Ep. 94: The new portal to Nashville songwriters, with Michael Blanton; Bonus: Coolest. Bachelorette Party. Ever.

Photo by Uwe Conrad on Unsplash

May 11, 2021

Nashville is known for its incredible musical and songwriting talent. But few people have had direct access to working with that talent… until now.  Songwriting University now provides a digital portal for anyone worldwide to learn from and work with top songwriters in the industry. Whether you want to create an original song for your wedding, are exploring a career in music, or are looking for a coach/mentor, Songwriting U connects you with the best in the business.

Michael Blanton; Photo by Ed Rode


Joining me today from Nashville is Michael Blanton. Michael has had a celebrated career in the national and Nashville music industry. His career has included discovering and launching the careers of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, among others – as well as managing their careers. Michael is a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee. Today finds him in all kinds of artistic and entertainment development, including film, technology, artist management, non-profit development, and, of course, music & songwriting. Michael has joined forces with some of today’s best and most talented songwriters to create Songwriting University, which has been described as a “digital songwriting portal” for any writers around the globe who would like to develop their skills or simply have the experience of writing with successful Nashville songwriters.


We discuss:

  • Mindy’s flashback to the 80s/90s, and Michael’s role in producing the songs of that era (including discovering and launching the careers of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith).
  • how and why Songwriting U began.
  • memorable students/songs that have come out of Songwriting U.
  • services offered, including online songwriting sessions, in-person meetings, assistance with lyrics/music/both, multi-genre representation, contests, demo recording, publishing assistance, and bundled packages.
  • Songwriting U’s faculty members and the songs that made them famous.
  • the reality of today’s music business world/revenue model and how the Songwriting U concept fits (such as music/artist discoverability, mentorship, artist development, artist diversification, networking).
  • what songwriting newcomers bring to the table.
  • How Songwriting U both support the songwriters of Nashville AND helps develop new artistic talent.
  • Nashville has become a popular destination for bachelorette parties. Michael mentions the idea of wrapping up a fabulous bachelorette party weekend with a songwriting session for the group to commemorate the experience with Nashville songwriter pros!

Connect/Other Resources

  • Songwriting University website
  • Facebook: @SongwritingU
  • Twitter: @songwritingu
  • Insta: @songwritingu
  • Forbes article: Songwriting University Offers Virtual Co-Writes With Hit Songwriters
  • If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll also enjoy:
    1. Ep. 20, with Songwriting U faculty member and Dove Award winning songwriter Steve Siler
    2. Ep. 76: What are the benefits of being an adult (even “old”!) beginner? With New York Times bestselling author Tom Vanderbilt
    3. Ep. 71: Give the gift of music: Research-based ways to GIFT music (the gift that keeps on giving)
    4. Ep. 56: How do artists and songwriters get paid when I stream their song or hear it played in a store? With Songtrust’s Anna Bond

In-Episode Promo

Thank you to our sponsor, Sheet Music Direct. Sheet Music Direct is the world’s premier destination for digital sheet music, powered by sheet music publisher Hal Leonard. I have used Sheet Music Direct for probably 10 years, and it has saved me countless hours of driving to music stores and sifting through bins of sheet music and books to find the right song (and hoping the perfect song isn’t out of stock). Sheet Music Direct’s library has more than 1 million sheet music arrangements that you can view – and listen to – right from your device for convenient online shopping and immediate downloads of educational, classical, and pop scores that represent just about any genre and holiday. Prices start at $0.99 and you can both print your purchases instantly and access them on any device, which has really come in handy for our family when we’re out of state visiting Grandma & Grandpa, and they want to hear my kids play the piano! Access the latest hits and yesterday’s classics at sheetmusicdirect.com.


Michael says: Exactly 30 years ago, I executive produced Amy Grant’s biggest selling CD, “Heart In Motion.” I worked with three producers, which wasn’t a trend back at this time. That CD registered five top 10 singles and went on to be nominated in 1992 for five POP Grammy Awards: Best Song (“Baby, Baby”), Best record, Best Album/CD, Best Female Pop-vocal, and Best Producer (Keith Thomas on “Baby, Baby”). We didn’t win one award, but the nominations were life changing. 

Closing Words

And that is a little bit of the “Baby, Baby” YouTube video. Thank you so much to Michael for sharing with us today, and for all he and the Songwriting U team are doing to enhance lives with music. What a brilliant way both access and support this treasure trove of talent and musical genius that we have in Nashville!

As always, the show notes have lots of links to info from today’s episode, including links to Songwriting University. You’ll also find a transcription of this episode and links to related episodes. One of Songwriting U’s faculty members, Steve Siler, was a guest on this podcast back before Songwriting U launched – there’s a link to my conversation with Steve back in Ep. 20. If you’re a listener who falls into that age category Michael mentioned of 40+, you’ll enjoy Ep. 76 on all the benefits of learning a new skill, with NYT bestselling author Tom Vanderbilt.

If you enjoyed this show, please spread the word to your friends and family and share on social media! That is the best way to support the show and help us grow our audience as we share the power of music. Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

View episode transcription.


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