SonicScoop: “Songwriters: Meet Your Field Guide”

SonicScoop: “Songwriters: Meet Your Field Guide”

This is a great one, written by Matthew Wang. Congrats on your book, Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide For the Advancing Songwriter. Can you talk about some of your former songwriting students, some of whom are interviewed in the book? First off, I’m grateful that so many of them came out to be a part of the book—and that includes you, my friend. I really think of us as a team, and I spend a lot of time trying to find opportunities to connect former students to each other. There’s an Instagram account dedicated to the amazing stuff everybody’s doing, and there’s also a Facebook page where we share job opportunities, gear, etc…, but that one’s secret. Can songwriting be taught? Partially, yes. And to a specific subsection of the songwriting community, absolutely yes. Mke Errico connects through songwriting. (Photo Credit: Stan Horaczek) Of course, there are the people who walk into my class with an innate gift of how melody and structure flows, and for them, sometimes all I can do is encourage them to finish as much as possible, and to challenge them to stretch into areas they hadn’t considered. Which, frankly, is a lot. But the writers I can help most obviously are the ones who are maybe not as gifted naturally, but who make up for it by being hell-bent to be a songwriter. They’re early for class; they set up weekly office hours; they apply for all the internships; they co-write with everyone they possibly can; they wake up in the morning wondering how they can get better. I work hard to...
Excerpt in American Songwriter: Why You Need a Mission Song

Excerpt in American Songwriter: Why You Need a Mission Song

Excerpted from Music, Lyrics, and Life: Signed copies: Bandcamp If you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, you know that he’s from New Jersey. If you’ve ever listened to Eminem, chances are excellent that you know he’s from Detroit. You may know Kendrick Lamar is from Compton, Jennifer Lopez is from the Bronx, Pitbull is from Miami, and the North Mississippi Allstars are from . . . you get it. How do you know where they’re from? Because they told you—a million times. In song after song, they’ve created a world by planting signifying flags, both literal and metaphorical, in the hopes that you will identify with their artistic journey and want to be a part of it. Let’s call these musical flag plantings Mission Songs. If you’ve ever had to write a topic sentence for a paper or read the mission statement of a school or company, you’re familiar with the concept. Mission Songs lay out the story of the artist—what they believe in, where they’re from, what they want. They’re decoding glasses. Here’s an example of a Mission Song success story, ripped from the pages of music history. You’ve heard of Kiss? With the makeup, the dragon boots, the breathing fire, and all that? Of course you have. Picture this as a songwriting challenge: bassist Gene Simmons was a kabuki-inspired demon who’d pop blood capsules in his mouth and “bleed” all over his ax-shaped bass; guitarist Ace Frehley was “from space”; singer/guitarist Paul Stanley was vaguely described as a “star-child”; and drummer Peter Criss was (checks notes) a cat? This was a band that needed a musical decoder ring....
Excerpt: What the Brain Likes

Excerpt: What the Brain Likes

ASCAP songwriter Mike Errico is an accomplished recording artist, writer and professor of songwriting. He’s got a brand new book out on November 15, called Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter (Backbeat Books), which every songwriter should read pronto. Here’s an excerpt from it. When you’re done reading, check out Mike’s “What the Brain Likes” playlist, featuring brainy songs from his former songwriting students.  Full article: LINK ******** Our audience is the human brain. Apologies to those who feel I’m giving the heart the short end of the stick here, but what can I tell you? Hearts can be transplanted. You know who figured out how to do that? Brains. I’m not a neurologist, but as a songwriter, I’ve done some tinkering and a little market research, and here’s what I’ve noticed: The Brain Likes to Be Right When the brain figures something out, it orders the arm to give a victorious little fist pump. We might emit a Yesss or look for some- one to high-five. These gestures are the brain throwing itself a victory parade because that’s how much it likes to be right. Also at the victory parade: dopamine, a neurotransmitter that opens the doors of the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. The victory parade runs right through those doors, and it’s a pretty kick-ass after-party. Having gotten a taste of delicious dopamine, the brain becomes restless to repeat the process. Why? Maybe it’s curious about the process, maybe it’s hooked on dopamine—and maybe that’s what curiosity is, which is a little depressing. Entrepreneurs identify the cycle (problem/solution/victory parade/search for more problems)...
Advance praise for “Music, Lyrics, and Life”

Advance praise for “Music, Lyrics, and Life”

    PRE-ORDER HERE: AMAZON | BOOKSHOP | BARNES & NOBLE | TARGET | BOOKS ARE MAGIC Advance copies going out now (FYI: if you write reviews/ features/ podcasts, please hit us up for a review copy), and here’s what we’re hearing back: “Mike Errico opened my eyes to what songwriting could be. His methods took any fear I had of writing and turned it to fun and joy. He is the perfect guide to finding your voice.”—Blu DeTiger, recording artist “This is a manual for better living through creativity, and vice versa: playful, rigorous, challenging, inviting, weird, practical, mind-expanding, focused, and truly kind. It’s a genuinely loving book that overflows with soul and wisdom from a wonderful teacher and artist. I’m really blown away.”—Paul Giamatti, actor “A page-turning guide for creative problem entrepreneurs in any field, no matter the stage of their journey.”—Jake Schwartz, co-founder, General Assembly “Mike Errico possesses a keen understanding of how to teach something that simply cannot be taught. This is the book we’re all in need of.”—Madison Cunningham, recording artist “Mike Errico changed my life. His unwavering belief and support made it possible for me to take leaps of faith that otherwise felt impossible.”—Hana Elion, Overcoats “Mike Errico can inspire the most timid songwriter and invigorate the most tired. Using curiosity and practicality as tools of equal weight, he challenges readers to create without self-judgment. It was through his class that I started to think of songwriting as a practice.”—Mia Berrin, Pom Pom Squad “What a glorious life raft of a book. Songwriters, artists, anyone working in any creative arena will be inspired and lovingly stripped of their own art-killing excuses.”—Emily Flake, New Yorker cartoonist, author, essayist “Others may...
New Track: “Someday (Live)” / New Book: “Music, Lyrics, And Life”

New Track: “Someday (Live)” / New Book: “Music, Lyrics, And Life”

NOW LIVE ON ALL STREAMING SERVICES Someday (Live) Recorded at the 2019 Mike Errico Holiday Show Rockwood Music Hall, NYC You good? I hope so. Here’s a very special live version of “Someday,” with Gabriella De La Cruz on background vocals and Matt Beck on electric guitar. This song seems to get more relevant every year, and I feel grateful to be able to play it for you. Can I ask a favor? Small favor, not “Could you drive me to the airport?”-level favor. Simply this: Tell a friend about the song. Sounds like not a big deal, but it’s the single greatest thing you can do to bring others on board. Speaking of:  READ AN EXCERPT FROM “MUSIC, LYRICS, AND LIFE”   Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter Release Date: November 1, 2021 Publisher: Backbeat Books You’ve already pushed pre-sales to #1 on Amazon in both the Songwriting and Music Composition charts. THANK YOU. Another favor? I know, I know. But it’s the same favor: Tell a friend. They can read the excerpt, and pre-order there, or at the links below. (I buy from Books Are Magic, personally, but they all work.) PREORDER LINKS AMAZON | BOOKSHOP | BARNES & NOBLE | TARGET | BOOKS ARE MAGIC   ADVANCE PRAISE FOR “MUSIC, LYRICS, AND LIFE”: “Others may have written Bibles on songwriting. This is the Talmud.” — Eric Bazilian, writer, “One of Us” (Joan Osborne); founding member of the Hooters; collaborator, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Bon Jovi, LeeAnn Rimes “Mike Errico changed my life. He has an unwavering belief in his students’ ability to succeed in whatever they set their minds to. This belief...
Some early reactions to “Music, Lyrics, and Life”

Some early reactions to “Music, Lyrics, and Life”

I’m so grateful to hear back from mentors and heroes on their reactions to the book. Here are the first to get back to me:   “Others may have written Bibles on songwriting. This is the Talmud.” — Eric Bazilian, writer, “One of Us” (Joan Osborne); founding member of the Hooters; collaborator, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Bon Jovi, LeeAnn Rimes, Jonatha Brooke “Songwriting is a mystical art, and Mike Errico joins all the dots, helping us visualize the process as well as igniting our passion for the ultimate freedom of creativity.” — Martin Page, cowriter, “We Built This City” (Starship); “King of Wishful Thinking” (Go West); writer, “In the House of Stone and Light”; collaborator, Chaka Khan, Heart, Earth, Wind & Fire, Robbie Williams, Josh Groban “Mike Errico’s book on songwriting (and more) is an inspirational tool and a wonderful reference for artists and musicians involved in a creative effort. Highly recommended.” — Patricia Barber, composer, songwriter; Guggenheim Fellow, Composition; American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2019) Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter “The songwriting class you always wish you’d taken, taught by the professor you always wish you’d had.” Coming November 1, 2021 on Backbeat Books PRE-ORDER HERE: Amazon  | Bookshop | Goodreads  |  Books Are Magic...