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The ASG Conference of 1997

By Lealean Peace

I'll never forget my first ASG conference. It was in July 1997 and I was a little nervous. OK…I was real nervous. Representatives from Asylum Records, Hamstein Music Group, BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC were going to be present, along with several well known major record label producers, publishers and A&R reps. The keynote speaker was a man by the name of Jason Blume, who I was told, had many major label cuts in various music styles including country, pop and R&B. I arrived at the conference about thirty minutes before registration time just to scope the place out and get my bearings. When I was convinced that I knew my way around, I started reading through the section of the conference program that contained the bio's of the music industry professionals that were going to be there to listen to and critique our songs. These people were real-life movers and shakers in the commercial music business. I also thought about ASG member Tom Douglas and the number one Collin Raye hit that he wrote called "Little Rock". I was told that he was able to get that song to Collin Raye through the music industry contacts that he made at this exact same conference a year or two ago. By now I was past really nervous and was bordering on extremely nervous. But you know what, the ASG conference of 1997 turned out to be a great experience for me. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of other "past really nervous" songwriters that have since become very good friends and co-writers. I learned so much about the craft of lyric writing just by listening to the critiques of my songs and the other conference hopefuls. I won't forget how I was inspired by keynote speaker Jason Blume as he talked about using imagery to "paint a picture for the listener", to "show" what was going on in a song. He used the song "Strawberry Wine" as an example of how to do that right, explaining in detail how the songwriter pulled that off lyrically. The ASG Conference of 1997 turned out to be a great experience for me. It was there that I was able to meet several major music industry representatives that still allow me to come into their offices in Nashville when I get the chance to make it over there on occasion. I was lucky enough to get a song picked up by Asylum Records and another one by Tres Hombres Publishing. Though nothing big actually happened for me as a result of them picking the songs up, I did learn some skills and techniques that day that helped me when I rewrote both songs and wound up getting them both signed later to single song publishing contracts with other publishers. I hope that you get the opportunity to feel the excitement and nervousness that I felt when I attended my first conference. I'll have to admit that I still get nervous. For me it's a good feeling though. I'm nervous because I know that there is at least a chance that I may be able to realize my dream of writing a hit song…. Best of luck with your hit songwriting.


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