The Top Ten FAQs On The Business Of Songwriting #1

by Mary Dawson

QUESTION 1: Do I have to re-locate to a major music city like LA, New York or Nashville in order to have a real chance of "making it" in the Music Business?

Could I have a drum roll please?

For the last nine months we have been counting down the most Frequently Asked Questions I receive from aspiring songwriters and musicians through my songwriting columns and my radio show, I Write the Songs. We have covered many topics -- from legal issues like royalties and copyrights to very personal issues like co-writing and getting discovered. And here we are at Number One -- the very important question of geography in the journey to success in music.

OK! I need a show of hands here! How many of you aspiring songwriters have ever heard or read something that goes kinda like this:
If you want to prove that you are really, really, really serious about making it in the music business, the first thing you have to do is sell your house, pack up your stuff in a U-Haul, and relocate to LA, New York or Nashville.
The reasoning is as follows: If you live in or near a major music capitol, you will have access to many music-related opportunities that will not only help you to learn the craft and business of songwriting, but will also give you access to industry insiders, "close up and personal," who can help you "get a deal" (meaning a songwriter's agreement, artist recording contract or staff songwriter position).

From the time I first entered the music business almost two decades ago, I have heard the Move-to-Nashville-NYC-LA Advice over and over again. It has become almost the Doctrine of Success for songwriters -- a qualification that really separates the serious and motivated from the "dabblers." According to this doctrine, if you aren't willing to pick up stakes and move to a major music city where you can work your way into the business, it simply proves that you will never really make it as a writer.

If you subscribe to this logic -- as many have -- you will either start immediately to pack up your U-Haul, or sadly decide that since other commitments require you to live elsewhere, you will simply have to give up your musical dreams. Before you decide on either option, let's just take a common-sense look at this issue. So -- are you packing the U-Haul or not? If you're young, footloose and fancy-free and you want to chase your dream to LA, New York or Nashville...please don't let me discourage you. Many now-famous songwriters have done exactly that and have found fame and fortune in the process. The point I am attempting to make here is that while moving to a major music city may be the ticket to success for some, it is by no means the only way to achieve your goals. If you use your head and write from your heart, you can chart a journey to success from any point on the globe.

Wherever you go……Godspeed!

1Do You Know the Way to San Jose?
Writers: Hal David/Burt Bacharach
©1967 New Hidden Valley Music (ASCAP), Casa David (ASCAP)

**From her earliest childhood years writing simple songs and poems with her father, through her twelve years as an overseas missionary, to her present, multi-faceted career as an author, lyricist/songwriter and conference speaker, Mary has always been adept at using words to communicate her heart to others. She is the President of CQK Records & Music of Dallas, Texas, a company which creates and produces songs in a panorama of musical styles for a variety of audiences, She is the host of "I Write the Songs," a nationally syndicated radio talk show, especially created to inspire and instruct the more than 40 million aspiring songwriters in the U.S. Mary is a frequent public speaker and seminar lecturer and teacher of songwriting in her popular Living Room Seminars. She is a Contributing Editor for The Internet Writing Journal ®.

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