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Gospel Music Times Feature Article
Southern Gospel Music - Still Songwriter Friendly
by Cliff Shelder

It's quite common when we sign a Christian Country song by a writer who is relatively "new" to the business to hear something like " I can just hear Randy Travis singing my song", or "I hope you can get this one to Rascal Flatts." That's when we have to reveal to them that it is next to impossible to get anything into a major secular record label or artist for consideration. All the major country labels have staff writers and publishing companies and they are pretty much closed to taking outside material. Just last week I left messages for A&R people at two major country labels and got no response, and frankly, its about the same story with major Contemporary Christian labels.

The Southern Gospel artist community, with the exception of a couple of record labels, continues to remain open to receiving material from independent songwriters, especially if they are affiliated with a reputable publisher. The tough part for the writers out there on their own is finding out when particular artists are actively reviewing material for an upcoming project. If you do a "shotgun" mailing to several artists at a time and they are not reviewing material, I guarantee that your submission packet will be thrown into a big stack with scores of others. Nearly all Gospel artists have websites that provide some form of contact information, and you can normally get in touch with someone in their organization who can tell you the status of their next recording project. Frankly, it's always a good idea to contact the artist for permission to submit material before sending it.

Wouldn't it be great to have the artists and producers contacting you when they need material? Again, reputable publishers are contacted by artists, producers and record labels on a regular basis. If you are not working with a publisher, I can think of two great resources that can get your songs heard. Mickey Mixon through his ministry provides Gospel artists a resource for new songs by networking them directly with Gospel songwriters via the ministry website, conventions, etc. Mickey's organization has helped scores of songwriters get their material recorded. I have spoken with Mickey in years past and I know several writers that he has worked with, and I have heard nothing but good things about what he is doing. Read all about it at: Another avenue is to join TAXI, an independent A&R service that helps independent artists, songwriters, and composers secure record, film, and publishing deals. TAXI does, however, charge for the service they provide. Check them out at:

By the way, it's good to back with the Gospel Music Times.


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