Songs & Daughters, founded by hit songwriter Nicolle Galyon, is already celebrated for being the first female-driven record label in Nashville (in partnership with Big Loud Records). On June 29, in an exclusive with American Songwriter, the company continues its groundbreaking approach by announcing the creation of a new publishing arm, in partnership with Big Loud Publishing and Warner Chappell Music, with fast-rising singer-songwriter Tiera as its inaugural signee.
“I’ve worked with Warner Chappell since 2007, and I’ve had the opportunity to sign writers,” says Galyon, who serves as President and CEO of Songs & Daughters, “but with everything going on, I never really felt like I could give a writer what they deserve. We truly have the best group of staff in town working together [now], so I felt like it was a situation where I really could give Tiera what she deserves in her first publishing deal.”
As for why she chose Tiera for this inaugural publishing deal, Galyon says, “She had the belief of two incredible companies that both wanted to work with her, Warner Chappell and Big Loud. She had a rapport with them already. And I’m working with both of them already, so it was just one of those perfect storms where there was the synergy between the creative staff. It was the most natural fit. There was such respect in our working relationship there already that it just felt like the next natural step for her and for me. Tiera is already getting cuts because of the hard work she’s put in and I’m glad we’re able to provide a support system to help her continue to grow.”
For her part, Tiera says that there was no question that Songs & Daughters was the right publishing home for her: “I had made the rounds in Nashville, and when I met with them, they understood me completely as a songwriter and an artist – they never really tried to change my vision or my songs. And it was such a family atmosphere over there. So I knew this was the place to be,” she says. “The publishers that I met with before, a lot of them were male. And I think, with the whole conversation of how it is with females in the industry, it’s just a different vibe because they understand exactly what you’re going through.”
Galyon certainly does understand what it’s like to be a female songwriter in Nashville – and a successful one, at that. The artists who have cut her songs reads like a Who’s Who of country music superstardom: Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum), Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini, Lee Brice, Dan + Shay, and many, many more. So far, she has written six #1 hits. Named BMI Songwriter of the Year (2019), she is also a two-time ACM Awards winner, and she has won or been nominated for a number of Grammy, ACM, and CMA awards.
Tiera recalls watching Galyon’s career with admiration while she was growing up in Alabama. “I remember sitting in my bedroom listening to all of Nicolle’s songs, dissecting them and trying to learn how to write myself. So it was on my list to be able to write with her when I moved here [to Nashville], and never in a million years would I have thought that I would be one of the first writers with her publishing company.”
With this publishing deal, Galyon is no longer Tiera’s mentor from afar, and she says she looks forward to bringing the young artist’s songs to other musicians. “Everything that she writes, whether it’s for herself or for other people, it’s all just so commercialized and viable,” Galyon says. “The way she writes songs is positive and refreshing – she writes a lot of up-tempos, and everyone’s always on the lookout for that. With everything that’s going on [in the world], the way she writes songs, it’s just so positive and hopeful, so I think it’s really perfect timing for other artists to be hearing what she’s writing.”
“I love writing upbeat, happy songs. That’s my jam,” Tiera says. “My vibe is R&B country, for me as an artist, but I love writing all different kinds of genres for different artists.” She adds that she will release a couple of songs herself later this year, because, “There are some songs that I write that I can’t imagine anyone else besides me singing. But honestly, I’ve only had about ten songs, maybe even less, that I’m like, ‘This has to be for me.’ Oher songs, if another artist wants to cut them, then I would be totally fine with that.”
This new publishing arm isn’t the only big news for Songs & Daughters: the company is also celebrating its first anniversary this July, and Galyon couldn’t be more proud. “Everything for me is like a giant mom metaphor,” she says with a laugh. “That first year is such a building block. The most beautiful thing about this year is really getting to learn about the artists I’m working with, and learn with the people that I’m working with at Big Loud and Songs & Daughters. I’m proud of the integrity behind the scenes with everyone that I work with.”
Galyon credits partnering with Big Loud Records for helping Songs & Daughters have such a successful start. “To me, Big Loud is the most forward-thinking, progressive, ‘think outside the box’ company in town,” she says, adding that similarly, with Songs & Daughters, “having an all-female company is something that’s a little outside the box. So they’re the right fit because [Big Loud CEO] Seth England and I came up with the idea for Songs & Daughters together over dinner. So it’s their baby, too.”
As a label, Songs & Daughters has already been remarkably successful with its inaugural artist, Madison Kozak. “Everything this year has been a big first,” says Galyon about Kozak’s accomplishments with the label so far. “She had her Opry debut. She’s got to go on her first tours. She’s got into CMT’s ‘Next Women of Country’ [Class of 2020].”
Galyon says she has also signed a deal with Hailey Whitters, with whom she started writing three years ago. “We built the rapport that can now, because of this company, evolve beyond the writing room,” Galyon says. “It’s fun to go, ‘Wow, I worked with someone and now we have this relationship, and we can let it grow under the Songs & Daughters umbrella.’”
With each new addition to the Songs & Daughters roster, Galyon says that she’s looking forward to building the Songs & Daughters brand and giving female artists and songwriters more opportunities in Nashville. “I’m just really proud of everything that we have coming, honestly,” she says. “It takes a while to get everything going the way that you want – and I think we have. We’re starting to build momentum.”