Q: What do you look for in co-writers?
DBryant: I enjoy working with people who are usually nice and funny. I also usually know their work and love it. It inspires me. I want to spend time with these people. Because you will do this for years. everyday. And sometimes all you know that you will have is great days with great people. And I believe good music comes from that special place. Sounds hokey as hell I know!!!:)
Q: So you got a deal with the first one you called?
DBryant: I did end up getting a deal with the first publisher I eventually called. But when I first came visiting I had a meeting with Jody Williams at BMI that was 1985.
Q: Can songwriting really be done in Nashville long distance? Any advice for those of us who still live out of town?
DBryant: It is so incredibly hard to get songs cut...even when you are here in town!! However, once you’ve made it.....sometimes people leave and can sort of still stay in the loop.
Q: How did you hook up with Dave Berg on the Co write?
DBryant: Dave and I both wrote at the same publishing company. He came on board and they asked me if I'd be interested in writing with him. We immediately hit it off as friends, first, and then started writing together. I have a rock side as well as country, so Dave and I can meet somewhere out there really well.
Q: How much time do you devote to your craft i.e., daily, weekly?
DBryant: I work daily. I have found it's kind of like working a muscle and you kind of have to stay in shape. But I do usually take a day off and if I get to staring out the window, wondering what everybody else is doing outside, I know I need to take a week off.!!
Q: I LOVE "stupid boy" what was the inspiration? Did you write it all at once?
DBryant: Stupid Boy came to us in about an hour and a half. Sarah Buxton had an ex that inspired her. One of my best friends was in a relationship like this. It broke my heart! Dave just vibed off us (kidding)!!! Yes we wrote it all at once. It was a very special day. The minute the title and the idea behind the song came out.....we started immediately and it all fell out together all at once from all three of us. I play the piano and Dave plays guitar. We work really well together he is like my right hand and we can know what each other is doing at the same time.
Q: 1985 it was a bit less crowded in Nashville? Things seem to be different now from 1985 - the doors aren’t open any more - any advice?
DBryant: I think in 1985 it was I think more crowded. I don't think the doors have changed that much. Remember these people are looking to make money off of talent. If you've got it--they will find you.
Q: Can someone who doesn't live there get signed to a publishing deal? And, secondly, how often should I be commuting if that's my goal?
DBryant: Yes I do think you can get a deal and commute. That seems to be more open than it used to be. You should prepare to come as much as possible.
Q: Stupid Boy is a long song compared to most cuts on radio. Do you pay attention to time, or do you think there's too much emphasis on the 3minute thing.
DBryant: I do normally time my songs after we write them. I do think there is a lot of emphasis on the 3 minute song....but sometimes it's just what it is!
Q: How did the song “Stupid Boy” come about? Who's experience?
DBryant: Dave Berg and I wrote Stupid Boy with Sarah Buxton, a new awesome artist, for her record. She recorded it. And played it for her friend, who is Keith's day to day assistant. The song blew the assist. Away and she played sometime after that for him on his bus. We knew none of this. He loved it and you know the rest. Sarah Buxton came in that day and had just gotten off the phone with her ex. and she said, I know what we can write!!! Stupid Boy!!! Dave and I kind of looked at her and then we went from there!
Q: How much time was there from the time you demoed the song until it's first airplay?
DBryant: About 2 years. Maybe 2 1/2. We never demoed the song.
Q: What percentage of songs do you finish and keep vs throw away?
DBryant: I would bet I keep about 80 percent of the songs I start. If I start something and then decide it sucks....a lot of times I just don't finish it.
Q: When you write a song do you write it out in Nashville # or just write down the lyrics with the notes over the words? or both?
DBryant: I don't use the number system. I write the words on the computer now and make a live work tape when we're finished. The chords are on the tape.
Q: How many songs a year total do you think you write and how many of those do you pitch?
DBryant: I try to pitch every once in a while. But I pretty much depend on my plugger. Also, playing out is helpful. People develop a following for a song. It sort of becomes known and maybe finds a home of its own.
Q: Once songwriting became a profession...what do you do for a hobby?
DBryant: Hobbies? I love to garden, and I read, do movies, travel! But I love what I do and I spend a lot of time in the studio and writing. It can be grueling and it can be like flying.
Q: What instruments do you play?
DBryant: I play the piano, little guitar, drums, and flute. I do use MasterWriter for rhymes and stuff. But I record on GarageBand on my Mac.
Q: As upcoming songwriters we need to write for the future, what style do you see Nashville in the next year or so?
DBryant: Style in next year!!!Lord if I knew that we'd all be rich! lol no, seriously, I don't know.
Q: Who do you write for and how can I get a job?
DBryant: I write for Amylase Music. and as far as the job.....I'd start with N SAI, and any of the PRO's ascap, bmi, sesac. if you've got something. they can help you from there. Remember, these guys in general, are not gonna make any money off of turning people away. They are always looking for new talent. Take the same four songs to four different valid song people.
Q: When you've finished a song, are there lines you just decided to "live with" or do you sweat every word and line?
DBryant: I pretty much sweat every word and line. But I will say if you try not to get bogged down over a line, and move on and then come back to it in a minute. When your energy is better, it does help me. So I’ll just put in what I have--usually a phrase
Q: What's the one bit of advice you would give an "unknown" songwriter? I'm published with minor cuts, but no break out hits yet.
DBryant: Well, how are your published songs???? If you are having major act cuts, keep going, you are doing something right. Your publisher would be better asked on that than me.
Q: How much money/time should be spent on your demo? is a home recording ever good enough?
DBryant: I think you shouldn't spend any time on a demo if you don't have a deal. Now watch somebody do it and it work.!!
Q: What do you think is more important? To sit home and write a great song, or to go out and meet people and write that great song later?
DBryant: I definitely think we have to live, love, etc.! I was always taught you should work on your craft and try to be able to write alone in the beginning. Networking is important after you have learned your craft.
Q: Being from out of town.....making as many trips as possible when I am able to make contacts and then get permission to send songs in... do they really get listened to?
DBryant: If a published asks you about a song...yes, they really get listened to.
Q: Did your family and friends support you when you decided to go to Nashville, or did you get judged harshly?
DBryant: My parents were not excited about the move at all!! But I said damn it, I’m doing it.
Q: How did "Mad At The Wind" come about and how long did it take?
DBryant: Mad At The Wind .......it took us about 2 hours.....I was not having a very good day. and I had had this idea. I grew up in the windy part of Texas and I was laughing with my mom about my brother. When he was little and playing outside he'd get mad at the wind for knocking down his toys.
Q: I live in Dallas but send my songs to song contests and have one that's a finalist in VH-1 contest. Have you or anyone you know had any success with song contests?
DBryant: I think Darrell Scott and Dave Berg both entered the John Lennon thing?? and they did okay by that. Other then that I don’t know
Q: Do you use an independent plugger?
DBryant: I do not use an independent plugger, mainly because of the expense. I know people who have had success with it. But I would check their sources before I gave them my money!!! Any good publisher can hear a song from just a boom box or computer!!! You don't have to spend money on demos for that. If you have something they will help you to the next level. Remember to always check your sources.
Q: Was your first cut a cowrite and did you pitch it yourself?
DBryant: My first cut was a co-write with Stephony Smith on Holly Dunn. We did not pitch it ourselves.
Q: You said you write on the computer do you use Master Writer?
DBryant: I do use masterwriter for rhymes.
Q: Is it hard to get appt. with a PRO rep . If my song is great will they help me get appt. with a publisher ?
DBryant: if you have something, even a glimmer of something. I think eventually a good publisher will hear this. I don't think you should move here to be taken seriously unless you had someone to give you concrete reason to . A deal. Then you have to .
Q: Do you use the services of Taxi or are you too well connected for that forum?
DBryant: I don't use Taxi.
Q: I have three publishers, but no big hits yet. Any advice?
DBryant: Best advice..Be honest with yourself. Come and show your work. don't move here first!
Q: What are your thoughts on form and do you feel every tune needs a bridge?
DBryant: I think form is important, I don't think that every song needs a bridge.
Q: If my demo is not in the style of country but it could be a really good country song do I need to re-do it as country before sending in?
DBryant: Yes. you have to hand it to them on a silver platter. They cannot use any imagination. I'm saying don't demo if you don't have a deal. they can hear it on a plain work tape. That's what they told me. we still use worktapes. the pluggers hear our songs like this all the time.
Q: Dave Berg talked about having connections before he moved to Nashville. He would send "ideas" and someone would write them. I've heard Walt Aldridge wrote most of "I Loved Her First" from his undiscovered co-writer's idea. How developed are the "ideas" new writers bring to established writers?
DBryant: The ideas are not developed at all. We're talking plain old hooks. song titles. like I Hope You Dance. like that as an example. or Two of a kind(working ona full house).
Q: Any feedback on Cornelius Companies in Nashville? I have one single-song contract with them but nothing came of it.
DBryant: I'm not familiar with Cornelius Companies....i'd check them out.
Q: Do you ever have a problem with a direction you wanted to take a song only to have it chance directions?
DBryant: Well, I try to "try the song on" as a fast song, and then might "try it on" as a slow or it may be sad and then you think it might need to be happy? Sometimes I do get in the middle of a song and realize that it would sound better if you came at it like this.
Q: Have you heard of Jay's place studio? Jay Vern...if so, is it a good place to record a CD for my own sales?
DBryant: Have heard of Jay's Place. if you have the money to spend on your own album then great.
Q: Generally do you finish a chorus or start with a verse?
DBryant: I usually start with at the beginning. Verse but sometimes I do work on the chorus first. sometimes it helps to do that and not paint yourself into a corner.
Q: Did the songs that got you your publishing deal get cut?
DBryant: The songs that got me my publishing deal did not ever get cut.
Q: Do you have an artist .... that is a dream cut for you... you don't have to tell us who?
DBryant: oh, no. I would die for a Linda Ronstadt cut or Dolly Parton. She rocks.
Q: I have had more success with my independently produced CD, Should I just do CD's or should I still try to work with publishers?
DBryant: If you are satisfied with I-Tunes then stick with that. Otherwise, go to a publisher.
Q: Any parting shots from Ms. Deanna??
DBryant: Thanks guys. Hope I’ve helped. Check out my myspace under music.