I was asked to submit an article for the USA Songwriting Competition's site last month and wrote about the 'backyard connection'; finding people to work/write with in your area.
It got me thinking about all the people who are still in my life (professional and personal) that started with the smallest of connections. So many of these have proven to be the gift that keeps on giving. Quite a few friends I made in the beginning of my career are friends to this day, and continue to be important connections in my songwriting and artist world.
We Have Contact
At the time I doubt I gave much thought to growing old with these folks, I don't think that's on anyone's radar when you're out to conquer the world. But looking through my contact list today I'm seeing lots of them. I've connected with my favorite teacher from High School Jim Rose through Facebook. Jim has recommended my coaching to some local musicians.There's Nic Marcy who I did the miles with in one of my first bands in upstate New York . He's in Austin teaching drums. Bob Terry is another great friend who I've stayed up with over the years. He now works with Yamaha Drums and does workshops all over the world including recent ones with another old friend, Kenny Aronoff. Bob also sends me clients. There's the guys in Faith Band who I shared a lot of stages and many of my Malcolm Gladwell '10,000 hours' with.
And the C's
I talk with John Cooper pretty often. He was the sound man for Faith Band. He now mixes the Boss all around the world. John also introduced me to Wynonna Judd. Wy cut a song of mine. One of my good buddies, Bob Britt played on my home demos years ago. Bob and John Cooper eventually worked together with Wynonna. I send my coaching clients to Bob these days for his demo production. We re-connected.
Then theres Torquil Creevy, who I first met in England as an artist signed to Riva Records. Torquil moved on to Miles Copeland's publishing company and offered me a deal when he got there. This led to attending Miles's writer retreats in the south of France and those contacts led to meeting some wonderful writers who are in my contacts still. Torquil and I are friends to this day. He introduced me to Kipper, who went on to produce for Sting. Kipper came to Nashville and wrote with me for Wynonna Judd. We've been friends for more than 25 years now. Torquil also introduced me to Nick Battle at Windswept Pacific Music, who signed me and got some of my best cuts. Building my case here.
Piper And Beckham and Spice!
Nick introduced me to Eliot Kennedy, one of my best friends and who I've written some of my favorite songs with (including a number one called "Day And Night" by Billie Piper). Eliot has always been generous with his connections including introducing me to Bryan Adams, the Spice Girls and even David Beckham. Eliot is still the first person I get in touch with if I'm excited about an artist or development project.
Co-writers And The Stones
Some of my favorite co-writers and friends were introduced to me by another connection. Most writers I know are good like that. Kye Fleming introduced me to Nashville, I connected Kye with Brenda Russell, we wrote "Dancing In My Dreams" for Tina Turner. Countless connections that have lasted through the years. Brenda even introduced me to Lisa Fischer--who introduced me to the Stones. 'Connection' is one of my favorite Stones songs, but I'm going off here...
Lets Stay In Touch
I'm coming to the point, I promise: It's just as important to stay in touch with your connections as it is to make them in the beginning. Cultivate the friendships, touch base from time to time. Keep your info updated. You never know where one of your old friends will land in this business, and someone you shared a moment with years ago can easily re-enter your universe.
I'm not suggesting you 'work' your contacts as much as work at keeping them. Along with your family and your talent, they're the most valuable asset you have!
Nashville , TN
Pic: Goggle Images
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Mark Cawley's songs have appeared on more than 15 million records. Over a career based in LA, London, and Nashville his songs have been recorded by an incredibly diverse range of artists. From Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Wynonna, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan to The Spice Girls, Tom Scott, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Will Downing and Pop Idol winners in the UK. He has had #1 records in the UK and throughout Europe as well as cuts in Country, Jazz & R & B. His groundbreaking website Song Journey created with Hall of Fame writer Kye Fleming was the first to mentor writers from around the world one-on-one online. He is currently writing and publishing as well as helping writers and artists worldwide with a one-on-one co-active coaching service, iDoCoach.