Just Disgruntled--So's My Buddy Back There

I am disgruntled.  BIG TIME!!!

I write songs, and I write good songs.  I also have been minimally successful in having them placed here and there.  I am not a huge success at this, but I am not a dismal failure, either.  I began writing songs for my own performances, and discovered that there are some people out there other than my audiences who like what I do.  I have written nine songs for a play (produced and performed), twelve songs for a docudrama (on the shelf and looking for a writer and producer), I have two licensed for a film due out maybe this year, and several for singers, also I have a couple of CD’s out there somewhere in the ozone.  I am not totally without credits.

I write in a couple of different genres, but mostly Country, Americana, Rockabilly, or Honky-Tonk.

I received the following call for a song:

“XXXXX are amongst some of the most successful musical producers in the U.K with production credits For artists including Usher & Nelly. XXXXXX has recently moved into artist development and management.”

“At just 15 years old, “ZZZZZZZZ” has a great voice and interestingly never taken vocal lessons. Like Esmee Denters and Justin Bieber, “ZZZZZZ” was discovered on YouTube and is where she whipped up a storm with covers by the world’s biggest vocalists, Beyonce, Mariah, Christina Aguilera and Leona Lewis. Album will be executive produced by “XXXXXX” whose production credits include hits for Usher, Nelly, Tony Braxton and Rihanna.

“Styles wanted Hits! Catchy Lyrics!. Infectious hooks!, Big singalong choruses! Songs you can hear on heavy rotation on the radio. ZZZZZZZZ can sing the phonebook. Think Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Christina Aguilera, Jojo, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Keri Hilson. Plenty of Interest in all popular styles but please bear in mind, ZZZZZZZZ is just 15 years old so relevance is key. A great opportunity for Unknown writers to get in on the ground floor for an artist who is going straight to the top!”

So I submitted the following Jazz-styled song with a bare-bones sound-track

Wish I Could

© Hilary Marckx, BMI, all rights reservedChorus:
Wish I Could, Wish I Might, Have this Wish I Wish Tonight
Wish I Could, Wish I Might, Have this Wish I Wish Tonight
Wish I Could Hold You, Hold You Tight.Verse 1
I’m Not One to Let Emotion Run My Heart
I’ve Been Told I’m Cold, but That’s Not True
I Have Let You in My Heart and Now it Seems
I Wish I Knew Some Way of Telling You

Verse 2
Your Laughter Makes Me Think I That I Might Just Explode
The Sight of You Makes Me Want to Sing
The Sparkle of You Eyes Tells Me There’s So Much More
But All I Seem to Do Is Sit and Dream
So, I got this as a response:  “Hi Hilary this is more a live performance than a studio demo. We are looking for finished fully produced songs. Also when pitching to a female artist its always wise to pitch using a female.”

I and my disgruntled self have come to a few conclusions:

1) The people who need material don’t know what they are after and don’t know how to listen to what they get and interpolate that into what they can use, and don’t know how to ask for it if they did.  I do not believe that they are musically oriented, but that they are pitch oriented.  Why else would they not say that they wanted studio, radio-ready material to make a pitch.  Females have been getting hits of of male-written and male-sung hits for years.  Think of Janice Joplin and Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” or Rosanne Cash with Hank Snow’s “Movin’ On,”  or most anything that Norah Jones sings, and you begin to realize that much of music seems to be driven by fear and lack of knowledge of how songs work.

2) If I want to place songs in this current market it is not they who need to change but me.  I have the intelligence to make changes.  I know music, and I understand how to re-arrange a song so it works with a particular market.  I haven’t in the past, simply because I am stubborn.  OK, so that places me right into the not-so-smart category with the rest of them.  So it is me who will change.

3) I have my work cut out for me.  I am going to begin rearranging my Rockabilly into the current Pop sound.  It won’t be easy, but so what?  Am I disgruntled?  Yes!  Will I get over it?  Probably not!  Will I do it anyway?  You betcha!  I figure that I’ll arrange Pop, and perform Hillbilly.  Just because I arrange it, does not mean that I must play it.



  1. Hilary,
    Back in the early 1990s I was filmed live on a local television talk show in Central California singing many of my songs. This one afternoon after the show a woman from Arista Records introduced herself to me and asked me if I’d sing at funerals. “At first I was insulted,” but then I took a few seconds and thought about it and said yes I’d be willing to sing at funerals. I got paid $1,000 dollars per song and I did a minimun of 3 songs per funeral. Not long after that I was approached by Virgin Records and was asked to send them some demos. I sent Andy Factor 12 demos and I was just about to be signed with Virgin when suddenlt Sheryl Crows legal team came through Virgin looking to sign Sheryl to Virgin, so I was pushed to the bottom of the pile, needless to say Sheryl didn’t sign at that time and I had to work my way back up the chain with A&R Andy Factor. He wasn’t very pleased with what had happened and told me he was thinking about leaving Virgin Records. I toured as an opening band with major recording artists such a Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Chicago, Jackson Browne, The Platters, The Drifters and with a well known local band that was on it’s way to being signed with Warner Brothers. This went on for about 3 years. Nothing came of it even though I was told by all the major artists that my band The Fugitives were a crowd pleasing band. I also wrote songs for other bands and singers, Neil Diamond recorded one of my songs, it never went anywhere due to it wasn’t pushed. By Neil and I had a wonderful recording experience.

    I was friends with John Lennon fdrom 1974 until his death in 1980, he asked me to get ready to tour with his band in 1981 as a rhythm guitarist & BGV’s. Unfortunately John was assassinated and that was that. I did tour with Country Joe and the Fish for 6 months after Lennon was murdered. My second cousin Jim Stafford and I use to be close years and years ago, but once he became famous, he broke off all contact with family members, I asked him to help me out in the early 2000’s. He said, and I quote “There is only room for one star in this family.”

    You should be proud of yourself Hilary, you’ve busted your ass like I have for years and also have cds out on the market as I do, yet neither one of us ever made that big splash into the music world as solo artists.

    Next month “February 2012” my common law wife will have a song of hers aired on a major radio station up in the Bay Area plus she’ll record an entire 12 song cd at Fantasy Studios in Oakland, Ca for free due to the people I’ve met over the years within the music industry.

    Keep on keeping on Hilary.


    Mark Johnson

    • Thank you Mark for your response! You are a great writer. Sometimes stuff just doesn’t happen. However, and this is important to the very nature of life itself, JUST BECAUSE STUFF DOESN’T HAPPEN IN NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO QUIT! We have not quit, and as far as I am concerned that is what it is all about. I write and play because it is what I do. If I quit, I just wouldn’t be any more. I wish we lived a little closer, though.

    • Hi Amanda, I just listened to your music. It is wonderful and you have a lovely voice and style. It takes a special person to connect and write for Kids. Keep doing what you are doing and do not give up.

  2. Hilary, You come across as a smart guy and I love reading your blog posts. For myself, I have won several awards for songwriting and for my CDs. But that has lead to nothing. All I want to do is perform to appreciative audiences. Once or twice a week I might play at an open mic. Some of my songs are good, some are great.
    Eddie Rhoades

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