Get the Best Results
This is where you demonstrate that you have
the makings of a Songwriting Super-Star
tells the secrets that give you Media success~
you know what is expected and what you have to
interview for a songwriter can happen very early in your career
.... when you least expect it ... suddenly
there you are sitting in front of a microphone
knowing that 6 Million record buying people
will judge whether they buy your soon to be
released track. And they will judge it
on how they like you in the interview .... not
on the quality of the bass playing or the
string line 10 seconds from the end of the
songwriting may be brilliant. In fact the
song writing of the band can be right up there
with Coldplay ... up there with Emminem .... but
that first interview on your songwriting for the top rated Radio
station could kill your career in ten
seconds. I hope you are listening and
taking all this in. The songwriting is
only a small part of your journey to the top.
First Radio Interview?
remember my first radio interview ... I was all
of 15 years ... at school .... interviewed for
an American Radio Talent search ... top
stuff? Yep, but my accent, my delivery ...
was smart enough to say to myself: "that
will never happen again".
was I 12? Yes this was me in the
the promotion shot for my first Radio Programme
In the USA
managements, agents etc. will school their
artists and songwriters in the art of interviews. They will
enlist the help of PR people to design song writing questions
and answers so the artists have got a memorized
list of great lines.... in the UK this does not
happen for songwriters or artists and I would think not in Europe.
Are any of you married?
Why, are you proposing?
I heard you once went out with Madonna?
In my dreams .... or was it in my nightmares?
what are the main rules?
The main point
to understand is that someone in a car will
simply turn on the interview and will not have a
clue who you are, who the interviewer is ...
what the station is etc.- so the smart move is
to mention your own name every 30 secs.... there
is an art to this .... also mention the name of
the station and the name of the presenter ....
all of this scores.
subtle art of mentioning your own name is to
simply say your own name instead of 'I'.
for instance, if you are saying:
I go to the USA on tour, I......etc."
Dec Cluskey [substitute your name obviously]
goes to the USA on tour he
It sounds stupid and ridiculous ... but it gets
results ... and isn't that what you want from
any Interview? Do you want to be a successful song writer? You go from being a usual,
run of the mill songwriter, writing songs that
go nowhere to being a sought after name in
songwriting ... the more you mention your name
the more people get to know who you are...... a
'force' in the art of songwriting.
If the interview is
conducted by phone, always have an A4 pad in
front of you with the details on ....
interviewer name, Station etc. Constantly
write down anything you may wish to refer back
to ... it's amazing how quick your brain will
forget the most important points .... your song
writing ... the number of songs you have
written, your songwriting successes ... who you
are writing a song for at the moment .
By the way, this is where you have to
fake it until you really are a
songwriting force to reckon with.
would be amazed at who Dec Cluskey [your
name again] is writing for .... I have
been sworn to secrecy by his record
company and managements ... but watch
the music press for the
white lie? No one really cares ...
the interviewer certainly doesn't -
because he probably uses the same
Be prepared with 3
extremely funny anecdotes [stories of happenings]
each of differing length about your songwriting, your stage appearances etc. At the first opportunity
launch into the first one, the shortest, and make
it sound as if it has just happened and happened
to you personally: "you may have heard
I fell off stage at ***** and was carted off to
hospital .. caused quite a sensation .... when the
doctor x-rayed the injury to my wrist I asked him
would I be able to play guitar the next day"
... he said: "of course"
... I said: "that's amazing because I
can't play the guitar now!"
There are literally dozens and dozens of stories
that can be subtly twisted so that they come over
as true events that happened to you.
Under no circumstances try to be funny .... you
will fail miserably ... leave the jokes to
comedians. You are an artist, a songwriter. Truisms, delivered straight, without
any attempt to be funny come over the best and get
the biggest reaction.
sing, comics talk"
get that mixed up!
what you are there for
.... to plug whatever it is you are plugging .... particularly your songwriting ...
this is so important, as the interviewer will have
no interest in what you want to plug ... in fact
some Radio stations actively prevent plugging.
to be controversial
..... that way you are
considered to an exciting music guy, a great songwriting talent and will be asked back
.... a good trick is to accidentally [on purpose]
use an almost swear word ... and quickly apologize
.... "oh that bit will be edited
out!" is a great line. It never
is, by the way, even if it is recorded ... if it
is on mainstream nationwide radio you could even
reach the newspapers and certainly the station
a different point of view
.... "John Lennon should have lived and
his music should have died". An
outrageous statement, but one that will get you
noticed .... "If John had been asked to
play a tribute concert to Paul McCartney would he
have sung 'The Frog Song'?"
have been on London's 'Talk Radio' loads of times
and slagged off The Beatles .... my band actually
outsold them in 1964/65. I always get asked
back whenever there is anything controversial to
talk about ... they know I will cause fireworks.
Finally - always have
a sign off line: "this is Dec Cluskey,
the greatest songwriter in the world, London,
saying goodbye ... and don't forget - live every
day as if it's your last.... and one day you'll be
right!" . That may sound
outrageous ... but said with a twinkle in your
eye, and a smile on your face, it will certainly get you noticed...they WILL
that all the best ad libs are rehearsed ad libs is
important ... the music guys who sound so 'cool' and so
relaxed are the ones who have done their home work
and are well prepared.
Practice the art of
addressing the interviewer as 'Sir' .... if you
get this art correct, it sounds wonderful and
brings you over as an extremely courteous and nice
means that you can be outrageous, in yer face and
yet come over as a nice guy... just by using
By far the best place to learn talking
skills is at 'Toastmasters
International' - a world wide circle of
folk interested in talking, whether
making speeches or simple presentations
... or just being able to hold a
conversation. I advise everyone
who will listen to join your local
Toastmasters Chapter .... check out your
nearest at http://www.toastmasters.org/..
It is non profit making, they meet every
second Wednesday 7pm to 9pm ... you will
meet astonishing people and become a
speaking force to reckon with.
do you get on the radio or TV?
just ask! Easy? If you send a good
press release, set out in a professional way
announcing something important maybe on your song writing ["Local
boy gets to write songs for the Stars"]
with a good picture and all the contact details
... address, land line phone number [essential],
cellphone, fax [not essential but looks good],
Email, Web URL ... SKYPE contact [again
not essential but good].
will either want you or not. Call them a
couple of days after you send. At worst
they can put you on their list of intelligent
music guys that they can get in the studio when
a controversial album is released and they want
someone controversial to mouth off about it ...
could that be you?
TV it is essential that you look good ... so
make sure the picture is 'today' ... taken
professionally with a soft lens.
prepared to sing live:
And I do mean anytime, any place. Part
of being a 'today' artist is being able to sing
live, possibly with an acoustic guitar, or maybe a
single keyboard. Perhaps they will even ask
you to sing accapella ... after all you wrote the songs? You are a songwriter?
freak out, just do it. Be aware that if they
ask you, it means they had Justin Timberlake in
last week and he did it!
'Red Hot Chili Peppers' on American Music Awards
and they did exactly what I advise all to do ....
every member of the band find something to do ....
bang an ashtray in a rhythm, drummer do
mouth-drums .... tap dance with your feet [a
current big trend in Hip Hop] ... do back vocals
... and whatever you do, PRACTICE doing it cold
with no mics. and no P.A. Have faith in the
sound engineer... he WILL make you
Me on the
biggest radio programme in Spain - Mary Harboe
... stories ready
all guys in The
Serious Writers Guild know about this most
important skill....you want to learn it?
purchase the ten month programme 'How
To Make A $Million From Your Music' at
and my help, you can learn ALL the tricks ... I have listed
just a few above. As a member of The
Serious Writers Guild, you can also talk to me
personally so that you can be fully prepared for
the big day ... your FIRST major interview on
Telly or on Mainstream Radio as a successful [or soon to be] songwriting genius... I will tell you
exactly how to come over as the greatest
songwriter in the world ... how to show the
world your song writing is the best! Youíll
learn to appreciate, and look forward to
interviews rather than dread them.
idea for this article was from songwriting members
of The Serious Writers Guild. It
gives an idea of the benefits of
belonging to the Guild. You can
join simply by purchasing the ten month
programme 'How to Make A $Million From
Your Music' at www.makehits.co.uk/swgappsecure.htm
This Article was
written by Dec Cluskey
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Dec's Lil' Instruction Book - Vol II'
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