Hadley Music Group 9780578139661. Paperback, black & white photos, 158 pp. (Hadley Music Group, P.O. Box 290184, Nashville, TN 37229, www.hadleymusicgroup.com.)
Donna Ulisse has been nominated for IBMA Songwriter Of The Year three years running. Her songs have been recorded by Del McCoury, Claire Lynch, and The Bankesters. She has released numerous albums of her own. So for someone who always dreamed about being a teacher, sharing her creative process in The Songwriter In Me is a natural progression.
If you’ve ever wondered if you have songwriting ability, Donna would be the first to tell you that she believes “there is a song inside everyone who holds the desire to write one.” But being a successful songwriter is, as she says bluntly but kindly, a “crapshoot.” So, how can an author be both blunt and kind when dispensing advice? It’s a tricky mix, but Donna manages to walk the line. As she says, “creativity has to be nurtured,” but you also must “lose your fear and just try it.”
Along with supportive nurturing, Donna also offers a glimpse into the way she actually writes. There is the tried and true method of finding a “hook” (Uncle Pen played the fiddle/Lordy, how it would ring) and letting the song unfold around that. At other times, she simply frees her mind and writes about whatever floats in. Then there are exercises like pulling the letter “D” out of a box and writing about something that starts with D. Her chapter on co-writing is extremely insightful. As she says, “It’s like dating: sometimes there is chemistry and sometimes there’s not.”
Written in an easy-to-read style, The Songwriter In Me may give you the nudge you need to pick up your pencil or fire up your laptop. I felt the nudge when an idea for a song jumped off of page 127: “Your time is growing more important to you with each birthday.” Thanks Donna. Do I have to give you co-write credit?MHH