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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Nash bridges


It all starts with a song, but where does the song start? For some OKC songwriters, it’s a Nashville-based nonprofit.

Alyssa Grimley April 5th, 2013

Ever think about what percent of a song purchase actually goes to the artist? Local songwriter Curtis Stover makes it his business to, as a coordinator for the Oklahoma City chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

curtisstoverCurtis Stover - Photo: Mark Hancock
“It was organized in the ’50s because there was no one looking out for [songwriters] on the congressional level, and yet, how much we were paid was determined by Congress,” Stover said. “You see the need for the lobbying up there at the national level.”

The NSAI is involved with songwriters at both the legal and professional level. Members of the OKC chapter meet once a month at the Rodeo Opry, 2221 Exchange, to collaborate and critique each others’ work.

“At the local level, we give a chance for our local peers to get feedback,” Stover said. “It’s also a chance to get together, to find people to co-write with.”

He emphasized the benefits of joining the nonprofit, which costs $200 for the first year and $150 for each renewal.

“As a paid member, you get to send 12 songs in a year for critique by professional songwriters in Nashville,” he said, noting that independently sending songs to Nashville, Tenn., can be expensive, ranging from $50 to $75 each.

Members also have access to more than 140 hours of podcasts on numerous aspects of the music industry via the organization’s website; can have one-on-one sessions with professional songwriters in Music City, USA; and get to audition at The Bluebird Café, a famed music venue normally available exclusively to Nashville residents.


Russell Stover, Curtis Stover and Matthew Hoggard
Photo: Mark Hancock
More than country

While Nashville is the world capital of country music, Stover said the NSAI isn’t just about that genre.

“People hear ‘Nashville’ and they immediately think of country,” he said. “That’s only part of it.”

Stover said the NSAI has evolved alongside the ever-changing music industry. Its local chapters provide musicians with educational materials and contacts.

Matthew Hoggard, an OKC songwriter and NSAI chapter coordinator, said he has benefitted greatly from honing his skills in the group.

“I’ve built a network in Nashville. It’s a good way to meet industry people,” Hoggard said. “The biggest advantage is getting to work with other songwriters and artists who all have the same goal. Being around other writers, learning from them — it’s on-the-job training.”

No one is born a songwriter, but if you’re a budding musical talent, Stover has some advice: Learn to accept criticism.

“It’s one of the hardest things for young people to do,” he said. “We need to get past being in love with what we write and look at how to make it better.” —Alyssa Grimley

 
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