September 1, 2004
Q: I’ve always been a writer. At first I wrote just poetry, but recently I’ve started to write gospel songs. My problem is I don’t write music; I only know how to write the lyrics and how I want the melody to go. I have over 50 songs on paper. Can you help me in some way?
–J. Reed, Lithonia, Georgia
A: You need to find collaborators who can write music and partner with you to move your lyrics from paper to recorded demo tape or compact disc. To do this, you’ll need to gain contacts in the music industry and educate yourself about the art and business of songwriting.
Start by reading The Craft and Business of Songwriting (2nd Edition) by John Braheny (Writer’s Digest Books; $22.99) and The Art of Writing Great Lyrics by Pamela Phillips Oland (Allworth Press; $18.95). Braheny’s Website (www.JohnBraheny.com) offers great information, including career strategies for lyricists and tips on how to get your songs recorded. Another Website with good information and links to resources is www.songwriteruniverse.com. To find outlets to get your songs published and recorded, also read the 2004 Songwriter’s Market by Ian Bessler (Writer’s Digest Books; $24.99).
Finally, you should meet and network with songwriters, musicians, and others in the industry. Start by contacting the Georgia Music Industry Association Inc. (www.gmia.org; 404-266-2666). Also, consider joining the Gospel Music Association (www.gospelmusic.org; 615-242-0303), which publishes the 2004 GMA Music Industry Networking Guide (Gospel Music Association; $19.95).