October Membership Meetings

October 2: Guest Speaker Jean Zimmerman

By Diana Black

The membership always finds it exciting to have someone from Nashville speak to us, and the October 2 meeting was no exception. Jean Zimmerman of Zimmerman Productions, an independent production/publishing company, began her presentation by asking all the members to stand and applaud themselves. She said the writer is "what it's all about" and that "superstardom has many levels; it's not just Nashville, Tennessee! ... Don't get discouraged." Well, she certainly got our attention with that! Then, as though she had read our minds, she opened the floor to questions.

Advice to writers? Write a song that after the first time someone hears it, they know the melody and exactly what the song is about. Demos? VOCALS UP FRONT! Lyrics? Get it in the first two lines; she, like other publishers, turns the tape off if the first two lines do not knock her out.

Advice for artists? Find someone to back you who you can trust; don't mortgage your house! Investigate companies before you invest in them to produce your music. Few people realize that artists pay for their promotion, etc. They oftentimes get front money from a recording company, but that company is then paid back "off the top" when the money starts rolling in. And, if you are currently in a band, you should be selling pictures and tapes to promote yourselves; if not, you are missing revenue!

Perhaps the single most important point Jean stressed, and she mentioned this many times throughout the evening, is this: "Don't try to be anything you're not." Write and/or perform songs that represent the best of YOU.

Jean says she believes in "shooting straight" with people, and it was obvious she was doing just that with her honest, sincere responses to our questions.

Thanks, Jean, for supporting "the music that comes out of Louisville"!

October 16: Collaboration Session

By Jean Metcalfe

The October 16 meeting was a collaboration session that was quite productive. With the help of a few Life magazines for quick inspiration, and three brown bags into which the members put their names and category (lyricist, composer or both), the songwriters were given 30 minutes to see what they could do (sounds like a Lee Cable tune to me). At the end of that time (whew!) each group performed their masterpiece for the group (or gave an excuse as to why they couldn't).

The results were pretty impressive and one group just explained their idea, read a couple of their best lines and said they liked it so much that they were going to be sure and finish it up later.

Bottom line: A good exercise in learning to collaborate, to be aware that song titles and/or ideas are everywhere, and how to discipline oneself in writing songs. We'll do it again in a few months.

It was a treat to have seven members of the Central Kentucky Songwriters Association visiting with us that evening. They actively participated in the collaboration, and two of them performed on the open stage that followed. Both were well received -- and with good reason; they were very talented writers and performers.