Downtown Music Publishing Nashville Holds Songwriters Retreat

Pictured (L-R, top row): Natalie Osborne, Luke Arens, Mary Kenson Lewis, John Davidson, Bennett Lewis, Fancy Hagood, Steve Markland; (L-R, bottom row) Paige Blue, Katie Roth

Downtown Music Publishing’s Nashville office recently held a week-long songwriters’ retreat at Camp Wayfarer, near Asheville, North Carolina.  The retreat focused specifically on songwriting for synchronizations and the goal for the week was to create at least eight 100 percent Downtown-controlled compositions, specific to current themes for the creative team to actively pitch.

Each day the global sync team supplied the group with specific briefs from their advertising clients from various markets including New York, London, Los Angeles, and Sydney, to tackle the needs of various brands and trends from around the globe. At the end of the week, Downtown earned ten 100 percent controlled songs for the global sync team to pitch and work with.

The songwriters that took place in the Downtown retreat were Tony Esterly, Paige Blue, Luke Arens, Fancy Hagood, Justin Donahue (Jung Youth), and The Brummies’ John Davidson and Jacob Bryant. They were guided by Downtown staff members, Steve Markland, Natalie Osborne, Katie Roth and Cabrea Casey, as well as Dave Hopper, Esterly’s manager at Hard 8 Working Group.

Pictured (L-R, top row): Natalie Osborne, Katie Roth, Tony Esterly, Justin Donahue, Paige Blue, John Davidson, Fancy Hagood, Steve Markland, Kendell Marvel; (L-R, bottom row): Cabrea Casey, Luke Arens, Jacob Bryant

“It was amazing joining our writers and worldwide sync team for a very intimate, hands on experience,” said Steve Markland, Senior Vice President, A&R. “Each day we sent newly written songs to our worldwide sync team and later connected via video conference for direct critiques with the writers. We also gathered immediate feedback from advertising clients and music supervisors to directly meet their needs for specific briefs. So proud that Downtown could provide impactful opportunities as well as a fun bonding experience between writers and staff.

“I enjoy getting into a different space that forces you to create differently,” said Tony Esterly. “The limitations of a mobile studio help bring out new aspects of songs and recordings that you normally wouldn’t find in an everyday workspace. The camp atmosphere and feedback from the sync team helped everyone get some great songs.”

Pictured: Tony Esterly, Jacob Bryant, John Davidson

“Beyond the fun that was had, what I loved about the camp was the chance to witness daily purpose-driven collaboration between the global sync team and our writers, all working together to create music that we know will be used for future syncs,” said Jedd Katrancha, Executive Vice President. “The writers are as earnest as they are talented, and they approached each assignment with the goal to simply write something great, and the sync team worked to offer feedback without distilling the creative process in any way. What we ended up with were great songs that served as the backdrop for nightly dance parties, and are still on rotation now that the smoke has cleared and we’re back at our desks and studios.”


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About the Author

LB Cantrell is Project Manager at MusicRow magazine. She heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company and assists in day-to-day tasks. LB also manages the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart and contributes editorial for both the print and online platforms. She joined MusicRow full time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company for a year. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Music Business degree in 2018.

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