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Surviving the Music Industry
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Surviving the Music Industry

Author: American Songwriter

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Sit down with legends, risers, songwriters, session musicians, industry execs, etc., as they recount their biggest hits, past failures, battling addictions, racism, sexism, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and even homelessness to get where they are today. All the while host, Brandon Harrington, is still trying to survive the music industry.
217 Episodes
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Esther Rose

Esther Rose

2021-04-1501:11:44

Esther Rose released her third full-length album How Many Times and is already burnt by the topic of heartache. Seeing your work as one thing and one emotion overwhelming the conversation that then shapes the narrative isn't probably everyone's intention. So how do you change the conversation? Esther shares the source of the burnout, the prophetic sense of her music, and the discovery of her unique sound that even caught the ears of Jack White.
Most know the BADDIE-Lexy Panterra, aka Virgin Lex, as the dancer and brains behind LexTwerkOut. But can her millions of followers embrace her new music? Lexy sits down with host Brandon Harrington to talk about her new music, the beginnings of LexTwerkOut, and the double standards she faces daily with her music and career.
Emily Weisband

Emily Weisband

2021-04-0601:22:30

Emily Weisband (Grammy award winning songwriter and artist behind BTS's "Boy With Luv (feat. Halsey)," Camila Cabello's "Consequences," "Team" by Noah Cyrus and MAX, and "Thy Will, With Hillary Scott and The Scott Family) feels that peace, confidence, security, and contentment aren't natural for humans. But through quarantine and her journey in the making of I Call It Being Human EP, she has taken practice in harnessing her inner dichotomy for the unnatural, and the act of oversharing is no longer a faux pas.
S.G. Goodman

S.G. Goodman

2021-04-0101:19:11

S.G Goodman visits with host Brandon Harrington close to a year after her acclaimed debut album Old Time Feeling was released to share if her feelings have changed toward some of the album's messages. Goodman's not one to hold back on personal feelings about her music and other things that run across her mind. So it only makes sense that gas station food reviews, life on the Mississippi, feuds, and also the isolation of a country on both sides of a political spectrum are all captured in this conversation.
Drew Green

Drew Green

2021-03-3001:05:40

With his head to the grindstone, it's obvious that Drew Green might have not looked up to see the success he's gained up to 2021. Drew takes us through the land-speed record of his publishing and record deal, his writing habits, how the Dirt Boy became the artist he is today, and how songs like his latest release "Hooch" are changing what people might consider country.
Jillette Johnson

Jillette Johnson

2021-03-2301:19:04

Nashville-based songwriter and artist, Jillette Johnson is looking at gratitude and steadiness at the release of her latest self-written project, It’s a Beautiful Day and I Love You. Just too bad the zoom call couldn't stay steady. Jillette talks identity between life and music, and her reconstruction and deconstruction process for herself and music.
Sanya N'kanta

Sanya N'kanta

2021-03-1601:15:50

Jamaican-born, United States citizen and genre-blurring artist Sanya N'kanta share his experiences as a 6-year-old immigrant to the present. Known for his music to ruffle the feathers of one political side or the other, he admits that truth is hard to hear. These Are The Days EP still reflects his truth but can there be differences in life that are true?
Cory Wong

Cory Wong

2021-03-0901:14:11

The fog of 2020 is still heavy for Cory Wong, even though it has been his heaviest creative output to date. Brandon and Cory cover Cory Wong & The Wongnotes variety show, finding the thread of your art for either longevity or for a time, and balancing ego and your purpose.
Sarah Buxton

Sarah Buxton

2021-03-0401:14:58

Sarah Buxton is the artist and songwriter behind Keith Urban's, "Stupid Boy," she co-wrote "PrizeFighter" by Trisha Yearwood and Kelly Clarkson, "Sun Daze" by Florida Georgia Line and "Fix" and "For Her" by Chris Lane. With the release of her new EP, Signs Of Life, and working in the new world of Covid, she confesses that systems have changed and now more than ever that it's important for her to reflect on how her life should be lived.
Lydia Luce

Lydia Luce

2021-03-0201:11:24

Lydia Luce, originally from Florida now a session musician based in Nashville, has seen her fair share of different musical environments. From on stage at Bonnaroo with Eminem, to leading her own community orchestra called Lockeland Strings. Each project brings its own set of complications. Gender roles in music and casting for an instrument, racial diversity, and also just talent diversity. Lydia even reminisces the feelings of playing with Rod Stewart where there was a "part to play" to fulfill the casting environment. But for change to happen, Lydia is fully convinced that curiosity and taking time to think about what changes can be made for a better world. Dark River, her latest album, was full of changes for Lydia. Admitting that each song doesn't fit in a genre, there are no apprehensions of fitting her music in a box. Even though there isn't a template, the most common thread for Lydia is that there isn't a box. 
Adam Doleac

Adam Doleac

2020-11-2401:10:43

Growing up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a small town populated mostly by family can leave an impression on you. Friday night lights, work ethic, and a strong relationship with parentals are the foundation of this now Sony Nashville artist. It's not lost on Adam the foundations of country living and the lifestyle of his Mississippi home. Adam shares the memories of growing in the time of Hurricane Katrina and his "lucky" moments that lead up to him as a songwriter/artist with a unique voice. Authenticity and his identity in songs may have set Adam apart from the rest, but also his work ethic of running his own business as an early empire could have contributed to his appeal to major labels. Adam also shares that when you realize your leverage, you're able to turn down major recording deals. Even when it means fulfilling a dream or the possibility of becoming a nightmare. 
Karl Michael

Karl Michael

2020-11-1901:03:49

Karl Michael has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music and penned massive hits for plenty of other artists. He's recorded with all-star producers Jon Levine (Dua Lipa, The Struts, Alessia Cara) and Scott Spock (Rihanna, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne). He's lived through crazy record deals, drops, The Voice UK, and even battles with his biggest critic; himself. Karl shares the money behind his past record label deals, the desperation of making bad decisions, and working through some of the most self-sabotaging moments of his life. Now on the other side of a healthy mental life, Karl is celebrating new music with the release of "Tunnel Vision," and "Wait A Minute". We walk through sobriety, mental health, and choosing persistence instead of self-deprecating can lead to the grateful life that everyone pursues. 
Niko Moon

Niko Moon

2020-11-1701:13:48

The Texas-born, Georgia-raised, Nashville-based singer-songwriter has had a hand in penning over 40 songs for the Zac Brown Band, including some of their biggest hits such as “Heavy is the Head,” “Beautiful Drug,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “Loving You Easy,” and “Homegrown.” But still, Niko confirms that it takes a certain chemistry to write songs. Now imagine your only writing partner for your music being your wife. The honesty and innermost personal detailed, Rubix cube of your feelings are now being explored with your wife. Niko being the songwriter that he is is no stranger to critics. But what is the reception of negative vibes when your personal vibe is "Good Time"? If there is any indication from haters trolling. It's not phasing Niko after his recent releases ("Good Time," "Dance With Me") at the slightest. A new record is on the way and Niko fills us in.  
The Brummies made up of vocalists and multi-instrumentalists John Davidson and Jacob Bryant, and drummer Trevor Davis, have been playing together in various incarnations since high school in the Birmingham, Alabama area. John shares the journey from basement jams to publishing songs with Major Bob (Garth Brooks) early in their career. Writing for Major Bob, John and Jacob most notably penned "Done" that was recorded by The Band Perry which earned John and Jacob their first number one. After the success of a number one, what do you do next? The obvious isn't what's obvious. John shares reinventing their sound from a country genre that can be misleading for most, collabs with Kacey Musgraves, and releasing Automatic World at a time that a band wants you to share in their vibe. Fully recognizing though that the current vibe may not be the most opportune. American Songwriter Podcast Network 
Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa

2020-11-0501:17:55

Joe Bonamassa is a two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist, has over 30 records, achieved his 24th #1 album on the Billboard Blues Chart,  with his latest release, Royal Tea. Most might remember Joe from a young age making the local news circuits to promote a tour with B.B. King or the news cycle propping him to be a young prodigy at guitar. Other collaborations include Eric Clapton, Stephen Still, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Steve Winwood, Buddy Guy, and Beth Hart, just to name a few. Joe also runs a nonprofit organization called Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation with his long time business partner Roy Weisman, that supports local communities in financial distress and supports education through music. With a history like this, one might think that Brandon would have started at the beginning. It took one question from the top to allow Joe to share his thoughts on just about anything that was running on his mind in this down time. Nomadic by nature, Joe admits that this is the first time in his career that he has had to stop touring, but seems to be at peace with the decision in his grieving cycle. At the heart of the bluesman is a businessman. Joe had a lot to say about the cultural forecast that is to come because of Covid-19. Not to mention the already economic unsustainability of music. Like addictions to fame, securing your identity, and taking the criticism when you already knew you had the target on your back. American Songwriter Podcast Network
Cory Marks

Cory Marks

2020-11-0301:14:31

Cory Marks is one of the latest artists to meld metal music with country lyrics. A sound developed with Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Papa Roach, Modern Science, Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, In This Moment, Shania Twain, and Hellyeah) on Who I Am, Cory's latest album. Not the most trendsetting music on country radio for those that do listen to the radio. No surprise if you know that Cory isn't one to follow the current waves that "the man" sets. For one not to follow trends, it's a pattern in life. Cory was a semi-pro hockey player from Canada that was in training as a fighter pilot for one thing. A few nights in jail is probably the only thing for an "outlaw" that would be common in his life. Coming from a musical family and being introduced to some of the original outsiders like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. It took one night while in college to jump on stage for the first time publicly that set the tone and change Cory's career trajectory. Now in the game, nostalgia and sad songs from artists like Merle Haggard and Jimmy Rodgers are what's missing in country music. Cory even adds that there is more in common with the pain and angst of Pantera, with the lonesome songs of country music than people realize. Can you write "I shot a man in Reno..." and not live that moment in today's lyrics? American Songwriter Podcast Network
Bryan Wayne's "What If She's An Angel", recorded by Tommy Shane Steiner was a #2 hit in 2002 and hit it big as BMI's Millon Air award hitting 1 million spins. Bryan has also had top 25 single success with Chris Cagle's "Country By The Grace of God" and Big and Rich's "Kick My Ass". The MuzikMafia was a collection of country artists and songwriters that changed and shaped the sounds of the early 2000's that we still hear today. Bryan, being a part of that transition of country music also shared cuts with Clay Walker, Emerson Drive, Rodney Carrington, Jason Blaine, and others during his 20 plus year career as a songwriter. In 2017, Bryan was diagnosed with ALS-Lou Gehrig's disease. Knowing the disease was going to rob him of his voice, he recorded and re-recorded some of his big hits using his singing voice. While You Wait is available where music can be downloaded and streamed as well as www.bryanwaynemusic.com.  American Songwriter Podcast Network
Melody Federer

Melody Federer

2020-10-2701:11:48

When you might figure out Melody Federer’s music. Melody releases something that will surprise you. It's no wonder since she calls her style of music "genre-agnostic". Makes sense once you see her collaborations from Burt Bacharach, P!nk, Hilary Duff, to electroclash producers Plastik Funk and Gazzo. She’s written R&B tracks for Kelly Rowland, traditional folk-rock tunes for Jacob Whitesides, and crafted alongside Michael Buble. Texas-born in a religious setting, Melody thought the nomadic life suited her best. She's lived in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, and Nashville. But shares why she has settled down in Washington state in conversation and how that affects her perspective on music. A songwriter at heart, Melody shares some pretty personal insight into her process. The emotions of abandonment, loneliness, subconscious or stream of consciousness writing are tapped into, but also the balance of TMI details to put in songs. Are writing "happy" songs a little bull-shit? In life, when is something worth fighting for, and should you fight for something that isn't healthy? American Songwriter Podcast Network
Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock

2020-10-2001:01:36

Born and raised in New Hartford, New York and now residing in Buffalo, New York, Stephen Babcock feels that he's found his place. With the current COVID circumstance that many deal with, Stephen is taking the hand that he's dealt and taking it to his music. Working toward a larger project he's released "Notting Hill" based on the rescheduling of his wedding, and "Bowery" that he admits that he's hopeful. Hopeful that life's circumstances can move toward the better. Both Stephen and Brandon are fans of David Rameriz and Donovan Woods, so taking a look at their music and how either empathy versus sympathy can impact genuineness in one's music. In the age of a social media boom, where can one fit in if they find themselves not fitting in? Should you take part in the trends? Then patience...if you have it, are you winning?  American Songwriter Podcast Network
Luke Laird

Luke Laird

2020-10-1501:14:33

Since moving to Nashville from Hartstown, Pennsylvania, Luke Laird has penned and produced hits for artists including Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, and many others, earning 24 No. 1 hits and two Grammys along the way. Instead of spending too much time in the history and story of his hit songs, Luke answers some of Brandon's questions on how to get a hit. Why not ask the guy that watched Brooks and Dunn write some of their hits in person? From speed, the track guy, the influences of rap in today's country music, and even some of the specifics and nuances of lyrics that major artists won't cut. His first and ever most personal album Music Row is a bit of a timestamp from where Luke was and where he currently is. From sobriety, past friendships, joy, pain, love. Music Row touches on the journey of one man that feels relatable and has you evaluating your humanity.  American Songwriter Podcast Network
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James Antoine

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Jul 22nd
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