For those of you who don't know, NSAI stands for Nashville Songwriters Association International. It's an amazing organization whose mission is to "committed to protecting the rights and future of the profession of songwriting and to educate, elevate and celebrate the songwriter and to act as a unifying force within the music community and the community at large."
I met Morgan through a group through my church that was focused on the workplace. We all bonded through it and Morgan was just getting her new job then! I got to catch up with her recently to talk about her advice for all you who may be interested in working in the music industry or becoming professional songwriters!
Something I love about Morgan is her ability to put one foot in front of the other and try something new! There have been so many times that all my thoughts will well up and create a barrier that keeps me from trying something new - the things I want to do seem impossible! If this is true for you too, keep reading!
Recently I heard the phrase “Just because one door closes doesn’t mean they all are closed.” This is so true, but sometimes discouragement can stop us from trying to go through other doors. I wanted to do this interview with Morgan 1) because NSAI is such an awesome non-profit company I wanted you all to be able to learn and benefit from it, and 2) I wanted to share the encouragement from Morgan who is winning in both her career right out of college and her positivity toward life!
1) How did you land such an awesome job in the music industry right out of college?
Internships! Morgan believes getting internships is entirely possible without getting a degree in something music related, or being in school at all. Turns out, offering to work for free isn’t as hard as we all thought! Nashville is filled with buzz-phrases like “it’s all about who you know,” which can make getting your foot in the door more intimidating if you don’t know a lot of people yet. Morgan, a college student at the time, wasn’t surrounded by a huge network of people working in the industry (yet) and started simply, by going to the websites of companies she admired and emailing them. The majority didn’t even require her to be a student! Slowly companies began saying yes to her requests for internships which eventually lead to the job she has today!
2) What made NSAI stand out to you?
NSAI is unique in that it’s the only business on Music Row that has an open door policy to songwriters (most have some kind of security set up to keep people from dropping by to pitch their music unannounced). The company only has about 12 employees (the majority female) and they help everyone form the just- moved-to- Nashville-a- week-ago writers to the long time pros looking for new co-writes. It’s only a small price for the mentoring and connections its members receive, and it helps them with one-on- one career coaching, setting up co-writes, pitch-to- publish practice, and meeting other people in the exact same spot they are.
3) How much of a role does confidence play in becoming a songwriter/singer songwriter?
Believing in your music will go a long way in getting you to try new opportunities like walking into NSAI or setting up a co-write. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become a professional songwriter. Since there are fewer jobs in general in songwriting and music publishing, publishing companies have to be a lot more selective and almost all music industry professionals“date” songwriters before officially agreeing to have them sign a deal. My personal advice to sticking out your music industry dreams? Really figure out your why and the people who need your songs- it will help sustain you through the tough times, especially knowing that you have a bigger purpose than just getting a publishing deal. Morgan also says you have to feel out when it’s appropriate to have your confidence shine though, as some Nashville musicians can toot their own horn a little too much and turn people off from wanting to write with them!
4) What is your personal advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in songwriting?
Write with EVERYONE and ANYONE! It takes practice to be a good songwriter and to get a publishing deal; you have to have a strong relationship with the publisher because the industry is so much more about writing great co-writes and consistently coming out with great new material than it is writing one good song that will get famous. Also write with people on the same professional level as you. Morgan says
" In high tide, all boats float,"
meaning you will all help each other be successful! Often, people think if only they could write with a hit songwriter, then they too would be seen as a hit writer. In reality, a lot of publisher and labels will instead assign the credit for why the song is great to the hit writer, rather than you as well. So try to get out there, write with everyone you can, have A LOT of endurance (the kind that lasts for like 10 years), and enjoy the process and writing rather than just trying to write hits!
I hope this was helpful for you! If there's anything you want to know more about, contact NSAI here! Taking you as always for taking the time to stop by and read!