Posted in Journal, Muscle Shoals Music

Money – in Exchange for What?

Have you ever started a project and then stalled? Not walked away. Just stalled. That’s where I am with this blog. I did not start it natively. I knew to develop it into more than a journal would take time and effort. I did not realize how much of both. The more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to learn. What I saw as hills in the distance are in fact mountains. I still have the original vision. I see this blog doing online what I do and want to do in my life. I am called a creative catalyst and an inspiration. I want to be that for my blog readers, but I want more. I want to make money for myself and others. Giving away still seems so much nobler than being paid. I want to feel no shame in being paid to help people. See? Even now it is hard for me to unabashedly say I want to make money by sharing.

If you are one of my twenty-three followers, you know I have rambled my way down more than one road. If you know me personally, you know following one straight path is hard for me, but I do want all the side roads and byways to get me to where I want to go. This blog has many side roads and rest stops. I post about having bipolar disorder, being a songwriter, sharing my songs, being a part of the Muscle Shoals Music community, growing flowers, finding four leaf clovers, making photos, quilting, writing a book, writing poetry, sketching, interviewing interesting people, being interviewed. I post randomly about my life and my thoughts, I even blog about blogging. So far it is like a unorganized beginning of a long book with many chapters without a unifying theme. Perhaps it is entertaining and even inspiring, but as of now the plans for making money are just that, plans.

Here I stand at the foot of what I now realize is a mountain, figuratively stomping my foot and saying words I do not want to include in here, asking why this has to be so hard for me. I am not inventing the wheel here. There are tried and true rules and guidelines for building a blog with over a 1,000 followers – which is necessary to make money. Some of them are not so hard singularly. Combining them all is hard, at least for me. I have taken courses and am in groups and see other bloggers doing what I want to do, so I know it can be done.

You may be wondering what I expect to give in exchange for money. Music related webinars, courses, and eBooks and possible eBooks on some of my other interests, my cowriters’ CDs and merch, my own CD if I ever have one, and my book which is part of the plan but not finished. I have music credentials as a publisher, songwriter, and mentor in Nasville and Muscle Shoals. Garth Brooks credits me as being there for him and starting his career. Music is only a part of my life. I have seventy-six years of living to share. Maybe some of it belongs in my life or a tell-all, share-all book instead of this blog.

As a blog reader, what blogs do you love? Who do you follow? What is there about other blogs that you think is worth your time? In all the randomness of my blog, what is most interesting to you? Why do you follow me? If you do not, what would convert you to a follower?

Please, subscribe to my email list. As of now you get posts updates. My plan is a weekly or monthly newsletter. See? More plans and little action.. Be my guide to getting to the other side of the mountain. Journey with me. I have a lot to share and surely something to sell.

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal, Muscle Shoals Music

Revamping

Over a hundred posts in, I am stepping back to evaluate and improve. Revamping will take time.  I will post sporadically instead of each Wednesday and Saturday. My vision for this blog has not changed.  I have a public life as a Muscle Shoals songwriter,  show organizer, promoter, and mentor. Many creative Muscle Shoals music people do not know how to promote themselves or share their knowledge.  I already help them with that  Now I want us all to have a larger audience.

I also want to share my love and experience as a photographer of birds and flowers, as a flower grower (mostly from seeds), as a quilter, and as writer.  I am writing a book about my long history in music, including why Garth Brooks says I am the person who discovered him and started it all for him.

I have bipolar disorder.  I share my experiences as well as how I cope.

We all leave a legacy.  I want this blog to be part of mine. I want to see how much of what I do in person can be done online. To do that I need to build a strong foundation to support better posts, interviews, shows, courses, and a store. I can do all with time and focus. 

Please subscribe to or follow me. Go to the category list on the side bar to read posts that interest you. I hope you go to the Song page to listen to some of my songs. Part of my process is sharing and getting feedback.  Creating in a vacuum is hard.

You can already find a lot here. There will be more.  Come back.

Posted in Featured Songs, Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

How to Write a Song

How to write a song? I wish I had the definitive answer. A song begins with nothing and becomes something. How? I am a professional Muscle Shoals songwriter with years of songwriting in Nashville as well and am often asked how I write songs. That is a slightly different question that where do songs come from. Let me go from the nothingnesss of my song One Moment All Time through the process to completion. Listen to the completed, as of now, song.

One Moment All Time – Stephanie C Brown (River and Stones Music) Mark Narmore (Nobel Vision)

One Moment All Time – written by Stephanie C Brown and Michael A Curtis

This song began with a spark of memory and longing. I did not have any of the words. I did not have any of the melody. I am evading the question of where the song came from and moving on to the process of writing it. No matter the song my songwriting process with my cowriters is basically the same once we have distilled the emotion or idea into one phrase or melody line. Normally that phrase is the hook or title of the song.

Not all of my songs began with an emotion. The ones that do like this one are not necessarily better songs than the ones that began with ideas, lines, melody or a combination. I strongly suggested they were in another post, but once we dig in and begin, craft is everything. I have seen songs that began with great ideas and hooks get lost because the songwriters were not skilled enough in the craft of songwriting. A great melody is not so easily lost.

I am not skilled in the craft of songwriting, by my cowriters are. Once we are together the process begins. Mark Narmore and I cowrite One Moment All Time. Before we got to together, I wrote five phrases with a note above each syllable all around that memory, a moment that comes back to me time and time again with all the emotions. That is not normally my process. The only way I play the piano is one note at a time with one finger. I can sometimes group the notes into chords with out knowing the name of the chord or what key.

I began with this.

to show where my song began
First words and notes of One Moment All Time

The true process began with Mark Narmore and my cowriting session. We crafted the song from my lines and bit of a melody. Mark is a keyboardist. Once he sat down at the piano with my lines and notes, he heard the melody. Again, where did that melody come from? I have no answer. Once we had the melody, our words had to flow perfectly with it. They had to meter and rhyme flawlessly. That is crafting. The arrangement – again crafting. In a future post, I will delve further into how to write a song, the process and craft.

I want to jump into what happened with One Moment All Time after that first session. We followed through with a studio demo. in a future post, I will delve into the demo process, too. As a trailer for that, here’s the Muscle Shoals chord chart written by Clayton Ivy. Amazing to me that a group of Muscle Shoals musicians can listen to a piano and vocal demo and write a chart to this detail, go out onto the floor and each follow the chart. I promise more about that later.

Muscle Shoals Chord Chart
Muscle Shoals Chord Chart written by Clayton Ivey for One Moment All Time

Of all the songs I have written A Moment All Time and Betty Jean are my two favorites.

Betty Jean – written by Stephanie C Brown and Michael A Curtis

This is my sharing space. Sharing takes at least two. Please, talk to me. Leave comments or questions. Subscribe to my blog.

Posted in Muscle Shoals Music

Blog Post 101

Welcome to my blog’s new look. About time after 100 posts. For now we will laugh at the spacing of my name on the header: Stephani EC. I guess for now Stephanie Easy? I have spent the weekend updating. I am now on the business plan so have access to all the bells and whistles, some I will not need until much later. Eventually I will host Zoom rooms, webinars, online courses, and songwriter events. I will also sell merchandise – my own and my friends’. I am Muscle Shoals! How could I not? My cowriters have music merch you won’t find just anywhere.

I am like the Little Red Hen. I tend to do everything myself – such as developing this blog. I am spending hours knowing someone else could do it quicker, I like being in control too much to hire someone. I have long range plans for this blog. It is the platform for me to reach out, to share with more people. There are a lot of conversations going on in our world, and I want to be a part of some of the conversations. I can see me in ten years still developing this blog. I want to do online what I do in person – which is connect and interact with people. I am enthused thinking of how many connections can be made on this blog. They will be as authentic and honest as we make them. I love making connections for myself and others. Embraces and smiles are basic human needs. Those I can not provide online, but I can connect with you as you can with me and others. The older I get the more I realize how much I have to share. You will find a lot of it here. Browse the blog. You will find 100 more posts, songs, videos, photos, art, and so much more.. Read and listen – get to know me. Link https://stephaniecbrown.com on your social media. If you find something here you like, share on social media or invite others in some way. Help me make Stephaniecbrown.com a great place to be. Interact with me.

That’s all for tonight. Hopefully I will get back on schedule with Wednesday and Saturday posts. In the meantime, I will continue tweaking. How do you like what you see. I do not yet. Give me some feedback.

Posted in Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Songwriting – Craft or Art?

(August 23, 2021 disclaiimer : I do not stand behind this except as what seemed true on that day)

All songs are not created equal. I should know. I have been writing songs more years than some of my cowriters are old. I am seventy five. I started writing in my mid-thirties. Do that math! I know the rules well enough to follow them or break them. Like carpenters who can make square boxes after learning to make one square box, songwriters can write songs once they learn the basics of combining words and melodies. According to Harlan Howard, country music’s songwriting legend, three chords and the truth is all you need to write a great song. For a blues song, you need less than that. I cowrite as many as four songs a week in different genres with songwriters much more skilled than I in structure. I regularly write with seven different co-writers: Mark Narmore, Sandy Carroll, CoCo O’Conner, Will McFarlane, ElizaBeth Hill, Taylor Grace, and Mitch Mann in varying combinations. We write many genres, some simple and some complex. I am confident in saying we are not going to write a bad song – unless we want to. That is the only claim I will make. We control craft but not art.

I have songwriting questions for which I have no answers. What makes one song better than another? Why can not all my songs be either beautifully artistic or commercially successful? Why do listeners love one more than another? I wish I had the answers to mine and the ones others ask. The one question I am often asked, I can answer. What happens in a songwriting session? The answer? It depends. There is no typical or normal cowriting session for us. We set appointments. We show up. We write. None of the songs are the same. Some are better than others. I go into every session hoping for a song to come shining through with that intangible magic that comes from somewhere other than the songwriters.

CoCo O’Conner, ElizaBeth Hill, and I had such a session yesterday. We showed up for our 10:00 Zoom session. (All the things said about showing up are true.) CoCo and i have written many songs together with many different cowriters but not with ElizaBeth. I would like to think the combination of the writers gave the song the intangible quality, but from my experience with cowriting I know more than the combination of writers was involved. The song has more than three chords, but it does have the truth. That is true of many of my songs, but not all of them are inspired. Inspiration does not always show up, but when it does we can feel it in the room – even a Zoom one. We began by talking about what was going on in our lives. As professional writers, we try to come into sessons with something, maybe a title, an idea, some lines, a bit of melody. The three of us have lived long enough and have gone through enough to write about and for women. We talked about the ideas and lines we came in with and about what we wanted to say to other women. I can over-dramatically say, the song wrote itself – or maybe inspiration wrote it. Our song, “She Never Got to Memphis” says a lot about women and life.

When we have demoed it, I will share on the Songs page. I hope you feel the intangible. I would love to say this song will surely surface and be heard by the masses. I would love to say all who hear it will love it. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. All I can say is we three women songwriters love the song and are thankful to have written it.

Posted in Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Speeding the Tempo Up

I do not always write up-tempo songs, but when I do they are good ones. At least I think so. Today I am sharing seven with you. You decide.

All are published by River and Stones Music (ASCAP) and cowriters’ publishing companies.

I Call It Love – writtten by Mitch Mann, Mark Narmore, and Stephanie C Brown
Mercy Mae – written by Sandty Carroll, CoCo O’Conner, and Stephanie C Brown
Me or the Dress -written by Will McFarlane and Stephanie C Brown
Inside Your Crazy – written by Mitch Mann, Mark Narmore, and Stephanie C Brown
Heartbreak Speed – written by Jami Grooms, Mark Narmore, and Stephanie C Brown
Surprise Me – written by Mark Narmore and Stephanie C Brown
Lumber of the Beast – written by Mitch Mann, Mark Narmore, and Stephanie C Brown

And now – one bonus to slow the tempo down a bit

Betty Jean – written by Michael A. Curtis and Stephanie C Brown
Posted in Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

A Ballad Kind of Day

Seven ballads for you. All songs written by me with cowriters in various combinations and published by each writer’s publishing company. River and Stones Music has all of my publishing except Love is Everything which is in Golden Ladder publishing company.

Betty Jean – cowriters Michael A. Curtis and Stephanie C Brown
Love Is Everything – this one goes back to my Nashville days. Written with Marc Rossi (Marc My Words – Ascap)
One Moment All Time – written by Mark Narmore and Stephanie C Brown
What About My Heart – written by Will McFarlane and Stephanie C Brown
I Know Where It Ends – written by Sandy Carroll and Stephanie C Brown
This Is My Brave – written by Mark Narmore and Stephanie C Brown (There is a wrong pronoun shift. All choruses should be My Brave not Your Brave)
You’re Breaking My Broken – written by Mark Narmore, Cindy Richardson Walker, and Stephanie C Brown
Posted in Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Blue Ocean Glass

I am sole owner and founder of Blue Ocean Glass which handles publishing, management, and promotion for songwriters and artists who need my help. The company will also do event planning for others. I needed a business structure around what I do anyway. I have a Nashville history as a publisher, a manager, and an advisor and early supporter. Garth Brooks credits me. When he came to Nashville, I believed in him and did everything I could to help him. I introduced him to his manager Bob Doyle. I read his first contracts. I told people he would be bigger than Elvis. I was laughed at, but no one is laughing now. I do not think I have found another Garth, but I am finding songwriters and artists who need guidance from someone who has their best interests at heart. Through the years, I have helped others. Blue Ocean Glass will do what I already do.

So far Taylor Grace Longcrier and Jeff Broadfoot are under Blue Ocean Glass’ wings. When it is safe to be out again, Blue Ocean Glass will host a live showcase or two. The first one will probably be a Soup and Song event at my house. The next will be in a listening room situation. First, I will introduce them with a online showcase hosted on stephaniecbrown.com.

This is Wednesday’s scheduled blog post, but Blue Ocean Glass deserves a well thought out and well written post with links to Taylor and Jeff. Stay tuned. Check back in. I will add to this post.

Posted in Cowriters, Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Life well-lived Update

Have you been following my blog long enough to remember I am writing a book? The original concept was to pull from my and six Muscle Shoals seasoned cowriters experiences to support the title, A Life Well-lived Is Better Than a Song Well-written. I completed an outline. I did the first taped interview of four of the six other songwriters. I started writing. I decided to start with what I thought would be easiest or at least necessary. Since I am one of the seven and the author, my songwriting background needs to be included, right? I thought maybe 1,000 words would be a sufficient summary. Not so.

Recounting my story as a songwriter for forty plus years has taken on a life of its own. I started the saga in 1975 after a few words about before then. I am remembering names, places, and details of experiences I had not thought of in years. Some I do not think I would have ever remembered, at least not in detail. Some I am having to research. I am just now to the moving to Nashville part.

I plan to go with my flow and publish my story as an ebook available on this blog. It will have links to song downloads, interviews, and lyric pages. Who knows? Maybe it will have a link to a free webinar or live Zoom or two?? Then I will write the book I started writing.

Stay tuned. You will be the first to know.