By Jimi Heath
Dear TAXI,

Why can't you forward my songs even if they're not perfect? I'll make any changes the producer or record company want me to make.

David Chavez,
Van Nuys, CA

This is a question we are often asked. The answer is that A&R people, producers and artists are looking for perfect (read: Hit) songs.

Sometimes if an artist is having trouble singing a certain melody phrase, or lyric, they may ask permission to change it slightly so that the singer can handle it better, but they aren't going to write the song for you.

If a song isn't perfect, that doesn't mean that there is an obvious way to fix it, or that any potential fix will turn it into a hit song. With the large number of songs to choose from, there is no incentive for a producer to spend lots time going back and forth with a writer to try and get the perfect song. Especially with no guarantee that all that time spent will result in a cuttable song. It's just a lot easier to cut songs that already are 'perfect.'

Hiya from Spain.

If I submit a song to TAXI, how do I stand vis-a-vis submitting the same song to other artists or labels during the screening? If, for example, I get a bite from a contact I have made myself, will it cause legal problems if TAXI's forward were to get in touch after I had made a deal, or during the making of the deal?

I seem to recall somewhere reading advice that it was not a good idea to submit the same song to different people, all at the same time.

Thanks -

Norman MacLeod,
Majorca, Spain

Hi Norman,

Keep pitching until someone pays you to stop. The worst-case scenario would be several people wanting your song at the same time. That's a good problem to have.

Dear TAXI,

Most of your listings require "hit" material. "No album fillers". Well, in my modest recollection, I can count and complete on my fingers, the number of albums I've listened to without "fillers", including Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (check out that rhyme).

While I don't advocate for mediocrity, the fact is there are countless songs, which may not be "hit" material but nevertheless have been an integral part of many an album's commercial success. Anyway, I'll keep sending you my stuff and you can decide whether they are "hit" or "filler" material.

Kind regards

Raymond Byabazaire
Kampala, Uganda

Dear Raymond.

I agree with you. Some of my favorite songs by my favorite artists were never singles.

But the "no fillers" requests are what the A&R people are telling us. That's because fillers aren't as hard to find. They've got plenty of people who can provide the fillers. The producer and/or the artist may have the "album cuts". Hits, on the other hand, are much harder to find.

Please address questions to:

5010 N. Parkway Calabasas #200,
Calabasas, CA 91302

or e-mail to:

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