Kip Moore, songwriters celebrate No. 1

‘More Girls Like You’ lead single from ‘Slowheart’

(L to R): Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia, Kip Moore, Josh Miller. Photo credit: Preshias Harris

MCA Nashville artist Kip Moore was at The Hutton Hotel’s Analog on Tuesday, February 13 to celebrate with fellow songwriters of his newest Number One, “More Girls Like You.” The party, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, honored the song’s four writers David Garcia, Josh Miller, Steven Lee Olsen and Moore.

“More Girls Like You” is the lead single from Kip’s third studio album, Slowheart, following 2012’s Up All Night and 2015’s Wild Ones.

Kip has undeniably paid his dues on his trek to stardom. He made his first public appearance singing at a Mellow Mushroom in Valdosta, GA, and moved to Nashville in 2004. He was signed to a songwriting deal with the help of producer/songwriter Brett James. It would be a further eight years before Kip was signed to a recording contract with MCA.

“There was no Plan B”

During the media session before the award presentation, I asked Kip what he did with his career during those long eight years to keep his eyes on the prize. With a smile, he said, “It was knowing I wasn’t going to be happy doing anything else.  There was no Plan B.” He admitted, however, “It was a battle to keep one foot in front of the other.”

(L to R): BMI’s Bradley Collins, songwriters Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia and Josh Miller, Moore and ASCAP’s Evyn Mustoe. Photo credit: Ed Rode

The four writers reminisced about the way “More Girls Like You” came about. Steven Lee Olsen (whose first No. 1 as a writer was the Grammy-nominated “Blue Ain’t Your Color” for Keith Urban) noted that when the writers got together, “something magical” happened. “We started talking and that’s how it started.”

“It started falling together fast,” added Kip. “They knew where my head was, coming back from Cost Rica!”

“Kip almost didn’t show up,” said Josh. “He was headed to the lake for some wake boarding.”  We were reminded that Kip has a passion for the water, having been something of a ‘beach bum,’ surfing in Hawaii before making the commitment to come to Nashville.

Discussing tour plans, Kip said he is joining Luke Bryan on his ‘What Makes You Country’ Tour.  “Luke has always been a gracious and nice guy,” said Kip. “I’m looking forward to touring with Luke and the Cadillac Three.”

CMA Songwriters’ Series in Europe

Kip will soon be crossing the pond for concerts in Dublin Ireland, Glasgow Scotland and London England as part of the CMA Songwriters’ Series. He’ll be joining his old friend Brett James for the European dates, along with Luke Combs, Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon.  In addition to a packed U.S. tour schedule, Kip also has 2018 shows booked in Canada and Australia.

Kip’s story of his arduous journey to the top is yet another reminder to aspiring artists and songwriters that there is no such thing as ‘overnight success.’   There will always be a battle to ‘put one foot in front of the other’ as he put it. For Kip, there was no Plan B.

For tour dates and more info on Kip Moore’s new album Slowheart, go to http://www.kipmoore.net

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Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com

Brett Young celebrates third No 1, “Like I Love You”

“We used our own money to cut the demo”

Jesse Lee and Brett Young answer questions before the No. 1 party. Photo: Preshias Harris

Big Machine Label Group’s Brett Young celebrated his third Number One at a party honoring him and co-writer Jesse Lee, Monday, February 12.  “Like I Love You” is his third chart-topper and comes just over a year since the release of his debut self-titled album.  The party was co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Brett is one of only three acts in the Country music genre to achieve RIAA ‘Gold’ certification for an album released in 2017.  His breakout single, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” has already reached 3X Platinum status, making him the only debut artist since 2014 to achieve that level. He is also the only new Country artist with a 2017 song to go multi-Platinum, too. All three Number Ones are from his debut album.

Second No. 1 for Jesse Lee

Pictured (L-R): Scott Borchetta, BMI’s David Preston, Jesse Lee, Ole’s John Ozier, Brett Young, ASCAP’s Michael Martin, BMLG Records’ Jimmy Harnen and Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar. Photo Credit: Ed Rode

Co-writer Jesse Lee was celebrating her second No. 1 as writer, following 2016’s “Peter Pan,” a hit for Kelsea Ballerini.

“Like I Loved You” spent three weeks at Number One, but its release as a single was by no means a guarantee, following the success of Brett’s two previous hits.

“My first two singles were happy love songs,” said Brett at a pre-presentation media session. “Then Jesse and I wrote this one that is really different. My songs are like my babies. A part of me is attached to that song,” he noted. “I fought for getting this song on my record. We used our own money to cut the demo.”

Speaking about the writing session that resulted in “Like I Love You,” Brett said that this was a different kind of co-write, too. “We’d never met before.  We went to lunch then came back and wrote it. That was in late 2014.”

The long road to Nashville

Both Brett Young and Jesse Lee might seem like newcomers, but as with most successful people, that isn’t really the case. At the media session, Brett noted that he’d been playing and performing for 14 years before moving to Nashville.

Jesse Lee is not new to the music business either. Signed to Atlantic Nashville in 2007, Jesse had some minor chart success as a recording artist, but then took a different path.

‘I reinvented myself and started to write’

Jesse Lee

Speaking of her early career as an artist, she said, “People didn’t want me one the radio! So I reinvented myself and started to write.  Then I realized I was getting into publishing companies because of my writing not my artist talents.”

Reminded that Nashville is often referred to as a ‘ten-year town’ when it comes to developing a career in music, Jesse laughed and said, “it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!”

Speaking about the diversity of his musical styles and interests, Brett said, “I grew up with rhythm and blues and soul music, so You will hear the soul in my music.”

Brett is about to head out on Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes Tour 2018’ this spring.  Find tour updates at brettyoungmusic.com.

“it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!” Jesse Lee

ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo 2018 set for May 7 – 9

Unforgettable experience” for music creators

ASCAP has announced the first wave of music creators who will take the stage at their 2018 “I Create Music” EXPO. Among these ASCAP members from across genres and generations are multi-platinum recording artist Jason Mraz, Grammy Award-winners Marc Cohn, Darrell Brown and Dan Wilson, multi-time ASCAP Latin Songwriter of The Year selection Claudia Brant, jazz legend Marcus Miller, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees Desmond Child and Paul Williams, rising pop star Billie Eilish and her close collaborator Finneas O’Connell. Now in its 13th year, the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is the largest conference of its kind in the United States, attracting over 3,000 music creators for three days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions with the industry’s top hitmakers.

The 2017 “I Create Music” EXPO included nearly 200 panelists from across the music business covering dozens of compelling topics, from Congressional legislation benefiting songwriters to expanding the role of women in film music to a case study with the team behind Justin Bieber’s Purpose. The 2018 EXPO will feature a comparable amount of panels and panelists, with a host of noteworthy lineup additions planned for the coming months. This will include the announcement of 2018’s keynote speaker, an honor previously given to Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Justin Timberlake.

Registration now open

Registration is now open for this year’s EXPO, to be held Monday, May 7 through Wednesday, May 9 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. ASCAP’s New Year discount is active on all pricing levels through February 14 at www.ascap.com/exporegister.

Ashley Gorley named Songwriter of the Year

Blake, Kelsea, FGL also win top awards

(L-R): MusicRow Publisher/Owner Sherod Robertson, Ashley Gorley and MusicRow Chart Director Alex Kobrick. Photo: Preshias Harris

Ashley Gorley has received yet another honor. At the MusicRow Magazine’s 16th annual Country Breakout Awards, Gorley received the Songwriter of the Year Award.  The award goes annually to the songwriter with “the most songs that commanded country radio in … secondary markets,” according to MusicRow Publisher and Owner, Sherod Robertson. It was Gorley’s second consecutive win.

The Awards ceremony was part of MusicRow’s annual ‘Country Radio Meet & Greet’ held at the Listening Room Café in Nashville. As before, it was held during the first day of the Country Radio Seminar (CRS).  Although it is not part of the official CRS program, the event always attracts large numbers of radio air personalities and program directors, as well as members of Nashville’s music community.

Seven Number Ones in 2017

Ashley Gorley. Photo: Tape Room Music

Gorley was honored for the remarkable achievement of co-writing seven Number Ones on the 2017 MusicRow charts. Among those songs: Blake Shelton’s “A Guy With a Girl” that was Gorley’s 30th Number One as a writer.

Gorley’s other MusicRow Number Ones for 2017: Thomas Rhett’s “Unforgettable,” Jon Pardi’s “Dirt On My Boots,” Dierks Bentley’s “Black,” Chris Janson’s “Fix A Drink,” Brad Paisley’s “Today” and Billy Currington’s “Do I Make You Wanna.”  Gorley is also the only songwriter to have received the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award five times, a record that he set in 2017.

A native of Danville, Kentucky, in 2011 Gorley partnered with Combustion Music and Warner/Chappell Music to start up Tape Room Music, his own music publishing company.

Blake, Kelsea Artists of the Year

Blake Shelton. Photo: MusicRow

At the Country Breakout Awards, Blake Shelton earned the Male Artist of the Year Award for more spins than any other male artist on the MusicRow Country Breakout Chart, achieving 83,208 spins reported by stations on MusicRow’s panel. His spin total included three No. 1 hits on the Country Breakout chart: “I’ll Name The Dogs,” “A Guy With A Girl” and “Every Time I Hear That Song.”

Kelsea Ballerini. Photo: Sara Barlow/MusicRow

Kelsea Ballerini was recognized as Female Artist of the Year with 80,928 reported spins. Kelsea had two No. 1s on the MusicRow Country Breakout chart with “Legends” and “Yeah Boy.” This was Kelsea’s second consecutive win in this category.

FGL nab 4th win; Combs, Owens honored

Florida Georgia Line

The Group/Duo of the Year Award went to Florida Georgia Line for the fourth consecutive year with 76,938 spins in 2017. FGL’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard topped MusicRow’s chart with “Smooth” and also with “God, Your Mama and Me,” a collaboration with Backstreet Boys.

Luke Combs. Photo: Louis Brown

Luke Combs received the Breakout Artist of the Year Award. Combs’ songs, including the Platinum-certified hit “Hurricane,” racked up 78,978 spins on reporting stations. His debut album, ‘This One’s For You,’ has already been certified Gold by RIAA.

Shane Owens

Shane Owens took home the Independent Artist of the Year Award, gaining more spins than any other indie artist in 2017 with a total of 33,428 spins. Owens’ songs, including “19” helped him lead the pack of independent artists.

Capitol Records Nashville locked in an unassailable 14th win as MusicRow’s Label of the Year. The UMG imprint scored 457,962 spins in 2017 with airplay from artists such as Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.

The annual MusicRow Country Breakout Awards go to artists, songwriters and labels that have achieved the most spins as reported by secondary market radio stations that report to the MusicRow Country Breakout chart.

Full details and more can be found in the February/March issue of MusicRow magazine and online at musicrow.com.

Six songwriters honored at Number One party

Dan + Shay celebrate two consecutive Number Ones 

What’s better than a Number One party? A DOUBLE Number One party, and that’s what happened Tuesday January 30th for writers of two of Dan + Shay’s recent chart-toppers.  The double-header, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, was held at ASCAP’s Nashville HQ.

“From the Ground Up” and “How Not To” are the second and third U.S. Country Airplay chart toppers for Warner Bros. Nashville artists Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney) following 2015’s “Nothing Like You,” a cut from the album WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.  The two latest Number Ones are both cuts on OBSESSED.

The honorees for “How Not To” were songwriters Kevin Bard, Paul DiGiovanni and Adam Hambrick. Publishing honors went to Kevin Bard Music, Ole Red Cape Songs, Paulywood Music, Sony ATV Music Publishing, Red Like The Sunset Music and Universal Music.

Accepting songwriters’ awards for “From the Ground Up” were Chris DeStafano, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers, while the publishers’ nod went to Beats and Banjos, CDS Words & Music, Shay Mooney Music, Sony ATV Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

Inspired by grandparents’ long-lasting love

From left: Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Chris DeStafano talk during media session. Photo: Preshias Harris

At a pre-presentation media session, Dan, Shay and Chris talked about the origins of “From the Ground Up.” The idea was sparked by a very personal incident. “Driving back from my grandfather’s funeral, we ended up at [Chris] Stefano’s place,” said Dan.  “When Chris stepped outside to take a call, [Shay and I] started talking about how both our grandparents were married for 65 years. it so incredible to married for 65 Years!” It was from that discussion and family memories that the song took shape. “We knew we had something special and it was written in about 45 Minutes,” Dan added.

‘Personal moments’ shape songs

Personal life moments are often the genesis for songs, as Dan and Shay can attest. During the media session, they recalled writing “When I Prayed For You.” The song, about a soon-to-be-father praying for his child, was featured in the movie, “The Shack.”  Shay noted that it was written when he and his wife Hannah were expecting their daughter, Asher. Anticipating the birth of a child in real life added poignancy to the writing, Shay recalled.

Getting back to “From the Ground Up,” Chris DeStefano said, “It’s amazing to me to be part of a song that fans can connect with.” Chris is no stranger to chart toppers, having written or co-written Number One songs for Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Jason Aldean and more. “I won’t ever take it for granted, being a songwriter,” he said.

Wexford, Pennsylvania, native Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney (from Natural Dam, Arkansas) met in Nashville in December 2012 and began songwriting together. They were quickly signed to Warner/Chappell Music. The following year, their first single – “19 You + Me” – went to Country radio.  Although it never topped any chart, the song continued to sell steadily since then and has since been certified Platinum by RIAA.

Pictured (l-r): Songwriters Chris DeStefano, Paul DiGiovanni, Kevin Bard, Adam Hambrick and Dan+Shay’s Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. Photo: Ed Rode/ASCAP

On the road with Rascal Flatts

Continue reading “Six songwriters honored at Number One party”

Copyright Royalty Board dramatically increases rates for songwriters

NMPA and NSAI declare victory

The following is a press release issued by NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) on Saturday, January 27, 2018, concerning the increased percentage of revenue paid to songwriters.

Washington, D.C. – Early this morning the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) released its ruling on mechanical rates for songwriters for 2018 – 2022. This decision is the result of a trial that took place between March and June of 2017 with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI), representing the interests of music publishers and songwriters against Google, Amazon, Apple, Spotify and Pandora.

‘Largest songwriter rate increase’ in CRB history

The court’s decision includes a significant increase in the overall percentage of revenue paid to songwriters from 10.5% to 15.1% over the next five years – the largest rate increase in CRB history. Additionally, the CRB removed the Total Content Cost (TCC) cap, giving publishers the benefit of a true percentage of what labels are able to negotiate in the free market resulting in significantly higher royalties for songwriters. The CRB also increased the TCC rate resulting in the most balance between record label and publishing rates in the history of mechanical licensing. In addition, the CRB granted a late fee which will dramatically alter the licensing practices of digital music companies.

Click here to read the full release at the NSAI website.

Bart Herbison. Photo: NSAI

“Songwriters desperately need and deserve the rate increases resulting from the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) trial.  The CRB was a long and difficult process but songwriters and music publishers together presented a powerful case for higher streaming royalty rates. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) thanks our songwriter witnesses Steve Bogard, Lee Thomas Miller and Liz Rose whose testimony was compelling.” – Bart Herbison, NSAI Executive Director

To read an in-depth review of the impact of the court ruling published by Variety magazine, click here.

Why the Bluebird Café and the Ryman are still going strong

‘Special people’ keep venues special

The Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café.  Two iconic names that immediately create mental images of what Music City is all about.  Both are at the top of the list for tourists to visit, particularly since the worldwide popularity of the TV drama series, ‘Nashville.’

In fact, many visitors, listening intently to their tour guides, might actually know more about those two venues than those of us who live and work here.  It never hurts to remind ourselves just how important they are to the success of Nashville’s music industry.

In many ways, the story of both venues is really the story of a small number of remarkable people (mainly women, as it happens) whose tenacity, dedication and unwavering belief ensured that both the Ryman and the Bluebird are still thriving today.

The Bluebird put songwriters ‘In the Round’

Inside the Bluebird. Photo: Bluebird Cafe

Originally started as a restaurant in 1982 by founder Amy Kurland, the Bluebird Café had evolved into a 90-seat listening room by 1984, holding regular ‘Writers’ Nights.’  In March 1985, three songwriters, J. Fred Knobloch, Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet, performed the Bluebird’s first ‘In The Round’ show, in which the three writers sat in the center of the room and took turns playing songs and telling the stories behind the songs, while audiences listened quietly and attentively.

The ‘In The Round’ concept was an immediate success and was soon adopted by other venues, but The Bluebird is recognized as the place where it really all started and continues to this day. So many hit writers and recording artists cite the Bluebird as the place where their careers really took off. Among them: Taylor Swift, at the age of fourteen, discovered by Scott Borchetta, and Garth Brooks who, in 1987, filled in for another artist and was spotted by a Capitol Records’ A&R exec and signed to a record deal the very next day.

‘Alive at the Bluebird’ concert series

Photo: The Bluebird Cafe

After 36 years, the Bluebird Café is as popular as ever. It is still the place where songwriters really want to be seen and heard. Baseball great Yogi Berra is credited with saying about a popular restaurant, “Nobody ever goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” And among some Nashvillians, there’s a feeling that the Bluebird has become mainly a tourist destination. But that really is not the case.  Just take a look at the list of upcoming shows at their website, and check out the astonishing list of hit writers scheduled to appear.

The 25th Annual Alive at the Bluebird concert series is currently underway with at least 27 shows running through February 1, 2018 that benefit Alive Hospice. There’s never been a better time to catch a great show and support a really worthwhile cause.

While you’re at their site, it’s a good idea to click on ‘Reservations’ too. That’s where you’ll see the Bluebird’s policy about booking seats. Remember, it’s a small room (the intimate setting and the close proximity to the performers is part of the charm) so have a second or third choice in mind if your first choice is sold out.

The Ryman: 125 years and counting

The Ryman Auditorium dates back to 1892 when it was originally known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Now, with around 2,360 seats, it is considerably bigger than the Bluebird, but still one of Nashville’s best venues to see live shows, even in these days of stadium and arena spectaculars.

But, like the Bluebird, the Ryman owes its current existence to a few people who were convinced that it was an essential part of Music City’s heritage. In 1920, Lula C. Naff was hired to manage the space, after working there for several years, booking acts for the Ryman in her spare time. Her tireless dedication kept the venue alive and thriving until her retirement in the 1950s. Since then, the Ryman has had two more female GMs.

“To work here [at the Ryman] you have to be like a crazy, crazy music fan.” – Lisaann Dupont, Director of Communications for Opry Entertainment Group, quoted in an interview at Uproxx.com. You can read the entire story, ‘How Women Shaped the Legacy of Nashville’s Oldest and Most Celebrated Venue, the Ryman Auditorium,’ here.

Saved from demolition

The Ryman. Photo: L.A. Times/Don Bartletti

It’s hard to believe now that, when the Grand Ole Opry moved to its new location at Opryland, the decision was made to demolish the Ryman. Pressure from local preservationists led to the Ryman being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, preventing demolition. But for nearly two decades, it slowly deteriorated as its owners had little interest in it.  Gaylord Entertainment finally carried out repairs to the exterior including the roof.

But the turning point was a recording made in the dilapidated building by Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers. Titled ‘At The Ryman,’ the album won a Grammy for Best Performance by a Duo or Group in 1993. The success prompted Gaylord to invest in extensive renovations. Since then, additional updates have revitalized the Ryman into the great venue it is today.

Both the Bluebird Café and the Ryman Auditorium prove that when even a small number of people believe strongly that a venture is worthwhile and never give up on their objectives, great things can happen. Today, it’s difficult to imagine what Nashville would be like without the Bluebird Café or the Ryman.  They are living proof that people with strong beliefs and perseverance can make things happen.

The Bluebird, the Ryman. Two stops on any visitor’s tour of Nashville. But both great entertainment resources for all of us living in Middle Tennessee who owe a debt of gratitude to those who made them what they are today.

“Inside Track on Music Row” ready to read

Here’s a teaser of the January 2018 edition

The January 2018 version of my monthly column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is now posted at Nashville Music Guide, complete with some great graphics and photos.

Here are a few few teasers, but click the link above to read the full column of news about songwriters, artists and the country music industry.

Artist News

Brett Young has landed on multiple Billboard Year End charts, as 2017 came to a close, including Top New Artists, the only Country artist to do so. He also landed at No. Two on the Year End Hot Country Songs, Country Digital Songs and Country Streaming Songs charts. ASCAP recognized his “quintessential breakout year,” honoring Young for one of the Most Played Songs of the Year with “Sleep Without You.” Young was named a TicketMaster New Favorite Artist of 2017 and was Shazam’s only Country act included on their Emerging Artists of 2017 list. He also drew prestigious CMA, ACM, Teen Choice Award, CMT Music Awards and AIMP Award nominations. 2018 is already shaping up to be another big year for Young, who is working on new music. He will perform at the College Football Playoff concert in Atlanta January 8 before joining ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett on his LIFE CHANGES Tour.  More info at brettyoungmusic.com.

Concert News

As the curtain closed on a sold-out show at New York City’s Town Hall in December, multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore took a bow to 2017, for what can only be described as a benchmark career year. Moore is wrapping up an overwhelming year on multiple “Best Of 2017” lists by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, UpRoxx, Bobby Bones Show, Taste Of Country, Sounds Like Nashville, The Boot, PopMatters and Whiskey Riff for his revered third studio album SLOWHEART, while reflecting on his 4th career No. One for his single “More Girls Like You,” sold-out headlining shows, national TV appearances and more. 2018 tour dates etc at kipmoore.net.

Label News

Luke & Caroline Bryan. Photo: Getty/Frederick Breedon IV

(Capitol Records) On Christmas, via Instagram, Capitol’s ‘Golden Boy’ Luke Bryan surprised his wife Caroline with two baby kangaroos! Yeah, you read that right, two baby kangaroos. The baby roos are the latest additions to Brett’s Barn, a farm of rescue animals honoring their late niece. Country superstar Bryan took to Instagram to share a video of himself surprising his wife Caroline with the most unexpected Christmas gift ever. In the video clip, Bryan approaches Caroline, who is blindfolded, with the two kangaroos in bags. The family named the babies Todd and Margo after two characters from the iconic Christmas film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Todd and Margo will join the family of animals living on the Bryan Family property at Brett’s Barn. The barn is Caroline’s passion project and is dedicated to her late niece who passed away at just 7 months old in early 2017. Brett’s Barn is also home to a pig, goats, and miniature horses. Caroline plans to keep adding to Brett’s Farm and I am sure we will be hearing more about it in the Spring.

And there’s a whole lot more!  Check out the entire column online at Nashville Music Guide.

 

The British are coming!

Why more Brits than ever are on their way to Nashville

Pop quiz: What’s the biggest industry in Music City?  No, it’s not music, it’s healthcare. But ‘Healthcare City’ doesn’t sound half as much fun as Music City, and Nashville’s musical heritage accounts for millions of dollars in tourist revenue.  Much of that revenue comes from foreign visitors and that revenue is set to increase still further. The reason: direct flights to Nashville from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Two recent news stories – one from each side of the Atlantic – look at Nashville from different perspectives. ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ by Chris Parton in the January issue of Nashville Lifestyles magazine interviews nine ‘movers and shakers’ in Nashville’s music industry.

Meanwhile, a story in London’s Sunday Times, dated December 31, 2017, tells British readers why they “should join the hoedown in 2018” by flying to Nashville. The article’s author, Rich Hall, should know what he’s talking about. He is an American performer whose comedy and country music show, Rich Hall’s Hoedown, tours the UK from February to June, often adopting the character of Tennessee country musician Otis Lee Crenshaw.

‘More than one style’ of country music

Rich Hall. Photo: David Donaldson

Hall makes a point of mentioning several venues familiar to Nashville residents but probably less so to overseas visitors. He writes that there’s more than one style of country music. “Station Inn is spectacular for bluegrass,” says Hall. “And at 3rd and Lindsley, every Monday night, a 10-piece band called the Time Jumpers takes the stage, featuring Andy Reiss and Vince Gill (guitars), Paul Franklin (steel) and leader Ranger Doug (playing killer rhythm on an old Stromberg). If you’ve never heard western swing music, prepare for a religious conversion.”

Brits are notorious for being bad tippers, as tipping is less expected in Britain. Mentioning several of Lower Broad’s honky tonks, Rich says, “There’s a bucket at the foot of the stage. That’s for tips. Be generous, you tight-fisted British miserlings.”

Thank you, Rich! Let’s hope your readers make a note of that!

‘Behind the Scenes’ in Music City

Back at Nashville Lifestyles’ Music Issue (subtitled ‘Behind the Scenes of Our Signature industry’), the story notes that: “According to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Regional Economic Development Guide, the area’s population has now ballooned to more than 1.8 million people and, in 2016, was joined by 13.9 million visitors.”  Those visitors made an impact of $5.7 billion on the city.

If you are part of the music industry, yours is one of 56,000 jobs that are maintained as a result of music in Nashville, according to Chamber estimates. The magazine article quotes the Music City Music Council’s report that 8,000 jobs are directly involved in music making, with 190+ recording studios in the city. “Nashville is currently home to 10 times more music activity than either Los Angeles or New York,” reports writer Chris Parton in Nashville Lifestyles.

‘Challenges’ for Nashville’s music creators

Bart Herbison. Photo: NSAI

But some of Nashville’s music creators are facing challenges. “Songwriters and publishers have seen a huge payment disparity in the streaming area versus the artists and record labels,” Bart Herbison, Executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) explained to Parton. “On the performance side, [artists and labels] get 88 cents for every 12 cents we get, and, on the sales-royalty side, it’s seven-to-one or greater. So, we’re trying to fix that.” (A note from Preshias: for more information on the Songwriter Equity Act, see an earlier post at NashvilleMusicLine.com.)

Among the other Nashville music execs interviewed for the Nashville Lifestyles story are Kos Weaver, Executive VP of BMG Nashville, Mike Dungan, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Nashville, and Shannan Hatch, Creative Director of SESAC, and several others. All offer professional insight into Nashville’s music industry and where it is heading.

Rob Beckham. Photo: Music Row Magazine

Rob Beckham, partner at WME/IMG points out that in the past, country acts rarely toured abroad. “But now that international audiences can access the music as easily as domestic audiences, we are seeing an increased demand to bring our acts overseas,” he told Parton.

Which brings us back to the article written by Rich Hall for the Sunday Times in London, England. American-born Hall is a comedian who has become popular in Britain and is frequently featured on BBC TV shows.

“Behind Lower Broadway stands the mecca of country music, the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Giants walked here. Stand on the center-stage circle and channel the ghosts of Hank Williams, Chet Atkins and Tammy Wynette. The Opry still broadcasts from there on weekends from November to January. Do not, however, confuse this with Opryland, a Disneyfied tourist hellhole on the outskirts of town, designed to separate rubes from the contents of their wallets.”Rich Hall

In addition to mentioning Nashville’s music venues, Hall recommends Brit visitors sample Nashville hot chicken, country ham, grits, Goo Goo Clusters and hash browns slathered in Cheez Whiz – though not necessarily all on the same plate.

Nashvillians are ‘just genuinely nice’

Hall’s article closes by mentioning that Nashville is exceptional because it is so friendly. In fact, Travel & Leisure magazine named Nashville one of  ‘America’s friendliest cities’. Nashvillians, says Hall, are: “Just genuinely nice. So much of America runs together these days. Nashville stands out.  After a short time here, you start wondering why the rest of the world can’t be this pleasant.”

British Airways’ new direct flights between London and Nashville are scheduled to begin in May 2018, so expect to hear even more Brit accents at this year’s CMA Music Festival, June 7 – 10. You can reach Rich Hall at offthekerb.co.uk/rich-hall

You can read the entire ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ article and more about what’s happening in Music City in the January edition of Nashville Lifestyles, now at newsstands or go to www.nashvillelifestyles.com

Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com

Proactivity keeps your career ahead of the curve

Proactivity is part of a singer or songwriter’s “Pod of Seven P’s”

Graphic image: Mike Harris

Being proactive is not the same as merely being active.  When you are proactive, you take action in advance of a situation. That might mean taking action to make a good situation even more beneficial to you, or taking action to prevent or minimize the effects of a bad situation.

Note: this is one part of my seven-part series “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” It is currently being serialized at MusicStartsHere.org

Here are two scenarios:

You’ve been asked to open for a fairly well-known act in a nearby town, and, although the money isn’t great, it could be an opportunity to make more people aware of who you are and what you do….

Continue reading the ‘Proactivity’ chapter (and another chapter, ‘Positivity,’ in the same post) at MusicStartsHere.org   MusicStartsHere is the go-to place for news and information for artists, songwriters and anyone interested in the music.