From Rejection to Signed Deal

May 2007. A listing comes out on (a company that lists opportunities for artists, song pitches & film/tv, only members may submit) for Armenian songs/instrumentals for a cop show. They want it to sound very contemporary, but distinctly Armenian. Like usual, I say “what the heck”, go listen to some Armenian music… and start cooking up a track. I google Armenian history, and find out that Anahit is the goddess of fertility and birth (analog to Aphrodite), beauty and water in Armenian mythology.

First draft – Anahit’s Throne

May 2007 (con’t). Keep working on the track to try to get it into a better shape. I’ve only had my new audio computer for 2 or 3 months. I bought it to drive EWQLSO Silver (an orchestra program). The rest of my plug-ins are mostly free downloads. I don’t realize how much those less-than-stellar sounds are holding me back. I post the track for feedback from my peers on my favourite songwriting forum. A few suggestions are made, including that it should be shortened.

June 8/2007. Having made the suggested edits, I submit the track to the Armenian songs/instrumentals listing. It is rejected. This particular opp was a 'no critique' listing, so I get no feedback.

July 11/2007. Try submitting Anahit’s Dance to a world/ethnic listing. It is rejected. This particular opp was a 'no critique' listing, so I get no feedback.

Sep 11/2007. Try submitting Anahit’s Dance to an Electronica instrumentals listing. “All styles, variations, and sub-genres of Electronica are OK,” it says. I figure I’m in with a chance, and if nothing else, I'll get a critique. The track is returned. The screener says I’m on target for the listing (yeah!), but marks me low in production & engineering :(

Third draft - Anahit's Dance:

“The eastern flavored parts and instrumentation are layered well to form a colorful mix of cultures in this piece. The rhythmic elements and various small but interesting sounds peppered across this piece meld into an engaging soundscape. The clarinet patch does sound a tad synthetic and doesn't quite fit with the style and quality of the other parts, to my ears. The eastern influences and sounds are cool, but the clarinet sticks out a little as being a touch unrealistic or maybe just not sitting in the mix. The drum tracks could be brought up in level and made more solid in general, with some better sounds and more well balanced mixing in general.”

Feb 8/2008. Okay, I’m looking through my files, do I have any World style tracks for a new listing? I listen to Anahit’s Dance, read the critique from last time, work on the percussion. I now have the EWQLSO Gold Bundle with more articulations - more good quality Virtual Instrumentation. I revise, rework, and submit. [“Style-wise, they are open to any style that falls under "World Music." They don't want tracks that sound like they were obviously MIDI generated - authenticity and great performances are the keys. Both instrumentals with lead melody lines and basic backing tracks that serve as "soundbeds" are OK - they want both.”]

This time, the screener says I’m on target for the listing (yeah!), that it’s a “good World music style.” But I'm “lacking the 'authenticity and great performances' requested. You might try playing some of the parts on real instruments, as opposed to synth/ sample/ sequences. The percussion samples are OK, though they would be more effective if they were countered by live musicians.” Rejected. :(

Spring 2008. I finally manage to get another piece of software that’s been on my wish list for awhile – Stylus RMX. As I play with it and try to learn how it works and what sounds are available, etc… I fool around with Anahit’s Dance, reworking it as the screeners suggested. I’ve got good sounds now, I have to learn how to use them effectively so that they not only sound authentic, but ‘play’ authentic. I'm finding out more about controllers and velocities and things like that.

July 9/2008. I’m on a push to submit as many good tracks as possible to opportunities before I go away for a month. I see a listing for “Quirky and Fun Instrumentals in a variety of styles.” As I go through my catalogue to see what I might have, I play my updated version of Anahit’s Dance. It occurs to me that, while it might have World elements and Electronica elements… it could be considered to be quirky, too. I submit it.

When I get home from summer holidays, I find that Anahit’s Dance has been forwarded, along with 7 other tracks for this & other listings! The screener says “cool line with character... loop is fun... the arrangement moves along and easy to follow...; thanks for sending in the music. The track opens with a solid line that creates an intense motif. the vibe is quirky with the sorted shapes and colors throughout - nice job. The breakdown is wild-very cool. The call and response is very affective, creating the right musical dialogue easy for the ears to follow- a solid way to start your presentation. You've created the right impact going into the other tracks-that's the way to do it! keep writing and good luck!” My tracks have been forwarded to a prominent East Coast Music Library/Publisher for further consideration.

Fifth & Final – Anahit’s Dance

Oct 2008. After this process of rewriting, reworking and remixing, and finally being forwarded, I’m feeling secure that this track has finally made the grade. When I see an opp to submit directly to a music library, I submit 3 quirky/comedy tracks – including Anahit’s Dance - for consideration. The next afternoon… I receive an email and a contract from that library, they are interested in the tracks I submitted and are also interested in hearing more. I sign the contract and return it to them and deliver the tracks to them in the format requested.

Then I go back to work. More tracks to write, more opportunities to target, more to learn :)

1 comment:

Jannie Funster said...


Can't wait to hear your update on this! And the song is soooo great.