was an original composition called "There Are Ways" that first attracted
big-wigs from Dreamworks and Island to Nashville singer-songwriter,
Jimmy Hyden. "They both heard my song and wanted to hear more material,
so I sent it to them," Hyden told us in a recent phone interview from
up in Connecticut but moved to Nashville to pursue his career in the
music business. A wise choice since you're not gonna find too many record
companies in Connecticut! "I wanted to be in a town where I would be
surrounded by a lot of original music; a lot of quality music--even
though I don't write country songs. I live in Nashville, but being my
music is alternative, I needed to be able to get it to people in Los
Angeles and New York, and that's what TAXI helped me do."
read about TAXI in Recording magazine and immediately checked it out.
"I joined TAXI," Jimmy continued, "and have to say that I've accomplished
more through them than I did on my own during the last five years."
recently purchased an eight-track recording machine, many of the tunes
forwarded by TAXI were recorded at home on his original four-track,
proving once again that it's not how much money you spend to record,
but what you record. Hyden explains: "There's a lot of great information
out there now about home recording if you take the time to read it.
You need to experiment a bit; It's a lot of trial and error. It always
comes down to whether or not you have a good song. If you do, then you
don't need to overload it with a full-blown production. You don't have
to overwork a good song. So, with a four-track, especially with the
quality of the equipment that's out there today, you can do some really
good home demos. If the song is really good, it can stand on its own."
Jimmy graduated from high school, he had no inclination that his future
would bring him into the music business. He took a job at a local factory
to earn some money and would dabble in songwriting during his lunch breaks.
"Mostly I would write down some lyrics. Sometimes I had a melody that
I was working on. I played trumpet when I was younger so I always did
something in music. The music business always seemed like a pipe dream
to me but one day I just decided to give it a shot. After the factory,
I drove for UPS for a while but still felt like I had something to offer
the music business. Once I moved to Nashville, I really found my voice
as a songwriter and I think I'm writing better songs than I ever did."
Feeling a little
out of sorts being in a country music town and not writing that style
of music himself, Hyden is nevertheless inspired by the incredibly talented
artists--both signed and unsigned--that populate the city. "I would go
out to clubs and hear some really great original music. It inspired me
and made me a better writer."
These days, Jimmy
Hyden is totally committed to his craft and works on it daily. In fact,
he's put together a schedule tailor-made to his current lifestyle: "I
work on my songwriting every day. Because I work at night, I usually come
home and work at my songs from about midnight to five or six in the morning.
I either write or record--as long as I do something every day just to
keep the inspiration flowing. Even if it's nothing more than sitting down
and playing songs for a couple of hours." Admitting that this kind of
night life isn't doing wonders for his tan, the commitment is a serious
one that Hyden sticks to religiously. "There are a lot less distractions
at night," he confessed, "no telephones or people knocking at your doors.
I'm a night person and feel more creative at that time."
about living in Nashville is the possibility of an occasional in-person
meeting with an A&R person or music publisher. Hyden has had his share
of those, too: "When it happens it's exciting because it's an opportunity
to get some feedback and speculate that something might happen. And every
time you send a tape in to TAXI, you get that same feeling. Not only are
you getting some great feedback, but there's a chance that this one tape
will be the one to land on the right desk at the right time. And the TAXI
critiques have also been helpful in reinforcing what I felt were my strong
points and letting me know about some things I might want to change."
The move to Nashville
and becoming a TAXI member have combined to rejuvenate Jimmy Hyden's career
as a songwriter. And it's that one-two punch that enabled him to offer
these words of wisdom to aspiring writers everywhere: "Living in an industry
town, I can tell you first hand that the most difficult thing is trying
to get into the right doors. And even if you do get in, you don't really
know if that person is looking for the music that you're doing at that
time. So I recommend TAXI to everyone I know because of what they've done
for me. The most frustrating thing I can think of is writing a song you're
really proud of and having it sit on your kitchen table for six months
because you can't get it to anybody. With TAXI, when you send in your
tapes, there's the opportunity for it to get where it needs to be. And
that alone keeps you motivated."