Midland’s debut single tops Airplay chart

“Drinkin’ Problem” first Number One for Midland

It was a five-man Number One party Wednesday afternoon: the three members of Midland and their two co-writers, jointly hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Members of Midland at the Number One party, flanked by Shane McAnally (far left) and Josh Osborne (right). Photo credit: Preshias Harris.

They gathered with friends and music industry execs at The Sutler in Nashville to celebrate the band’s debut single which is also their first career Number One single. Titled “Drinkin’ Problem,” the track was originally issued on an EP and is now the lead-off single from their new album, ON THE ROCKS, released September 22.

“Drinkin’ Problem” was written by the three members of Midland, Mark Wystrach (lead vocals), Jess Carson (lead guitar & harmony vocals) and Cameron Duddy (bass & harmony vocals).  They share writing credits on the Number One with superstar writers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. (Osborne has fourteen Number Ones as a writer; McAnally has twenty-five Number Ones as a writer and eight as a producer!)

“Drinkin’ Problem” was produced by Osborne, McAnally and Dan Huff.

A ‘first’ for Big Machine, too

Notably, the song also scores another ‘First.’ It is the first debut single from a new act to top the Airplay charts for Big Machine Records and their roster of artists.

Commenting on how the song came about, Jess Carson said, “Three friends going in, all together. That was a lightning-rod moment.”

During the celebration, Huff said to Mark, Jeff and Cameron, “The fact that you have a very clear understanding of who you are makes me so proud to be part of this team.”

Co-producer Osborne said, “[We believed] somebody is gonna make this record with them and if we don’t, we are going to regret it.” He added, “The label allowed all involved to chase their passion.”

“This is soul music,” said McAnally. “I’m serious — it’s has a soul!”  He added, “Because it was embraced in a commercial sense, it’s wonderful. They didn’t have to compromise.making music. People are hungry for it.”

In addition to “Drinkin’ Problem,” ON THE ROCKS includes twelve more tracks, all written or co-written by members of Midland. The trio all hail from the town of Dripping Springs, Texas.

Midland’s follow-up single, “Make A Little,” is already impacting Country radio. On the CDXTRACtion chart for October 11, 2017, the new single was the “Most Added” song of the week, meaning it was added to the playlist of the most reporting radio stations.  You can find the video for “Make A Little” at YouTube here.

Midland are currently touring as part of the ‘CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour’ (Surely this year’s most awkwardly-titled tour) and in early 2018 are scheduled to be part of The Breakers Tour with Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves. See Midland’s full tour schedule here.

Logan Mize inspires singers, songwriters: Never give up

New video series: “Somebody to Thank”

If you’re a singer or songwriter and thinking that you should forget your dream and go get a ‘real’ job, take heart from Logan Mize’s story.

Click to watch Logan Mize’s new “Somebody to Thank” video

His new album, COME BACK ROAD, notched up a Top 20 debut on Billboard and iTunes’ All Genre charts, but his personal road has not been an easy one, filled with roadblocks that would have stymied lesser beings.

Logan, a native of Clearwater, Kansas, came to Nashville with the goal of becoming a success in the music business.  But that success seemed to slip from his grasp at every step of the journey. He was turned down again and again by every music publisher and record label on Music Row.

Logan Mize. Photo: Montgomery Lee

To make ends meet, he took on day jobs, including driving a party bus and even a dump truck, while writing songs and playing club dates wherever he could snag them. Then in 2010, several years after arriving in Nashville, he signed a publishing and record deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, and a booking deal with a major agency.

Many artists would look at those contracts and figure they’d achieved their goal, but Logan knew that this was only the beginning. He spent the next seven years playing seemingly every venue in every town across the United States, building his fan base at every stop along the way.

Use the power of social media

Logan understands the power of social media. In 2016, he undertook a solo acoustic tour, promoted entirely via social media, traveling more than 20,000 miles in less than two months in a 1989 station wagon that he named ‘Glenn.’

He ran his own sound and lights at each show, performing 3-hour sets, before packing everything back in the car and moving on to the next venue.  He knew that every stop along the way added to his fan base, and each fan was a potential buyer of his music and would probably spread the news to their own social media contacts.

Thankful to those who have helped

As well as knowing the importance of sheer hard work in developing his music career, Logan is also deeply thankful to those who have helped him along the way. He has now partnered with Budweiser to create a new monthly video series based around his song, “Somebody to Thank.”

“It is so important that we always remember and give thanks to those who helped us get to where we are,” he said. “Even the smallest gesture of gratitude can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

A new video will be released monthly via Logan’s YouTube channel and Facebook spotlighting the relationships built around the struggles, gratitude and opportunities that have helped shape Mize into who he is as a person, artist, husband and father. He hopes it will also remind everyone to always say thank you to those who were a part of one’s journey.

Persevere despite the setbacks

There are two lessons that can be learned from Logan’s story. Firstly, if you believe in your music, persevere. Keep going, despite the setbacks and treat each roadblock as a ‘learning experience’ while you steadfastly follow your dream.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Secondly, take charge of your own destiny.  Don’t put your career entirely in the hands of others. Certainly, seek guidance and develop business alliances with those who can help you, but understand that only you can make the decisions and take the steps to achieve your goals.

COME BACK ROAD includes the hit single “Ain’t Always Pretty” which has been featured on major playlists across digital streaming platforms garnering over 25 million streams on Spotify alone.

More information at loganmize.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

EmiSunshine shows age is no obstacle to success

12-year-old featured in film premiered at Cannes Film Festival

I want to share this story about an amazingly talented young lady who became a global sensation when a video of her singing in a music store went viral when she was only nine years old. Now she has been featured in a movie recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and this week is making a personal appearance at the CMA Music Festival. She proves that talent knows no age limits: you are never too young or too old!

EmiSunshine

EmiSunshine enjoyed a special and spectacular welcome at the 70th Festival de Cannes  in Cannes, France. Upon the invitation of notable film director Eugene Jarecki, the twelve-year-old from East Tennessee concluded her show at the Southgate House Revival (Newport, KY) and hopped a plane to travel to the French Riviera (some 13-plus hours) to attend one of the film industry’s most-famed and elite events, brushing elbows with Hollywood’s most decorated producers, screenwriters, directors and actors (Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Clint Eastwood and Jessica Chastain to name a few).

‘Promised Land’ documentary

The invitation is an extension following Emi’s guest appearance in Jarecki’s documentary titled “Promised Land”—one of the featured films at the 2017 Cannes Festival world premiere screened in May.  The film also highlights Emi’s performance of her self-penned/self-produced track “Danny Ray” (and the bonus track from her new CD project, RAGGED DREAMS, anticipated in August 2017).

EmiSunshine in action

A portrait and musical story told from the back seat of Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce, Jarecki carries performers on a music-filled road trip across the U.S. picking up passengers (famous and not-so-famous) as they travel through an America at a crossroads in the midst of the 2016 election.

A new meaning to the word ‘jamming’!”

“We were all stuffed into the back seat of a hot car, with our instruments for more than six hours…driving the streets of Nashville.  It was probably the most uncomfortable and best car ride I’ve ever had. …gives new meaning to the word ‘jammin’!” EmiSunshine said of the experience.

Other notable folks who make an appearance in the back seat include: Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, Ashton Kutcher and the Stax Music Academy Singers.

The preteen has become a sought-after song crafter for film, television and books; EmiSunshine music has been featured in various films and books. Her songs “I Am Able” and “Little Blackbird” are spotlighted in the “More Than Words” documentary (produced by Grammy Winner and Founder of the Documentary Channel, Suzanne Homes); “I Am Able” also appears in the Amazon/Barnes & Noble Bestseller “The Ables.”

For tour updates and more information on EmiSunshine, visit her website here. And, according to the website, you can wish her ‘Happy Birthday.’ EmiSunshine has just turned thirteen!

“I Met A Girl” is a Musical Milestone for William Michael Morgan

His first number one song, four years in the making

Congrats to Warner Bros / WMN’s newcomer William Michael Morgan and the co-writers Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen who were feted on January 30th for Morgan’s Number One hit “I Met A Girl.” The Number One party, held at South, was co-hosted by ASCAP and First Tennessee Bank.  The song, produced by Scott Hendricks (Blake Shelton) and Jimmy Ritchey (Mark Chesnutt), is from Morgan’s debut studio album, VINYL (Warner Bros Nashville) which was released on September 30, 2016, following his self-titled EP.

Photo Credit: Preshias Harris
Left to Right: Shane McAnally, William Michael Morgan and Trevor Rosen. Not pictured is Sam Hunt.

“I Met a Girl” is the debut single and first number one record for Morgan and has sold over 300,000 copies since its radio add date of August 24, 2015. It was also included on his debut studio album, “Vinyl,” which was released on September 30, 2016, following his self-titled EP.

During the media interviews prior to the Number One celebration, Shane said that they’d written the song about four years ago. Morgan said, “We hung on to it and hung on to it.” He recalled. “Once it was recorded, we kept listening to it.  We believed it was just a wonderful song all around.”

The lyrics have special meaning for Morgan

The song has a poignant meaning for Morgan. Thinking back to the birth of his daughter and meeting his fiancé brings a whole new meaning to the song for him. “God was moving the chess pieces around,” he said. “We found out the song was Number One on the same day as the album ‘Vinyl’ came out.”

“I Met A Girl” Number One Party

It seems the song has resonated with listeners, too. “I Met A Girl” spent 52 weeks on the charts and has reached an airplay audience of 1.1 billion. The song has also been streamed 25 million times.

The song has received positive reviews from music critics. Taste of Country® awarded “I Met a Girl” with the Taste of Country® Critic’s Pick, saying that the single is “a warm country love song that slows time” adding that “strong songwriting and Morgan’s smooth baritone make the song tough to resist.” So hit replay! More at www.williammichaelmorgan.com.

It takes perseverance

Personal note: Aspiring artists and songwriters should take note of Morgan’s progress along the road to chart success. Around four years elapsed between the time the song was written and the afternoon he stood up to receive his Number One award.  If you expect fame and fortune within months of arriving in Music City, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  It takes perseverance and strength of character to keep improving your musical skills, perfecting your stagecraft, building your network of industry contacts and learning from your co-writers.  When the real opportunity appears, you’ll be ready to grasp it!

Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Gala inspires budding writers

Hit writers’ night to shine

Nashville’s music industry got together Monday night to honor four of songwriting’s finest at the annual Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala at Music City Center. Aaron Barker, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bob Morrison and Townes Van Zandt were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of honorees over the years to 203.

I was proud to sponsor the ‘Preshias Music Family’ table at the Gala and it was a pleasure to bring about a dozen young songwriters and singer-songwriters to join in the recognition of these great writers and to hear their amazing stories.

The 'future Stars' in Preshias Music Family
The ‘future Stars’ in Preshias Music Family

We took a ‘photo opp’ just before we headed to our table. Pictured left-to-right are my ‘Class of 2016’: Nick Halsted, Bailey Callahan, Nick DeLeo, Lindsey Rebecca Harding, Carmen Mariea, Justin T. Dukes, Nikki Moore, Hannah Emerson, Anna Barrow, Courtney Bumbacher and Marie Mattei.

Here a few brief notes that, really, are far too brief to describe the achievements of the four Hall of Fame inductees:

Aaron Barker

Aaron Barker
Aaron Barker

It was a very special personal thrill for me to see Aaron receive the honor that is definitely his due. Aaron and I became friends when I joined BNA Records as an intern and he was a recording artist with the label. It was my first job in the music industry and Aaron was so gracious and helpful to this newbie!

The first of Aaron’s songs to be recorded was “Baby Blue” that was a Number One hit for George Strait in 1988. Not a bad start to a long career that included “Love Without End” (another George Strait chart-topper) and many more hits. In his acceptance speech, he encouraged young writers – like those seated at my table – to take advantage of opportunities to write with veteran songwriters, combining “the words and rhythms of today” with the experience that older writers can provide. More about Aaron here.

Bob Morrison

Bob Morrison Photo: Nash Country Daily
Bob Morrison
Photo: Nash Country Daily

Speaking of songwriters with many years of success, Bob Morrison was recognized with his award as a ‘veteran songwriter.’ Among Bob’s huge hits: “You Decorated My Life” for Kenny Rogers, and “Whiskey if You Were a Woman” – co-written with Johnny MacRae and my great friend Mary W. Francis – for Highway 101.

In a long career, Bob has penned chartbusters for acts as diverse as Johnny Lee (“Lookin’ For Love”) and The Oak Ridge Boys (“You’re the One”). A list of Bob’s songs can be found here.

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman
Beth Nielsen Chapman

It was inspiring to hear Beth talk of the time when she almost gave up on her dream of being a singer-songwriter after her debut album flopped. She was performing at a hotel in Alabama and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys was in the audience. He kept asking to hear another and another of her songs. Beth said that his encouragement reset her career compass.

Beth’s story is a life-lesson for fledgling songwriters who feel that they should just throw in the towel when in fact success could be just around the corner. She went on to create such iconic songs as “This Kiss,” a monster hit for Faith Hill as well as songs recorded by Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Lorrie Morgan, Alabama and many more. Click here for Beth’s website.

Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt

The award to Townes Van Zandt was presented posthumously: he passed away on New Year’s Day 1997 at the age of 53. The award was accepted by his daughter, Katie. His biggest hit was “Pancho and Lefty,” recorded by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and he wrote “If I Needed You” a hit for Don Williams and EmmyLou Harris. Van Zandt was regarded as a mentor and an inspiration to a generation of writers who followed in his wake. More about Townes Van Zandt here.

The evening was crammed with amazing performances by artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Kim Carnes, The Indigo Girls, Mac Davis, Phil Vassar, Mo Pitney and many more. Additionally, the Nashville Songwriters Association International was on hand to name the ten songs from the past year that NSAI members had voted on as “Songs I Wish I’d Written.” For a list of those songs, see a story posted at CMT’s website.

An amazing evening and, for the budding songwriters at my table, an inspiration for what might lie ahead in their own careers.

Stars come out for CMA Music Festival

Don’t miss chance to see Nashville’s rising stars, too

2016-CMAMusicFestival-Logo-Badge-4C-1It’s June in Nashville and that means it’s time for the CMA Music Festival. And as usual, it looks like the weather will be HOT and maybe a little stormy, but if it’s anything like last year, fans will be happy to brave the heat for a chance to get in front of their favorite acts.

One of the great things about the CMA Music Festival is that, in addition to the headliners, music fans get to see the rising stars and the breaking acts; often up close and personal.

Yes, Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans) will be the place to see headliners such as Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Clint Black, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini to name a few. But there is SO much more talent to be seen and heard around town. Many of the clubs and bars in downtown Nashville will be hosting shows all week, offering an unbeatable opportunity to see and listen to some amazingly gifted bands, singers and songwriters.

Plus… there are the ‘free’ stages! The seven ‘no ticket required’ stages allow visitors to enjoy music from legends to up-and-comers. The free concert stages include Chevrolet Riverfront Stage (gates open at 9:00 am for Festival four-day ticket holders, and 9:45 am for the general public), Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage located at the Park between Hilton Suites and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the AT&T Skyview Stage and the Budweiser Acoustic Stage (both at the Ascend Amphitheater), and the Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café, located at Broadway and First Avenue.

Where to start? Best bet: go to the CMA Music Festival website to see who’s playing when and where. And be sure to check out those bars and clubs where some of my favorite singer-songwriters will be playing!

Women set to rock Music City

She Rocks finalistsWho says women can’t rock? Not me, and not the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN) who have announced the finalists selected to perform at the 2016 She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase, taking place Thursday, June 23, 2016, from 8:30-11:00 p.m., at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, Tenn., during the 2016 Summer NAMM trade show. Tickets are available here.

At that show, the audience will get to see singer-songwriter Ashley Riley, 13-year-old singer Juliana Wilson, jazz vocalist and guitarist Leni Stern, and singer-songwriter Savannah Lynne. The performers were chosen based on their submissions to thewimn.com

Continue reading “Women set to rock Music City”

Singer-songwriters at The Listening Room

Listening Room picI am still excited about the wonderful success of my most recent ‘Preshias Day in Music,’ that took place at the Listening Room Café in Nashville on April 23! A big crowd came out to see 20+ of the incredibly talented singer-songwriters that I am working with, as well as a few special guests. The audience heard some great original songs and gave each artist an enthusiastic and well-deserved response. I am already preparing for the next ‘Preshias Day in Music.”