Where Do I Go From Here?

That’s a common enough question among songwriters. What do you do with your songs?

There are three avenues you can take. Today, we’ll be looking at the first two. The third deserves a spot of its own.

Avenue one is the most obvious, and the one that makes the most sense. Yet, it can be the most difficult. This one consists of singing them yourself, or having them sung by someone in a band you are leading.

Now, for a lot of people, this avenue is one they haven’t looked at for various reasons. The most common is: ‘I can’t sing’. Almost everyone can sing. Yet, not everyone has a nice voice. But that never stopped Bob Dylan. Probably the worst voice in music (worse even than Tom Petty’s). And what about Neil Young? If you look hard enough, you can come up with countless examples. Even today. Ever heard the guy from Semisonic?

Another common reason is people think they’re bad musicians. So what? I’m sure they’re a little better now, but I saw U2 about 15 years ago (The Unforgettable Fire tour) and, believe me, none of them could play their instruments. How about Pink Floyd? Only one good musician (David Gilmour), yet the music is great.

So, perhaps all you need is a bit of courage and self-confidence. If you choose this way, then you have to decide whether you’ll be going with a band, a back-up band or entirely solo. You have to manage yourself or get someone you have complete confidence in and manage for you.

There are, of course, very valid reasons for not singing your songs yourself. Perhaps you simply have no interest in a career as a singer. And that’s OK.

So what do you do?

The second avenue is to find someone who will sing your songs. Unfortunately, this one also requires a lot of work. Actually, they all do.

It means going around clubs and festivals (partying and drinking) and finding a voice. Well, a bit more than that, the person also needs to have a presence and a look.

What you are looking for is a singer who performs no original material because she/he doesn’t write songs. Then you approach this person and offer your songs. Of course, this doesn’t happen over the initial ‘Hello, my name is”, but you get the idea.

If your songs are not exactly in the style as what this singer does, it’s not really important. You need to steer your songs toward this person and this person toward your songs. Sort of meet in the middle.

Now, the best way to insure success is to continue to involve yourself in this person’s career, essentially manage their career. Yes, more work.

In my mind, this is most likely the most difficult route of all.

I realize we aren’t going into too much detail at this time, but I’m trying to answer a lot of questions without going over the subject for several months.

Next week: the third avenue: The music world’s best kept secret.