Should I Move To Nashville?

Nashville, TN is a destination city for so many people now, but it has always been the dream city for Songwriters. 

The question I get asked the most from Songwriters is:

Do I have to move to Nashville to be a successful Songwriter?

In the past, some songwriters kept it on the DL if they were traveling back and forth.  Some even got 615 cell numbers so people thought they lived here.  So, yes there was a time when it was not considered a positive … almost like you weren’t serious about becoming a writer. 

However, that has changed.  You do not have to live here to do this. 

Tom Douglas said in my workshop that now if you write a great song they will find you.  It’s hard to imagine but I think it’s true.  Unless … you write that unbelievable song and never play it for anyone. 

If your song connects in a huge way, people will pay attention.  Thanks to streaming and social media, we know many examples of artists/songwriters who’ve done just that.  So, it’s possible. 

The positives about NOT living in Nashville.

Where you are, not only in your life, but also geographically is priceless. 

You have the potential to get all kinds of beautiful song ideas that people here in Nashville would never experience. 

Plus it’s easy to lose yourself in Nashville if you don’t have a solid foundation.   There’s the inevitable comparison and trying to figure out the business … the pressure to meet people, etc.  

And can we talk about the cost of living?  It’s not an affordable town anymore. 

I moved here before there was a Starbucks (not kidding).  I remember a friend driving me down Music Row and I thought … where is it???  One could ask that question now, because it sure looks different. 

It took landing a job as a receptionist at a publishing company  to truly understood the magic that was happening in those little houses up and down 16th and 17th Ave in the 90s. 

Nashville is a big city now – traffic, rent through the ceiling of every new high rise and the supply of songwriters way outweighs the demand. 

In my opinion, the reason to come here is to build on the momentum of what you’ve already created from where you are. 

And boy do you have to fan that flame … but you have the tools to do it right in the palm of your hand, like every other entrepreneur. 

It’s exciting to think about going to writer rounds every night and 1000 other things,  but know that where you are makes what you have the potential to bring to the writing room and the song exponentially greater if you choose to see it that way.   

You get to focus on finding your own voice. 

One of my favorite parts of Allen Shamblin’s master class that he gave at the ASCAP Expo years ago was when his publisher sent him back home to reconnect with his roots. 

He beat the odds, moved to Nashville and got a pub deal.  He talked about working night and day on his writing and somehow his current songs lost the magic that the songs he came to town with had … at least for a minute!  We all know he overcame that bump in the road in a huge way. 

God bless Allen Shamblin! So many workshop guests, songwriting teachers and workshop leaders quote him constantly … myself included! He is a gem of a songwriter and a treasure of a human being.  And if you get the opportunity to know him or hear him speak, it’s a MUST.  Then you’ll be quoting him too. 

Start the mining process where you are because that is where the songs are.  

I wanna plan a trip to Nashville! 

By all means!  Come down for a visit.  Let Nashville inspire you! 

I tell Songwriters to plan their trip around any of the following events: 

ACM Honors at the Ryman 
Make that any show at the Ryman
Tin Pan South
Americana Awards
CMAfest (nonstop music and you can see who’s coming up in the business)
Bluebird (you can also get on their mailing list)
The Listening Room
The Country Music Hall of Fame (hit the “experiences” tab to see special in person shows at the theatre)

If you’re ready to come and you know it in your heart, then that’s what you need to do.  But just know, you’re sitting on Songwriter gold where you are and we can’t wait til you share it with us!  

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