Last Tuesday night I was invited to be on the judge’s panel for Puckett’s “rising star” program here in Franklin, Tennessee. Haven’t done one of these types of events in a long time and wanted to share some thoughts. On this night we were judging the song, not the artist. Puckett’s, along with the Bluebird and a few others, do a great job of showcasing and supporting new writers and established ones.
You may have heard the old advice that “If songwriting isn’t the first thought you have in the morning and the last one you have at night, if you can’t “not write” you’re probably in the wrong line of dreams.”
True enough for the pros but the other night got me thinking about the ones that aren’t beating a path to Nashville to be a star or may never get their song heard. Too busy raising a family, working a job, chasing a new dream but still have the need to say something. I talked with a few of those the other night and went away inspired.
It’s painful to watch the artist or writer who is putting it all out there and all of us are left with …“what the hell are they thinking?” We’ve all seen ‘em; my wife could never watch American Idol with me for that very reason – it’s too uncomfortable. True, you might see that one truly gifted, touched-by- the-hand-of-God type talent and the world hopefully rewards them. For those few there are thousands of kids and kids-at-heart that pick up a guitar, or play a little bit of piano, write a lyric and find a vehicle to let someone know what’s in their heart. Maybe it’s for their family, girlfriend, church or maybe just for themselves. Probably not gonna be a household name or a song you hear in the car but the experience is the reward. It really doesn’t get any better than when you do the work and finish the song, trust me.
I coach writers and artists from all over the world these days and I love it. I love the ones getting songs cut or indie projects released online but I also love the ones who are doing it just to be able to express themselves, learn the craft and be the best writer they can be. They can “not do it” but they do it ‘cause they love the process. They’re not wannabes, they’re songwriters.
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About Mark Cawley
Mark Cawley is a hit U.S. songwriter and musician who coaches other writers and artists to reach their creative and professional goals. During his decades in the music business he has procured a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing, Tom Scott, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners and The Spice Girls. To date his songs have been on more than 16 million records. Mark’s resume includes hits on the Pop, Country, R&B, Jazz, and Rock charts and several publishing deals with the likes of Virgin, Windswept Pacific, and Steelworks/Universal. Mark calls on his decades of experience in the publishing world, as an artist on major labels, co-writer with everyone from Eliot Kennedy and Burt Bacharach to Simon Climie and Kye Fleming, composing, and recording to mentor clients around the globe with iDoCoach. He is also a judge for the UK Songwriting Contest, Nashville Rising Star, a contributing author to USA Songwriting, Songwriter Magazine, , sponsor for the ASA, judge for Belmont University's Commercial Music program and West Coast Songwriter events , a popular blogger and, from time to time, conducts his own workshops.Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark has also lived in Boston, L.A., Indianapolis, London, and the last 20 years in Nashville, TN.