Excerpts from the Songwriter Magazine interview
“Taking my songs to my publisher who took them to a producer who says they suck… I don’t need that. That’s happened to me so many times in the past with absolute hit records! So I don’t need that now. The best success I’ve had is when I’ve had control, when I’ve made the record myself.
“I started producing records out of self defense. I always maintained that I didn’t mind changing a chord on one of my songs that’s been around – one that you know in its right form. But I do object to people making changes on a new song of mine that no one’s heard. Who’s to say they have the right? I’ve got more ability than just about all those guys that are going in and rewriting my songs.
“Dionne’s first hit was Don’t Make Me Over on Scepter. I remember the first time I played the record for Florence Greenberg, who ran the label. She just sat there and cried. And not because the song was so beautiful… but because she was so disappointed. She had heard her as sounding another way.
“I was real close to buying the record back. But I was torn. I had thought I had made a really great record, but here was this authority figure who was saying it wasn’t where she wanted it. I don’t think it’s ever 100% you’re right and the other person’s wrong, but I do think it is vital for you to stick to your convictions at the critical points in your career.
“When asked what’s more important, the lyric or the melody, he replied “Well, the truest thing I’ve heard is ‘Nobody whistles a lyric’. I’ve heard some very bad lyrics tagged on to excellent tunes. And they become important because people sang them and whistled them and heard them in their heads”
Hear the tales of two young songwriters – one who visited Los Angeles to plug his tunes and the other who traveled to Nashville. Find out how they fared in trying to get it to play their song heard and sold to top publishers. Learn their tips on making your pilgrimage a success.