“Veteran, versatile singer/songwriter Aaron Espe's new book is a remarkable and inspiring and courageous feat. It is a methodical and engaging deep-dive into the songwriting process, exploring creative psychology and providing useful tips to stay fresh through the ebbs and flows of songwriter life and craft. Above all, this book will challenge your thinking and, dare I say, perhaps make you a better writer after all is said and done. This meat and potatoes songwriting manual is a welcomed addition to the genre and has the makings of essential reading.”
- Doug Waterman, former Editor in Chief of AMERICAN SONGWRITER
“Aaron cuts through the noise and the lingo to offer the cleanest line, the least distracting path to answering the question of “what do I do next?” The confidence that comes from reading Aaron’s wholistic and digestible way of viewing the job, the industry and the human spirit of writing, will lead folks to learn more, try more and succeed sooner. It is the perfect launchpad for any aspiring songwriter.”
- Barry Dean, Grammy nominated hit songwriter (Little Big Town, Tenille Townes, Ingrid Michaelson)
“With Espe’s trademark gentle humor and razor wit, he creaks opens the ominous door marked ‘Pro Songwriting’ and casually flicks the light on. This is an invaluable read for anyone ready to finally get those songs out that have been rattling around in their soul and maybe even quit their job while they’re at it.”
– Isaac Slade (former lead vocalist, main songwriter, pianist and co-founder of Grammy nominated rock band, The Fray.)
“I wish Espe had written this 20 years ago and I had stumbled across it in a Border’s.”
- Ben West, hit songwriter and producer (P!nk, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum)
“After reading this book I’ve realized Aaron Espe is not only a very talented songwriter but gifted at teaching and explaining how something works that anyone can understand it. That’s not an easy thing to do. I honestly haven’t thought of songwriting in some of the ways he explains in this book and I think that’s the beauty of learning from one another. Aaron has a quiet, gentle soul and that’s just one of the reasons I love him and his songwriting. He really tries to nail a story within a song and he usually succeeds.”
- Phillip Phillips, certified Platinum recording artist, songwriter, and 2012 American Idol winner
“…This is so helpful, accurate, and needed.”
- Leigh Nash, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter (Sixpence None the Richer)
“It is vital for books about songwriting to be written by someone who is actually a songwriter and who has songs that are out in the world. I have now taught at Belmont, at MTSU, and private workshops. Sometimes people who are great at marketing themselves are not actually songwriters. That is part of why I feel [Espe’s] book is important. People can learn from someone who has actually sat in a studio / a room and written a song.”
- Bonnie Baker, hit songwriter (Reba McEntire, Hunter Hayes, Rachel Platten) and adjunct professor, MTSU
“This book is overflowing with insightful, practical, big-hearted advice for every songwriter who aspires to write truer, richer, and more memorable songs. Aaron drops so much humor and wisdom in this book that you will need a baseball glove if you want to catch it all. Whether you’ve been playing music for two days or twenty years, this book will inspire, encourage, and liberate the songwriter within you.”
- Greta Morgan, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (Springtime Carnivore, Vampire Weekend)
I wrote this little book for six people.
The first is a singer-songwriter I once knew. It was 2011 and he and his wife packed up all their belongings (mostly guitars) and drove across the country to start fresh in Nashville, Tennessee. They had no money. This singer-songwriter had his sights set on a publishing deal, even though he didn’t know what a publishing deal was exactly. He’d never cowritten. Never had a licensing placement. He didn’t know his songs weren’t very good. That no other artist would want to record them until he wrote better ones.
So what did he have? An insatiable desire to learn, and the drive to put it into practice.
Maybe you’ve guessed. This first person was me over ten years ago.
The second person (and third, fourth, and fifth) I wrote this little book for are my sons. The eldest just turned ten. I don’t know if any of them will want to follow in their father’s footsteps. Part of me, admittedly most of me, hopes they do not. It’s a difficult path with no guarantees. But if any one of them does, then I would share with them everything I’ve learned about songwriting and the pursuit of it as a vocation. I would write it out as clearly as possible and explain—short, sweet, and hopefully a little entertaining—the most helpful lessons I’ve learned in the last ten years.
The sixth and last person I wrote this for is you. It’s likely you’ve got songs inside you that you think are worth chasing. You want to learn and grow, take your art more seriously, maybe even pursue it as a career. Then at the very least I hope you find this book helpful. At most, I hope it inspires you to keep going, to keep striving to be better and get more of your art into the world for others to experience. I’ll be right there with you trying to do the same.
Best of luck!