Last week, after speaking at the NSAI Tin Pan South Festival, a young songwriter from Toronto asked me what I would recommend as far as the best place for her to situate herself next: N.Y., L.A. or Nashville? I said, “Nashville.” What?
There’s a chapter in my book Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, about how, for a while there, I felt like a fish out of water in Nashville. Culturally. Stylistically. Now I feel guilty about that chapter. Especially when I’m in Nashville.
Something felt different this time though. And I’m wondering if the fish out of water stuff was all in my head. I seem to fit in better than ever. Or maybe Nashville has changed. Or maybe I’ve changed. Or maybe I used to try too hard to fit in. And now I’m comfortable just being me.
I’ve been here for a week but it feels like a month. How we squeeze everything in on a writing trip—make every day count. You know the drill.
First, I spoke at a pop songwriting workshop at the Festival.
Then I played in a round at the Commodore Grille with 12 aspiring writers. I have to tell you, I couldn't tell the difference between their songs and the seasoned pro's. They were so tight.
Then I had a conversation with the adorable and smart-as-a-whip new pal, NSAI’s Libby Oellerich, for her Coffee Break Podcast about, you guessed it…adventures in songwriting.
I worked with Desmond Child whose had 5 decades of #1s. He's a master on how a 3 minute song is supposed to unfold and just when I think I know it all he shows me more. I’m honored to be in his orbit.
Out at clubs, music lovers introduced themselves—said they follow my blog. :) Really? That makes me SO happy.
I spent a day with Jennifer Paige who was the sweetheart of a song called “Crush.” Remember? We wrote something for her soon-to-be-released Inde album and after the session we talked about new possibilities for recording artists (& career songwriters) who’ve become mothers (and fathers) and still want to continue their journey. Maybe even make a little cash. I’m with you sista!
Then I moved from my Airbnb (check it out, it’s my friend Edie’s place—perfect btw, for those of you making “the trip” to Music Row—or her 2 bedroom unit in the trendy 12th South neighborhood), and headed over to my pal Skip Bishop’s. He filled his home with 30 friendly faces on Sunday for my first ever “Living Room Live”—humorous and heartfelt stories about the life and times of a Serial Songwriter...with music! They had no idea what they were coming to see but they came anyway. Country writer, Matraca Berg (so honored she was there) told me it was her story too. :) Awwww!!!! After the show we had Bolton's Hot Chicken and jammed.
Non-music-biz Linda said she most connected with “Notebook,” a song I wrote for my daughter. You don't have to be in the music business to relate to stories from the people who are.
Boots thought he knew someone who’d be interested in booking a “Living Room Live” or whatever I wind up calling it. I actually like Living Room Live—coined by Kim Paige, who created this flyer, without me asking! Which I will use forever (w/ different places and dates)! Thank you, sweet Kim.
Note to self, bring enough books next time. Cuz I sold all my copies at the Tin Pan Festival and didn’t have any on Sunday night. A nightmare for an author—no books at an event. Urg.
Who else was there? Skip’s beautiful wife, Diane, Natalie Stovall, Marcus Hummon, Amara Givelove, Mary Catherine Harrington, Kyle Jacobs (who turned me on to his McPherson carbon fiber never-go-out-of-tune guitar…and Ummm, I might have to get me one of those.)
And…I finally got to meet Emily West—who Skip had been describing as a modern day Judy Garland. Now I get it. Before the night was over, someone blasted “Don’t Ever Go To Paris When You’re Lonely” from a Spotify playlist and, well, I was floored. It left me wanting to start a label just so I could sign her. I also want to hug her a lot and be her best friend.
Regrettably, I did not take a group shot of this joyous gathering. I know, it’s hard to believe. My hubby sometimes gives me a hard time about not being able to put the camera down but I’m a blogger for God’s Sake. Pictures matter. :(
Invigorated. Tired. Ready to go home.
Before I got on the plane I headed over to Two Old Hippies where my Friends & Family discount has been active since my book reading in their eclectic space last year. I almost bought yet another irresistible black leather jacket but managed to escape with minimal damage: a cute pair of jeans and a bracelet. Adam will be relieved.
One last Lyft to the airport—I’m gonna do the math and compare rides vs rental for a week. Any opinions?
Flying west I had this thought: Lately, L.A. feels like it’s more about “the record” and Nashville more about the song. For the first time, I had a “what if I moved here” moment. It was fleeting, though. I’m not going anywhere. My life is in L.A. My culture. My cats. My home and family. But I would consider coming to Nashville more often from now on to do my work. I finally feel the love.
Here's Emily. This is what it’s all about. Or even better, close your eyes and just listen. (Video killed the radio star.)