by Kenny Kerner

Sometimes, your environment has as much to do with your creative output as your God-given talents. Such is the case with this month's passenger, Tom Paden, who came to life only after moving from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the heart and soul of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, back in 1985. And from the moment Tom set up shop, it's been one success story after another--although the songwriter is quite modest about his many achievements.

Tom explains the effect that Nashville has had on his career: "When I first moved to Nashville, I realized that what I was writing was not up to the level of the Nashville community. I got here from Oklahoma and just started doin' it. I try to co-write smart and politically smart. I try to write with people who are connected some way and some how. Through osmosis or whatever you want to call it, just being here in Nashville makes you a better writer. Going out to songwriter nights and at the clubs, writing with other people, just taking everything in makes you better. Being around a lot of creative people is a wonderful thing."

Though he now calls Nashville his home, Paden is a little bit country, a little bit R&B and a little bit pop, and traverses the U.S. from Nashville to New York to Los Angeles to co-write songs in a variety of musical genres. It's for this very reason that Paden sings the praises of TAXI: "If you're a writer who writes in all kinds of musical styles and don't have contacts in certain areas, then TAXI is very helpful in getting your material out there. I live in Nashville but have no access to the West Coast, so I rely totally on TAXI. I don't know the A&R people or publishers or anyone in Los Angeles. That's a whole other animal to me. Everyone needs to look at where they can get their songs and where they can't--then check out TAXI to help get their material to the other markets."

Though Paden has been quite successful in getting his songs cut (he had a #30 country hit with "You Do My Heart Good" by Cleve Francis and other tunes cut by Lee Greenwood, Kenny Rogers, Restless Heart, Tammy Wynette and a Faith Hill cut that didn't make her album), he is first to admit that the scene in Nashville is rapidly changing. "These days," he revealed, "a lot of the country stars are beginning to write their own material. I think you always have a hard time getting songs to artists, but I feel that I know a lot of people and it's not too difficult. It's still hard, but not as difficult as when I first got here."

Joined TAXI:
Songs Forwarded: 
Deals Made:

Tom Paden
Nashville, Tennessee 
January, 1997

Paden was first introduced to TAXI through the company's country maven, Rex Benson. "I talked to a few people about TAXI and found out that it was a reputable company. I know Rex Benson and think a lot of him. I figured that if Rex was involved, it must be worthwhile and something I should do for my career."

But wait just a second--why would someone who has already achieved success on his own need to join TAXI? The answer is quite simple. Tom Paden is a smart writer and sharp businessman. He is using TAXI to get his R&B and pop songs out to the music community--an area where he does need all the help he can get! Here's how the writer explains it: "I use TAXI to pitch my songs to the pop and R&B markets. I just send in the tapes and don't ask for any critiques. I figure that whatever I'm sending in, is good. A lot of these songs have been on hold with recording artists before, so I don't really need a critique, I need to see if they'll excite someone enough to forward it on."

In January, 1997, Tom signed on with TAXI for a two-year hitch, wanting to give it a real shot at helping him. And the results thus far have been very encouraging. "I think TAXI is working for me so far--they've forwarded some things on and I've gotten a few call-backs from some publishers who wanted to publish my songs, but I'm not really into doing that. I don't want to give up my copyrights."

Tom Paden is concluding the first of two years as an active member of TAXI and already has almost a dozen forwards. As he looks toward a second successful year, Paden points to one small adjustment he'd like to see in the TAXI listings: "I think TAXI is doing just about everything right. But I would like them to separate the listings for songs needed and artists needed--one section just for songs and another section just for bands and artists and songwriters needed. Everything else they're doin' is right."

The moral of this Passenger Profile is simple: Even though you may have achieved success on your own, it always pays to have a TAXI on your team!


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