Grammy-Winning Producer Shares His Music Business Insights

Over the last 20 years I’ve seen incredible changes in the music industry.

I never dreamed it would be so cheap and easy to set up a home recording studio.

Now anyone and everyone is calling themselves a “producer” because they have a little studio in their basement.

These home studios are fine for recording demos but if you want to approach a major label you are going to need a real “radio ready” recording crafted by a real producer.

One of my favorite producers to work with is Grammy-nominated Kent Wells.

Kent has produced several country music legends like Reba McEntire, Hank Williams, Jr., Neal McCoy, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, The Grascals, Brooks N Dunn, Keith Whitley, Lee Greenwood, Travis Tritt, and many others

I recently interviewed Kent Wells and we talked about…

  • How he got started in the music biz and worked his way up to a producer
  • The importance of an artist having great songs, great recordings and a great team
  • What record labels are looking for in an artist
  • Principles that every successful artist lives by
  • Kent’s secrets for creating excellent recordings

Redneck Romeos Reveal How to Win the Hearts of Live Audiences

If you want to make a living playing music then you need a loyal fans… but you aren’t going to get them on Facebook.

The most effective way to win the hearts of adoring fans is to get out and play live shows as much as you can.

I know it sounds old-fashioned but it is true!

As part of your live performance training you need to study talented entertainers who know how to work a crowd.

An example of a talented entertainer with great stage presence is Jamie Campbell and his band The Red Neck Romeos.

They are creating quite a buzz with their lively, sold out shows and now a hot new single hitting radio air waves.

Jamie Campbell and the Redneck Romeos use this method to win new fans and sell CDs at live shows…

  1. Help the audience feel at home with popular country songs they love to sing and dance to. (In the video above they are playing Jason Aldean’s song “She’s Country” which goes over very well.)
  2. Slipping in an original song or two in each set introduces their original songs to the audience.

Here is an example of an original song we helped Jamie Campbell write and produce here in Nashville.

Don’t miss the live performance of Jamie Campbell and the Redneck Romeos Band at their live performance during CMA Fest in Nashville! They will be playing at TEQUILA COWBOY on Saturday June 7th at 4pm.

Are you ready to take your music career to the next level?

If so then do what Jamie Campbell did and…

Submit your demo »

We will give you a professional opinion about your music and let you know what you need to do to advance in your music career.

Chart Climbing Artist Explains Why You Need Original Songs

With a hot new music video, a single that is quickly climbing the charts, a full page featured in the popular COUNTRY WEEKLY MAGAZINE, and finishing up a 6 week tour to over 136 Hastings Music stores, Tim Hadler is making quite a buzz with his traditional country sound.

For nearly 11 years, Tim has played to sold out audiences in Branson, Missouri where he’s known for his Hank Williams Tribute act.

Although he was making a living (and having a ball) playing country music, Tim knew he would need great original songs if he ever hoped to play on bigger stages.

When he decided it was time to write and record some original songs he chose the Artist Development Network in Nashville, Tennessee.

We paired him with the right songwriters, producers, and studio musicians that could help him bring his ideas to life.

You can hear some of the songs from the album we produced for Tim here…

Years of hard work and experience have prepared Tim for the road, and we are excited to be a part of his success story!


Do you have what it takes to create a successful music career?

Get Your Free Consultation Here »

Songwriting Tips from Pro Songwriter Bill Diluigi

Could you imagine if your job was to go to work every day and write songs?

This is the life Bill Diluigi is living!

His songs have been recorded all over the world and he has had songs in the BILLBOARD and AMERICANA TOP 100. His songs have been used in CW’s Heart of Dixie, VH1’s Single Ladies, CBS Sports and Access Hollywood to name a few.

I recently interviewed Bill at the Musician’s Union building in Nashville and we talked about…

  • How he got started in the music industry
  • The importance of having musical mentors
  • His recent nomination for a Covenant Award for Instrumental Song of the Year
  • A crazy story about life on the road
  • His best tips and advice for aspiring songwriters

If you want to improve your songwriting skills you do not want to miss this interview with veteran songwriter Bill Diluigi!

The Key West Songwriter’s Festival

30167_1459559367568_1190925567_31333902_3076402_n[1]The 2010 Key West Songwriters Festival just wrapped up last week in Key West, Florida, and I was lucky enough to attend it this year. What an incredible environment for soaking up some songwriting knowledge, and a few rays! Randy Houser kicked off the festival with a bang, performing a string of hits with his high octane band. Each night consisted of amazing rounds with amazing writers such as Dave Pahanish, Chuck Cannon, Shawn Mullins, Dave Berg, Liz Rose, Frank Rogers, Jamey Johnson, Bobby Pinson, Tom Douglas, Bob DiPiero, and Luke Laird. If you aren’t familiar with these names, do yourself a huge favor and look each and every one of them up. They make up a good portion of the Nashville hit makers, and they are an insanely talented group of writers. Just being in Key West for four days and taking in all the songs was good enough, but the accessibility of the people was also very cool. It wasn’t difficult at all to have a great conversation on the beach with any of the previously mentioned writers. Not to mention the large percentage of Nashville publishers that attended the festival.

While checking out a writers round one night, I spotted a previous client of Artist Development Network, the one and only, Jesse Lee. She took the stage and rocked the house! We are very proud of her and her accomplishments! A little hard work and a little dedication, combined with the services you could find at Artist Development Network, could take you to the next level, just like Jesse! But if you’re just looking for a great vacation in a great location, with an added bonus of catching a couple dozen hit Nashville songwriters doing their thing and having a good time, then I believe the 2011 Key West Songwriters Festival is for you!

Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift And You

If I were to ask you why you want to be a recording artist or a singer/songwriter … what would your answer be? I would really love to hear these answers in our blog, by the way! For most of us, I’d say the dream begins early on. For myself, I decided I would be a drummer at the age of 6. I didn’t really make a formal announcement to my parents or anything; I was just born a musician. I am a musician/songwriter today because that is what I am most comfortable doing.

How about you? I ask this question because the why of it all is important. I think it’s important to be who we really are. We’re not going to kid anyone if we assume the wrong role while we’re on this planet. I think that in the case of recording artists… we’re going to stand out even more than most when things are mismatched… we do our work on the world’s stage and there’s nowhere to hide.

SingerSongwriters have to know who they are. Johnny Cash could not have gotten on stage at Folsom Prison and sang to those inmates if he didn’t honestly feel a kinship with them. Taylor Swift obviously loves her young fans enough to help them articulate meaningful words that they would like to be able to say, but can’t yet. She validates her fan’s feelings through her remarkable songs. Johnny did the same thing. Johnny Cash was, and Taylor Swift is transparent, at ease and delighted to be singing. I dig that.

The juice of this whole star business magically switches on when fans love you and you love them back just as much. The power of this reciprocal relationship transcends any artistic limitations too. Quality of voice, depth of musicianship and perfection mean little when stars and their fans unite. All that really matters is the connection, and the rest is as natural as an evening stroll.

So back to you… why do you want to be a star? This is a tough field we’ve chosen. Writing songs that stand up to the competition is hard. Singing beautifully night after night is hard. Keeping a band together is hard. Why do we do this? It’s personal for all of us and I’m really looking forward to seeing your replies on our blog. I do know this much… the friends, clients and prospective clients of Artist Development Network are a devoted and serious group. I’ve been here for a year and a half now and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of my time cowriting beautiful music and getting to know many of you well. I am energized by your motivation and you keep me young. I feel your musical desires and make it a point to help you cowrite the most original music possible. Our whole songwriting team feels the same way. Cathy Lemmon has that same force about her as well. She’s been steering the ship here for 16 years in Nashville. Our dream is to help you with your dreams. We love our work. And there’s that reciprocalrelationship thing popping up again ☺

Five Healthy Habits For Musical Artists

Today, I’m going to take you on a quick tour of healthy habits. All musical artists need to stay in shape, physically and mentally. Let’s talk about the social and mental aspects that keep an artist in the game for the long haul. For the most part, these points will be subjective, but, this is important stuff to consider. Let’s roll….

I’m not a big Nascar guy. I’ve watched a few (yawn) and made some observations that relate to the music business. In particular, I’ve witnessed the smallest mechanical part take down a million dollar racing car. The same thing can happen in the arts. A single, unforeseen disaster can trigger a series of events that can pull an artist of his or her path permanently. It’s a bad day when this happens. The genetically hard wired singer/songwriter does not have a personality or temperament that will be well suited for a stock and standard 40 hour per week job. So let’s examine the things I consider to be the most important for keeping your singing career on track:

1) Relationships

I could write a book on this particular subject. In the interest of time, I’ll keep this one short. Healthy, give and take relationships require time, attention, commitment. Generally speaking, artist types tend to be what non-artistic types label as selfish. It’s true. If you take a poll of all your artistic friends; you’re going to find that they have quite a history of being labeled as “selfish” by their mates. Is this true? Probably, but mostly because their mates don’t understand artists. Our first love was probably music. It will always be our first love and our mates can’t change or compete with that. So the thing about relationships is: try to avoid the wrong ones with people who don’t understand your artistic personality. Don’t confuse horny with love.

Avoid relationships with serious commitments as long as you can. When you find that person that you really can’t live without… that’s the Come To Jesus Moment where you’re going to have to really assess this person and how compatible he/she is with your artist personality. Guess what score this potential mate needs to score in the compatibility department? 50%? 60%? Personally speaking, I’d say they’d better score 99‐100%. If they’re not completely comfortable with your career and personality type, you’re putting yourself on a path of pure agony. Music will win. The relationship will fail and you’ll be dealing with the fallout, which will lead to depression and take you further away from your music.

2) Nutrition‐Drugs‐Addictions

This one is going to sting a bit. When you were 16, you could’ve eaten at Taco Bell seven days a week and looked great. Flat out, straight up, this will not be the case in your mid 20s, 30s and beyond when you really need to look great in front of a camera. Pretty people become stars. And even if you’re not drop dead gorgeous or on the mainstream star path, you still have to look as good as you can. Looks start within. Junk in junk out. We’re just like cars in that respect. If you put sugar in your gas tank your car will run like crap. If you constantly fuel yourself on Grand Slam breakfasts you will wind up old before your time. Read. Learn. Consult nutritional experts, not Jenny Craig. Jenny sells food. Nutritional experts aren’t selling anything but life skills and knowledge. Big difference.

I think it’s pretty much common knowledge that alcohol and tobacco will make it that much harder to maintain good health. You can’t smoke and expect to sing beautifully, breath efficiently and have the high range you’ll need to deliver most pop songs. You can’t drink and expect your body to deliver the hydration needed for healthy vocal cords. This is all common sense stuff. Life is demanding enough anyway. Why increase the probability of failure with bad foods, alcohol, drugs, energy drinks, cigarettes, pot, spice, pulse, weight loss supplements or any other addiction, legal or not? This is not rocket science, folks. If you’re sleepy, don’t drink coffee… take a freekin’ nap. Exercise is one of the greatest natural drugs ever. Partake in that one with a clean conscience. That’s the real deal, and it will improve your sex life dramatically. Hmm… Tough choice.

3) Professional Improvement

Never, ever stop learning. You might be a kick‐ass singer with a 3 octave range, but you won’t keep that range unless you exercise that voice and check in with a respected vocal coach every once in a while. This is hard to explain in a short paper, but singing is all about muscles. Muscles, as we’re learning, have their own memory. If we begin to develop bad habits in singing, it will take a LOT of time and effort to re‐teach the muscles how to do things right again. You will not be able to cruise on auto pilot if you’re trying to break bad habits. And when you have to start nitpicking the details of your creative process, you will lose something. You can get over this in time, but you can’t be 100% creative and monitoring your actions. That means you can’t be a great singer if you’re “thinking” about singing. You have to be able to sing as easily as you breathe. So the moral of this lesson is: regular checkups in the voice department will keep bad habits away.

4) Debt

If you’re not already in debt, it will be easy to stay debt free for a year or two. But this will not always be the case. Years ago, department stores, home improvement companies and big business figured out that the real profit in business is in the sale of MONEY. They can sell you things for almost no profit if they’re making 20% on that revolving charge card. Learn to live within your means and without the credit cards and high interest rates. If that means postponing that new car or a living room furniture set purchase, by all means… postpone it until you have the cash. Owing money to credit companies means you’ll make decisions about your career and your art based on having to pay these companies back. Not good. Don’t go there. Stay debt free…100% debt free. Rent, food, utilities, gasoline, those will be hard enough to tackle. Don’t pile on any more.

5) Routines

Exercising, practicing, songwriting, rehearsing have to be done. If you’re reading this you are hopeful singer or singer/songwriter. All of the above tasks have to be done and you might just as well set aside time right now to insure that they happen, every day, every week. This is your passion, right? Treat your passion with the ultimate respect… put it on the calendar and make certain you do what you need to do to make your dreams come true.