Jim Stovall, author of The Ulimate Gift, says, “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” Jim is a motivational speaker that has overcome adversity by understanding and embracing the bigger picture. In his teenage years he was told one day he would be completely blind. By his early twenties this would prove to be true. Instead of running away from the difficulties he embraced them by volunteering at a local school for the blind (watch a short video describing his experience). Not only did this process encourage personal understanding of the life ahead of him but he began to be an advocate for people and the big dreams that have been hard-wired into their souls.
Recording Artists’ Management Alliance (RAMA) is a Nashville based organization that like Jim, understands and embraces the bigger picture. Their mission statement is “to provide a safe and productive development support system designed to assist emerging artists achieve their individual potential while addressing the needs, concerns and the future of both the industry and the artist, in all genres.” One of the ways they do this through their monthly Producer’s Chair held at Douglas Corner in Nashville.
The Producer’s Chair is hosted by James Rea. James is the founder of RAMA and has been in the music industry for thirty-six years. He began his Nashville love affair in 1995 after retiring from performing in piano bars. Currently, he is a columnist for the Nashville Music Guide and resides on three boards – The Friends of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Sound Audio Engineering Institute and the Tennessee Jazz and Blues Society. James has an obvious love for all things related to music and Nashville.
Being from Texas, Brett’s musical heritage has traditional country roots. He grew up playing the guitar and writing with his brother. He was in the band Still Southern and remembers playing four sets a night. He came to a crossroads in his life where he had to choose between his two loves – music and bass fishing. Nashville is thankful music won!
Brett’s interview revealed trends of the current music scene as well as tips for people trying to make it in Nashville. Here are a few things I took away from his discourse:
- When songwriting, the song is the star in the room. As a general rule younger, less accomplished writers should yield to more mature and even awarded writers.
- With music sales not being what they were, people running the finances of CD projects are watching expenses by asking musicians to play on a single scale versus their traditional double scale for studio work.
- If songwriters want to get a cut in today’s market, their best bet is to write with the artist.
- When listening to demos in search of material for his artists, he said a good song will always shine through a bad demo.
- Since songwriters are producers in their own right, always make sure the tempo is right. A song being worked up too slow or too fast can kill the intended feel of the song.
- After you write a good melody, with a catchy hook and interesting lyrics, do not overlook the creation of a catchy musical hook to add a final touch to a song.
You can visit the Producer’s Chair page of the RAMA website to get more information about future events. It is events, people and organizations like these that make me very proud to be a part of the Nashville music industry scene. RAMA, James, Brett, and others like them are unveiling the industry and bridging the vast canyon between the struggling artists/songwriters and the paid professionals. This type of alliance and advocacy promotes and encourages a unified community that works together to create amazing music. When reality gets in the way of dreams, it is always good to have someone on your side.