Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!

August 23, 2018

Forever Mine - NSAI feedback

I decided to continue seeking feedback from the Nashville Songwriters Association International about my songs. After the last two I thought perhaps I'd go back to the drawing board on all of them before wasting my precious feedback opportunities on songs that were obviously not good enough ...

But then I thought, well, perhaps I could use some guidance as to what to do on the drawing board and which songs to prioritise. So I put up Forever Mine for review. Now, this is the song for which I have received the most positive feedback in live settings. Even my early songwriting mentor and PhD research supervisor, the late Dr Steve Dillon, said "that's a good song" the first time he head it. When I played a version something like this at The Retro Bar recently, 8 Ball Aitken told me he liked the song and that it had some "really lovely moments" (many thanks to Genre Bender Mike Barber for support on this one):

This time, I listed it in the "Rock" genre and said that "I want this to be a commercial song". The last two were "Country" and I said I wanted someone else to record them. With all of these reviews, I have asked for brutal honesty because "I can take it".

Well, different starting position, same awesome, rapid feedback! I am once again blown away by the speed (less than 2 days) and supportive nature of the feedback. Once again, it has pointed out some weaknesses in my writing that look so obvious in hindsight that I'm horrified that I considered this a good enough song to submit it. Here's the version I sent them:

Here's what the reviewer had to say:


Song Title - Forever Mine

Evaluators Comments -
EVALUATORS OPENING: Welcome to the NSAI Evaluation Service. I am Evaluator #XXXXX. My goal is to help guide you in the process of songwriting, with the hopes of helping you become the best songwriter you can be. Please keep in mind that this evaluation is only my professional opinion, and these opinions are given to you to help reach your goals for each submitted song. I hope this service will be a beneficial tool for your craft, and wish you the best in all you do.

FORM/STRUCTURE: You have nice separation from verse and chorus sections, while your bridge section provides departure from the rest of the song. I recommend a small tweak to the verse rhyme scheme to where every other line rhymes or take an AB AB rhyme scheme approach for a more solid rhyme structure.

TITLE/HOOK: You have a title here that can be written and approached in many different ways which will help to peak the interest of the listener and work to draw the listener into wanting to hear the song. Hook lacks a solid payoff that would leave it memorable to the listener. A hook will do this when each line of the song provide a direct and clear thought to the hook.

LYRIC: You have a storyline here that stays within the moment of the song throughout, but overall lyric can use some re-writing to to allow the lyric to be more hook supportive. Your main focus of the song lies within the hook thought "be forever mine". With this in mind you want each line to provide an idea to this. For example, verse sections that are presented with directional thoughts such as let go of the past, fall into my arms, so and and so forth, will allow the verse sections to lead to the thought of and "be forever mine".

OVERALL THEME/IDEA: You have an idea here that feels incomplete at this time due to the lack of lyrical support to your hook idea. Lyric will work as a thought to the hook from start to finish with the ideas I have suggested above, and will allow the song to carry a solid and clear theme to your listener.

MELODY/METER (IF APPLICABLE): You have a feel here that is more geared towards a roots rock such as Chris Isaak, which is really ok but it can box the song in from other artist. Re-working the production and mixing this feel with more of a top 40 rock feel of today will allow the song to become more geared towards todays rock commercial radio and open the song up for more artist cut opportunities.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Consider re-writing with the above ideas and suggestions to see where they can take the song. I hope this evaluation has helped you gain some new ideas for the song. Keep up the writing as each write and re-write will continue to develop your commercial writing skills, and thank you again for your submission.


Once again, WOW! Let's go through this point-by-point:

1) Awesome! I thought this structure was solid - I'm pretty good at those by now. I had actually been agonising over the rhyme scheme in the verses, since this is about the only song I have written that doesn't have rhyming verses ... good to know I should just stay with my instincts. Will re-work this.

2) Great advice. This was not the original hook/title. It became the hook when I realised - following feedback on a long-disappeared indie songwriting site - that the original hook "Vital Signs" was not very hooky and actually too academic, nerdy, and inaccessible. After all, I am quite a nerd. I have been chewing on ways to change this to better support the new hook for a while, but will do so with renewed vigour now. Lesson - you can't just change the hook without changing the lyrical support for the hook.

3) Cool! I had re-worked the verses several times to "stay in the moment" better, so I thought this was pretty strong. As above, I will re-work again - though I think of the "forever mine" hook as more of a temporal thing than a directional/spacial thing ... hence the consistent insecurity about the future in the verses. Hmmmmmm ... have to think hard about these suggestions.

4) Yep. Gottit. Will re-work.

5) Fascinating! When I ticked "commercial song" I thought I'd get advice about making the song stronger in general, not who I might pitch it to. D'Oh! Should have understood that this is what NSAI is all about. Very grateful to receive this and honoured to be thought of in the same sentence as Chris Isaac. What makes this advice even more interesting, though, is that this is exactly what I had planned to do with the song via the Tetrafasi Project. In fact, this is exactly the reason Tetrafasi is so important to developing songwriters. I am absolutely going to produce this song as a Tetrafasi demo (ie do it all myself just once) and use this as an example of the process. Perhaps that will make the value of Tetrafasi clearer and gain me some support ... ??

In summary: Think I will re-write, seek more feedback from version 2, then re-produce in the Tetrafasi template. See where this baby might lead. Since my Day Job commitments wind down a little after today, I should have time to get it done between now and my TEDx talk. Perhaps a crowd-funding campaign? THANK YOU NSAI!

What do you think? How would you feel about this feedback and what would you do about it?

Posted by Hughie at August 23, 2018 10:06 AM

Leave a comment

Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!