Multi-genre songwriter. Extremely talented!
Where did you grow up and what influenced you to start writing songs?
I grew up in West Virginia, and realized a gift to put words together at the age of 14, listening to the Grand Ole' Opry and the early country artist like Merle Haggard, George Jones and Charlie Pride. Years later, I began working with studio musicians to bring my songs to life. I am not musically skilled, and must collaborate with those who are to get the finished project done. I've developed my songwriting skills over the years, as I have lived life to the fullest and have more to write about.
What is your songwriting process?
Again, the ability to put the lyrics on paper is my gift. I normally can complete a song, once the idea is there in less than an hour, complete with an vocal track that musicians can use to further develop the song.
Are certain genres easier to write songs for?
I can write in all genres', but prefer Southern Gospel and Country Pop. As a veteran, I have written several patriotic songs that honor the American soldier or tell a story about the ravages of war.
Have you ever written any songs that you wrote a long time ago but was never used because you are not totally satisfied with it?
Yes. I wrote "Daddy's Favorite Chair" way back in 1985, and even had a solo artist record a rough cut demo. It was a fast paced song then. When I sent it to Nashville in 2011, they slowed the song down a lot and made it more of a ballad. I loved the job they done and often wondered why it took so long for me to do something with the song. It is a personal song, true in regard to the relationship I had with my father.
How did you meet Ron Pauley?
Ron was introduced to me through the church that I currently pastor. He worked with me on scoring some of my songs, and has become a true friend. He has written the musical score for three of my gospel tunes. We also developed a collection of piano sound tracks of all the most used hymns of the church, for churches that do not have a pianist. We actually sold 50 copies of that to various churches, and believe it is something we could market nationally, but just do not have the financial resources to market it. Ron is an extremely talented pianist, having played for a major gospel recording artist a few years ago.
How do the two of you compliment each other?
Ron and I are both Christians and serve in the church. We work well together because of our common interest. He as an excellent piano player, and I am a pastor; who just happen to write songs as well.
In this day and age, do you feel it is still a songwriters market in the music industry?
Without songwriters,. there would be no music industry. Most artist are just that, people who have the ability to sing and some learn to play rhythm guitar, because it's part of the act. They don't write their own songs and rely on the talents of others to find their hits. The only things missing in the music business is a way for songwriters or lyricists to get their work heard by industry pros. I remember handing out pages of my lyrics to gospel artist, thinking that they would add the music and bring the songs to life. I was later told by a artist friend that the lyrics probably ended up in the trash, because most artist do not write music or even lyrics. In most cases, they are just a pretty face paid to sing.
Do you play any instruments?
No. I played the drums when in elementary school, and later played for a U.S. Army marching band, playing by ear all the military cadence songs. I still bang around a little, but it's more of a hobby than a skill.
After all these years, what is your proudest musical moment?
My proudest moment was when I gave a copy of the very first demo I ever had recorded, "We Stand For America" to my mom. I have since had over 25 songs recorded, with fifteen of them being gospel songs, which I know made my mom proud. She is now deceased, having passed earlier this year.
What can we expect from you in the future?
As I said, I have more than twenty-five songs already recorded, and another fourteen or so in the hands of my producer. My focus now is on the gospel songs, as I believe this is why God gave me the gift of songwriting. I have pitched my gospel songs to more than forty nationally known gospel artist at this year's National Quartet Convention, in hopes that someone will decide to cut one or more of my songs. Every songwriter believes in what they do, and I am no different. I believe my songs are as good, if not better than some stuff you hear on the radio today.
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