by Kenny Kerner

It 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 Music City.

Jimmy grew 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."

Hyden first 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."

Although he 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."

Name: Jimmy Hyden
Age: 30
Residence: Nashville, Tennessee  
Occupation: Server
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded:   Eight
Deals Made: None
When 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."

Another plus 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."


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"I've had several meetings at Dreamworks Records and made several new contacts as a result of belonging to TAXI."
— John Scott,
TAXI Member

"I enjoyed and benefited from my TAXI membership for the last year, so I renewed for another."
— Robert Shulze,
TAXI Member