Songwriting Tips, News & More

Songwriting Tip: Planting Positive Seed

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 @12:00 PM

Planting Positive Seed

By Daylle Deanna Schwartz

 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

Trying to succeed in a creative endeavor can feel futile at times, if not often. Doors close and people don’t respond to what you send them or to return calls. Your gig didn’t go well, your efforts to get your music licensed haven’t gotten you anywhere or your band mates are giving you a hard time. It can make you feel lost about what to do or wanting to give up. I encourage you to do some gardening for your life to up your chances for career opportunities, good people, and other goodies to bloom in profusion for your career.


I think of life as a garden. It needs weeding, seeds planted, watering, and fertilizer to help it bloom in ways you want. When you don’t tend your garden it gets out of control. When you don’t tend your thoughts and the seeds you plant, YOU feel out of control of your life. When you do plant the seeds for healthy blossoms and take care of them, your life blooms in a profusion of attracting many blessings.


It’s important to be careful not to allow weeds to grow in your garden of self: criticism, pessimism, negative thoughts, frustration, hopelessness, doubt, etc. Some weeds are pretty on the surface and may actually have flowers, which makes it harder to understand they must go. In life, people are like weeds. They may sweet talk you, pump you up about our music, offer to help you but then disappear, and other things that are common.


You may think you need someone who has contacts or the money to invest in your music. But if they hold you back as you wait for them to do something—while they make lame excuses for not keeping their word—they’re weeds that need to go! When I was doing my music, there were many weeds who told me what I wanted to hear. I’d get all excited, only to be let down.


Weeds can glom onto you in ways that make you keep them around when the thought of doing everything on your own, or trying to find better people, seems like too much work, or too scary. When they throw you a bone to make you continue to deal with them, they're still weeds. When you let them stay and spread, they overpower everything.


Weed your garden so your talent can bloom! Awareness is a great weed controller. It helps you spot people who are all talk and no action, don’t keep their word, ask for money with no return, etc. fast and eliminate them. Replace weeds by planting as many seeds as you can that can open doors down the road. Seeds are doing something that could potentially create an opportunity. Every little thing you do that allows another person to be aware of you and your music is a seed that might bloom.


Every time you send out your press kit or make a call to pursue a gig or increase your friends on social networking sites, or go to a seminar or take a class to improve your performance or meet other musicians or managers or go to panels with industry pros, or make a new friend or let people know what you need, you create a potential opportunity. Each one is a seed. Think about how seeds spread in the wind to gardens. It’s common for people to get a beautiful flower in their garden that they didn’t plant. The wind carries seeds from one garden to another. It’s the same with action seeds.


Every time you do something to advance or connect or let someone know what you’re doing or need, you give yourself another chance to bear the fruit of each seed. The more seeds you plant, the more chances one will sprout. I sent Oprah a press kit a year before they called me to do the show. A producer held onto it and got it out when they needed someone like me for a topic that I have expertise in—a year later! Patience helps you not get discouraged when seeds don’t sprout right away.


Many artists tell me they’ve succeeded because they planted as many seeds as possible by getting their music or name to as many folks who might be able to use them as possible. Thinking of each effort as a seed planted keeps you from looking at opportunities that don’t pan out as a waste. IF you have the goods to qualify for what you want, no seed is wasted. You may not hear from the person for a long time, as what happened for me with Oprah. But people who look at their efforts as seeds know that it only take one to sprout before the whole garden can start to bloom.


So step out and tend your own garden. Control the weeds of your garden too. You don’t need a green thumb! Look for the weeds and get rid of what you can. Plant as many seeds for what you want as possible. Then take any actions you can and EXPECT them to grow! The more you stay positive and keep believing in your talent, the more opportunities you can attract.



Daylle Deanna Schwartz is a speaker, consultant for musicians and record labels, self-empowerment counselor, and best-selling author of 13 books, including the third edition of Start & Run Your Own Record Label (Billboard Books/Random House) and Nice Girls Can Finish First (McGraw-Hill), based on lessons she learned as one of the first women to start a record label.  For more information on USA Songwriting Competition, visit:

Tags: music business, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Billboard Books, Run Your Own Record Label

How To Be Professional As A Songwriter In The Music Business

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 @10:40 AM

Molly-Ann Leikin

How To Be Professional As A Songwriter In The Music Business

By Molly-Ann Leikin, Songwriting Consultant


The music business is a business.  The people we need to connect with on a professional level may look street and talk street, but when money is at stake – especially big money, which is often the case in our industry – we serve ourselves best by acting and doing business like the pro’s. 

    That means conducting ourselves as we would in any other business - whether it’s selling seashells,  stocks or sour cream cinnamon raisin coffee cake, nuts optional.   It’s not about what we want.  It’s what the guy on the other side of desk needs, and, assuming we have it, trying to determine how best to present it.   

    Say you’re a pretzel baker and I’m the World Distributer.  I would expect you to approach me the way my already established clients do.  Remember, as the Pretzel Honcho, I have thousands of people coming at me every day with pitches.  Therefore, to get my attention, what you’re selling has to sound as good or read as well as, if not better, than everyone else’s.  Notice I didn’t say your product, I said your pitch, because, since I’m Pretzel Queen, if you don’t catch my ear or eye, you’re out.    

    Only if your pitch is interesting, will I be willing to try your pretzel.  I didn’t make that up.  That’s how business is conducted, no matter what the product.

    The initial part of your pitch is the presentation. 

    Fancy jewel cases containing photos of your dying iguana lying on a copy of your past-due rent slip, or dancing adorable treble clefs breaking out as rashes all over your letterhead, don’t cut it.  Use a simple jewel case, include a short letter stating your goal, plus a professional, accurate business card identifying you as your music self.  Leave out the jicama franchise and your muffler academy.  We’re only talking music here, okay?

    Further, if you want to be taken seriously, don’t send anyone an unidentified CD or a lyric scribbled on a used paper towel.  Nor should you send a CD in a collapsed tangerine box stuffed with toilet paper, no lyric, and no contact information.  Please - put your name, address, email address, and phone number on each item, making sure your spelling is correct and the information is easy to read.        

    Remember, perception is everything.  

    You deserve to be successful.  And I’m confident you’ll see that by taking the time to make a thoroughly professional presentation, you’ll already be halfway there.   

© 2010 Molly-Ann Leikin

Molly-Ann Leikin (rhymes with bacon) is a songwriting consultant in Los Angeles. She has dozens of gold and platinum records, plus an Emmy nomination.  So far, Molly has written themes and songs for over five dozen movies and TV shows, including “Violet”, that won an Oscar. The author of “How To Write A Hit Song, Fifth Edition”, “How To Be A Hit Songwriter”, and the producer of “Molly-Ann Leikin’s Master Class in Songwriting”, Molly consults with talented writers and artists all over the world, with a view to helping them market their material.  She also matches lyricists with composers.  Six of her clients are Grammy winners, eleven more are Grammy nominees, and so far, with Molly’s help, almost 7000 other writers/artists have placed their work in movies, on TV, CD’s, in commercials, and their tracks are downloaded all over the web. Her website is You can reach her at  

For more information on the USA Songwriting Competition, go to:


Tags: Molly-Ann Leikin, music business, professional music, emmy, platinum records