songwriting And Music Business" blog. It’s a great story that is sure to motivate songwriters at any level.

You can read the full article here: http://songwritingandmusicbusiness.com/articles/Shes_Tired_Of_Boys_Garth_Brooks_Song/

You can hear “She’s Tired Of Boys” written by Garth Brooks and Amanda Williams on Ghost Tunes or buy the album in stores.

Congratulations again Amanda and thank you for the continued support for Frettie and everything else that you do for the songwriting community!

Songwriting Magazine launches their mobile app.

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on November 10, 2014


Songwriting Magazine has been a great supporter of Frettie since the very beginning and we’re thrilled to help them spread the word on their latest announcement. Songwriting Magazine now has a mobile app so you can take advantage of their great articles and resources while on the go! This announcement includes apps for both Android and iPhone as well as PocketMags.

If you want to read about the full release and what’s included in their app, you can find the complete breakdown on their website.

You can find the article here: http://www.songwritingmagazine.co.uk/news/songwriting-magazine-now-available-in-app-form/20075

Congratulations guys on the launch!

Spotlight: Meet this month’s featured songwriter Mackenzie Benish

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on September 30, 2014


For the month of October, we're excited to showcase Wisconsin songwriter Mackenzie Benish. In our interview with Mackenzie, she shares her greatest accomplishments as a songwriter, fills us in on her new project and talks about some upcoming goals. We hope you enjoy learning about another member who makes up the great Frettie community. Never hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below or reach out to Mackenzie on Frettie if you have any questions for her or would like to work with her on a project. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you.

Q: Where do you call home?
I live in the beautiful cheese land of Wisconsin!

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
Since before I can remember my sister Morgan and I would spend hours trying to write songs. I would tell her how I felt and she would write the lyrics. I would then play the guitar and come up with a melody. I would try to add my two cents as far as lyrics go but I wasn't the best. Morgan could always create the most poetic, meaningful lyrics and I always admired that, so I kept pushing myself to become half the lyricist she is! I've gotten better at writing over the years but she still helps me out when I'm blocked.

Q: What is your songwriting process typicaly like?
I am very inconsistent whilst writing songs. I have done it every which way. Music first, lyrics first, both together. As of late I will start writing 2-3 songs with just the first verse and chorus. I"ll let those linger for a few weeks or months till I get around to either discarding or finishing them.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Christina Perri is one of my biggest inspirations. For me she is the whole package. With her vocals and lyrics you can’t get much better than that! She keeps it simple and keeps the lyrics as the main focus of her music. I also love The Civil Wars. They are amazing! Their harmonies and lyrics are perfection. I could go on for days about them!

Also, The Head And The Heart. They sing my favorite song of all time “Rivers and Roads”. If you have not heard it be sure to check it out!

Bonus: 4th favorite artist/songwriter (because I am a rebel like that), London Grammar. Yhey can do no wrong.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
Speaking of London Grammar... I've been listening to their album “If You Wait”. I have been telling EVERYONE that they need to listen to them and love them. Every song on that album is beautiful. Not to mention her crazy voice! Gah!

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I keep thinking and feeling deeply. I try to stay vulnerable and write about things I need to say to myself and others.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
I think confidence is a big thing that affects my writing and preforming. I don’t really fit in to a mold. I can’t do things the way other people do things. It just doesn’t work and that can be very intimidating. Thankfully that has improved over this past year as I have developed my style! I have had a hard time with recording. I have decided to dedicate some time to really focus on at least laying down a few tracks for demos. Frettie pushes me to record, because I can see what the other artists are doing and also get great feedback from them on my stuff. I just put out my song “What I Am Singing For” and will hopefully get more up soon.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I write my music late at night, usually 2, 3, 4 in the morning. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to bed thinking I just wrote the best song ever on the planet, only to wake up and realize that it is completely horrible! The struggle is real folks!

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
I took a trip to Nashville with the family for a wedding and we stopped and toured the Ryman Auditorium. My sister had looked ahead and saw that they do this tourist attraction where they will record you singing a song from a list of music they have. You can also sing an original. I decided to do an original song and that's where “Somewhat Intriguing” was recorded.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Like I stated above, being able to say I recorded a song in Nashville! From that recording people started to take me more seriously as a Singer-Songwriter. I have also been able to play a couple bigger shows in Madison and Milwaukee. This summer, I was able to be a part of the Make Music Madison which is a festival apart of the summer solstice celebration around the world! I also just played at my grandma’s senior living center along with a few of my friends. My grandma was the talk of the town for a few days after!

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Don't force it. Music should come from your soul. Be vulnerable, don’t be afraid to say your own thoughts and feelings. Simple as that. People relate to people who are honest and real so don’t be afraid to show people your vulnerable music.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
Obviously, Frettie has helped with feedback on songs from respected writers! I also use the dictionary.com and their thesaurus to find new and better words and Rhymezone.com when I'm looking for exact or close rhyming words.

Q: How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
Frettie has pushed me to the next level. It motivates me to try and keep up with some very talented artists and receive feedback and advice on my songs. I always like to connect with artists and follow and support their music. Frettie's profiles and the added ability to link to other social media sites help me keep up with what's going on with others in the industry as well as put myself out there to receive the same support!

Q: What's next for you?
What is next? Well, as I stated previously I am going to try and record some more songs in the next couple weeks/months. And as always play for whoever is willing to listen.

Q: Thanks for your time Mackenzie. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?

Thank you to everyone involved in running Frettie. I am thrilled to be a part of this community. I am impressed with the quick responses to questions and the willingness to further this website! Keep up the great work guys! You can find my information by liking my Facebook Page. You can also download a few of my songs at my Bandcamp Page.

Photo credit: Joelle DeMeyer Photography

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”), Lady Antebellum, Randy Travis, Joe Nichols, Lonestar, Ray Stevens, Gord Bamford, Andy Griggs, Steve Cropper, Buddy Jewell, and others. He's also the man behind the growing songwriting blog called Man Vs. Row. On his blog Brent shares valuable tips (like the one below) with his audience every week. We want to thank Brent for opening his mind to you. We encourage you all to check out his blog and join his mailing list.

Here's the guest blog post!
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Keep Your Story Moving by Brent Baxter

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the phrase, “you sound like a broken record.” Well, if your song sounds like a broken record, it will probably never end up on a record.

A song is a story, whether it’s a classic story song, like “The Gambler” or more of a moment-in-time. And the primary characteristic of a story is that it has a distinct beginning, middle, and ending.

There should be motion. The song should leave the listener in a different place than where they were when the song started.

If your songs don’t have that motion, they usually get pretty boring to the listener. Why? Because you’re not telling them anything new. And I don’t mean “new” as in something they’ve never heard in a song before (although, it’s good if you can do that). By “new,” I mean something the listener hasn’t already heard in that same song.

I know when I was a younger writer, my first verse would say something like, “she just walked out the door” with a chorus that said, “I can’t live without her.” And that’s fine, but my second verse would also basically say, “she just walked out the door.”

There’s nothing new there! I might have different details, but if the story doesn’t go anywhere, I’m not doing my job. So I started using a technique I probably got from Pat Pattison’s book, “Writing Better Lyrics.” It’s a great book- you should check it out.

The technique is called “song mapping.” Here’s how it works: in the most simple terms, write out what each part of the song is saying. I mean in the most simple terms- no colors, no visuals, just as simple as you can say it. For example:

Verse 1: She just walked out the door.
Chorus: I can’t live without her.
Verse 2: She just walked out the door.
Chorus: I can’t live without her.

So, if the verses on your map both say the same thing, like “she just walked out the door,” you know you aren’t taking the listener anywhere. Take another look the verses.

If one verse says, “she just walked out the door,” the other verse should tell us something else. Maybe it says, “I don’t know how I’ll make it through tonight.” That way, when you come back to your chorus us “I can’t live without her,” you see it in a different light. I’ll talk more about this in a moment.

Verse 1: She just walked out the door.
Chorus: I can’t live without her.
Verse 2: I don’t know how I’ll make it through tonight.
Chorus: I can’t live without her.

Song mapping is helpful when you’re rewriting existing songs, and it’s also helpful when you’re starting on a song. Map out the song ahead of time. Visualize where you want it to go. That way, you’re more likely to spend your writing time wisely.

You want to make the chorus fresh every time you hear it. Sometimes, you do this by altering the lyric each time. There are some great songs that do that, such as “Everywhere” by Tim McGraw.

In this song, the writers list the different places the singer encounters the girl’s memory. Another way to do this is what I call the “three-act play.” A great example of this is “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patty Loveless.

In this song, the same chorus is applied to three situations throughout the singer’s life: when she is moving away from her best friend, when her marriage is falling apart, and when her mother is dying. That’s a proven way to bring new power to the chorus each time you hear it.

Let’s take a look at a story song I wrote with Byron Hill. It’s called “Over A Drink.”

OVER A DRINK
(Brent Baxter, Byron Hill)

VERSE:

She slipped on the little black dress
Tried to ignore that voice in her head
The one that says blind dates never work out right
He was waiting there in that corner booth
With his smile showing he was nervous, too
And that voice in her head kept saying it’ll be a long night

LIFT:

But the next thing she knew it was ten o’clock
And they were still laughing and carrying on

CHORUS:

Over a drink
Over a bottle of wine
Falling deeper and deeper
One glass at a time
Looking back now
She can hardly believe
She fell in love with him
Over a drink

VERSE:

The next few weeks were all a blur
And he said he was in love with her
That sounded so good she slipped that ring right on
With all that talk of a house and two kids
She never saw the change in him
The one that kept him out and brought him stumblin’ home

LIFT:

But now she knows that love was blind
As he looks though her with bloodshot eyes

CHORUS:

[REPEAT]

BRIDGE:

So she’ll leave that ring on his pillow
And she’ll pack up all the hurt
And she’ll move on because she knows
That he will never choose her

CHORUS:

[REPEAT]

TAG:

Looking back now
She can hardly believe
She fell in love with him
Over a drink

Hopefully, this song is a good example of what I’ve been talking about. It’s a story song with a beginning, middle, and end. She meets him, they fall in love, but she leaves him because of his drinking problem.

The chorus lyric doesn’t change, but the way the verses set it up, you hear it a different way each time. The first time, it’s all positive, they fell in love over a drink. The second time, he’s staring through her with bloodshot eyes over a drink. The third time, she knows he’ll never choose her over a drink.

If you can keep the story moving, it’ll keep the listener’s attention. And if you can keep the choruses fresh, it’ll add more power to them each time you hear them.

Best of luck with your songwriting. And remember to keep it moving.

God Bless,

Brent Baxter
manvsrow.com

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Thank you for checking out Brent's guest post. I encourage you to follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his blog. If you or anyone else you know are interested in sharing valuable tips with the Frettie community of songwriters, we'd love to hear your ideas. Just send us an email.

Spotlight: Meet this month’s featured songwriter Ross Hemsworth!

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on September 02, 2014


This month, we are excited to showcase UK songwriter and producer Ross Hemsworth. In in our interview with Ross, he shares with us his greatest accomplishments as a songwriter as well as provides young songwriters with advice about feedback and how to stay motivated and focussed through the ups and the downs. As always we hope you find this interview not just helpful but a great way to learn about another member who makes up the great Frettie community. Never hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Q: Where do you call home?
Home is in rural Somerset, I guess I'm just a li'l 'ole country boy at heart! I was born in North Kent but moved to Devon in 2003 and then to Somerset in 2005. Been here ever since!

Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Gillingham in Kent.

Q: When did you write your first song?
My first attempts at songwriting was at the age of 14, but the only person who seamed to like them was my mum!!

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I started writing properly in the 80's inspired by listening to Bruce Springsteen albums.  I did some co-writing with Suzi Quatro back then too, that was great fun, I had idolized her from my teen years!

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
I was adopted at 6 weeks old so was unaware of any music in my family until I traced my birth mother when i was in my 30's! Turns out that they were a very musical family! My birth mother was a singer and brothers and sisters also had varying musical talents

Q: What’s your songwriting process typically like?
These days, I have my own studio and try to write something every day. Ideas can start as lyrics, hook lines or just an acoustic guitar idea. I usually write the basics of the song on the guitar but it will change along the way as the idea starts to form. It is often the case that the first recorded lines get deleted as the song takes shape.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
I don't think anywhere is ever ideal. You always want more! I'm a bit of an “equipaholic!” That said, I am lucky in that I have all the tools necessary very close to me.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I'm studying law at the moment with the Open University, so most of my reading is legal manuals and modules. I read The Music Row blog and always enjoy that!

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Bruce Springsteen, Little Big Town and The Eagles

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to Ward Thomas just lately, a brilliant country duo from the UK, doing Nashville VERY well!

Q: How do you stay inspired?
That's hard - when things are going well, inspiration and creativity comes easy, but when things are going badly, I suffer from a lack of motivation and have to fight the negativity vibes, and pull myself out of it (because you can be sure nobody else will!)

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
Lyrics! I believe I write really good hooky melodies and hook lines, but I struggle with good meaningful lyrics, which is why I enjoy co-writing.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
My studio is at home so not far to travel! I tend to write in the afternoons, after doing my legal studies in the morning.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
Writing with Suzi Quatro. There was a kind of magic in the way the music just came together. There are plans to do some more co-writing with her soon and I can't wait!

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I always believe the best is yet to come and never sit back and admire a song, because tomorrow is a new day. In the modern age, songwriting is a numbers game, you have to keep throwing good songs out there and hope that some will get cut and maybe a few will be hits. But if you sit around waiting for those, you will have nothing to follow them with.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
I had a recent No. 14 position in the US Roots Country/Pop charts with my own band Temptation Road. That was quite a buzz.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Listen to advice, but never let negatives put you off, learn from them. If someone says you don't have what it takes, set out to prove them wrong. The best answer to other people's criticism, is to take it constructively and then hit them with a chart topper!  Also, when writing songs, never settle for a good song when you could make it a great song. Sometimes taking two of your composition ideas and making one great song is the way forward.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I use Reaper software which is very affordable but in my opinion, every bit as good as much more expensive packages, and works with many plug ins. they have a great forum too where you can get tips from other writers and Reaper users. I also use Steven Slate Drums (SSD4) which has to be one of the best drum programs out there at the moment.

Q: How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
I'm fairly new to Frettie and having had a lot of projects on recently, I haven't had as much time as I would like, to listen to the work of others on the site. But it's a great place for writers to share ideas and concepts and maybe even team up to write together. I often use singers in Nashville on songs where the vocals were written here in the UK. We now work in a truly global environment where we can use Dropbox to share files. Along with Dropbox, Frettie also helps close the gap on global songwriting." 

Q: What's next for you?
I have a number of songs currently being pitched to some very big names in the USA and if things take off, then a move to Nashville may be on the cards in the future. For now, I'm enjoying things just the way they are and want to keep writing great music

Q: Care to add anything else?
I managed to get accepted by the USA's choosiest rights agency SESAC this month, and also joined the US Songwriter's Hall of Fame, so I'm hoping to put sleepy old Somerset on the Nashville map!

Q: Thanks for your time Ross. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?
You can find me on Frettie, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and at
www.songwritersuk.com

Spotlight: A follow up Interview with Emma Lane!

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on August 26, 2014


It’s been just over a year since we launched Frettie to the songwriting world. We’ve got a number of exciting things that we are going to be doing to celebrate that milestone. One of the things that we will be doing is following up with some of our earlier Showcased Songwriters. We thought it would be great to see what they’ve been up to since we last spoke with them a year ago. To kick this off, we reached out to Emma Lane who’s been with Frettie since the very beginning. It was a great interview. She gave us some insight on how Frettie has helped her and what some of her challenges and proudest moments have been this past year. We hope you enjoy the interview!

Q: Can you believe it has been over a year since we last interviewed you? What have you been up to?
I'm in disbelief that it's been over a year since my first Frettie interview. It's all been a beautiful blur. I've gone to Nashville to record my EP, Noise From The Basement with the Nashville based rock band, Hip Kitty who have become my good friends. The chance to record in Nashville was a huge blessing, and had a lot to do with a producer reading my Frettie "Songwriter of the Month" interview.

Q: How has the EP been going?
The EP, Noise From The Basement, was slow at first but once it caught on social media, it's really taken off. I never expected the reviews and acclaim for a project of mine.

Q: How have things changed for you since the last time we talked?
Things have changed a lot since we last talked. The interview alone made a lot of doors open for me, especially in the songwriting community. After I put my EP online alongside the Frettie interview, I was contacted by a BMI awarding winning songwriter for Reba McEntire. Together we penned my next single. I've gained respect and recognition from insiders and that's still so insane to me.

Q: What have been some struggles this past year that you think other songwriters could relate to or would find interesting? How have you learned from them?
Everyone hears a song differently. The music, the lyrics, down to the smallest detail, it's different to everyone's ears. It's incredible what different people take from a song. When I first put the EP out there, I heard so many different opinions on structure, my melody, the lyric I chose for the verse, even why does my Rochester accent show up in my singing on one word? (We say it Raaachester). It's like a little bug gets into your brain and all you can think about the next time you write a song is to not hit any of the points and try to please the critics. It's always great to listen to criticism if you can learn and improve from it, but at the end of the day, you have to be you and write the song you want to write. A Willie Nelson song isn't going to be the same as a Rolling Stones song. Everyone likes different things, and I've learned you just can't take it to heart and derail yourself from that passion.

Q: What are some of your wins our proudest moments from this past year? Have you learned anything from them?
My proudest achievements that I consider "wins" are every little step I can make to share my music with people. I've been played on national and international radio stations and I've been nominated for 6 awards this year and won once! Literally my first trophy ever in my existence. I got chosen to play at SXSW in March. It makes me very proud to say I've done this on my own. I've learned that if you want something bad enough and you put in positive work, anything is possible. Just because people tell you no, or you don't have a manager/agent doesn't mean you can't do this. It's completely possible.

Q: How has Frettie or the Frettie community contributed to any of your successes you’ve had this year?
I attribute much of my success to Frettie. The interview was my first in my career and it showed that someone other than my parents and local following believe in my talent and showcased it. It opened a bunch of doors and I will forever be thankful for Frettie! The community is incredible. Even if you just sit back and listen to the other songwriters on the site, you grow as a writer. It puts those "huh, that's a great song, I wouldn't have thought of writing a lyric that way" into your mind. A "maybe I'll try that next time" for songwriting. Frettie opens up the mind of a songwriter but it's done with heart and respect to one another. There isn't bashing or egos. It's real and truthful perspective from industry big shots to someone who is just starting to write.

Q: What have you gained from being a part of the Frettie community since you joined a year ago?
I've gained knowledge and get to see all the great creativity out there. But I've also built friendships and networked. I've become friends with Caryn Womack, another Showcased Songwriter and we'd love the opportunity to play a show together in the future. I'm from NY and she is from GA, I would have never have met her if it wasn't for Frettie and this community.

Q: Have you adapted Frettie into your songwriting process?
For sure! One of my first thoughts when wanting to release a demo is, "Is this Frettie ready?". Since joining Frettie it has been more than anything I could have ever imagined.

Q: What's your next goal as a songwriter?
My next goal as a songwriter is to step it up to the next level. Ideally I would love to get signed to a record label. I write so frequently and record these songs, it would make the most sense and of course all of the other benefits that go along with it. I would love to get my music and lyrics out to a much larger audience.

Q: Thanks for your time Emma, how can the songwriting world get in contact with you for any future opportunities?
You can connect with me on Frettie, my website, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: Meet this month’s featured songwriter Charlie Katt

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on August 05, 2014


This month we're excited to feature Frettie songwriter Charlie Katt. In this interview he shares his process, go to resources as well as his favorite memory as a songwriter and artists.

Q: Where do you call home?
I’ve lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for about nine years now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else at this time in my life. It’s beautiful.

Q: Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Elmont, New York and lived most of my life on Long Island.

Q: When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song when I was about fourteen years old. It was for my girlfriend. It was a cheesy, clichéd love song called Endless Love.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I got started teaching myself piano at home. I’ve always been a visual artist and someone who loved creating things, so creating my own music was the next, logical step for me. I grew up in church and churches are always full of music, and that really rubbed off on me. Since I was little, music was like a seed in my heart. Through the years it kept growing and growing. With each new, musical experience, I liked it more and more and wanted to keep on creating it.

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
My older brother sings and play drums and my aunt sings. When growing up I always looked forward to hearing her sing in church.

Q: What is your songwriting process typical like?
I start out by taking notes. My notes consist of both lyrical and audible ideas. Writing down everything that comes to my mind wherever I am or whatever I’m doing is the most important part of my process. Great ideas can be forgotten if I don’t do this. I also record every random melody and tune that pops into my head, whether it’s accompanied by piano or guitar or simply just me humming into my phone while I’m driving. I record everything I think of. I’ve accumulated literally thousands of little, musical ideas over the course of many years. But only a very small percentage of these recordings actually become songs.

Next, I listen to my most recent ideas over and over again. By doing this, I’m sorting through them to single out the most catchy or musically pleasing ones. I figure out what the “mood” of the recording that I’ve chosen is and then skim over my lyrical ideas and notes to find something that fits. That’s when I start writing my lyrics. So, to break it all down, you could say that I compose my music first and then write the lyrics to the song.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
My setup is usually me sitting on my bed with my laptop and my guitar or ukulele. If I’m not at home, it’s same setup, except in my car somewhere.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
Ironically, I’m half way through a book on how to write stories called How to Be a Writer by Barbara Baig. Even though it’s not about writing songs, the processes that she teaches in the book are great for collecting ideas from all of your senses and has helped me tremendously in my songwriting, especially with my story songs. I also listen to The Music Biz Weekly Podcast by Michael Brandvold and Brian Thompson. Again, it’s not specifically about songwriting, but they do discuss many aspects of the music business from the artists point of view such as marketing, performance and much more.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Josh Groban for his amazing vocal abilty, Jason Mraz for his great and unique songwriting and Michael W. Smith for being a great role model when I was a young, learning musician.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I’m not specifically listen to any one album but I do usually listen to folk and indie artists on Pandora.

Q: How do you stay inspired?
There are three things that keep me inspired. Regret is probably the biggest. I’ve taken breaks from music in the past and I regretted it every time. I would have been much further ahead than I am now if I’ve not taken those breaks. The second thing that keeps me inspired and moving forward is knowing that, someday, I might be able to actually have a career in music if I stick to it. It’s my dream and my passion and it something that I want more than anything. The third is simply listening to artists that I love and whose songs make me feel something deep in my heart.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
The things that are more important than songwriting are my biggest challenge. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to what I need to do. Writing often takes a back seat to those things. But the main thing that takes priority over my writing is my family, but that’s well worth it.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I usually write at night, when I’m home from my job and dinner is done. I lock myself in my room and get to work.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
One of my favorite memories is a bittersweet one. Shortly after 9-11 I was asked to sing the National Anthem at an outdoor memorial service in Medford, New York. You never forget the way your voice sounds as it echoes through the quiet streets.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I keep myself surrounded by other songwriters. I belong the the Knoxville Songwriters Association. They help keep me on the path and keep my skills sharpened.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Besides my four, amazing kids, my greatest accomplishment is the decision to continue in songwriting at the age of thirty-nine.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
From my own experience, I’d say the thing that has hurt me the most is not writing. So my advice would be to never stop, no matter how discouraged you get. It hurts less when others let you down than it does when you let yourself down.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
My top three online tools are:

Google Drive - This is where I write and store all my lyrics and ideas in basic documents. I use it because it’s easily accessible from anywhere I go. Work, home and or on any mobile device.
Rhymezone.com - Is the first, and probably the best site I’ve ever used for finding rhymes. It also has tools within itself that come in very handy such as the ability to find related words and near rhymes.
RhymeBrain.com - This is also a rhyming website, but it has a very unique tool that comes in extremely handy in a bind, an alliteration finder.

Q: How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
Frettie just opened up the world of song critiques from just me and my songwriting buddies from Knoxville to all songwriters from every corner of the planet! I think that if you’re just not getting the feedback you need, Frettie is there 24/7 and people are always helpful.

Q: What's next for you?
Getting to that next step in my music. Since I’m also a performer, I’m always trying to get out there, play concerts and get my name known. It only takes that one, amazing opportunity to boost your career and I’m hoping that will come soon for me.

Q: Care to add anything else?
One thing I didn’t talk much about is that I have four kids and how important family is me, and although songwriting may be very important to you, don’t let it trump the things that matter most. Whatever you do and wherever you need to go, music will always be there when you get back.

Q: Thanks for your time Charlie. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where else can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?
The three top places that I keep updated at this point are my official website, Facebook and YouTube.

Spotlight: Meet this month’s featured songwriter Jayne Sachs!

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on July 01, 2014


This month we're excited to feature songwriter Jayne Sachs. In this interview she explains her inspiration for her first song as well as one of her most proudest moments as a songwriter. She also shares some of the challenges she faces as a songwriter and how she overcomes them. Enjoy!

Q: Where do you call home?

Dayton, Ohio

Q: Where did you grow up?

Springfield, OH, Dayton, OH, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Q: When did you write your first song?

I wrote my first song at age 18.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?

I wrote my first song because I wanted to give my boyfriend at the time a present that was homemade. I was trying to become a better guitar player and it just seemed like a good idea for a gift. Its a song called "Just A Start". I still have it on a cassette with the title written on masking tape that is peeling and turning yellow. I guess he gave it back to me when we broke up. Hmmm... I have no memory of that. I still think of him and I still think of that song and sing it every once in a while. I sent him a copy of it about 5 years ago.

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?

My mother, who died when I was 12 , she was 37, was musical. I have her guitar. She wasn't a songwriter yet but was learning to play guitar before she got too sick. She had a very good, strong voice... like a theatre voice. She performed in plays in college and introduced me to musicals. I love show tunes. Before she died she took me to as many musicals as possible. My most favorite song of all is "Where Is Love" from the musical "Oliver!".

Q: What is your songwriting process typically like?

I have a split personality going on with my songwriting right now. I have my own project as an indie alt/pop artist and I also am very much concentrating on writing for Nashville right now. The songwriting process for both sides of "me" is very, very different. For me as an artist, my process is to just pick up my guitar, or sit in front of my keys (not often with keys), and just play around. And typically if something strikes as far as a chord progression, riff or rhythm, I will sing a melody with any words at all. Most of the time I might be just looking around and start singing words that I see... that might be words on a television commercial, or words I may see on a book cover, etc... This helps to have words to sing as my brain is creating phrasing and cadence. Sometimes when I'm playing around like that I just start singing the first few lines of what will be my next song, not from anything that I'm looking at but just from some inspiration happening simultaneously with a chord progression, etc.. And for me as an artist I just go from there and let the song tell me what its going to be about. For Nashville, my process is considerably different. I usually do the same thing with my instrument and the same thing with singing any words I see or think of as I flesh out melody, phrasing and cadence, but for country I have in my mind a concept already complete with title/hook. So the song actually started at some other point as I was developing its concept and title. On the one hand this type of writing can feel more restrictive, but on the other hand those barriers give me a chance to keep very focused. Its more of a challenge for sure but I feel it has made me a better songwriter. I hope anyway.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?

My instrument, my iphone, my computer, my coffee, my pajamas. That's about all I need. I use my iphone a lot because I can record what I am doing and listen right away. I have a drum loop app in there for groove ideas and to play against.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?

I am almost done reading The Craft And Business Of Songwriting by the late John Braheny. It was suggested to me by my songwriting coach Mark Cawley, who also has a blog that I read.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?

My favorite songwriter is Leonard Cohen. Hands down. Other than Leonard, there are two many songwriters and artists to narrow it down to just a few.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?

I am not listening to full releases right now. I do however listen constantly to country radio. Since I am writing and concentrating on this genre right now. I have been diving into it by learning everything I can. For me, I started by listening to what the country market is currently playing. Its a way to see if what I am writing is even in the ballpark. Hard to tell what the next trend will be, but its helpful to compare what is getting played to what I am writing. I study the songs. I dissect them. I look at the lyrics. I see how hooks/titles are being used. Its very analytical which seems to go against the creative process. But its no different than learning where to put your fingers on a guitar to make chords.

Q: How do you stay inspired?

I am in a major learning process right now regarding writing for Nasvhille. I started this endeavor less than a year ago, so inspiration is easy to come by. I am anxious everyday to take what I am learning and incorporate it into my writing. My inspiration is to get my first cut in Nashville. So the pattern continues to be: Learn, write, share, learn more, write more, share, learn even more...etc..

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?

My biggest challenge as a songwriter is something I have total control over and have chosen to not do anything about it. I do not read music or understand a single thing about theory. This can be changed and I am planning on taking some lessons to learn more about what I am doing. Now that I am co-writing more because of the country genre, I feel I need to be able to communicate a little better with other musicians. I have had a band for almost 20 years and my band mates haven't had a need for me to understand theory... but now that I am learning more about the Nashville number system, I feel I should learn enough to understand charts and to be able to communicate with other writers and musicians.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?

I love writing in the very early morning. I love getting up about 6am and make coffee and get my day started by writing. I LOVE that.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?

One of my songs "Twisted Ballerina" won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the pop category back in 2006. The director of the contest called me personally to tell me that the song had won. I had been sleeping because of the flu. I hardly had a speaking voice. I had a fever. BUT as soon as I hung up the phone I jumped on the bed in celebration, knocked the lamp over, then fell off the bed. I was so excited. But that wasn't even the best memory of all as it related to that contest. The best was when I started receiving emails from people all over the world as that song started traveling and raising awareness about child sexual abuse. Getting emails from people who felt the song validated their experiences was the most rewarding thing that has happened to me as a songwriter.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?

I learn. I'm open to suggestions. I trust myself and I trust others who have been there and who know.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?

Winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest was a huge accomplishment. Winning a well know tri-state radio contest (97X WOXY) back in the 90's was a big one. Being asked to write again with a Nashville hit songwriter has been a recent big accomplishment.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?

Depending on what a writer's goals are, my advice might vary. In general though, I would say be a nice person, keep your antenna up, learn as much as you can about the genre you are writing in and keep it fun. Writing should be fun.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?

I check out YouTube a lot. I like to hear songs at will and be able to listen and listen again. I also like to google lyrics. I use a website called rhymezone to give me rhyming and near rhyming ideas. I google potential song titles to see if it's a hook thats been used before.

Q: How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community.

Frettie is an easy and non-threatening way to get stuff out there and to get feedback. Its fun that people can post worktapes as well as post more finished product. People on Frettie are songwriters and share that creative spirit so feedback is from people who care about the muse, the songs, the process.

Q: What's next for you?

I will be traveling to Nashville a lot and am very determined to keep learning and writing and having a blast! I am beginning to build relationships with publishers and continuing to learn from those who are directly in the business.

Q: Care to add anything else?

I love that Frettie exists. Such a friendly environment of people who care and share.

Q: Thanks for your time Jayne. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?

My website is being updated at jaynesachs.com I am on Facebook and I have several of my country cuts on Frettie and Reverbnation.

Who’s ready to start connecting? Now you can message other songwriters on Frettie!

All, Announcements, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on June 19, 2014


We love hearing about all of the great relationships that have formed through song feedback on Frettie and today we are excited to announce two new features that take connecting with songwriters on Frettie to a whole new level.

As of today songwriters can message other songwriters on Frettie as well as request direct feedback on their music from other songwriters from across the community.

Here's what you can expect with these two new features:

Messaging a songwriter on Frettie is simple. All you have to do is click on the "Message Me" button on a songwriters profile page and once clicked, a dialog window will open up allowing you to fill out your subject line, write your message and send it off!

We know songwriters are mobile. So, every message that gets sent to you will end up in your email client's inbox waiting for you to continue your conversation as you do with any standard email chain. There's never a need to login to Frettie to reply or manage your email messages!

If you think messaging a songwriter on Frettie is simple, requesting feedback from them is even simpler. Just like messages, find a songwriter who you'd like to get feedback from and click on the "Request Feedback" button on their profile page. Once clicked, a dialog window will open up allowing you to select any of your available songs on Frettie to send to them. Once sent, a default message with a direct link to your song's detail page will land in their inbox.

If at any point you don't want to receive messages or feedback requests from other songwriters on Frettie, you can turn those features off under the "Communications" tab under settings.

As of today this feature is live for everyone on Frettie and we hope you enjoy it!

What are you waiting for? Send your first message on Frettie today!

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 useful prizes have been awarded! They are the first contest of its kind to be conducted completely online.

Their latest contest is now open for submissions. It's open to the singer-songwriter genre. There's no limit to the number of songs that you can submit and the contests closes at 150-songs or on July 15, 2014. Whichever comes first.

1st place awards $750
2nd place awards $300
3rd place awards $150

Click here to learn more and submit your songs today!

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 songwriters from Nashville, Country Uncovered showcases local songwriters with weekly performances and interviews. They believe that songwriters are the pulse of the music industry and deserve as much attention as the artists themselves. They are currently seeking songwriters who are interested in being featured. In studio performances will also be filmed for a social media campaign for their sponsors.

If you're interested in this weekly opportunity, please contact Country Uncovered and let them know Frettie sent you!

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 up where they write, so that their songs can take on new dimensions and fresh turns. Others have their one writing space where they feel comfortable and ideas flow.

Whatever your approach consider incorporating some of these locales into your writing regimen. Who knows, they might just give you the inspiration you’ve been searching for.

The Garage: It may be a rock cliché but if you have a garage in your house it can be the perfect private area for you to write your songs, listen to music or have jam sessions with other musicians. The important thing is that this is a personal space where you can work on your songs without waking the neighbors. Or as Rivers Cuomo succinctly put it on Weezer’s ode to this hermitage of teenage rock bands “In The Garage”, “In the garage where I belong/No one hears me sing this song.” Not all of us are lucky to have a garage out back so whether it’s a study, the basement or just your bedroom try stake a claim to some area of your apartment or house which is just for your song writing.

Out In Nature: Yes ok, another rock cliché but “getting it together in the country” can work wonders for your inspiration, especially if you’re a city dweller. Here you can be alone with just the sounds of the birds and animals to accompany your thoughts. Whether that means taking an acoustic guitar out to a field or going the whole hog and renting a country house, getting away from the noise and stress of city life can get inspiration flowing again by allowing you time to reflect and free up your thinking processes.

On The Street: If heading out to the sticks can give you the peace of mind to access your personal ideas then the bustle of busy city streets can stimulate your song writing juices by observing the sights and sounds of what’s going on around you. Find a café with a view of the street, a square where you can sit and watch or simply wander the streets with notebook in hand. It may seem like a slightly less personal way of mining for ideas but the people and places you encounter could spark invigorating and fresh inspiration.

Museums: Dip into the higher arts for some divine inspiration. The obvious places to go are art and music museums though if you have an interest in something a bit different then expand your knowledge of it; it could give your song writing a certain edge. Museums also have the advantage of usually being comfortable, silent buildings where you can sit and gather your thoughts. Also, consider taking an interest in reading and even writing poetry if you are a lyricist. The themes, techniques and tropes of poetry can give a more thoughtful feel to your words and push you to improve the quality of your writing.

Somewhere a little more personal: Think about places that are meaningful to you in your past. Perhaps somewhere with good memories, like your grandparent’s house, or with bad, like the site of a rough break-up, or a bit of both, like your old school! Walk around and think back to those times, whether happy or sad. Pinpoint specific memories and remember how you felt. The goal of all of this soul-searching is to tap deeper and more clearly into past memories and emotions to stimulate ideas for song’s right now. It can happen that the most heartfelt songs come from embarking on this kind of process, even if at times that means digging up difficult memories. After all the sad songs are often the best.

Gigs: So it might be difficult to jot down your ideas at a sweaty concert but the truth is that listening to how other musicians do it has always been a major source of inspiration for budding and veteran songwriters alike. As many writers of all kinds know it’s not about if you steal, but how well you steal someone else’s ideas. Think of the amount of kids that picked up guitars when they first saw The Beatles play, or the many musicians who decided punk was the way forward when they saw The Sex Pistols for the first time. Could Tom Waits have really gotten so weird in the 80’s if he hadn’t developed a monumental Captain Beefheart obsession? Taking pointers from listening to and watching other musicians work doesn’t make you a poor songwriter, what it’s all about is how you make those ideas your own, something that’s true to your personal style. The same applies to just putting on a record. Sit, listen and let the inspiration come to you.

Anywhere: Finally it’s important to remember that inspiration can hit at anytime and in the most unexpected of circumstances so always be prepared with a means of recording your ideas. You can find some ideas of how to do this here. As an example of this I’ll leave you with a video of Bob Dylan playing word games with signs outside an unassuming store front. Not many of us have The Bard’s gift for crafting words and, to be honest, a fair amount of what he comes out with here is nonsense. Still it gives a sense of how inspiration really can come from anywhere while also reminding us that while song writing is a serious business, sometimes ideas can come from just having some fun.

Until next time...

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’re happy to introduce Sounds Garden, a series of posts to help you think of ways to give your music a fresh edge.

For the first Sounds Garden post let’s take a look at alternate tunings for guitarists.

Some people can be pretty reluctant to break away from the standard E-A-D-G-B-E method of tuning guitars. In fairness this is understandable given that this method of tuning has been the norm for over 300 years.

Still it never hurts to break out of your comfort zone. Alternate tunings can provide an incredible amount of new sounds and possibilities for different chord progressions whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro.

For newbies quite a few of your favorite songs may have been written in tunings that differ from the standard. Many popular rock, metal, blues, jazz and folk musicians utilize an array of different tunings so a knowledge of some of these tunings can help you learn more songs and get a deeper understanding of how certain musicians get that special sound.

For more advanced players and songwriters alternate tunings can be the key to a different sound world that really isn’t possible if you are just using the regular method of tuning. Also, it can be a great way to make your sound and your songs stick out from the competition.

The world of alternate tunings is about as big as you want it to be and can leave a lot of creative room for you to develop your own favorite selection of tunings. Here are a few of the most common ones to get you started:

Drop D (DADGBE): Drop D could be the most popularly used alternate tuning amongst rock and metal players thanks largely to its ubiquity in the Seattle grunge scene of the early 90’s. It also helps that it is a very easy tuning to arrive at. All you have to do is tune the low E string down a tone to D to give off a very deep sound. Take a listen to Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” as examples of this tuning’s power when it comes to big rock riffs.

Open D (DADF#AD): Open D isn’t too difficult to play or to tune to and it also gives off a great sound. In this open tuning you can produce different major chords simply by barring all the strings of a particular fret, so for example if you bar all the strings of the third fret you will get an F major chord. This makes it a tuning well suited to slide players. To arrive at this tuning simply tune the lowest string to D, tune the 3rd string down a semitone to F#, tune your 2nd string down to A and tune your 1st string down a tone to D. Listen to Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, or “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash to get an idea.

Open C (CGCGCE): Open C may not be so common but it still gives off a rich full sound. To get this tuning you will first have to re-tune your 6th string down four semi-tones to C. Then tune the 5th string down a step to G and the 4th string to C just like your 6th. Finally re-tune the 2nd string up a semi-tone to C. Give “Friends” by Led Zeppelin and John Fahey’s “Sunflower River Blues” a listen to hear what is possible in this tuning.

Open G (DGDGBD): Open G is a tuning which is always associated with Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, who himself inherited it from the Delta Blues tradition. This tuning is also popular with slide players as it is another example of a tuning that allows you to create different chords simply by barring an entire fret. To re-tune to Open G you must first of all tune the 6th string down a step to D. Then tune the 5th string down a step to G and the first string down a step to D. There really are so many Rolling Stones songs written in this tuning, try “Honky Tonk Women” and “Start Me Up” to get going. Or if you’re not a Rolling Stones fan then George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone” is another great song that uses this tuning.

D Modal: Finally we come to D Modal which is more commonly referred to simply as “DAD-GAD” after the notes that make it up. DAD GAD is a hugely popular tuning with folk players and features heavily in Celtic folk music as well as in North African and Arabian music. Tune your 6th string down a step to D. Then tune your 2nd string down a step to A and finally tune your 1st string down to D. Simon and Garfunkel used this tuning on “Scarborough Fair” while 60’s English folkie Davey Graham also used it extensively for example on “She Moved Through The Fair”.

There is ton of information on the web to help you get started with alternate tunings. Here’s a video that takes a closer look at Drop D and DADGAD tunings, and another that takes a more in depth look at how to arrive at alternate tunings, though a bit of knowledge on musical theory might be necessary to make the most of this one.

Remember the world of alternate tunings is wide and weird; don’t be afraid to take full advantage of this chance to change up your style.

Until next time....

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 the initial hurdle of recording something you can stand by (check out our last post on home recording to get started on that) the next issue to worry about is where to find the best place to release your songs. Where on the internet will give you the best chance of reaching the most fans?

In fact since getting your music out into the big bad world and actually getting people to listen can be such a difficult thing we’ve decided to start a series of posts entitled “Open Exposure” to help you get noticed. Simple tips, industry tricks and various ways and means of gaining the most exposure for you and your music will all be explored in these posts.

To get going it’s good to start off small. So this first article is meant for those taking their initial steps at releasing music and who presumably are not yet expecting to make their living from their music. Things get a bit more complicated further down the line when you begin to look for distributors, or even record labels, while the issue of marketing and promotion could fill a book on its own.

But what is important when starting off is to simply get your music online and direct it to potential fans and other musicians who can give you feedback while also hopefully making a bit of money while you’re at it.

Here’s a few easy to use free, or at least affordable, web platforms you can utilise to get your music online and start promoting it:

Soundcloud: may be the most famous and straight forward way to get your music up quickly onto the net. You can take recordings from any digital source whether it’s your iphone or a full professional studio setup and everything in between. Then simply post your music on your soundcloud profile, which is free to set up. Once you’ve done that you can embed your tracks using their simple player onto your blog or website or share it on social media sites.

Bandcamp: Bandcamp connects you directly to potential fans and provides music players for your tracks in a similar manner to Soundcloud which you can embed elsewhere. What sets it apart from Soundcloud though is that here you are provided with a free platform to sell your music and merchandise to your audience. Well, pretty much free. The site charges a commission of 15% on digital sales and 10% on merchandise. If those rates sound fair to you then you can go ahead and design a stylish webpage and decide for yourself at what price you want to sell your wares.

Reverbnation: Reverbnation site gives you a great number of ways to promote your music on a lot of different sites as well as providing major store distribution, widgets, help with finding gigs, social media synchronisation, a store to sell your merch and music and more besides all this. The only problem is that after their free trial you will have to fork out $20 a month, though for all their features the price may be worth it.

Whiz-Bang: Whiz-Bang promises to release you from the burden of designing and managing your website. They do it all! You simply just email them with any changes that you may have. It’s a no hassle service focussed on helping you spend more time writing your music and less time on managing your website.

Nimbit: Nimbit is another major player in the Direct-to-fan movement. Like the majority of these sites they offer basic services for free and more if you pay a monthly fee. A cool feature on Nimbit though is their MyStore application which allows you to set up a storefront on your Facebook, blog or website where you can sell your music and merchandise. They also provide help with marketing and promotion.

Last.FM: Last.FM is essentially a music recommendation site which is great for connecting people to your sounds. With over 50 million artists on the site and millions of users logging on worldwide its biggest selling point is the international community you have at your disposal as soon as you sign up. You can upload your music onto your own profile and then keep a track on statistics about your popularity and the habits of your listeners to get a view into how people are enjoying your music.

These are just a few suggestions to get going, take a look at each and see which you like the look of, then start uploading your tracks!

Of course aside from all these sites don’t forget that right here on Frettie you can upload your own songs, whether it’s a new idea or the finished work, you can get valuable and quick feedback on it from others in the songwriting community.

Until next time...

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 a great setup without breaking the bank.

Depending on your budget, the music you intend on making, whether you are recording solo or with a band and other more general audiophile preferences your equipment can vary hugely. This post is meant simply as a general overview to ground you in the basics of home recording and give a couple of suggestions of quality gear to get you going.

With that in mind I have tried to keep the suggestions relatively cheap to fit into anyone’s budget. Another reason to start cheap is that you can have all the best kit in the world but without knowing how to get the best out of it it’s pretty much useless to you. So while learning the subtleties of recording it can be good to start cheap and then upscale once your clearer on the finer points and what sound you actually want.

Computer: Your computer will be at the centre of your setup. Most modern computers, ie. those built and bought in the past 3 to 4 years, should be fine with handling the relevant software. A laptop can also be sufficient though a notebook won’t be up to the task.

Check your computer’s sound card and make sure it’s of good quality, though a good audio interface (we’ll get to that in a minute) takes a lot of the strain off and is highly recommended if you’re serious about your recordings anyway.

Then you will need Digital Audio Workshop (DAW) software, which is sometimes referred to as sequencing software. This is basically for mixing your music on your computer as well as adding effects and some digital instruments. There’s plenty to choose from, Avid Pro Tools is probably the most famous, Garageband is a good one for MAC users while Reaper is a solid, affordable option.

Audio Interface: This is sometimes called a breakout box. Basically you hook your mics in one end and connect the other to your computer so that this little box can convert analog to digital before entering your mixing software.

They come with individual mic pre-amps where you can change and regulate the recording level of each mic before going into the interface. The most basic ones come with two mic inputs, if you need more than this it will cost a bit more.

A good starter is the MBox2 Mini which comes with the latest version of ProTools, while the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a nice, easy to use option.

Microphone and Cables: Your microphone is hugely important so be willing to put between $100-$200 dollars into it to get a good quality one. What you intend on recording has a bearing on what type of microphones you get and of course you may need more than one if you depending on how many instruments you may be recording.

Condenser mics are ideal for acoustic instruments and vocals, while you may consider investing in a pop filter to help get cleaner vocals. The CAD M179 and AKG Perception 220 are both versatile and affordable condenser mic options.

If you plan on recording a louder band setup investing in some dynamic mics could be a good idea. Good value ones to get you started are the Shure SM57 or Shure Beta 58A and the Sennheiser E602.

Obviously you’re going to need cables to hook everything up. Which ones you need again change depending on what you want to record, for example you’ll probably need XLR cables for your vocals and ¼” TS cables for your guitars. Luckily they are usually pretty cheap and if you’re really not sure what goes with what just ask at your local music store.

Headphones and Monitor Speakers: A decent pair of headphones are essential to recording. They are great for overdubbing but monitor speakers are much better when it comes to actually mixing. If your budget can’t spring for monitor speakers headphones will do the trick for the moment though your mixes may not turn out the way you want as a result. The Sony MDR-7506 or MDR-V6 and the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro are all good options for about $100 or less.

A decent pair of monitor speakers are different from regular stereo or computer speakers as they provide a more accurate representation of the true acoustic balance of the mix without any colouring typical to regular stereos. Be willing to set aside between $300 and $500 to get a genuinely accurate pair of monitor speakers when starting off. Solid buys in this price range include the Yamaha HS80M speakers, the Samson Resolve 65 monitors and the M-Audio EX66 monitors.

There is so much more you could add to this setup that may even be essential to the type of music you want to make from keyboard synths to electric drums, MIDI controllers, turntables and much more. Still, for covering the basics this is the best way to start.

Before you record anything you should take some time to get comfortable with whatever DAW software you have invested in. The more familiar you are with the layout of your system the more proficient you will be when it comes to mixing and the better your recordings will sound. Once you’ve done that plug everything in, hook it all up and start recording!

So what about you? What's your ideal home recording setup? Let us know in the comments below!

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 words? If so then the exercises and techniques explored in these posts could help you get out of a rut.

Even if you're coming out with lyrics that your happy with there’s always room for new forms and methods of expression; you never know what you might develop if you go outside your comfort zone.

By doing this hopefully you can find fresh ways to convey your ideas and emotions. It’s all a part of developing your own style.

Here’s one idea. Next time you sit down to write about a song, forget yourself. Put yourself in another person’s shoes.

Create a persona, another guise who lives and breathes, has their own loves and prejudices, their own positives and flaws. Don’t write “he” or “she”, make this person “I”. Make your song a first person narrative with someone else’s voice, written outside your own viewpoint.

This may initially appear to be quite an impersonal and even fake style of song writing. You may wonder what you have to express from someone else’s standpoint that you can’t express more clearly from your own.

An answer to this is that often this technique is all about a surface perspective and a depth that is true to the songwriter’s own point of view or experience.

On the surface the lyrics speak solely of the experience a character. However the personal opinions, ideas and emotions of the songwriter are buried, with greater or lesser subtlety depending on the approach, between the lines.

Lyrics don’t need to be written from your own personal point of view to clearly and cleverly express a personal feeling or observation. In other words your lyrics don’t have to be about you to be about you.

To give you an idea of what I am talking about let’s take an example.

Randy Newman was a songwriter who perfected this technique while making music in late 60’s and 1970’s L.A, writing from the perspective of a range of characters rather than from his own standpoint.

One advantage to this first-person character songwriting is that it can provide a fresh angle to view society, and to critique it. An understated approach to this can be found amidst the beautiful repeated piano melody and magnificent string arrangement on Newman’s “Sail Away”.

It took me a while to realize the full meaning of this song, for quite some time I thought it was a simple ode to the wonders of America. Then the line “climb aboard little wog sail away with me” stood out and jarred with that reading. Suddenly the details of African jungles and the crude, bluntly racist imagery of Black American life in plantation era U.S.A came into clear view.

The song is written from the perspective of a slave trader, enticing would be African slaves onto his ship direct to Charleston Bay. It’s a song that digs right to the heart of the darkest time in American history, and the hypocrisy at the heart of the supposedly “Free World”.

The effect is made all the more spine-chilling by the fact that the music and Newman’s persona never once crack. From his tone and the feeling of the arrangement the depth below the surface isn’t obvious, it is left to the listener to recognise in the words the horrors this character truly represents.
Aside from providing new voices with which you can critically assess the world around you this type of song writing can also provide a different view on human relationships.

“Old Man” is a song written from the point of view of a son saying his last goodbye to his father. The old man’s fear of impending death is palpable as is his loneliness. The son’s emotions are more complicated a mix of sadness, bitterness and indifference.

The song paints a quick, vivid portrait of the final scene of a complex relationship. We can only guess at their history but the characters are drawn clearly, difficult and sad human beings whose situation is made far more personable and emotionally gripping because Randy writes it from the first, rather than the third person.

So how can you try incorporate this approach into your own writing? Try starting from one of two different points.

Choose someone, anyone. It can be a close friend or family member, a local shop-owner, a famous personality, an historical figure or even just a stock stereotype.

Now try to think from their perspective. Think of their relationships, what they encounter in their daily life or their views on the world around them. Choose some aspect of their life and write about it. Remain in character and see where this takes you. Once you have developed the persona enough you can think about how to insert your own feelings into the details, if that is where you think the song should go.

Alternatively start with your own personal idea. It could be an idea you’ve had for a song, a personal opinion on something in society, a situation setup or an emotional thought.

Now try to either construct a character from scratch who you feel can give a voice to some aspect of this idea or simply adopt a person like those described above, someone you have some kind of knowledge of. Now, attempt to find the words to express the idea as this character would express it, as they experience it. Do this while bearing in mind your original idea and try voice this too, but without breaking the surface point of view.

To be honest this is a complex writing technique with many more approaches than the few discussed here so we might come back to this!

If you can think of other approaches, or uses for this technique please leave a comment and explain it to the rest of us.

Education: Introducing the Frettie Journal.

All, Announcements, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on March 24, 2014


Welcome to the first post of the new Frettie Journal, a blog aimed at helping you surmount the difficult hurdles that every songwriter is posed with in developing their career.

From writing and practicing to playing live, getting your songs out, your music noticed and your name known, the Frettie Journal is designed to give you ideas and practical advice to help you take the next step forward, or to just avoid hitting a wall.

Beyond advice, we aim to pack the Frettie Journal full of interviews, important updates around what we're working on here at Frettie as well as what's happening in the industry.

We want to provide a blog that is genuinely useful and applicable to any songwriter on Frettie, novices and seasoned veterans alike. So that means we want to get you guys talking too. If you like a post, feel free to say so. If an article got you thinking then discuss it and if you have an idea for a topic or want to contribute, let us know!

As long as we keep things constructive then discussions can only serve to help this blog as a communication tool, and more importantly as a means to help you guys grow as songwriters!

To get things rolling follow us onto our first feature “Word Games”, a post designed to help improve your lyric-writing with new ideas, techniques and exercises!

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 of Art by Steven Pressfield

We have all had those days - nay, weeks, months! - where we struggle to motivate ourselves to grab our guitar or notebook and work on that song. The blank page is terrifying, isn’t it? It’s easier to fill our heads with thoughts of self-doubt than it is to fill a blank page with lyrics and chords.

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is a look into what stops artists from creating. As a prolific author, he has plenty of experience overcoming writer's block. He gives our self-doubt and fear a name, Resistance, and gives pointers on how to combat it.

Pressfield structures the book into three main sections. In the first, he defines Resistance as both external and internal forces. In the second section, he compares battling Resistance to an ongoing war, where the artist needs to change their perspective to that of a professional soldier: “I go to sleep content, but my final thought is of Resistance. I will wake up with it tomorrow. Already I am steeling myself” (page 67). In the final section, Pressfield uses spirituality and Jungian philosophy to describe how to better understand ourselves.

This book is a quick read and will kick your butt into gear. It puts your creativity into your hands and doesn’t blame anything else but you for your writer’s block.

2.) Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

You’ve finally beaten your demons (at least for now) and you’re ready to write. Or maybe not. Maybe you need a refresher on lyric-writing?

Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee, College of Music and author of several songwriting books. He provides a free course available on Coursera, Introduction to Songwriting. In Writing Better Lyrics, he uses his expertise and friendly tone to create an engaging and easy-to-read resource.

Writing Better Lyrics is a practical guide to writing song lyrics. Pattison uses different examples (usually pop and country) to illustrate different aspects of songwriting. Topics are separated into easily digestible chapters and come with writing exercises. Chapters cover song structure and other narrative devices, like meter, repetition, and point-of-view.

Honorable mentions: Pat Pattison’s Songwriting series and Sheila Davis’s Successful Lyric Writing

3.) The Craft and Business of Songwriting by John Braheny

The late John Braheny was a singer-songwriter and author. His willingness to help musicians culminated in his bestseller The Craft and Business of Songwriting. The book focuses on commercial skills but the information can extend to pop and other genres.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first half focuses on the craft of songwriting. Braheny emphasizes the need to develop your "Songwriter's Consciousness." This consciousness helps you find creative inspiration before learning to construct songs. The second half of the book goes into the business side of music. From marketing, contracts, and finances, Braheny takes the esoteric and makes it accessible.
Today, The Craft and Business of Songwriting continues to be a relevant resource for songwriters.

Honorable mention: The Manual by The KLF, an irreverent and satirical look at the music industry and how to write a pop hit

Creativity is often a lonely endeavor, but it doesn't have to be done in a vacuum. Many others have paved the way ahead of us and written to tell the tale. Hopefully, these books will start you on your way.

Spotlight: An Interview with singer and songwriter Isken Cosip.

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on March 03, 2014


This month we're excited to spotlight singer and songwriter Isken Cosip. Learn how he developed his unique sound, how he stays inspired and what to expect from his upcoming EP titled "It's Pronounced [eye-ken] EP". Enjoy!

Q: Where do you call home?
Columbus, OH

Q: Where did you grow up?
Philippines

Q: When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song about 3 years ago.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
Inspiration. I started writing songs for this girl I once dated. She had this aura about her that made me speak poetry. Of course my poetry at that age usually started with the word "dude". So I started to write songs instead.

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
My parents are very much into music. My father was in a band in the Philippines when he was younger. As time grew, it became a hobby of his, but his passion never ceased. And my mother used to be in a dance troop when she was younger. We would have car rides where all four of us (including my younger brother) would just sing harmonies by the Beatles.

Q: What is your songwriting process typical like?
I typically start out with a chord progression. From that point, I'll figure out what kind of story fits the mood of the song. Then I'll add lyrics. I'll run it through a couple of times. I'll sleep on it and review it again. Every once in a while, I try to be clever with the words just to see if anyone catches it. I'm a big fan of wordplay after all.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
For me, as long as there's space and I have my guitar and my phone available, I'm good to go.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I've been reading Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Every once in a while I'll pick up Pablo Neruda's compilation books. Once I get online though, blogs I tend to read are more often than not sports related.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Can I do 5? I am a big fan of The Beatles, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix, and Sara Bareilles.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I keep revisiting Live in LA by John Mayer. I like listening to him live. He takes it upon himself to change his songs around every time he performs. It's always a unique take on already existing songs that he's done.

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I like reading stories a lot. There's always something to be told, even if it seems to come from the most mundane of situations. Maybe it's a girl from a coffee shop, maybe it's bad date, maybe it's the couple at the bench where the dude gets slapped in the face. Maybe it's the hardcore biker helping the old lady walk across the street. Stories are every where and I like looking at things deeper to see what comes out as an inspiration.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
I'd say my biggest challenge is boredom. While it's ideal to stay productive all the time, it's also almost never the case. There are times when I do get bored. Inspiration is not there, sometimes even mobility isn't there. Boredom blows.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I usually write late at night when it's quiet. I prefer a cold room with plenty of space because I tend to walk around and be weird, saying things to myself. I like a place with a chair and a couch or a bed where I can easily sit up straight if I lose focus or just drop myself thinking. I also like a place that's clean. I can't think straight if there are random dust bunnies running around.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
It came recently. I had performed at the Columbus Songwriters Association Finale Showcase. There were 22 songwriters on the bill that night, as well as industry active judges from Nashville and Columbus. These were some of the best songwriters in town and just to be associated with them was an honor. I ended up taking 2nd place overall that night, and I was on such a musical high. For me, it meant that everything that I had been working for was validated. These industry professionals know music and they said that I belong there. It also feels great to know that the audience have my back. I didn't know a majority of these people but they had a lot of nice things to say about my music. I mean, what's the point of calling it Pop music if the crowd doesn't deem it popular.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
In music, there's always somebody better. These words are eternal. I try to stay humble and keep a professional relationship with everyone I meet, knowing that there's always something I can learn from someone.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Apart placing 2nd from the Finale Showcase, I'd say it would be the upcoming release of my first EP, "It's Pronounced [eye-ken]". This will be the beginning of a journey that I have always dreamed of. After months of hard work, planning and sacrifice, it's finally here. I consider it an accomplishment because not everyone takes this next step. I want to keep moving forward and this is a good start.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Keep going. There are always gonna be detractors to the music that songwriters write. Sometimes, some opinions don't matter and shouldn't hold you down and shake your confidence. I encourage up and coming songwriters to believe in their product, keep learning, and never pull back.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I like my phone. I use apps to write lines that randomly get in my head and the Voice Memos app to record melodies that I can use in the future. That way, if I'm ever blocked, I can always reference my past ideas.

Q: How does Frettie benefit the songwriting community?
It goes back to learning. Keeping in contact with other songwriters, even if it's just listening to their songs makes me, as a songwriter, think about things from different perspective. Everyone can share the same story, but tell it in a different way. And Frettie allows all of us to share it. By doing this, everyone grows at a much higher rate.

Q: What can we expect from your upcoming album?
Haha. I think people will feel a good kind of confusion. The songs that I included in the EP are all so different from one another, that it can stand alone on its own genre. I can go from bubblegum pop, to funk, to slow blues, and even a lullaby. But I'm all about making music, and the Beatles is one of my all-time favorite bands. They have done almost every genre available at the time. I like that approach because it doesn't restrict or funnel me in to one sound.

Q: If you could pick a favorite song from it, what would it be? Can you tell us more about the process and experience of writing that song?
They're all my babies, so it's really difficult to pick one. But I do enjoy listening to "Sweetheartbreaker" the most. It's an honest story of the girl that inspired me to write songs in the first place. And the melody and mood captured thegirl. Very playful, very happy, dynamic and full of life. It was also the song we had the most difficulty with as far as recording. It's not technically difficult from an instrumental perspective, but more of problems that came along with it. The final product is something I am happy with, because the whole experience made the song worth it.

Q: What's next for you?
We are gonna be having an EP release party on March 29 at King Avenue 5. It's gonna be a big event and we will have an opening band TBD. After that? The world is our oyster.

Q: Thanks for your time Isken. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?
I am always available online. Readers and audiences can find me on twitter: @iskencosip. You can also visit my website at iskencosip.com. Also please check out my videos on YouTube. And on March 19, "It's Pronounced [eye-ken] EP" will be available on iTunes.

Q: Care to add anything else?
Thank you Frettie. You guys have been great. Thanks to CSA for giving me such a great support system. Thanks to my mom, my dad, my brother, and the rest of my family. This dude is about to make you guys proud. Much love and peace everyone!

You can now get a professional song review right here on Frettie!

All, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on February 23, 2014


Last week we announced a brand new service that allows songwriters to get professional feedback on their music from industry professionals right here on Frettie. To kick this new service off, we’ve asked hit songwriter, educator and Bluebird Cafe open mic host Barbara Cloyd to be the first industry professional to provide professional song reviews to the community.

Since announcing this great new service last week, we could not be happier with the response we have received!

Here’s a few testimonials from some of the Frettie songwriters who’ve purchased a review from Barbara Cloyd.

"Barbara's review was excellent! Her insight really was useful. When you write something and you sing it again and again, you aren't aware of certain errors because it's so familiar to you. Having these reviews available to us are great for the Frettie community!"

- Emma Lane

"Barbara's review is really high quality. She explained her thoughts and offered suggestions. She first gave her opinion of the song as a whole, then she moved through the song (very meticulously), giving notes on the theme, the instrumentality and the lyrics line by line. She offered suggestions, raises valid questions that need to be considered, and explains her opinions based on what she's seen in the industry. She's very positive and instructive, not condescending, which is good. It's truly helpful feedback."

- Caryn Womack

It's been a long time coming, but we're really excited to be able to offer a professional review service to everyone who's on Frettie. Professional song reviews are sold on a first come first serve basis. Our supply is limited and the demand is high, so be sure to purchase your professional song review from Frettie today!

Spotlight: An interview with Hit Songwriter, Educator and Bluebird Cafe Open Mic host Barbara Cloyd.

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on February 11, 2014


This month we are excited to have had the opportunity to interview Hit Songwriter and Bluebird Cafe Open Mic host Barbara Cloyd. This interview is full of really great insight and advice that any songwriter at any level will find beneficial. Find out how Barbara stays inspired and how important getting feedback on her music is to her.

Q: Where do you call home?
Nashville, TN

Q: Where did you grow up?
St. Louis, MO

Q: When did you write your first song?
In high school.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
In high school I played guitar and sang in musicals and I loved writing short stories. One day I just wrote a song. I hadn't really thought about it - it just sort of happened. After college I was playing covers in bars and working in a few of my originals. I started reading about the business side of songwriting, particularly how it was done in Nashville. I knew I wanted to grow beyond the local club scene and that meant moving to an industry center. Once I moved to Nashville, I started plugging into the songwriting community and got serious about writing.

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
My mother played a little piano and both my parents love to sing. We always had lots of music in our house but no one was in the music business.

Q: What is your songwriting process typical like?
If I get an idea that is personal to me, something important that I need to express, I tend to get obsessed with it and I'm working on it whether I'm doing dishes driving the car or sitting in a room full of people. Other than that, I usually co-write. I make an appointment to get together with someone, then we bat around ideas until we lock into something we're both excited about.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
What works best for me is to write with younger guys who are great guitar players. I'm not a good guitar player but I get really inspired by interesting chord progressions, chord voicings and grooves. I may not have any ideas of what to write about, but the music will suggest ideas to me. Working with younger people helps me keep my music relevant and not dated. I especially like writing with artists, because when a guy is writing a song for himself, he's not going to want to sing anything contrived and it helps keep it real.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
Mostly when I read, it's fiction for relaxation and entertainment. I'm a junkie for a good story. As far as reading about music, I'm doing good if I can keep up with the email updates from Music Row magazine and Billboard.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Not a fair question! There are too many. I'll pick 3, but they're only a small sample of the ones who inspire me. In my heart and mind no one has ever had more depth, range and brilliance than the Beatles. Taylor Swift blows me away because this skinny, curly haired little girl that everybody made fun of at first is turning out to be one of the great writers of all time. But in truth, I'd have to say that right now my very favorite writer/artist is a guy who doesn't have a record deal yet named Adam James. Check him out on Soundcloud. I met him when he first moved to Nashville about three and a half years ago. Even his early efforts showed the kind of intelligence and originality he has. He's been at it full time since he got here, and the stuff he's coming up with lately just blows my mind.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have to listen to so much music as part of my job that I don't really listen to music that often just for entertainment. When I do its usually something old, like Rubber Soul or Rumors or the Eagles Greatest Hits.

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I live in a sea of creative energy called Nashville. If you live here and you're not constantly inspired by the amazing people around you, then you're probably brain dead.

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
For me it's getting out there and trying to get my stuff cut. It's the easiest thing in the world for me to go to bat for other people, but its hard to do it for myself.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I have a little house right in the middle of Nashville where I'm most comfortable. Luckily most of my co-writers like it here too. I think I tend to write best in the afternoon. I have a business to tend to, and if I feel like I've gotten some good work done before I write then I'm more relaxed.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
When I wrote "I Guess You Had to Be There" I lived in a little apartment. My co-writer, Jon Robbin, would come over, I'd sit on the couch and he'd pull up a chair across the coffee table from me. I remember telling him, "Let's write this like its an actual conversation. What's the first thing she'd say to her husband when he got home? Probably, 'Hello honey, how was your day?' Let's start the song like that." Then about 2 years later I was sitting in the same spot on my couch watching the ACM Awards and there was Lori Morgan on my TV singing, "Hello honey, how was your day?"

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
Three times every year I put on a workshop where songwriters get to play for publishers who give them feedback on the craft and commercial potential of their songs. I learn so much everytime I do one. Also, I am always asking for feedback on my songs from anyone who will give me an honest opinion. To me, trying to write a song without getting feedback is like trying to put on makeup without looking in a mirror.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Being part of the Bluebird Cafe since almost the beginning, having a top 10 single on a platinum selling album, opening doors for a dozen or so songwriters who went on to become very successful, and creating a workshop series that some of the very top publishers in Nashville love attending.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Don't write to entertain yourself, write for your audience. Ask yourself, " If I had no idea what I was talking about, what would this song say to me?" Songwriting is a wonderful creative outlet, a great way to express yourself. For that alone it is a worthy pursuit. If you can share your music with people who are moved by it, then you are successful. If you want to make it your profession, be realistic. Very few people who want that actually have the level of talent it takes. Very few of those who do are willing to put in the amount of time and make the sacrifices necessary to succeed. I see people all the time who are spending tons of time and money trying to make it, to the detriment of the rest of their lives, but they won't go all in, so they end up wasting their efforts. Chasing your dreams is a noble endeavor, but not if you're kidding yourself.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
Skype, YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and ReverbNation.

Q: How does Frettie benefit the songwriting community?
Music is a collaborative art form. You can't do it in isolation. Being able to connect with a supportive community of other writers is invaluable to anyone who wants to grow. That used to be really difficult to find for songwriters who did not live in an industry center. Now it's as close as your computer screen.

Q: What's next for you?
More of the same. I love my life.

Q: Thanks for your time Barbara. How can readers keep updated on what you are doing?
You can stay up to date with me by visiting my website www.BarbaraCloyd.com and or Play for Publishers Facebook Page. There's lots of info on my website that might be helpful to your readers. If they want to get notified of any of my workshops, they can sign up for my email there as well. Thanks for the interview!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Frettie!

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on February 09, 2014


It's not like songwriter's need help finding the perfect words to say on Valentine's Day, but if by chance you find yourself suddenly searching for the perfect thing to say, or looking for a simple gift for that special someone in your life, Frettie's got you covered.

To show our love and appreciation for songwriters all over the world, we have created songwriting inspired Valentine's Day cards for you, or that special songwriter in your life. Feel fee to download the PDF file and print them out, or share them with someone you know via email, twitter or any other medium you find fitting.


A Little Love Note

You're The Write One

You're Pulling On My Heartstrings


Happy Valentine's Day from everyone at Frettie!

Download your "Frettie Valentine's Day" cards here!

Don’t just leave feedback. Have conversations on Frettie!

All, Announcements, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on February 03, 2014


Today we are excited to announce some really cool new additions to Frettie. These new updates are designed to increase conversation and feedback across Frettie. Beyond the updates to the feedback thread, you will also notice some changes to the way we handle lyrics and more. Here's the full list of update that we have made this month on Frettie!

• Subscribe to feedback and have conversations around a song.
• "Like" others feedback to show your appreciation, or that you agree with them.
• Follow along with the lyrics to a song without any song interruptions.
• Learn how you will soon be able to get even more out of Frettie with "Frettie Pro".
• Read our new Blog for interviews, tips and resources to help you as a songwriting.

These updates have been live for a few days, and we hope you have already been able to take advantage of them. This is just the start of a number of really great updates we have coming to Frettie in February. Stay tuned!

So go on check out these updates today!

Vote for Sarah Spencer and Meaghan Campbell in the NSAI/CMT Listener’s Choice contest!

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on February 02, 2014


Congrats to Frettie members, Sarah Spencer and Meaghan Campbell for being chosen as two of the 10 finalists in the NSAI/CMT Listener's Choice contest! You can help them win by voting for their songs "Us Someday" by Sarah and "Blacktop Ballroom" by Meaghan. Voting lasts until February 28th. Vote often!

Here's the link to cast your vote! http://www.cmt.com/asm/contests/nsai/cmt_choice/2014/

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 to prompts each week. Our goal is two-fold. Encourage regularity to your craft because we've learned from hit writers that it's not inspiration but perspiration that leads to success. Secondly, we aim to build a community that will be poised to write for artists, labels, music supervisors, film directors, and others in need of specific topics to be used on albums, in movies, and on TV."

SongTopic is just now getting off the ground, and we want to help them. So for the whole month of February we are partnering with SongTopic for what we are calling Frettie February.

If you sign-up for their weekly song prompt at www.songtopic.com, they will begin emailing you every week with a songwriting prompt. As a Frettie songwriter, if you submit any song that you wrote using one of their prompts, before the end of February you are enrolled in the chance to win the title of "SongTopic's Top Pick of February". The winning song will get fully produced through SongTopic at no charge to the songwriter.

You can submit your song through SongTopic.com with (Frettie February) in the title, or tweet your song from Frettie.com with a hashtag #FrettieFebruary to enter.


We think SongTopic is a really cool tool to have in addition to Frettie. Get your song prompts from SongTopic and then perfect it on Frettie. How cool is that?

So go on. Check it out and good luck with your submissions.

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 as we all know, if we don't write it down, we'll lose it.

To ensure that you never lose another great song idea, we at Frettie have gathered a small list of tools that we think you should check out. These tools have been chosen because they are free, simple to use and are adaptive enough to fit into your daily life pretty easily.

1.) Smartphones: If you don't have one already, we suggest investing in a Smartphone. Smartphones are small and powerful companions. They are always hooked to an "internet" source and gives you the power of a computer no matter where you are. Most of the tools below come with compatible mobile Apps for both the iPhone and Android phones. With a Smartphone, it's easy to capture your thoughts, keep your ideas in sync and stay inspired.

If you don't have a Smartphone, you could consider using your voice-mail as a method to capturing your thoughts by leaving yourself a message so you can listen to it later.

2.) Voice Memos: Voice Memos is a voice recording App that comes available free on all iPhones. It's a simple to use voice recorder that will allow you to capture song ideas, melodies, and is the perfect way to work on an idea on the go. Simply create a new note and then click the record button. Once done, you can save your memo or email it to yourself for later. The quality is not great, but it serves its purpose.

Voice Memos works very similar to a traditional hand held recorder. Both the App Store and the Google Play Store are full of voice recording Apps. Be sure to have a look around and find one that works best for you.

3:) Evernote: Evernote is a free online service that allows you to capture and collect notes, images, and recordings. Evernote is accessible through your computer and via a mobile App. With Evernote, you store everything in "Notebooks", and you can create as many "Notebooks" as you would like. You could have one "Notebook" for just song ideas, and even one for organizing your thoughts around a demo or EP. The great thing about Evernote is your notes are always synced between devices. No need to email yourself files anymore.

As a bonus, If you collaborate often with other songwriters, you can upgrade to the "Premium Plan" and unlock the ability to share entire notebooks with other songwriters.

4.) Dropbox: Another great solution for capturing your ideas is by using a cloud file service called Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service that integrates with your computer and mobile devices. It allows you to access your files from anywhere. Perhaps you have some song ideas captured on your desktop and want to listen to them on the go? All you have to do is simply drop them into your Dropbox folder and you will have access to them anywhere via their mobile App. This is also a great way to keep your song ideas backed up and accessible. You never know when you may need them.

Like Evernote, you can share folders with other Dropbox members so they can add files to your account as well.

Many of the voice recording Apps on the App Store and the Google Play Store also integrate with Dropbox. This makes it easy to record on the go and save those recordings for later access on Dropbox.

5.) Email: This may sound like a no brainer, but it needs to be on the list. Email is another great way to capture your thoughts while on the go. Email has a zero learning curve and requires very little effort to use. So when in doubt, simply email yourself your ideas from your smartphone, computer, a public computer or tablet.

These solution are just a small sampling of the tools that are available to capture your song ideas in a digital world. The important thing to keep in mind with any digital solution, is that they can come with a learning curve and sometimes too much technology can get in the way of your ideas. When in doubt just be sure to always carry a pen and a trusty old Moleskin notebook with you wherever you go. You never know when that idea will hit and you'll want to jot it down. And remember, once you're ready to get some feedback on that great new song idea, the Frettie community is a great place to start.

So there you have it. 5 simple tools to have on hand when an idea hits and you're on the go. What did we miss? What tools do you use to capture your thoughts while on the go? Share them below!

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 giving and receiving feedback.

When a songwriter is asking for feedback, we may not truly know why they are asking for it, but it's important to provide it. Beyond the "How are my lyrics?" type of feedback, a songwriter could also be looking for feedback for any of the other following reasons:

1.) Discussion: A song idea can strike at any point. But, how do you know if that idea worth continuing to work on? That's where feedback can help. The earlier you open a song up to collaboration and discussions, the quicker a song can shift from being a mediocre song or idea, into a great song with the support of others to help make it better. Many songwriters may not have the ability to co-write often. By offering your support and feedback, you can help them avoid the "throw away song" by creating a discussion around their idea and helping them refine it beyond what they may have initially thought. Frettie is full of really great examples of this type of feedback. One person may post a song, and the community helps provide a more solid foundation to refine that song around. Here's a great example of that in action.

2.) Affirmation: Community plays an important part for songwriters who are looking to get feedback on their music. Keep in mind that many songwriters may be asking for feedback on a song simply for affirmation, or to gain support and encouragement from the community. They may not want direct feedback. They simply just want to see how many people "like" their song. Although it may not look like much, this type of feedback from their peers has the opportunity to change the way a songwriter may view their song. For example, Frettie songwriter Sarah Spencer posted her song "Us Someday" on Frettie, and by doing so discovered a different appreciation for it. As a result, she entered it into the NSAI's Song Contest Presented by CMT and has been selected as one of the final 10 in the Listener's Choice category at the time of this writing. This is one example of how providing your feedback can help create opportunity for a songwriter.

3.) Education: Continuing education can easily be overlooked as you become more proficient in the craft of songwriting. That's why it's important to continue to ask for feedback and to provide feedback to others. Even as a seasoned songwriter, getting feedback on your music provides a way to gauge how you have grown as a songwriter. But more importantly, as a seasoned songwriters, you have a great opportunity to pass your knowledge and insights down to others songwriters, through feedback. It may not be clear on the surface, but many songwriters ask for feedback in order to learn from those who may be a further along then they are in the craft.

These are just a few small examples of the power that feedback can have on the songwriting process. So the next time you are asked to provide feedback on a song, whether you're an audience member at a showcase, or a peer on Frettie. Think about how your feedback is going to be interpreted by that songwriter. Feedback may not always be positive and that is okay. But, feedback should never be hurtful or demotivating to the songwriter who's asking for it. As illustrated above, feedback doesn't always have to be very detailed and specific to the lyrical structure, it can be as simple as saying "This song really moved me emotionally." If you're not sure of the type of feedback a songwriter may be looking for, simply ask them. You never know, it may get them thinking more about their goals for that song.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any other reasons why you like to get feedback on your music, please share them with us below!

Spotlight: Meet songwriter Anthony Mossburg.

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on January 16, 2014


Frettie loves to interviewing songwriters. This month we had the opportunity to interview singer and songwriter Anthony Mossburg. He gave us an inside look into when he wrote his first song, how he stays inspired, and the story behind his already popular song "Whiskey & Wine", which will be released on his upcoming album.

Q: Where do you call home?
Columbus, OH

Q: Where did you grow up?
New Matamoras, OH

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I wrote my first song in Mass Media class in college. This was simply to express some different feelings. I had no intention of ever playing them for anyone...ever.

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
Not really, my ex-step dad had a few guitars laying around when I was little, but for the most part I taught myself how to play off of the internet. I just googled songs that I liked and tried to duplicate what I heard.

Q: What's your songwriting process typical like?
The process that I have found works the best for me is almost random in the beginning. I'm just trying different tunings, instruments, made up words, singing out of my key. This is to basically spark creativity. Once I find something I like, I try to make a "shell" of a song with it (verse, chorus, bridge..). Once the "shell" is done, I go back through and listen to the "shell" and then I tighten up the lyrics. This is where I make sure it communicates the feeling of the song and what I'm trying to say.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
So far my ideal setup is just myself and my guitar. I try not to put too much pressure on coming up with something in a certain amount of time. I would rather just keep it about myself and my guitar. This allows me to have fun and play whatever comes to mind. I don't ever want to be afraid to chase an idea. When I put a lot of pressure on myself, I tend to be more safe. However, when I'm just relaxing and playing guitar the ideas being to flow.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I'm not a huge reader. I recently finished "Father Time" by Mitch Albom. I only follow a couple of blogs. My favorite is my good buddy's Jake Kaufman's blog ( www.jkstories.com ). This definitely keeps me on my toes!

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Ben Howard, Mat Kearney and Ben Rector.

Q: What albums are you currently listening to?
Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Ben Howard. Can't get enough of his album "Every Kingdom". Others that I have been listening to lately would be James Vincent McMorrow's "Early in the Morning", Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors", and Shawn McDonald's "The Analog Sessions".

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I really get inspired by other musicians and writers. Listening to, and watching artists that blow my mind. This has always inspired me. Live music definitely inspires me as well. I also try to find inspiration in my day to day life. Although, that one can be a little more difficult. I generally have to take a closer look into my day to day living, then I can almost always find something inspiring to write about.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
I would have to say laziness, honestly. My mind expects songs to just jump out of me in 20 minutes. These last few years have taught me a lot about ironing out songs, and turning songwriting into a craft. I think my natural mindset will always be to "just finish it" vs. giving it time and working hard on the song. I will always have to stay aware of this.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Well, I would prefer to write my music in the morning or during the day. However, I find myself writing around the same time I plan to go to sleep. I'll lay in bed and just grab my guitar and start picking around. Although, I've found this is a terrible pattern for sleeping, it seems to be the time when I'm most creative.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
That's a tough questions. I would probably have to say the very first time I ever played publicly. I was kind of pushed into playing at my church when I was 19. I couldn't have been more nervous. Growing up I would get nervous when complete strangers would sing, so to be doing it myself was terrifying! But it ended up being one of the most encouraging times for me. I'll always remember being scared to death, but really feeling alive at the same time.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
That has been a struggle for me, honestly. I have a manager who helps keep most of that professing along. It's a long process for sure. Finding out what works, what doesn't work, and continuing forward. The main thing I have discovered through the process is that… If you act like an amateur, people will treat you like one. If you act like a professional, people will treat you like a professional.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
I have had the opportunity to open for some amazing artists and bands (Skillet, Red, Switchfoot) and have also been privileged to write with some amazing songwriters. One of the songs on my new CD is a co-write with Shawn McDonald. However, if had to pick one, would have to say my greatest accomplishment to date is that I am able to do this for a living. It's by no means a high living, but it's one of the most rewarding things. No matter where life takes me in the future, I will always view my time as a full time musician as one of the greatest accomplishments in my life.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
My main advice would be to be themselves. I have noticed a lot of people trying to emulate other artists lately. There's nothing more unique and captivating than someone who is completely comfortable being completely themselves. Just be yourself.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
Besides Frettie, I have an app on my computer called "Songwriter". It's a very helpful tool. It breaks your songs down into all the different sections, and also has a place to record every part of the song individually. It has helped me so much with this new CD. I recommend it.

Q: How does being a songwriter on Frettie benefit you and the songwriting community?
I am very self conscious of my songs and any new music that I put out. Frettie is a great community where I feel I can share my music and be myself, while receiving helpful feedback. Frettie also makes it possible to stay connected to a songwriting community no matter where you are.

Q: What's next for you?
I will be releasing a new CD on Feb 7th! I've spent the last couple of years writing for it. I recored it in the fall, and now I am finally ready to release it! I'll be doing a release concert at the Smoot Theatre in Parkersburg, WV on Feb. 6th at 7:00pm.

Q: Your song "Whisky & Wine" from your upcoming album is already proving to be a hit with your fans and other songwriters. Can you tell us more about the process and experience of writing that song?
"Whiskey & Wine" is a song I started writing after watching the movie "Walk the Line". It's a movie about the life of Johnny Cash. After watching the movie and doing some research on his life, and also June Carter's life, I realized that Johnny Cash had this rebelious and outlaw spirit. However, June Carter was much more safe. After learning this, I realized that I have a lot of similarities with Johnny Cash, and I tend to run into a lot of people who are more like June. So that is how the song developed. I originally scrapped the song. I didn't think it would connect with the crowds. But over time, as I began to focus more on crafting songs and caring less about fitting into a specific genre, I brought that song back and finished it. I am happy I did. It has quickly become my most popular song, and also a favorite to play!

Q: Thanks for your time Anthony. We look forward to connecting with you more on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing if they choose to?
My website is www.anthonymossburg.com. I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Frettie and all those other sites.

________________________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today! Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music and connect with other songwriters from across the world! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

A look ahead to 2014 and beyond.

All, Announcements by Dennis Field on January 01, 2014


Happy New Year!

With 2013 now in the books, we wanted to take a moment to talk about our road map for 2014. But before we can do that, lets talk a little bit about how we got here.

When Julie and I first started Frettie as a small side project, we thought that we may attract a small group of hobbyist like myself who were interested in getting some feedback on their music. However, since sending out our first batch of invites six months ago, we've been floored by the positive response we have received from the global songwriting community. We believe that we have the opportunity to create something much greater. We have the ability to connect the global songwriting community with each other through a common thread. Feedback.

Since building and launching Frettie to the public, we have made some great strides. We've hosted online chat rooms, sponsored a number of songwriting events and workshops, interviewed top, up and coming songwriters, launched new features like lyrics and activities, made behind the scenes improvements to the site, sent out invites, followed up and engaged with the community, connected with advertisers, had phone calls and face to face meetings with organization leaders from across the country and offered user support. Julie and I know that we could not have done it without the help of our great partners and supporters that have helped us along the way. Thank you all.

So what does the future of Frettie look like?

Well, In 2014 we are focusing our attention on growth and sustainability. We know we have something special here, because you have told us just that through email, twitter and word of mouth. We want to ensure that we can spend as much time as we can on new features, connecting with the community, user growth and building an even better Frettie for 2014 and beyond.

How do we plan to do that?

Well, based on popular demand, we will be offering some really great "Pro" features for those who want to get even more out of Frettie. We will be providing new ways to get feedback on your songs, discover and connect with other songwriters, as well as increase engagement across the community as a whole.

Frettie will always be focussed on providing tools for feedback, but many of the songwriters on Frettie have also used it to spotlight some of their finished songs. So, in 2014, we will be building a way to help songwriters on Frettie showcase the finished songs that Frettie has helped them create. We will do this without interrupting the core experience of Frettie and look forward to sharing those success stories with everyone in the community.

And if that is not enough, we will still continue to squash some bugs, and make improvements along the way to Frettie.

This is just a brief overview, but we hope that you are as excited as we are about where Frettie is going to be headed in the upcoming year. We have spent a great deal of time interacting with many of our users to understand why they use Frettie, and the value they have received from it. It is incredible what we have received in return. Now it is time for us to really deliver on the promise of helping songwriters from all over the world refine their songs through other songwriters feedback.

The best part of all of this is that we are not taking anything away, we're just making it better!

Thanks for making 2013 an awesome year, and we look forward to an even better year in 2014!

- The Frettie Team

Introducing the activity stream.

All, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on December 19, 2013


Songwriters are thrilled by the valuable feedback that they receive on Frettie, and we decided to place that feedback into an activity stream and make it available for others to learn from too.

As of today, when you view the profile of a songwriter on Frettie, you can also see who they are following and view their activity across the community.

Along with the new activity stream, we also made it easier for you to invite your friends to the Frettie community.

So go ahead and check it all out! We think you will like it.

Spotlight: Interview with New York songwriter Alyssa Trahan

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on December 04, 2013


This month we are interviewing Alyssa Trahan who is another one of our talented songwriters on Frettie from Rochester, New York. In this interview we learn why she loves to be a part of the whole process of creating an album. From writing, producing and even creating marketing materials. Alyssa has experienced it all.

Q: Where do you call home?
Rochester, New York

Q: What is your setup for writing music?
I'll usually have a song "pop" in my head, and then I have to finish it, no matter where I am. I have written a lot of songs in my bedroom, but I also write a lot during class (usually a math or music class for some reason). I've also finished songs completely in my head with no guitar or piano nearby. As for writing the song down, I just write the lyrics in a notebook.

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I've written songs in my head for as long as I could remember, but I didn't start putting them to music until my dad taught me how to play guitar when I was 11 years old. Now I'm pretty much writing all of the time.

Q: What albums are you currently listening to?
I listen to all music, but my current favorites are "+" by Ed Sheeran and "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood.

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I write about personal experiences and what I see happening around me. Songwriting helps me get through tough situations. Seeing and listening to the other artists around me keeps me inspired too.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
One tough thing for me is keeping songs short (under 3:30). I always have so much to say and the song ends up being way too long, especially for radio play.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I would prefer to write when I'm sitting in my bedroom during the day, but I somehow always end up writing at the most inconvenient times, like in class or in the middle of the night.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
My favorite moments are signing autographs, talking to my fans and seeing them dance and sing along to my songs. Also, I love performing in general, and each show provides a new memory.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I put everything into my music, and I perform every chance that I can get. Since social media is so big today, I do a lot online, like networking with other artists and updating my profiles often in order to stay current.

Q: What is your songwriting process?
Before I write a song, I'm usually emotional about something. Something either happened to me or someone I care about. Then, I just let the song write itself. What I mean is I don't think about what others would think or say, I just write for myself.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
I don't think I could choose just three! I really love Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Ariana Grande.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Keep writing, and don't try to force a good song to happen. Just write from your heart.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
I've accomplished a lot so far. I've released my debut album, "Hi" which includes 12 original songs, 6 of which I produced myself. It is also professionally mastered and available on iTunes, Amazon, etc. In less than a year, I have gained over 1,500 Facebook likes, hundreds of Twitter followers and over 13,000 YouTube views. I have been the number 1 local artist on ReverbNation for a number of months straight. I've also performed at legendary places, in Rochester, NY and Nashville, TN. In addition to all of that, I have written over 50 songs. Some of which have been used for local business jingles.

Q: How do you think Frettie (An online songwriting community) will benefit the songwriting community.
I think it's great because songwriters can get feedback from other songwriters from across the world, which helps you grow as an artist. You also get to know others who enjoy the same things you do.

Q: What's next for you?
I'm currently busy writing, and working hard on new videos and songs. I'm also planning my next big release, which is going great so far! And I'm going to continue playing shows regularly.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I don't use many online tools for songwriting other than Frettie, but I am on multiple social media sites.

Q: Where else can readers find you online besides on Frettie?
I'm on almost every popular social media site: Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Myspace, YouTube, ReverbNation, Bandcamp and I have a website. I'm also on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.

Q: Care to add anything else?
One of the things that I am really proud of is that I do everything myself. I play multiple instruments: guitar, piano, ukulele, mandolin, silver flute, irish flute, piccolo, penny whistle, alto saxophone and I sing. I also write all my own music and produce the majority of it myself using the industry standard Pro Tools. I also make all of my videos myself. I create most of my promotion material as well. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love working with other artists and musicians, but I love being able to bring what I hear and vision in my head to life by myself if I need to.


Thanks Alyssa for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________


Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today! Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music and connect with other songwriters from across the world! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Meet Powell, Ohio songwriter Dick Plunk

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on November 22, 2013


In our latest interview with songwriter Dick Plunk, we learn how he became hooked on songwriting after tagging along to a NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association, International) chapter meeting in Dayton with a friend from work.

Q: Where do you call home?
Powell, Ohio

Q: Where did you grow up?
Tucson, Arizona

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
I do have a “music recording area” in the basement, but I actually do most of my writing in my family room (often in front of the T.V.).

Q: How did you get started songwriting?
Even though I have played guitar since I was a teen, I started songwriting very late in life. In 1999, a friend at P&G asked me if I would be interested in attending a meeting of a chapter of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association, International) in Dayton. I was reluctant, but I went anyway. From that meeting forward, I was hooked on songwriting. I was so charged up by what those people were doing and learning that I made it a goal to bring a new song to every meeting for critique. I actually achieved that goal for several years thereafter.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I read alot. Currently, I’m reading a political murder mystery called “The Kill Room” by Jeffery Deaver (strictly for pleasure this time). The only blog I follow is Man vs. Row (as in Music Row - Nashville) by Brent Baxter. This is a good blog for songwriters.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
Lately I’ve been listening to Mumford and Sons (for story & banjo), the Weepies and Sara Bareilles (for interesting melodies), Blue Sky Riders (for my new country fix), the Rescues (for interesting harmonies and weird lyrics), the Script (for my pop/rock fix), and Hunter Hayes (for my country rock fix).

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
For me, there’s inspiration in everything I see and hear. Reading, TV shows, the news, other people’s music, and just life in general are all inspirations. I particularly like coming across naturally funny/ironic things in normal/real life.

Q: As a songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is creating interesting melodies. I’m pretty good at coming up with interesting chord progressions, which can be a trap if you let that dictate your melody (better to create the melody first).

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I’m usually more productive in the early morning, but have written stuff at all times of day and night. When I’m dedicated to the task of songwriting, I’m usually in my familyroom. However, I have created lyrics while walking the dog (a really good time to think) and while driving.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a songwriter?
There are two things that feel really good as a songwriter:

1) It is a real rush when someone else likes one of your songs enough to want to perform it himself/herself.

2) It is an equal rush when playing out somewhere and someone requests one of your songs. I am thankful for both of these events.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
There are several ways:

First, the founder of the Dayton NSAI chapter, Jim Melko, is and excellent teacher of the craft of songwriting. I try to never miss one of his lessons. A high percentage of my knowledge of songwriting came from his teaching.

Second: I have attended several workshops and many, many seminars on songwriting. Several of these were given by successful Nashville and L.A. professional writers.

Third: I have read a bunch of books and many articles on songwriting and about songwriters.

Fourth: I love attending activities which include local songwriters and listening to their creations.

Finally: I try to reconcile some of the things I have learned with the music I listen to.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
It varies, but most of the time it starts with a hook or a theme. This usually ends up becoming a chorus. If I have what feels like a strong chorus, I then work to build a story around that chorus. However, sometimes I get what feels like a good story and the chorus comes last. Sometimes the music comes along with the lyric. Often the lyric is completed before I even attempt the music.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
This is difficult to answer because there are so many good ones out there. So, I’m going to cheat and do top three in categories.

Top 3 Favorite Nashville writers: Jeffrey Steele, Rivers Rutherford, Gary Burr.

Top 3 Favorite Old time writers: Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young

Top 3 Current pop writers: John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting), Pink, and whoever the main writer in the Script is.

Writer who inspired me start playing guitar again after a long lay off: Emily Sailers of the Indigo Girls (also a great songwriter)

This barely scratches the surface of my favorites.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Learn the craft. The more you know, the better chance that your songs will be of quality. Get your songs critiqued by other songwriters that you respect. Nobody writes perfect songs. You need the feedback. Play your songs out so that you get audience feedback. It’s possible that the songs you like the best don’t get the best reactions. You won’t know unless you expose them to people. Pay attention to what is popular in a variety of genres. Ask yourself: “why do people like/buy these songs?” Write with other songwriters. You will be amazed how someone else’s perspective can make your song better.

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
All of us need feedback on our songs. Frettie provides a non-threatening way to receive it from our peers. Also - it is really great to get that feedback from writers in other cities and states. I think this provides a broader perspective versus always getting your feedback from just your own local community.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I use an online thesaurus, an online dictionary, an online rhyming dictionary, and Frettie.

Q: So what’s next for Dick Plunk?
Nothing special - I plan to continue writing, continue playing my stuff for anyone who will listen, and continue interacting with the songwriting community (a great group of people).

And of course you can find me on hanging out on Frettie!

Q: Do you care to add anything else?
Songwriting, much like being a musical artist or an actor, is a tough business to break into and succeed in. But aren’t we lucky that we live in an age where there is the internet and so many venues in which to expose people to our art. Even if we never make a dime off our music, we can still get it “out there” for other people to hear and appreciate (hopefully).

Thanks Dick for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

An early review of Spencer Saylor and Chris Jamison’s single 24-7

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on November 06, 2013


We here at Frettie were lucky enough to get our hands on the upcoming single “24-7" by Spencer Saylor and Chris Jamison. "24-7”. When we first hit play on ”24-7" we must confess, our immediate reaction was is this really a Spencer Saylor and Chris Jamison song? It’s so different than their other songs. As we continued to listen to the song, we immediately found ourselves drawn into it. By drawn into, we mean hooked.

Right from the beginning, ”24-7" is full of great moments. Chris immediately leads off with a soft, yet engaging chorus. It captures the feeling of a ballad, but still leaves the song open to the listener’s interpretation. The intro is then quickly contrasted with a hard-hitting, percussion filled, first verse sung by Spencer. It is well crafted and timed perfectly. That’s what hooked us.

As you fall back into the chorus the tempo of the song is established and you are now fully immersed into the lyrics and beauty of ”24-7”. The second verse and chorus showcase Spencer and Chris’s great ability to collaborate with each other. The lyrics and harmonies of ”24-7" are perfect. As the song winds down you are left with Chris showcasing his vocal abilities in a way that urges you to hit the replay button. And we were happy to do so.

“24-7" is the complete package. It’s full of great percussion from Matthiessen Nisch Quan and the chemistry from Spencer and Chris that has been captivating live audiences for years has been captured perfectly in this recording.

After listening to the song a few more times we realized, yes, this is not just another Spencer Saylor and Chris Jamison song, but a more sophisticated Spencer Saylor and Chris Jamison song.

“24-7" is set to hit iTunes on November 15th. Visit www.spencersaylor.com to learn more about the release, and where you can catch them live.

Introducing Lyrics

All, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on October 31, 2013


Today is an exciting day for Frettie. After many months of hard work, we’re thrilled to announce that songwriters can now add lyrics to any song they post on Frettie.

Here are a few reasons why you will love lyrics:

• Write as much or as little as you need.
• Keep the community updated on your revised lyrics in real time.
• Lyrics can be easily edited and added to any new or existing song.
• Get more concise and detailed feedback on your music by adding lyrics.

Along with the addition of lyrics, we have also updated the experience of posting a song on Frettie. You now have the ability to share your song with your fans across social media and email. This is a great way to tease what you have been writing with them and get early feedback.

The release of lyrics is the first of many features we’re working on to enhance how songwriters on Frettie give feedback and collaborate with each other across the world. Enjoy!

Try lyrics today!

Spotlight: Meet Atlanta Songwriter Kēvin Clayton Jr.

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on October 08, 2013


In our latest interview with songwriter Kēvin Clayton Jr, we talk about about how he got his name and how his love of poetry, combined with his guitar playing and singing abilities made him destine to become a songwriter.

Q: Why the accent over the ‘e’?
It comes from a set of creative grandparents who, in naming my father, combined two names they couldn’t agree on. One phonetically loved the first ‘ē’ in Stēphen, the other preferred the name Kevin. So, they put that ‘ē’ in Kevin, to make it Kēvin.

The ‘ē‘ sound is a double ‘e‘ (ee) and is commonly referred to as a ‘long e,‘ much like the sound you find in words like kēy, dēed, and bēliēve. Believe me when I say, it’s been a name that I’ve grown to love.

Q: Where do you call home?
I was born and still live in a small suburb just east of Atlanta, GA.

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
Ideally, I’m at home with my journal and phone (so I can listen back to the different ideas and melodies I’ve recorded). For me, melodies and lyrics come first (most of the time) so I’ve learned to keep myself prepared. There is always a small notebook within an arm’s length, just in case something comes to mind. My guitar and keyboard are always close by as well.

Q: How did you get started as a songwriting?
I was unaware that I’ve spent the better part of my life songwriting until recently. I’ve written poetry since high school, played the guitar since my early 20’s, and been singing for as long as I can remember. Not sure why I never thought of putting everything together, needless to say I’m glad I did!

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I just finished ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall. If you’re interested in running at all you should check it out! I also follow some artists via Facebook and Twitter. One blog I have followed for some time now is ‘New Music Strategies’ founded and lead by Andrew Dubber.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
There are two. I just purchased John Mayer’s ‘Paradise Valley,’ keeping that close. I also recently discovered a band named ‘Lord Huron.’ Their album ‘Lonesome Dreams’ is amazing!

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
This would have been a tough question for me to answer a year ago, but it’s an easy response now. Experience. Living life and being aware of it. It’s not hard to find sources of inspiration in conversations, news, the tree that knocked the power out the night before, etc. Also, I like to research artists that inspire me, then discover artists who inspired them, and on and on. Pretty soon I am able to piece together a musical family tree. From Jimmie Rodgers to Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to The Avett Brothers and beyond.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
Staying in that place of ‘original creativity’ is difficult. My job can be demanding at times, I come home and I’m exhausted physically. If I have an idea in those moments, It’s hard to stay in it. If I put the idea down, it’s hard to get back to it.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Any time is a good time. Because of the different stages I go through, I don’t mind coming across ideas at work or other places. Wherever my mind SHOULD be, it’s nice that it seems to gravitate back to music. It’s a welcome distraction. The weekends are also extremely important to my process as well, those days off where I can hollow out my mind and focus on writing. There’s usually a weeks worth of ideas to go back through.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
Last October I played an open mic at the suggestion of a good friend. It was the first time I played my songs in front of an audience (outside of friends and family). It was nerve wracking, but completely worth it!

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
Community, community, community. Building and maintaing relationships with like minded people. In fact, it doesn’t matter what your profession is- songwriting, culinary, electrician, etc. Whatever you do, network yourself into a community of your professional peers.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
The initial idea is usually messy and disorganized for me. A melody and a half-thought-out lyric sung into my phone, and a few notes ferociously written into a journal. It gets cleaned up later.

There are two stages of discovery in my process. The first is the discovery of the idea. The second is the discovery of it’s possibilities or limits. I have written, what I thought to be a great chorus, only to figure out that the idea had more limits than possibilities. I save those, who knows what could come of them? Limits often help me rethink possibility.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Clay Cook, Dallas Davidson, and Bob Dylan.

Clay Cook is incredibly talented. One of those talents you can’t comprehend. He’s produced, done sound engineering, been a songwriter, is a multi-instrumentalist for The Zac Brown Band, also toured and been a temporary member of the Marshall Tucker Band. Oh yea, and he’s only in his 30’s.

Dallas Davidson is an extremely successful Nashville songwriter. In exploring some of his songs, I’ve found that he primarily writes with only two chords. Some people may think that’s easy, but it’s actually harder because you have to find so many other ways to keep the song entertaining to listeners. It’s become an exercise of mine to try and write using the two chord method. No luck yet!

If you’ve listened to any Dylan you’ll know that he comes in many forms. He’s released Folk albums, Rock albums, Faith albums, Pop albums, Country albums, and albums that just break the rules that ‘genre’ sets. He is, without a doubt, my favorite.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
I’ll share something another experienced songwriter told me, since I still consider myself an ‘up and comer.’ He said, “write for you.” It’s simple and honest advice. Write because you enjoy it. If other people enjoy it too, great. If no one seems to care, guess what? You care. What’s that saying? “Dance like no one’s watching?” Well write and sing like no one’s listening. Did I just stretch that to make my point? Maybe.

Q: How do you think Frettie (An online songwriting community to help you get feedback on your music as you write it) will benefit the Songwriting Community?
Frettie has quickly become an extension of what I talked about earlier. Community is extremely important for both aspiring and professional songwriters. It’s within that community where we challenge ourselves to become better and more established. Frettie is a great tool that helps me do that.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
There are certainly tools that have helped me show and market my music online, but none that have helped me with songwriting. That is, none until Frettie.com.

Q: So what’s next for Kēvin Clayton Jr. and where can readers find you online?
I’ll continue writing and recording demo tracks, working out the kinks in my process, and co-writing soon. I’d also like to see if I’ve got what it takes to be a demo singer, we’ll see.

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Reverbnation. And of course you can also find me on Frettie!

Q: Do you care to add anything else?
Keeping perspective has always been important to me. There is a bigger world out there than we realize. Hunger, unrest in the middle east, natural disaster, I could go on and on. I have been incredibly blessed to have peace and abundance in my life, that which I believe only God provides. We should be humbled in our blessings and all be thinking and praying for those that live in impossible situations, those that live in fear of violence and scarcity.

Thanks Kēvin for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Five songwriters to follow on Frettie.

All, Announcements by Dennis Field on August 26, 2013


When we built Frettie, our goal was to create a community of passionate songwriters from all over the world, who are all eager to help each other create great songs. While we still have a ways to go, we are excited for the progress we have made, and want to highlight five songwriters that we think you should check out and follow on Frettie.

1.) Joey Hendrickson
2.) Amanda Williams
3.) Caryn Womack
4.) Sarah Spencer
5.) Dick Plunk

Now, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t stop with these five, Frettie is made up of songwriters from all over the world, so be sure to click around!

Enjoy!

Open Chat for Songwriters

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on August 16, 2013


We are happy to announce that we will be hosting our first Songwriter’s Open Chat next Wednesday! Join us and other songwriters as we chat about songwriting.

Whether you are an experienced songwriter or new to songwriting, you are welcome. Ask questions about Frettie, or get tips from other songwriters on how to create that perfect hook, set-up the ideal environment and more.

Frettie is really excited to offer another way to help songwriters perfect their music by providing this weekly destination to talk shop and to learn.

See you on Frettie!

Spotlight: Nashville Songwriter Sarah Spencer

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on August 09, 2013


Our latest Interview is with singer & songwriter Sarah Spencer. In this interview Sarah talks about how not wanting to practice the piano steered her into becoming a songwriter and that by committing to writing for at least 30 minutes she stays creative and inspired.

Q: Where do you call home?
Nashville, Tennessee

Q: Where did you grow up?
Ocala, Florida

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
We have a dedicated studio/writing room that’s set up to be kind of a place of zen for making music. I love bringing friends over and writing in there. Having that one spot that’s completely dedicated to music really helps me get geared up to write. And natural light. Lots of sunlight! I hate writing in a cave, it makes me want cry and fall asleep.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I think I really started writing when I was taking piano lessons in elementary school. I loved the piano, but hated practicing. So instead of learning someone else’s music, I wrote my own. And thank God for my teacher, she was amazing and let me play my original music at recitals. She was a saint for putting up with me.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
David Hooper’s “6 Figure Musician”, and Jon Acuff’s “Quitter”. Those two books have been incredibly encouraging, informative, and validating. I’d recommend them both to any creative person who knows that the regular 9-5 just isn’t for them.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
Oh, lots. It’s always “today’s country” on my radio in the car, and I love listening to what the other writers and artist in Nashville are up to. I love cruising around Frettie for that very reason.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
Just keep writing. If I don’t write for a couple of days, I start to get really depressed, and the creativity dissapears. But as soon as I sit down and focus, even for like, 30 minutes, it jump starts my creativity and it comes right back. That’s why I think it’s sooo important that we keep writing as part of our daily routine. Keep those gears greased.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
Scheduling! Self discipline! Calendars! Timing! Phone calls. Basically anything it takes to stay organized and run your own business. I’m sooo not a business person. I’m basically a recovering shy, anxious person.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Saturday mornings, in our studio room, with the window open, sunlight streaming in, a hot cup of coffee and the sweet smell of my guitar.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
There are many. One that stands out is the time I went to a workshop through NSAI, Woody Bomar was teaching, and out of nowhere, he brings in Tom Douglas to play some songs for us. There were like, 20 of us, and we all gathered around the piano and threw out requests, and he played them for us. Hearing “Little Rock” like that was amazing, I wanted to cry.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I just try to write a lot, meet a lot of good people, make friends, and not be a jerk, I guess? If I’m a jerk, please tell me!

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I sit down with my guitar/keyboard, my laptop and notebook, and just kinda go. I almost always write music and lyrics together. I try and focus on really getting a solid hook or concept first thing, because that will lay out the direction for the entire song. Especially in country music, the hook is so important. I have a running hook list saved in Wunderlist that I usually reference.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Don’t stop writing, going to workshops, mixers, meeting people, shows, playing rounds, just don’t stop doing it. Believe in yourself, be positive, and surround yourself with other friends who are in the same place you are. Don’t get discouraged. Love everyone and every moment of it!

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
I’m so proud to be able to say that I put out a full length album right after high school with guitarist and friend, Steve Morse. We’ve toured in Florida and California, and it was a blast. Making the move to Nashville was incredible. And just yesterday I got some amazing news that makes another milestone in my career, I just can’t share what it is, yet.

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
I’ve been WAITING for something like Frettie to happen! A social network for songwriters to connect. A place where you can upload a work-tape or rough version of a song in progress and get feedback. I can’t tell you how many times I’m writing by myself and I’m stuck or not sure if something really works or not, and I just wish there was a group I could test it with. Frettie provides that.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I love Frettie! Frettie is definitely integrating into my writing workflow. I also can’t live without Wunderlist. I have a running list of hooks, lists of websites and other great resources, things I need to do and songs I need to demo. And it all syncs with my phone. Also, Google Calendar. I would die without it. WikiRhymer for rhymes. A Google Chrome extension called Quick Note, for those notes I wanna write down real quick when inspiration strikes while I’m at work. The Muse has a bunch of great inspiration tools like random and interesting words, which are really fun to explore.

Q: So what’s next for Sarah Spencer and where can readers find you online?
A whole lot of writing, a whole lot of playing, and hopefully, a whole lot of amazing artists to work with.

You can find me at my official website. I’m always on Twitter and Facebook! I play pretty frequently around Nashville at various writer’s nights, so if you’re in the area, come on out and say hey! You can also find me on Frettie!

Thanks Sarah for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Update: We’ve made some changes to the “Following Page”!

All, Product Updates by The Frettie Team on June 26, 2013


We want to let you know that we made a small tweak to the “Following” Page”. Now, instead of grouping together the most recent Tracks by the Songwriters you follow, we are now displaying to most recent Track(s) that have been uploaded by any of the Songwriters you follow on the top left of the page grid. So what does that mean for you? Well, now you can find the latest tracks from those you follow more quickly and easily. We hope that you find this update much easier.

Enjoy!

Spotlight: Folk Rock Songwriter & Producer Jerry Falzone

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on June 11, 2013


Our latest Interview is with singer, songwriter and producer, Jerry Falzone. In this interview, learn how Jerry continues to improve his Songwriting abilities, and the moment when one of his songs completely changed his perspective on why he is a songwriter.

Q: Where do you call home?
Rochester, NY

Q: Where did you grow up?
Rochester, NY

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
I have had so many elaborate set ups for writing music that at the moment it kind of makes me laugh. I had two different 16 track digital recorders in my home studio where I would come up with an idea, add keys, drum tracks, bass, harmony vocals, melody line, guitars, it was enough to almost think about releasing it then I would listen to it in the morning and realize it wasn’t that great of a song. I am about to put both studios up for sale on Craig’s List. I bought a Zoom digital recorder, no multi track at all. I sit down with my guitar. I play a song into it and if the song is a good song it will stand on its own, if it isn’t a good song no amount of studio trickery will change that.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I tried to learn some songs when I was fourteen years old that were beyond my ability to play so I started making up stuff that worked for me. I started looking into music books and found one by David Crosby that opened my ears to exotic sounding chords and different tunings that helped me expand the sound of what I wanted to do and the rest was just building on that.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I’m slogging through a biography of Winston Churchill and I am enjoying a blog by Emma Lane who is a singer songwriter that I am working with as a producer.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I am currently working on my third CD, Liar’s Moon so I don’t listen to very much while I am in that process. However a friend of mine, Scott Regan just released his first CD, Autumn Moon. We did a gig together last week and he gave me a copy of it so I have been listening to that, it is really enjoyable. He is a great songwriter.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I live my life. I believe that a writer of any kind is really someone who lives his life and reports on his experiences, emotions, reactions to everything that happens. My songs are rarely specific in nature but the emotions that are in the songs all come from someplace I have been emotionally.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
The starting point is the toughest for me. I have been involved in situations where I have been asked to write a song for a specific message at a church and that has always been the least challenging for me. You know, give me something to write about and I can knock that out for you in twenty minutes. But coming up with the initial idea, that takes some time and a lot of effort.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Sometimes an idea will come to me when I am walking my dogs, sometimes its late at night when I am alone in a room, sometimes its in the afternoon when I see my guitar looking lonely in a corner and I pick it up because it just seems to be calling to me. Sometimes its when I’m in the studio and someone else is laying down a track and I’m in the waiting room with my guitar. Sometimes I’m just talking to someone and an expression will come out of someone’s mouth and I start writing right then in my head. A song is a cool thing, it will rear its head when it wants to, very seldom when you are trying to coax it out.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
As I mentioned earlier I have written message songs for a church. I’ve never been one to write worship or praise songs as such but if a pastor had a message on something that he needed a set up for he might ask me to come up with a song. The first time that happened I was asked to come up with a song on family problems. I had one written and played it for the pastor. He said it was perfect and asked me to sing it in front of his congregation. Well, my head started to swell up and I said sure. At the time, I was not a performer as such, just a songwriter but I thought that it would be a great challenge. The day of the service, I was set up with great background singers, a bar stool, my favorite twelve string a spot light in a very dark, filled to capacity auditorium, probably about 450 people. The song started, I started singing and my ego kept getting more inflated. The background singers joined in on the chorus and now my ego was almost bursting. The song ended and the applause was as loud as anything I had ever heard in the church. As I left the stage, people were slapping me on the back telling me how great the song was, how much they enjoyed the performance and on and on. I was absolutely soaring at this point. As I was leaving the church some guy started walking up to me and I remember thinking, another fan. He walked up to me and said that he was going through a tough divorce and he wanted me to know that the song made him re-think some of his decisions. You could have knocked me over with a breath. I realized for one of the first times that the beauty of writing is in the effect that it can have on other people, not in what it can do to enhance your own view of yourself. It really changed my whole outlook on why I do what I do.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I surround myself with better musicians than I am, better singers than I am and better writers than I am. I strive to put on songwriter shows where I am the worst writer, singer, player on stage. That keeps me continually striving to better myself.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I don’t really have one. It can change from song to song. On my last CD my producer asked me to write in a 6/8 time signature, I did. The other day I was playing with a cut capo, got a real interesting sound out of a D chord and wrote a song around it. Sometimes I can write a song that becomes important to me in twenty minutes, sometimes I can labor over a song title for two years like I did for the title song of the CD I am recording right now. I really admire people who can say “It’s 10:00, time to write” but I’m not that person.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Liz Larin (a singer songwriter out of Detroit who I have been able to work with once in awhile).

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Keep at it. If you can’t finish one song, go to the next. Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. There is a song in everything you see and hear. I love the line about sculpting. How did you sculpt that beautiful giraffe out of stone….I just chipped away at everything that didn’t look like a giraffe. The song is there, just keep taking the stuff out of it that doesn’t sound like your song.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
A Top Album Pick in Billboard Magazine a long time ago, Jamming with Cheap Trick at the height of their career, Starting the Lake Shore Coffee House Series in Rochester, NY, Starting the Fandango at The Tango in Rochester NY (both Songwriting showcases that have been very well received in the area), releasing two (soon to be three CDs) helping other songwriters build an audience, co-producing the Mason Tyler CD and the Debbie Randyn CD and producing Beyond The Lyric, a local cable access TV show that is an interview performance show for songwriters.

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
Anything that fosters a songwriting community helps every songwriter involved. It can help to build an audience, it can help to strengthen skills, it can help to promote venues that feature songwriters, it can help writers find other writers to work with. There are so many ways that Frettie can help but raising the awareness of what your community has to offer your city is key to helping writers find an audience.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I don’t. I used to use a lot of things, Master Writer being one but I have found that my best tool is my Johnny Cash Martin D-35 and My Martin HD-28 as well as my Zoom recorder.

Q: So what’s next for Jerry Falzone and where can readers find you online?
Finishing up Liar’s Moon. Working on a few more theater venues, one in Summit, NJ and one in Mont Claire, NJ. Establishing the Lake Shore Coffee House Series in a new venue, working with Emma Lane on her EP project. I guess I am always busy.

You can find me online at www.jerryfalzone.com I’m also on Facebook under Jerry Falzone and under Fandango at The Tango. You can also find me on Frettie.

Thanks Jerry for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Introducing Frettie!

All, Announcements by The Frettie Team on June 03, 2013


We are excited to announce that Frettie is now live! Frettie is not another music sharing service, nor another promotion engine for bands and artists. It was created with the mission to provide songwriters with inspiration, feedback and resources as they strive to prefect their craft and get noticed. Frettie is a tiny bootstrapped company out of Columbus, Ohio and was created by a co-founders passion for songwriting, and inspired by the process and stories behind creating music.

Until today, songwriters have been forced to keep the songwriting process to themselves, or within their songwriting circles. Services like YouTube, SoundCloud and Reverberation are great for sharing your final tracks with fans and professionals in the industry, but are not a great fit for the collaborative process of wiring music. This is exactly where Frettie fits. Everyone on Frettie is a songwriter and understands. When you post a track to Frettie, it is with the intent to get feedback and help from the community to perfect it. No need to worry about editing and production. Comments and feedback are always constructive.

Frettie is currently an invite only. By creating an invite only model, we can ensure that the quality of the community stays at the highest standard possible as well as perfect the product with a single audience in mind. If you are a songwriter interested in posting music to Frettie, you are more then welcome to request an invite.

Thanks to everyone who has provided early feedback and support for Frettie. We are really excited to continue to build features, and tools that focus on helping other songwriters create their music.

We hope you enjoy Frettie!

Spotlight: Georgia Singer & Songwriter Caryn Womack

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on May 07, 2013


It has been great to get to know Georgia Singer & Songwriter Caryn Womack. In this interview, find out how a strong songwriting community and valuable feedback from fans has helped her grow as an artist.

Q: Where do you call home?
Atlanta, Georgia.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Cartersville, Georgia.

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
I sit in my living room floor with my notebook, a pen and sometimes my guitar. I keep my iPhone nearby to record melodies when I’ve got them worked out. It’s pretty low-key. Then when I enter the editing stage, I’ll type everything up on my laptop and start cleaning up lyrics and fiddling with the music.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I guess I’m kind of a late bloomer by a lot of people’s songwriting standards — I just started writing about a year and a half ago, at 23 years old! I was always a bit of a poet as a child, but I never tried writing any music because I thought I’d be awful at it. A close college friend, who ended up later becoming my producer, knew I loved to sing and encouraged me to try my hand at songwriting so that I could stand out as an artist. I was immediately addicted! Once I found out what a release it was, I had to keep writing to get all of my emotions and thoughts out there.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I just finished The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (my favorite author!) this week. It centers around a Nazi general and a Holocaust victim’s family, and it deals with the potential for change and redemption from past sins. It’s great! Her stories are pretty heavy from a moral standpoint. They really make you think.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
Six months later, I’ve finally downloaded the new Mumford & Sons album. I totally get all the hype! I’ve been listening to a lot of Carolina Story lately, too. They’re a Folk/Americana duo that’s got a few albums out.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I truly believe that God’s led me through both really wonderful and really rough times in my life to provide me with inspiration for my music. I always pray that my songs can touch someone in a similar situation and help them to celebrate or cope with something they’re going through.

It’s also so simple to find inspiration in everyday life if you’re willing to keep your eyes and ears open. I’m constantly getting ideas from little snippets of conversations, novels, Sunday morning sermons, quotes on Pinterest… one of the songs on my album is even inspired by something I saw on an episode of Pawn Stars!

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
Keeping songs, particularly verses, to a relevant theme is sometimes difficult. Of course I want to write songs that will resonate with others, so I tend to try to cover every possible topic to make that happen. That isn’t how it works, though. The more specific you can get with your lyrics, the more people it seems you can reach. It’s odd. I have to rein myself in more often than not and say, “Ok, this is a good idea, but does it belong here? Are you confusing people with your message? What do you really want them to hear?”

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
It’s easiest for me to write late at night, for sure! Probably because that’s when I feel the most relaxed and reflective. Sometimes I’ll be halfway asleep and a melody or a line of lyrics will jolt me awake and I’ll have to jump out of bed and start working. Writing at night also gives you the advantage of having a whole day’s experiences fresh on your mind to pull inspiration from.

I mostly write in my apartment. I’d like to write outside, but I don’t want to be wandering around Downtown Atlanta at 2am with my pen and paper when inspiration strikes. Shoutout to my neighbors who put up with my bizarre night owl tendencies. Y’all are champs for listening to me sing and work at all hours of the night!

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
The first time I had someone tell me a song of mine made them cry, it really struck me. This person in particular was referencing a song that had really become a struggle to write, but for some reason I just couldn’t stop working on it. The validation that I got from that one comment helped to spur me on in such an incredible way. It really helped me to realize the impact my music could potentially have on others, and it also showed me how important feedback can be to an artist.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I try to take every opportunity to work with others. There’s something to be learned from any fellow musician, regardless of whether or not they’re in your particular genre or at your same experience level. Music depends so heavily on a strong community, so I’m constantly trying to grow my support system and make new friends that are as passionate about music as I am!

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I’m split about 50/50 on whether I write the lyrics or the melody first. I almost always start with the chorus, though, from a structure standpoint, and then move on to verses and a title line. Verse 2 is always hardest for me to write. No idea why.

If I start with the music first, I’ll strum along on my guitar while I finalize the melody and will keep humming along until words start to morph themselves into place. When I start with lyrics, I try to come up with two or three unique matching melodies and then move forward with the one that fits the song’s vibe best.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
Pretty obsessed with anything by Luke Laird, Trent Dabbs and Natalie Hemby. Eric Hutchinson is great, too.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Write for yourself. Write whatever makes you happy. And make sure you just write!That’s the greatest way to improve your work and make progress as a songwriter. Also, don’t get offended if someone doesn’t love your music. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, it just means it isn’t their style! Even the most famous and successful artists in history have people that didn’t love their songs. As long as you’re truly proud of your work, that’s all that matters.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
I just released my debut album on April 23rd, which I consider a huge accomplishment. It debuted at #177 on the iTunes Top 200 Country Albums Chart! I wrote all 9 of the songs myself, picked from about 100 that I penned over the course of a year. It was a pretty intense undertaking, but I had a great producer and incredible session musicians that helped to create something I’m really proud of! Check it out on iTunes!

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
Getting feedback on your work is SO invaluable. Nothing’s better than hearing whether or not you’re on the right track and learning where your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can make your music even better. Frettie is going to be an incredible place to mentor and be mentored, as well as a great way to come together in collaboration. It’s going to allow each songwriter to reach out across the country to gather ideas, opinions and critiques that they can use to improve their work.

Q: So what’s next for Caryn Womack and where can readers find you online?
For the next few months, I’m going to be playing shows around Atlanta, promoting my album and working to perfect my performances. I’ve also started writing some new music for an EP that I hope to release by the end of this year. Other than that, I’m just praying and keeping my fingers crossed that my music lands in the hands (or ears, as it may be), of someone who can make something big happen!

You can find me online at www.CarynWomack.com. I’m also on Facebook and on Twitter at @carynwomack. Feel free to follow and say hi!

Thank you Caryn for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and hope to see you soon on Frettie.

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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: CSA Founder and Songwriter Joey Hendrickson

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on April 05, 2013


Meet Joey Hendrickson of Columbus, Ohio. He is the founder of Columbus Songwriters Association as well as a Songwriter. In this interview he talks about how a $39 computer program helped him discover Songwriting at the age of 11.

Q: Where do you call home?
Columbus, Ohio.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Washington D.C.

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
I write best when I am in either a stairwell or in an open room. I like to use my iPhone or Laptop with ”Notepad” or “Text Edit” to capture my lyrics.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
When I was 11 years old, I saved up and bought a program called Hip Hop Ejay for $39 from Voyetra’s website. I made hundreds of rap beats using the program’s loops, and began writing raps to them. Eventually, I had about 50 word documents filled with rap ideas, and I would walk around my neighborhood with a portable stereo, play these beats, and pretty much rap for any neighbor who would listen. When I was 12, I won several rap battles on internet rap forums, using a pseudonyme to make myself sound older than I was. It wasn’t long before I realized that writing songs about the “things I really feel” was better than making up raps about things a 12 year old suburban kid really doesn’t know about.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I’ve been following Seth Godin’s blog for a couple years and I am currently reading "The Rise of The Creative Class" and as a student a small mountain of college textbooks.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I recently bought Damien Rice’s vinyl "Live At Fingerprints Warts and All" and haven’t put it down.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I stay constantly active. Mentally; I let my mind wander as often as it chooses. Emotionally; when I feel something overwhelming, I get out my guitar and express it. Physically; I purposefully try to smile and interact with new people everyday. I often stay up late to let the creative juices flow. When there’s a complacent or doubtful moment, I take time to play mental ping pong, challenge it, or do something spontaneous. This could be taking a walk downtown, busking, driving to Nashville for the weekend, or hopping a freight train and taking a taxi back home.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
Relevance. It’s easy to write a song you feel good about. It’s much harder to make that song resonate with the person in front of you.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I find a creative window somewhere between 2-4AM when the best songs are written. The mind sort of hits the “rewind” button during this time, and what would typically be thoughts or memories expressed in dreams can instead be materialized into songs. This time of night is usually distraction-free, quiet, and overall conduce for writing.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
The first memory that came to mind: I was in Chicago. It was late, and I had just finished a gig at a bar, and had lugged my guitar six blocks, and up four flights of stairs to catch a subway train back to the hotel. The subway landing was outdoors. I leaned against a rail, and noticed a large group of people about 100 feet below talking around a bonfire.

I had this feeling, so I got out my guitar and started strumming some chords. Somehow, the sound from my guitar echoed off the apartment building, and they could hear me playing music. It was like an amphitheater appeared out of thin air. They shouted “Hey! Play us a song!” So I serenaded them from 100 feet up on the subway landing.

When the song was done, the group below cheered and all the people waiting for the train applauded. I wrote down my info on a piece of paper, and flew it “paper airplane” style to the group below. One of them actually caught it, and followed up with me on Facebook.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I think creating a written plan is the best way to maintain professional growth. I have a plan for where I want to be tomorrow, and what I will be doing then, just like I do for where I want to be in 5 years and what I need to do to get there.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I think that lyrics are where a song truly begins to take shape. I start with a title, a hook phrase, or a chorus 99% of the time. The rest is variable. Sometimes, I get a feeling like I need to write and express something. Other times, I’m noodling on the guitar and start humming a bit, and a melody starts to take life. Rarely do I write out all the lyrics before I begin a song- that’s actually what I used to do when I was younger, but it doesn’t really work that way for me anymore.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
Andrew Bird, Damien Rice, Michael Angelakos

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Don’t try to do it all alone. If you’re looking for a community of songwriters, support, or tools for performance, publishing, and distribution, the Columbus Songwriters Association is a great place to start.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
• Released 1st Album, 2006

• Performances in London UK, 2006

• Sold 20 CDs on consignment in Rózsavölgyi Zenebolt (music store) in Budapest, 2008

• Released 2nd Album, 2009

• Pitched “Missing You More” to Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s, 2009

• Opened up for 21 Pilots, 2010

• 400th Show, 2010

• Recording Engineer Certification, 2010

• 100 Songs Registered with BMI, 2011

• Pitched to Publishers in Nashville, 2011

• Released 3rd Album, 2011

• First Publishing Contract, 2012

• 1st Place in Groove U 1 Take Wonder, 2012

• Founded Columbus Songwriters Association, 2012

• NPR and KLBJ radio play, performance, and interview, 2013

• Music In The Round, 2013

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
I think Frettie will allow for cross-culture collaboration. A songwriter in Columbus, Ohio collaborating with a songwriter in New Dehli would add something truly unique to the global Songwriting community.

Thank you Joey for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and hope to see you soon on Frettie.

Photo Credit: Andrew Warren Wilson
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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: New York Songwriter Emma Lane

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on March 22, 2013


In our latest showcase, Country Singer & Songwriter Emma Lane talks about how her love of the Beatles, and growing up with a father as a musician turned her onto Songwriting.

Q: Where do you call home:
Rochester, New York.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Hilton, New York.

Q: What is your setup for writing music?
I wouldn’t say I have much of a set up for writing. Just a pen, paper and my iPhone to record the melody.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I started writing from a young age. Once I picked up the guitar around 11, that’s when the songs started. My father is a musician so I was always around music. I really loved listening to The Beatles and was very interested in how they structured their songs. I would listen to their albums over and over and would chart out their rhymes and patterns.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I read about a book a week. I just finished re-reading Alice in Wonderland and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have a few in rotation at the moment. Wasting Light - Foo Fighters, Hunter Hayes - Hunter Hayes, All Things Must Past - George Harrison and Tiger Suit - KT Tunstall.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by my daily life. I always have weird or odd things happen to me. I tell my parents “I think God does this to me on purpose so I can tell
a story”.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
I would say my biggest challenge as a songwriter is defining what message I want to send out. As a songwriter, I’m writing about my experiences and how I feel in hopes people can relate to that. I’m careful to not tell people how they should feel or what they should do. That’s not my job, my job is to tell a story.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I usually have better luck writing at night. I don’t set out to only write at night but I think being relaxed and having a bit of silence helps me think. I am able to shut the rest of the day out and focus. I also write where I’m most comfortable.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
My favorite memory is having young girls come up to me after shows or comment on my twitter asking me for advice for songwriting and singing. It’s very cool to think that if one person or one million people hear your song you can have an impact on them. That’s what it’s all about.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I maintain my professional growth by always being humble. There is always room for improvement. Constructive criticism good or bad is always going to be present if you’re performing. It’s always good to listen. At the end of the day whether someone thinks you’re great or terrible, it’s all opinion. I think that’s a huge part of it too in order to grow.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I usually always start with a verse and a melody and build from there. It’s rare for me to start with the chords and lay a melody over it. I’m not technical at all, I don’t worry about if whatever I’m doing is in the same key. If it sounds good, it’s good. My favorite song writing team of all time, Lennon and McCartney did everything by ear too.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, and Shania Twain.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
My advice would be write as much as you can. Write about anything. Try different styles. Finding your genre niche is key. Don’t over think the song. If you can’t come up with a verse, it’s better to step away and wait then to force it. Also be yourself and have your own style.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
I have played tons of shows with many talented signed and unsigned artists. One of my songs is going to be in a film. I have become more adept on guitar and I have developed my own unique style. Also getting ready to release my EP is a great accomplishment. Every little step is an accomplishment.

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
I think Frettie is a great tool for the songwriting community. Getting feedback on writing and having support on your craft and passion is huge. It also give us a chance to see what’s out there and be inspired.

Q: So what’s next for Emma Lane?
I will be releasing my EP in the summer, playing a great show in Boston, MA May 24th. I will also be playing more shows. This is just the beginning! And THANK YOU for asking me to be the showcased songwriter!

You can also find me on YouTube and Facebook.


Thank you Emma for taking the time to answer these questions. we appreciate all of your support and hope to see you soon on Frettie.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Americana Songwriter Jon Morgan

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on March 07, 2013


We welcome Jon Morgan as this week’s featured Singer & Songwriter. In this interview Jon tells all. How he has been able to break into the Columbus, Ohio music scene, what it means to meet a number of other talented artists who share the same interest, and how his love of writing made Songwriting a logical fit.

Thank you Jon for taking the time to answer these questions. we appreciate all of your support and hope to see you soon on Frettie.

Q: Where do you call home:
Lancaster, Ohio.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Sturgis, Michigan.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I’ve always loved to write. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t go nuts over coming up with stories… it was my thing in elementary school. And I’ve always had a huge appreciation for language and for how powerful words can be when you really have a good grip of how to use them. So, I guess, if you join that with a fondness of music, it’s kind of like the perfect storm for eventually writing your own songs. But learning the music part was the most difficult, that’s for sure.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
I know this sounds terrible… especially for someone who has degrees in English and Writing… but I’ve kind of taken a break from books. I love to read, but I got so burnt out on required readings my senior year of college, that I decided I’d only read on my own terms – for fun. So, I think the last book I finished was The Sun also Rises, by Hemingway. And that was months ago. But literature is really what drives most of my songwriting. I have a couple songs that are retellings of classic stories, and, whenever I read, I make sure to keep a pen handy in case a line or two strike me
as catchy.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
There’s never really a day that goes by when I don’t listen to Ryan Adams… lately it’s been Love Is Hell and 29… but it varies. I’ve also been on a huge Nathaniel Rateliff kick in the last couple of weeks. His album, In Memory of Loss, is incredible. Such a huge voice, and his songwriting
is storytelling at its finest.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I guess I don’t need much to be inspired to make music. I mean, it’s what I love to do… kind of to the point that I HAVE to do it. But I think the best way to stay inspired to write new songs is to keep an eye out for things happening around you, you know? Just being observant while you’re walking around. I honestly don’t think I have any songs about huge, singular things. I look at the small, seemingly insignificant stuff – it can be a lot more interesting. But constantly listening to music helps a ton, too. Especially since I’m not exactly up to snuff on my music theory. I’m self-taught, and I don’t know the names for all the things about music that I love, but I know when I hear something that gives me chills… and I know when I hear something that makes my jaw drop and think a thousand things at once. So, I know for me that it has been hugely important to just listen and study – it’s helped me put my own songs together.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is worrying about every song being “perfect” or better than the last. Yeah, you want to constantly improve and try new things. But, you need to just get ‘em rolling first… then you can fine tune later. I think I demand a lot of myself when I write, and I get down on myself and kind of lose heart if I get stuck or if something isn’t turning out the way I want. But, usually, if I just get a rough recording, leave it alone for a few days, and then come back to it… I find something about it that I’m crazy about that I didn’t even notice the first forty times around… and I find what I don’t like and change it. I have to remind myself that I need to walk that fine line of objectivity. I need to love what I’m making… but, at the same time, I need to not get so caught up in it that I can’t realize that it’s not good, you know?

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I’m a night owl. I don’t mind losing sleep if I’m doing something productive. And, typically, things are calmer past midnight. If it’s warm enough, I prefer to sit outside and write – mainly so I don’t wake anyone, but also because there’s just something nice about strumming under the stars. I’ve tried locking myself in a room or a studio until songs happen, but I just end up feeling cramped and kinda antsy. So, big, wide-open space with absolutely nothing going on around me seems to be the best way to go.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
I think one of my best memories was from a house show I played a couple years ago. I get nervous playing in front of people… but, at the same time, I love it. It’s weird. But I get stage fright something awful. It’s usually just the sound check and like the first few measures of the first song… and then I get into the zone… but I have these internal freak-outs. And they’re always like, “What if no one likes my songs? What if they don’t clap? Are they FAKE clapping? That person left… am I terrible, or did he just have somewhere to be?” … and it just goes on and on. (I’m not the most confident at times.) But, it was at this house show that something happened that blew my mind. Everyone in the room started singing along to MY song. I almost didn’t even know what to do. It made me feel like what I was doing mattered enough to someone to actually be memorable. And that’s an incredible feeling.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I think the “professional” aspect of being involved in live music is something I grapple with a lot. I’m new to the Columbus area, and I don’t actually live in town. So, I’ve had to break in… and I’m still trying to leave some kind of mark on the music scene, which is tough, because it’s huge. And I’m not the best with self-promotion and networking. I prefer face-to-face interaction with people, but the only way you’re ever going to get about 95% of your shows is via online discovery/correspondence. I kinda raged against the whole social media promotion machine for a long time, but I’m trying to adapt because it only hurt me. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Facebook. I’m on ReverbNation. And a bunch of other sites that I’ve forgotten passwords for. But I probably don’t look incredibly professional to a lot of booking agents and venues because I don’t have a blog or a website. And that’s where I need to get with the program.

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
It’s not that impressive, really… or complicated. Usually, one of two things happens to start the process:

1) I get a catchy lyric or two stuck in my head, so I hum and strum until the music starts to fit… then I write the rest OR

2) I stumble upon a chord progression I can’t shake… so I analyze it, determine what kind of mood it creates, and then pick my brain for a story to tell. If I figure that out, then comes the melody… and, hopefully, the lyrics. But, honestly, I can’t say that I can ever really plan a song. A lot of it has to smack me right in the face before I know what to do. Patience is a virtue, right? So I wait for a lot of my songs to sort of introduce themselves to me… then the process really begins.

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
Ummmm… in no particular order, I’d say… probably Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra/Right Away, Great Captain!), Ryan Adams, and Andrew Bird. Yeah. I’ll stick with that.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Well, I’m not going to try to give anyone the impression that I’m a professional who’s seen it all and knows it all. I’m not. I haven’t. And I don’t. But I guess the best advice I can give is to know your sound and don’t try to cram it into a certain genre. There’s plenty of music I love to listen to but can’t recreate because I’m not suited for it. At the same time, don’t box yourself in. You might be surprised what kind of tunes work if you experiment. Also (and this is just a general life lesson that works well with music), be good to your listeners. Be kind to bookers, sound guys, other musicians, etc. Caring about other people will go a long way in the music world. It’ll open doors and, regardless of what you sound like, people are more likely to want to hear your music if they know you’re not a complete tool box.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date.
Well, I’m more than halfway through recording my first EP, which is scary, awesome, draining, and about a million other things. It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever, but just didn’t come together until I was fortunate enough to meet some really amazing people (one of whom I’ll be marrying in about three and a half months). I also joined the Columbus Songwriters Association, which is pretty cool. Joey Hendrickson and Derek DuPont are two amazingly entrepreneurial guys, and they’ve taken an idea and made it real. Because of the CSA, I’ve met a lot of people, been offered shows, and given opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have found on my own. I’m even looking at some radio time in the future because a DJ from a station saw me play at the CSA showcase in January. I’m really excited about that. I’m just happy that things are kind of picking up for me and that I’m out playing again. Do I have dreams of making it big? Sure. Who doesn’t? But I’m completely thrilled to just play anywhere and have anyone enjoy what I do. Music is supposed to be shared, so if someone hears my stuff and has a good time with it, then that works for me. Doesn’t have to be in a stadium. A coffee shop will do. Either way, I have a love for music and writing… and I think the good Lord gave me enough talent to make some decent songs… so that’s what I’m going to keep on trying
to do.
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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Indie Songwriter Spencer Saylor

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on March 01, 2013


We want to introduce Spencer Saylor as this week’s featured Singer & Songwriter. When he is not studying music at the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, he spends his time writing and performing. In just a short period of time, Spencer has made himself known in Columbus, Ohio for his unique style and lyrics.

Thank you Spencer for taking the time to answer these questions. we appreciate all of your support and hope to see you soon on Frettie.

Q: Where do you call home:
Columbus, Ohio.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Canfield, Ohio.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I have been playing guitar since the age of nine (started electric but made my way to acoustic) and due to the shift in the genre of music I listened to, by the age of around 14 I wanted to start writing my own music.

We all look up to our heroes. My heroes were the musicians I was listening to; Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer—we want to be like our heroes and that’s how I took such an interest in writing.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
As a music student, you do not get a whole lot of time that can be spent on extra reading outside of school; however, I like to continue to educate myself on songwriting and the music business, so I am often reading forums and articles online written by some of the industry’s best.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I love all genres of music—therefore my music playlist is constantly changing. However, if you want me to pinpoint it down to one album or artist, I have really been getting into Phillip Phillips and his debut album since American Idol, “The World from the Side of the Moon”. He has a unique folk sound, and I feel like he and I have commonalities in our writing. Hopefully our similar stories can allow us to cross paths in the future.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
One skill I have developed over the years is really how to fight writers block. It is almost as if I have a switch in my mind that can either allow me to write based on my personal life and events, or when nothing is really happening in my life, I have the ability to just write something marketable that others can relate to.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
I think for every songwriter the big challenge is busting out of the walls of the city you have made a name for yourself in. For me, I did it quicker in Columbus than other Songwriters in other cities where it takes them years of playing out to become recognized.

Going to a school in Columbus where my music quickly spread and students hopped on board. They started sharing it and that really helped me skip a few stressful steps in becoming known. I am so blessed for this to have happened. My booking agent and I have now been working closely in finding more larger named artists to open for not only in the Columbus area but also the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh areas. Hopefully in the larger shows that I begin to play, my national fan base and recognition can grow large enough to allow me to travel the country with my music—which is right now a top the pyramid of my goals.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I never really just sit down and write music; I have to either begin feeling an emotion that I think will work good for a song, think of a catchy melody that I can work with, or think of a couple good lines that allow me to continue to work off of them.

This can happen at all times of the day so I cannot really pinpoint a certain time of day. I have written from the crack of dawn to the late hours of the evening.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
The start of my career three months ago til now—and I cannot even explain it. Everything has truly happened so fast and it all still seems so surreal. I have had this dream since I was just a little kid.

I can’t just pick out a certain memory because it seems that every single day something awesome is happening with my music. From becoming #1 singer/songwriter artist for Columbus via ReverbNation, having successful radio/iTunes/Spotify releases, working with some great sound engineers and studios, playing out more around Columbus, and now I am opening for Aaron Carter on his comeback tour at the end of March. For this to all happen in just 3 months blows not only other peoples minds but my own

But my true favorite memory and accomplishment is being able to do what I had always set out to do. There is no greater feeling than looking out into your audience and seeing people singing your songs word for word with you. Having fans let you know that your song is one of their new favorite songs, and that your songs are now apart of their favorite in the car playlist to jam to is amazing.

I had always and will always set out to create something that will help people when they are having problems or feeling a certain way. The fact that my music is doing that and to the point that they known it word for word—simply leaves me speechless.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
In order to be successful in the music industry you have to be willing to put all of your time and effort into your career. I can’t count how many hours in the day I set aside to making sure my growth professionally is always going upwards.

I am not only always practicing, but I continually update information on my Facebook and ReverbNation pages, look into other tools and websites that will help me grow my name, and of course staying closely tied in with my fan base through twitter.

Professionally if you want to be successful put your fans first. They are really the people who will decide whether your name grows and gets spread so staying in touch with them as much as possible is what I make my priority. This journey is not just mine, my fan base will always be coming a long with me sharing every moment!

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Three things are important:

1.) Decide whether you are doing this as a hobby or want to make it a potential career. If you want to make a name for yourself and grow a fan base and have people take interest in your music, it takes a lot of time, effort, and work. You have to know whether you are willing to put in
that time.

2.) Stick to your roots. Remember who you are, where you came from, who the people who love you are. It will make the process so much easier, fulfilling, and allow you to know wherever your music takes you, you will always have home. (It is as cliché as the songs make it out to be).

3.) You are a songwriter; write YOUR songs. No matter where you go, write about what YOU want, what YOU feel, and the melodies that get stuck in YOUR head. The coolest thing about being a songwriter is that no one can tell you what to write— you write the story that people are going to listen and relate to.

If you are really a songwriter, if you get to the moment where you are given the option to see your name in lights but you are not the one writing the songs that you are trying to get others to believe in, then revaluate what you originally started doing this for.

Q: Would you like to add anything else?
Thank you for the opportunity. You can find my music on itunes.

__________________________________________________________________

Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Missouri Songwriter Travis Russom

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on February 21, 2013


Travis Russom is this week’s featured Singer & Songwriter. When he is not delivering products for Lowe’s Home Improvement, you can find him with his guitar and notepad writing songs.

Thank you Travis for taking the time to answer these questions. Stay humble and keep chasing your dream. As always, we appreciate all of your support for Frettie thus far.

Q: Where do you call home:
Southeast Missouri.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Canalou, Missouri.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I really didn’t start writing songs until I bought my first guitar at age 21.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to Jamey Johnson’s new album called "Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran."

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
The easiest way from me to stay inspired is by just listening to music. All types of music. It does not matter the genre. I like to see how other
people write.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
As a Songwriter my biggest challenge is keeping my songs from sounding like current songs on the radio. While writing my music I have to stay aware of that.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I write songs whenever I get a burst of inspiration or an idea for a song. It does not matter when or where.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
My favorite memory as a Songwriter is when I wrote the Song for my Grandpa after he passed away. It is called "I wrote this song for you."

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
My wife and kids help me stay grounded. They also steer me in the right direction. Without them, I don’t think I could have come this far in pursuing my dreams of being a Songwriter.

Q: Where do you like to start with your Songwriting?
I don’t have a preference. I just go with whatever strikes me first. Either the lyric or the music.

Q: Who are your top three favorite Artists or Songwriters?
There are more than three, but I would have to say Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard and Jamey Johnson if I had to name just three.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
I would say to just listen to anything or anyone you can come across. You can learn a ton from listening to the old writers like Whitey Shafer, Bill Anderson and Bobby Bare.

I would also say to pay attention to your conversations. You never know when someone may say something that triggers an idea, you may have a hit on your hands.

Q: Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for taking the time and allowing me to tell my story. You can find my music here.

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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Nashville Singer & Songwriter Ryan Harris Brown

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on February 15, 2013


We want to thank Singer & Songwriter Ryan Harris Brown for being this weeks ”Songwriter Showcase”. We hope you find his story inspiring as well as informational.

Thank you Ryan for taking the time to answer these questions.
We appreciate all the support for Frettie thus far.

Q: Where do you call home:
Nashville, Tennessee.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I started writing songs when I first picked up the guitar. I must have been around 12 years old. Since I didn’t know how to play anything, I would make up my own “songs”. I didn’t start to get serious about it though until I went to Berklee College of Music.

Q: What Book are you currently reading?
Bob Dylan: Chronicles Vol. 1

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to the new Madi Diaz record.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I don’t know about staying inspired, but I just try to stay positive and surround myself with good, supportive, and honest friends. Sometimes I’ll also throw on a Paul Simon record when I need a little extra nudge
of inspiration.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
As a songwriter, my biggest challenge is not being able to write songs as fast as I’d like. I tend to have to do too much editing.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I REALLY like writing in the mornings and early afternoon. Every now and then I write at night, but it’s usually just to get ideas down. I write a lot in the kitchen too for some reason.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
I have a lot of favorite musical moments and times where I’ve been writing and felt like everything was clicking. My song "The Trail You Leave Behind" was important for me as a writer and as a person.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I maintain my professional growth by making sure everything I put out into the world is of quality.

Q: Where do you like to start with your Songwriting?
I write from titles a lot. But it always starts out on the guitar. I have to be interested in what’s happening on the guitar to even consider writing a song.

Q: Who are your top three favorite Artists or Songwriters?
I would have to say Ben Folds, John Mayer & Ryan Adams.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
I would say to be honest when you write, and don’t think anything is less legit because you used plain language. The best songs all use simple lyrics that seem to be made for the melodies they sit in.

Q: Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for taking the time and checking out my music!!! It’s all I ever wanted. Find me online at www.ryanharrisbrown.com.

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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.

Spotlight: Emmy Award-Winning Producer Kenny Royster

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on February 08, 2013


We want to thank Emmy Award-Winning Producer Kenny Royster for being Frettie's first “Songwriter Showcase”. We hope these inspiring interviews give Songwriters the chance to see the industry from the inside.

Thank you Kenny for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate your support thus far.

Q: Where do you call home:
Nashville, Tennessee.

Q: Where did you grow up?
Portland, Oregon.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I got started in Songwriting by playing guitar at age 14.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I produce more albums than I actually listen to.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I’m constantly surrounded by the best Songwriters, Musicians and Studio Singers in the world so staying inspired is easy.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is not getting too far out of the box.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
I can write music any time of day, but I prefer to write in my recording studio.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
My favorite memory so far is writing a number one song for the band Ricochet called, "That’s Love".

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
Anytime I don’t feel like Songwriting, the guitar just climbs back into my lap and I’m at it again.

Q: Where do you like to start with your Songwriting?
I like to start with the Title.

Q: Who are your top three favorite Artists or Songwriters?
I would have to say Bob Seger, The Beatles and The Eagles.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Write as much as you can, with the highest quality that you can do.

Q: Where do you find Songwriting ideas?
I go out to crowded places and listen to what people say, and write down my interpretation, even if it’s not what they said, sometimes it’ll make a great song title or a great song idea.

I’ve written and recorded songs for some of the most famous and best Songwriters in the world. They all have a different way of working. Find what works for you, but you can learn a lot from studying successful songs.

Q: Would you like to add anything else?
Yes. It is important to have three things for a hit song. A great idea, melody and lyric and when you’ve got that together, lets get together for an artist recording or demo. You can hear my music at DirectImageStudios.com

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Did you find this enjoyable? You will certainly enjoy Frettie!

Sign-Up today to be notified when we launch Frettie. Frettie is an online community for songwriters to get feedback on their music as they create it! www.frettie.com

Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.


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