Number One Song
What qualifies me to offer ‘3 Tips For Getting Your First Number One Song’? Well, yesterday I found out I now have
my first Number 1 son
g! Does that make me an expert. Hell, no. But it does make me a bit happy. And I’d love to spread some happiness. Maybe, if you follow these tips you’ll get to top a chart one day too.
Tip Number 1: Write from your heart.
I love writing songs. All sorts: love, blues, country, folk, rock and, let’s not forget, the mysterious blend. But with all of them I’m always aiming to let the heart do the talking; to let love rule my tongue, my pen, and my guitar strumming hand. My first number one song, ‘Keep Community Radio’ expresss my love for community radio, part of our arts culture that enables indie musicians like me to get on air. What’s not to love?
Community Radio not only gave me my first Number 1 song it also gave me my start. Years ago, I remember being totally wrapt (I’d say ‘elated’ but that’s not how a bloke from the suburbs really speaks) when I heard my song, ‘So Much, So Soon’—one of those love songs I was telling you about—coming out from an analogue receiver tuned into Melbourne station, 3CR. Suddenly I was in the same ‘zone’ as my songwriting heroes, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash and Prince. I was on the radio. And I didn’t even have a record company.
Tip Number 2: Stretch yourself—try something new
The second of the ‘3 Tips For Getting Your First Number One Song’ is ‘Stretch yourself—try something new’. Mostly I write songs around universal themes of love, loss, life and death, and often with quite a romantic angle (I’m a nostalgic bastard, a quality often found in the troubadour type). But with ‘Keep Community Radio’ I wanted to send a clear message about how I feel about the most humble of media outlets serving any and all who care to tune in. I love community radio and think it is worth keeping. So I wrote in a way I normally don’t, ignoring the voice inside my head saying, “But you don’t write political songs.” Well now, I do, inspired by the #keepcommunityradio hashtag coined by the CBAA to bring attention to the Oz governments plan to cut funding to community radio.
Tip Number 3: Share your music with the right people
Since that day I first heard one of my songs on the radio I have continued to write, record, produce and release music, and have had varying degrees of success sharing that music with a growing audience. One of the best ways I have found to ‘get my music out there’ is through community radio, and the many music lovers who host genre specific (and not) shows. Taking this approach no doubt helped get the 17 tracks on my last album, Chance To Love, played on a wide range of shows and radio stations across Australia (and Ireland and UK).
And the method is simple: you find a show you like, or that you know plays music in a similar style or genre to yours, and you send them a CD—with a personal cover letter, of course.
These CDs don’t always get played—my style, like everyone’s, is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ (or mug of java), but I’ve had a lot more success sharing my music this way, than by blindly sending off CDs to major record labels; something I stopped doing years ago (but not soon enough). Plus, these days, if you’re fortunate enough to be making music in Australia you can make use of the Amrap Airit service, which means you don’t even have to send out CDs anymore. Using AMRAP you can upload tracks which are then ordered directly by radio announcers across the country.
From Community Radio to Commercial Radio
And, as if I needed another reason to love community radio, besides giving me my first number one song, my latest album, Summer Lover has 14 tracks, and, as with Chance To Love last year, every one of them was played on air before the official album release. Recently I had my first national commercial radio play, an opportunity that may not have come my way without the support of my previous—and current—album by so many community radio stations around Australia.
So, thank you community radio, for all the opportunity and inspiration, and for giving me my first Number 1 song, ‘Keep Community Radio’. I guess there’s a lot of people out there who feel the same way.
– Click here to watch the acoustic version of Keep Community Radio
– Click here to watch the live electric version of Keep Community Radio
– Click here to watch the first single from my latest album click Ocean Road
– Click here to sign the #KeepCommunityRadio petition.