Eddy Raven: Ravenous Craving

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Eddy Raven bluntly advises songwriters, “Show me you’ve got what it takes because it’s tough.”

Eddy is a veteran singer/songwriter in country music and owner or co-owner of several of his own publishing companies including Raven Song Music, Slick Puppy, Dingo Daze, Four Nickels and Two Dimes (BMI) and Two Dimes Music (ASCAP). He understands all too well that trail of starvation writers walk down because he scraped by for years working various jobs in lumber yards, a music store, recording studio, and playing in a band while he built his songwriting chops in Louisiana.

Eddy Raven bluntly advises songwriters, “Show me you’ve got what it takes because it’s tough.”

Eddy is a veteran singer/songwriter in country music and owner or co-owner of several of his own publishing companies including Raven Song Music, Slick Puppy, Dingo Daze, Four Nickels and Two Dimes (BMI) and Two Dimes Music (ASCAP). He understands all too well that trail of starvation writers walk down because he scraped by for years working various jobs in lumber yards, a music store, recording studio, and playing in a band while he built his songwriting chops in Louisiana.

“I played at night, and I wrote songs when I had time,” he says. “I didn’t write a lot of bad songs when I got here because I had already written a lot of songs before I left.”

Eddy’s experience earned him a staff writer deal for Acuff-Rose publishing. “I started making money for the company automatically. I was never on a draw at Acuff-Rose. I think a lot of writers get lazy whether they want to or not. It’s just a natural thing. Wesley (Rose) always told me and other people, ‘Writers who are hungry and aren’t guaranteed anything are going to work. Their creative juices flow better that way.’ I would rather have a hungry writer any day because I know how I was.

“It’s hard when you’re doing really well, and you ain’t got to worry about it and you got all kinds of credit cards and do whatever you want to do. It’s hard to discipline yourself to come do this every day and make it not sound like you do it every day.”

Eddy believes in growing that creativity by expecting writers to reap revenue only as well as they sow.

“I offer our writers a co-publishing deal. What we do is let them keep half of the publishing, and we pay for the demos. That way they get their own copyright. All the money they get is recoupable.

“The hard thing for me as a writer is to look at things as a business sometimes. There are some great writers that I’ve known for years that we could have gotten that would have cost us some money, but we can’t afford to do that. First of all, all those things he’s written, we don’t have. We aren’t going to make anything off of it, but his value is such that you have to pay him so much to buy that track record, which you don’t participate in.”

For those budding tunesmiths wanting to break into the business, Eddy says make a lasting impression from the first note. “You’ve got to have a great opening line. It’s got to be something that catches you. I heard Lee Greenwood’s first hit record…(sings) ‘In a way I’m glad it’s over/ in another way it turns me inside out’…

“Wow. It slayed me! There’s a lot of great opening lines and the real killer is when you hear that great opening line then it’s all down hill after that,” he laughs.

Eddy says even when a writer pens a real gem, there’s no guarantee of success. “You’ve got to get lucky too. You’ve at least got to have a great song to be in the ballgame. That comes with just doing it over and over and over and sometimes tripping over something that works and you don’t know why.”

That’s what happened when Eddy first tried to get the major players in the music business like Don Gant at Acuff-Rose to listen to his songs.

“I sent him three or four songs. I got to the end of the tape, and I had just a little bit of tape left on it so I put just part of a song I’d written called ‘Country Green.’ I sent it to him and then he called and said ‘Hey, man, you’re tape’s here. You’ve got a hit song on there.’ I asked him ‘What do you like on there?’ and he said ‘That last song you put on the end which you didn’t finish.'”

With some coaching on a few of the lyrics, Eddy finished the tune, and “Country Green” went on to become a major hit for Don Gibson. Since his first big break, Eddy has gone on to win over 30 ASCAP songwriting awards, written numerous other hits inclusion “Thank God For Kids” by the Oak Ridge Boys along with his own repertoire of top tunes as a recording artist.

Along with the creativity needed to make it through the initial steps, Eddy says songwriters shouldn’t let the addictive passion for their craft rule their reality.

“One thing I tell writers over and over: If you’re serious about this business, don’t quit your day job because you’re going to have to have a day job, something to support this music habit that you have.

“It’s a habit. People do stupid things when they get to this point. I’ve seen writers sell their rights to be in a movie for $100. Isn’t this great?”

Eddy says songwriters need to write with good people and take care of the business end of everything too. “It’s a business more so than it ever has been. Today it is so complicated and so hard, but there is so much money to be made in it. If you strike, my Lord, you make a quarter of a million dollars real quick. The movie soundtracks – that’s unbelievable what you can make in that when you get a worldwide hit on a movie. If you structure the deal right going in, you can certainly make more than $100.”

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  1. Hello.. i’m william conger ,no relation to bill conger,however my family used to call me billy when i was younger, anyhow i’m writing to you because i am a songwriter and i do produce songs, ive been doing this for many years now and well to be honest i want to try one good time before i figure its too late i’m too old or i pass away and never get the chance,ive always been afraid of rejection not so much with most things in life including women but most importantly my recordings of songs ive written over the years, see ive had a few dreams that life has shown me will never come true and of all of the dreams i have but one left,thats music, i havent been dissapointed by music i havent been rejected and its one dream i almost feel safe not knowing, i know it sounds strang , but i guess at 42yo i feel its the only dream i have left and its like no news is good news , mabey you can understand me ? anyhow my love for music is strong i personally would love to nothing more then write songs all day for a living (i do have a day job) if your stll looking for fresh new material please email me at whippperwil@rock.com .. thank you.. whip

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