NSAI’s Tin Pan South, March 24 – 28 is what I call, “The Greatest Week for Songwriters”. Ten Venues, two shows per night in each venue in Nashville with some of the greatest songwriters in the world! My first was 1996 and I have not missed one since as it is always a week I want to be in Nashville.

Regions Bank has been a long time Presenting Sponsor – thanks to Lisa Harless and her team at Regions for the support of Tin Pan South. There are several other sponsors, and Nashville Muse is a proud sponsor of the event.

From Tuesday at 6:00 through the last story of writing a song and sometimes how it got cut to the final chord played at the 9:30 show on Saturday, the attendees will be amazed, inspired and emotionally charged from the performances of Tin Pan South.

Songwriters and fans of songwriters come from about every state and some other countries to attend Tin Pan South. The “Fast Passes” were sold out in about :10 minutes of going on-line to be sold for the 2015 festival. You can also pay to get into the shows, after waiting until those with the “Fast Pass” get into the venues.

This is a great week to network and build relationships with the music community. Some of the best networking is while you are waiting in line for the venues to open the doors to each show, or with whomever you sit beside at your table, booth or bar stool at the show.

I hope You make the 2015 Tin Pan Festival one with many great memories and songwriters are inspired to write great songs after hearing some of the world’s greatest songwriters.

THANKS Bart Herbison and your great NSAI Team for The greatest Week for Songwriters!

Do YOU have any Tin Pan South memories to share – post them!

Another Year – what goals do you set for 2015 for your music business? Have you written them down, are you specific with your goals and have a plan for more cuts, that first big cut, get more gigs, learn guitar and other instruments and other goals you write down every year??

Ask yourself – how will I actually accomplish goals? Big Machine Label Group has a motto of “Think Crazy and Work Backwards! Well, they have certainly used that motto to make some fantastic things happen for their company and artists!

As we write our goals, make them big and have a plan to make the goals happen, those cuts, that publishing deal, getting booked into venues, touring and acquiring fans for the journey.

This music business is a relationship business. Perhaps make a list of professionals you want to build relationships with in the next year. How can you build those relationships?  Set a goal of perhaps one or two lunches or breakfasts with pros you would like to get to know – take them to share a meal and buy the meal.

Just get to know them, what they do, their story and what they do outside of business, interests in the music community, and advice they would share to help you, things they’ve seen other people on the journey where you are, and how those people advanced in the music business.

During your meeting with industry pros, DO NOT take a CD of your music, DO NOT ask them to go to your site and listen to your songs. This is to build relationships, not to pitch them your songs or to get you a deal!

Set goals and work every day to learn – your songs, how the business works, attend music industry events, support the industry, join the organizations that are proven winners, learn what not to do and who the people that are not really trustworthy, only want your money and have not really done anything in the music business or it has been 20+ years that they worked at a label and want you to pay them to record or whatever to get your money.

“Think Crazy and Work Backwards” – key words are WORK and have a plan to reach your goals!

What will YOU do to make 2015 your great year in music?

Here is another thing not to do in the music business – when you are an artists or your kid is an artist – somehow someone contacts you and starts telling you how good they were and the last thing they did of any value – was 20, 30, 40 years ago – if ever!

They will tell you stories of how artists you’ve heard of used their studio – you should find out WHEN the artists was in that studio and WHO is there now and what that person has to do with any project!

There are so many studios in this town, so many people that have been around people that you know, and some of those people try to impress you with stories, to get you 15 year old kid to come and record in that studio, tell you your 15 year old kid has fantastic songs that are going to be a smash. Sometimes it can be someone in their 20’s that believes they are stars and do not really know how to sing, yet the studio will tell them how they have the next hit song, tell their parents or investors that “artist” should be on The Opry and on the radio.

Some of these people find an investor or perhaps the parents want to get their kid in a studio so they can be the next star – which will not happen when you get with these people that try to impress you with stories of the old days in town.

I have seen this happen so many times, or someone will find a person out of state that has always written songs, always wanted to hear their songs recorded and the studio owner will sure do it, tell that person how good their songs are and they can add music to those “great lyrics” when the owner finds out sometimes that person has a bunch of money to spend and will find a young artist that knows no better, has not taken the time to learn the business, sing their songs!

There are producers that will tell you they knew someone, had a deal back many years ago, will tell you a BUNCH OF STORIES AND HOW YOU AND YOUR CHILD JUST BROUGHT THEM THE BIG SMASH HIT! Of course they will record it, bring musicians to the session and going to make you or your kid the next big thing! They will get all they money they can for you and smile as they tell you old stories and they have not done anything if ever in years!

PLEASE learn how the music business works, study, join NSAI, research and get advice from people that are CURRENTLY in the music business, learn about the business before you waste so much money and pay these people that have not done anything in many years and if they tell you they have – check them out with professionals in the music business.

Success Strategy #6 Follow The Golden Rule

Adapted from the book, The Success Strategies 99 Timeless Strategies for Life’s Journey by Deb Austin Brown.  www.99successstrategies.com

The Golden Rule is really the only rule the world needs. It says simply Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

The music business is a small world. When you can help someone do it. Perhaps do a favor for someone in the music business, tell good things about people you know, perhaps you saw a new artists singing the previous night, tell people about it. You may hear a great song in a round, tell others, “I heard the coolest song last night and the writer was…”. Someone is having a challenge with their guitar in a round, offer to help them, you see someone making a mistake, help them learn the way to do the right thing. You go to lunch with a co-writer, every now and then, surprise them and buy their lunch!

Success Strategy #6 Follow The Golden Rule

Success Strategy #5 Tune Into Others and Really Listen!

Adapted from the book, The Success Strategies 99 Timeless Strategies for Life’s Journey by Deb Austin Brown. www.99successstrategies.com

Have you ever had a friend who really listened to you? They just didn’t hear you: they listened to understand what you were trying to say. That is what real friends do, they listen!

The music  business is a marathon, not a sprint. You will make friends in the business, develop relationships and want to help others on the journey – that comes with building your peer group.

One of the best ways to gain someone’s trust and develop that relationship, is to really tune in – listen to what is important to that person. They are not asking you to solve the challenge, just listen to them. There will come times when they ask what do you think they should do – to promote that new song, to get an appointment with someone in the business, to listen as they are dealing with real life.

Stay tuned in when someone is talking, do not let thee distractions of the computer, your cell phone, texts, noodling on the guitar when someone really needs your ear. Remember two ears and one mouth for a reason!

Success Strategy #5 Tune Into Others and Really Listen!

A great story from the Rich Redmond 2nd Annual “Drummer’s Weekend” in Nashville on October 31 through November 2nd, 2014. http://richredmond.com/what-rich-does/crash-with-rich/

Drummer Jack Bruno who played 20+ years with Tina Turner and a couple years with Joe Cocker, Elton John and now Delbert McClinton, told an interesting story of how he got his gig with Tina Turner (which led to the Elton John and other gigs).

Jack  got a phone call about an audition for Tina Turner – this was before her comeback, “Private Dancer” tour in the 80’s.  The person on the phone asked if Jack would audition and said he’d call back. A week later Jack called the person and was told they already had a drummer, and asked Jack if he knew a guitar player that may be interested in auditioning. Jack mentioned a friend of his that played guitar, which resulted in his friend getting the gig to play with Tina Turner.

A month later Jack got a phone call from the band leader, who told Jack the other drummer did not work out and asked if he’d like to audition for the job. Jack went to audition for Tina and his friend was there with Tina, Jack got the job! The bandleader said the guitar player that Jack recommended a month earlier, recommended Jack for the job!

For the next 20+ years, Jack played drums, toured the world many times, earned a great living doing what he loves, playing drums and making music for one of the world’s favorite and most successful entertainers – because he recommended a friend for a gig even though at first, he did not get the gig!

Lesson – help others, even when you are disappointed – do the right thing, keep a positive attitude! A  Zig Ziglar quote, “In order to get what you want out of life, help enough others get what they want out of life”!

THANKS Rich Redmond for a great drummers weekend and to all the pros giving advice!


From my friend, Ryan Bizarri, who recently has his first major song cut by a major artist:
My life long dream to have a major country artist record a song that I wrote has been fulfilled! On April 7th, my buddy Walker Hayes and I wrote a song called “Eat Sleep Love You Repeat” A cool fun up-tempo country love song. On April 16th, country super star Rodney Atkins put our song on hold. On April 17th, the very next day, Rodney took it to the studio and cut it! Saying “Eat, Sleep, Love You, Repeat” could be the next “Take A Back Road” one of Rodney’s fastest rising chart toppers. It has been the longest summer of waiting for this very moment to share this news. Available Today, order “Eat Sleep Love You Repeat” on Itunes and Amazon right now. It is already playing on country radio and the official add day is November 17, keep your ears peeled. LIKE my facebook fan page and post something to my page when you hear it! The celebration is ON! My wife, Jennifer and I moved to Nashville in March of ’03 to make this very thing happen; so after Eleven Years and some change.. the dream comes true! Never ever, ever give up! Never. God Bless ya’ll and thank you for believing. Here we go! !A BIG ol’ thank you to Rodney Atkins, Ted Hewitt, Curb Records, Walker Hayes, Lynn Gann, Russ Zaviston, my wife Jennifer & daughter Taylor Bizarri & Baylor Hayes and the Hayes family! And of course, country radio for spinning it over and over again! Oh and request “Eat Sleep Love You Repeat” at your local country radio station. Thank you & God Bless!

October 29th Paul Simon will perform a house concert at a private residence at 6:00 in Nashville. This is to honor the legacy of Phil Everly and benefit COPD Foundation. This is a special Acoustic Performance with Paul Simon. Tickets are $1,000.00 for reserved seating and $500.00 for standing room.  For more info http://www.copdfoundation.org/PhilEverlyBenefit.aspx or contact Shannon Shryne.  Only 200 tickets are available for this event and they are going fast!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Paul Simon in an acoustic concert in Nashville. Perfect for a once in a lifetime date night, great for a client night out that they will always remember and anyone who truly loves music and will remember this for the rest of your life!

Go on-line to the above link to reserve YOUR TICKET!  Nashville Muse is proud to be a media sponsor of the event!

October 15th, 2002 I made the move to Nashville (12 years ago), with the help of some friends. My friend, Roger Hughes flew from Charleston, WV to Charlotte, NC to help me finish packing and drive the 19′ U-Haul that I and my friends, Jade, Vernon and Brandon Jones had help packed – also needed a 12′ trailer on the back of that truck.

I remember that drive as if it was yesterday, calling my friends and family as I followed Roger – what a friend, drove that truck all the way to Nashville from Charlotte, I wrote some notes on a pad I found a couple years ago and have packed away with some things in plastic container a couple years ago with the times of the trip, phone calls, feelings as I followed the truck up I-77 and then hang a left on I-40 at Statesville, NC.

I-40 through the mountains of Carolina, cross into Tennessee and all the way to Exit 209 on the West side of Nashville on Charlotte Pike to Brook Hollow Road and to my next house at 701, owned by Steven McClintock, who would become a very good friend that just this past weekend, flew into Nashville and stayed in my house I’ve been in the past two years.

Gary Talley, a member of the band, The Box Tops (The Letter, Cry Like A Baby, Soul Deep) was the one who called a couple months earlier and told me he needed a roommate and since we’d become friends over the past couple years, thought we’d work out as roommates (we did for about 2 years until he moved).

We pulled into 701 Brook Hollow probably about 11:00 PM,  fell asleep and the next morning, unloaded the truck and Roger was on a plane back home to Charleston, WV. I was excited and trying where to put all the stuff and get used to surroundings. Thursday the 16th was spent around the house, on Friday an event with the Songwriters Guild of America on Music Row and to 3rd & Lindsley for a songwriters event “Songs that will never be on the radio” and Lisa Carver flirted with me, seeing the new kid in town – all harmless flirtation, yet memorable of what would become something we laugh about to this day!

The first days of figuring out where the store was, learning what to do and not to do, till now in 2014 and still in Nashville, thanks to so many good and great people in this town that have become aquaintences, friend and really good friends.

Experiences of making friends, writing songs, attending concerts, TV tapings, working on award shows, having many “Nashville Moments”, #1 parties that inspire me ( I just visualize getting those #1’s and having my family and friends to share the award – hasn’t happened yet and still on that journey) challenges, starting Nashville Muse, 112 of 3rd Sunday at 3:00 events, 7 Guitar BQ’s, writing songs with some of the greatest songwriters in the world,  writing songs with my friends in my peer group that became friends and vice versa,

There are days I’ve woken up, wondered what in the heck am I doing with my life, why am I in Nashville instead of along the coast as I thought I’d be at this age in life 25 years ago, until that summer of 1989 when I started writing lyrics and got me on the path of a songwriter, writing probably 600 lyrics and a big book I call the “hook book” to Nashville that now has 25 years of hooks/ideas for songs, another hook book and a cell phone full of songwriting ideas.

I am still in Nashville twelve years later, crazy as it seems, believing in songs I’ve written with other co-writers, most have not given up. About 20 independent songs cut, many songs that are on www.doakmusic.com with the belief and hope that some of those songs will be on major artists albums, TV, Movies, Radio and make a difference to listeners of the songs that I write, many to encourage people on their life journey. I’m not afraid to dream big! They are by my desk in my home office.

I’m thankful for each day, each challenge I’ve made it through, each meal shared, each encouragement from those who have taken the time to say words to help keep me on the journey, each sponsor and event, those whose love and support keep me going with hopes of making them proud of me and for loving me.

Sometimes it is the stories of the songs and songwriters that keep me going, the songwriters and industry people that share their challenges of their journey was not easy and somehow, their big dreams came true.

Reading books of people’s journey as I just finished reading tonight, Jimmy Wayne’s book, “Walk To Beautiful” about his challenges in life, yet he kept going somehow through the toughest childhood I’ve ever read about, to having some people in life come along and keep him going on his journey which led him to Nashville and his dreams coming true and now making a difference in the world to many homeless kids.

THANK YOU – for being somehow on my journey for the past 12 years and those that were there at the beginning in 1989 when I started writing lyrics and having a dream of being a songwriter. I want to make you proud with success and dreams coming true. THANK YOU LORD for those people and affirmations (that I should stay on the journey) along the way that keep me on the journey of a SONGWRITER.


This is a new series for the Music Industry, adapted from the book, The Success Strategies 99 Timeless Strategies for Life’s Journey by Deb Austin Brown. Deb’s book was written from teaching these strategies to her students in St. Albans, WV and is available at www.99successstrategies.com  and is a new series for this blog and another website to be named in the very near future.

The first Character Message in the book is Success Strategy #1 Use the body language of Success!

Successful people look and act differently, and they air a certain confidence. They look others in the eye and smile. they hold their heads up high: they sit straight up. They have perfect posture. The are comfortable with themselves.

One of the keys in the music business is building great relationships which involves meeting people in the music community. Stand up proud, look everyone in the eye when you meet and talk with them, have confidence, a firm handshake and positive attitude. Think about who you like to talk with and build relationships with in life – positive people. When you attend a workshop in the music business, sit up straight and learn in these workshops and when you attend events.

Use the body language of success and make sure you have that confident look at all times!