NSAI stands for "Nashville Songwriters Association International." Their website is http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/
Now that that's out of the way...
I was introduced to NSAI in such a weird way that I can only call it divine providence. I was shopping at Dollar General when a random lady who goes to Zumba class with me came up to me. Once we were past the small talk, she mentioned an event being held at her church, a songwriting workshop. Naturally, my ears perked up at this possibility. She explained that a successful songwriter, Rob Crosby, would be there to share his story along with a few bits of advice.
I decided to try out the workshop and loved it. Not only because I was in the presence of someone who had written songs for Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn, Trace Adkins and more, but because I found a small community of local songwriters that I never knew existed. Rob Crosby had explained that being part of a professional group such as BMI, or NSAI would be extremely helpful in the business. One of the songwriters in attendance that day just happened to be part of the west Kentucky chapter of NSAI. He let me know that they met about 30 minutes away from where I lived, once a month. The next meeting was just days away.
At that meeting, we worked our creativity with neat little projects, played some of our original music, and just....shared. With the support and financial blessing of some very dear friends, I was able to begin my membership with NSAI officially. Membership with NSAI provides all sorts of neat benefits, including having my songs heard and evaluated by professionals in the business, having the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring with professionals in the business in Nashville, and more. I've already submitted a few of my songs, only to be informed that I'm not as awesome as I thought I was...and that's GREAT! That's so humbling! It can be a little unsafe to just write songs in my little office, being my only critique and thinking that I'm the only songwriter in the world. There are millions with talent and I am one little fish in a vast ocean of creativity. This has helped me set realistic goals for my songwriting and to see just what is involved, should I make this an eventual career.
If you are a songwriter, or if you know one, I highly suggest you check that website out that I posted above.
So, I just realized that I haven't written in this blog in over a year, so um...yeah. UPDATE TIME! This is only because I've had to focus on Day-Job mode (which most artists must do, sadly). It leaves me little time to focus on turning my passion into an actually career when I only have four hours in the evening to really toy with it and get to work with it. Man, what I wouldn't GIVE for some recognition and to be able to be paid to write music!
Which brings me to my next point. I've entered into a project where I get to choose one song for a sampler CD that's being "shopped" out to various agents/radio stations/A&R reps, etc. Talk about pressure. I'm pretty sure I've chosen the song, but I must say...this is EXCITING! I mean, I've entered competitions before in hopes of being recognized, I entered the John Lennon Songwriting Competition back in 2004 (I placed national finals but didn't win) and I entered a competition called HIT Search America in 2008, where I had to sing live, (which I completely failed at, I was a nervous wreck!) and got a tentative plan forming with a producer and agent in Phoenix...but it fizzled. And now, in 2012, I'm doing this project. Wow...I didn't realize it was every four years. Odd coincidence! Anywho....moving on.
So, I'm starting to really get in the groove of writing songs. I remember when I first got married that it was so difficult to write without a piano or keyboard. My biological father saved the day by giving me a Casio WK-3000 and I was able to make music again. The songs started flowing out like a dam had burst or something. And then one year ago, I get recording equipment and just go at it, with different instruments now involved. Just recently I was able to upgrade the equipment a little and make the songs sound a little better. Not professional studio quality, but still...enough for you to get an idea of what the song was meant to sound like, you know?
I think I'm rambling. I'm going to cut this blog short and fix myself some dinner. And edit this website a little. :)
It's really not that difficult when you think about it. I wish I could claim that I'm just an amazing poet and thinker, but truthfully, I'm like most people. I jot down my thoughts, my feelings (anger, fear, love, happiness, sadness...) and then I do something else that really helps.
I consult Rhymezone.com.
Thanks to Rhymezone, I have made so many sets of lyrics that normally would've taken me at least twice as long to come up with on my own. Now, I can be a speedy lyricist, spouting off matching, rhyming lyrics that are pleasing to a poet's ear, sometimes in less than five minutes. And then I get credit for it. Hehehe (that was an evil laugh).
Alrighty, I've got a new song up on Reverb Nation (which has graciously allowed me to get the HTML code so I can post in on my website)....go listen! Share in the feelings that I feel! ...or something like that. :)
I will easily say that purchasing my own recording equipment has been the best decision I’ve ever made when it comes to songwriting. Too many times I’ve paid $35-45 an hour for recording time and could only record piano and voice….and had to keep my imperfections in my songs. Now, with my own stuff, I can go back, delete, re-record, add something, take it away, and be spontaneous with my recording. Thanks to having my own stuff, I can add percussion, guitar, bass, strings, all the wonderful things I kept TELLING everyone would make my songs sound so much better!
And if I had a choice of singing for a sound engineer or singing for myself, I’d also much more comfortably singing for myself. I swear, I could never perform these live without getting EXTREME jitters….I’d probably have a friggin heart attack on stage. I’m perfectly content letting others sing my stuff, as long as I get the credit for writing it, and whatever proper compensation for the time and effort I put into these songs. I’m in the process of copyrighting my music (so if anyone dare tries to steal it I’ll see you in court with both a copyright AND proof that I posted these to Facebook MONTHS before even copyrighting it, hehe).
I’ve calculated the hours I’ve already spent putting these songs together vs. the amount I would have spent had I used these hours in the studio and already I’ve saved a couple HUNDRED dollars. It’s amazing how much one can save when they do this. True, I’m not playing a baby grand, and true, I’m not in a sound proof room, but I think that if you listen to my songs, you’ll get the general gist of what the song’s supposed to sound like. And if a studio exec likes what he/she hears, I guarantee that if you stick me in a proper studio with several sound engineers, I’ll re-create this song PROPERLY in a matter of half an hour to an hour. I know all the instruments in my songs…the whole thing’s in my head. And if they want to pay studio musicians to play the part, I’m not above that plan at all. Might take longer, but at least I can write down every part for them.
See….THIS is what I want to do with my life. It’s a tough field, I know. But I didn’t plan this. God gave me a talent and a passion. He also gave me hobby talents, such as photography, drawing, designing, writing…but THIS? Creating these songs and the music behind them….THIS is what I love to do. And I’d do it all day if I could get away with it.
Now, go listen to my music. :)