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Capture, Communicate, Connect

I know a lot of you are songwriters. And, you know, whether you’re writing a song for radio, for a record or for live shows… the question is “are we just playing songs, or are we creating moments?” If you’re being honest with yourself as a songwriter, your goal is not to “write songs” but to “create moments.” If someone is driving down the road listening to your song on the radio or playing your CD, every song needs to create a moment. It needs to make an emotional connection with the listener to the thing that moves you as a writer. Not because it’s well-written. Not because it’s intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Not because there’s a cool little thing here or there. But because….

All About the Ah-Hah

I want to talk about finding the “moments” in your songs. But it’s a lot easier to show you how to find moments than it is to tell you. And there are so many opportunities for moments in a live show I couldn’t possibly describe them all anyway. What I can do is give you […]

From Stage Fright to Confidence

As a Live Music Producer, I find I spend a lot of time helping the artists I work with enjoy their experience onstage. I don’t want their goal to be to “get through it!” I want their goal to be “have fun, connect emotionally, and have the audience walk away completely satisfied.” We can spend […]

Where Am I Going Wrong?

During a recent Tom Jackson Webinar, we got this question from Angela: “Any thoughts for those of us who perform to super conservative “critical” audiences? I’m in ultra conservative churches each weekend and have had to weather lots of criticism. How do you stay creative and confident?” I feel your pain, Angela! I was raised […]

School of Rock: What You Didn’t Expect

There’s something that always happens when we work with an artist that you might not expect. If you’ve seen one of our Live Music Makeovers, you know to expect the song will be rearranged and you’ll see a new visual element to the performance. But something always happens to the artists themselves… and that’s what […]

Your Place in This World of Music

One of life’s mysteries is figuring out our place in this world. And it’s no different in the music industry. Everywhere I travel and teach, it’s the same thing. I see glimpses of originality and talent in the artists who perform for me. But so many artists are frustrated because they haven’t found their place […]

A Better Way to Bring the Word

Southern Gospel music is steeped in tradition, heart, and of course, the gospel message. It’s a sound like no other genre, has been around for over 100 years, and is still going strong. In Part I of this blog, What Would Southern Gospel Do?, I pointed out some things – good and bad – that […]

What Would Southern Gospel Do?

My Dad always wanted our family to go on the road. He thought since ‘Daddy Sang Bass’ and mama sang – actually soprano – and me and big brother joined right in there, quartet-style, that we should get a bus and be the ‘Singing Swartzendrubers.’ But it wasn’t meant to be, since my brother and […]

Do You Get a Pass?

Some of you know I’m a big sports fan. A few years ago while I was in Atlanta working with an artist, we drove down to see a Braves game. As I walked up to the stadium, a scruffy looking guy came up to me and said “I’ve got a free pass to get in; […]

Popularity: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

As you may know, I work with some of the most “popular” artists in the world. And while I generally enjoy working at that level, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. This may be one of the busiest months I’ve ever had – and it’s not over yet! I’m going to work with […]