Tag Archive | songwriting

Art Alexakis Visits LAMA for an Evening with Students, Alumni


We’d like to invite all of the LAMA students and alumni to “An Evening with Art Alexakis,” taking place tomorrow night, October 30th at 8pm in the LAMA performance hall. Alexakis, who has a strong belief in the power and importance of music education, will discuss his approach to songwriting and offer his perspective on today’s music industry.

Alexakis is  best known as the lead singer, guitarist, producer and principal songwriter for the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Alternative rock band Everclear. The band has sold over 6 million albums in the U.S. and Canada alone, with 8 Top-40 hit singles on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, Top 40, & Adult Top 40 charts, including: “Santa Monica,” “I Will Buy You A New Life,” “Wonderful,” and “Father of Mine.”

He has also been a member of several notable bands, in addition to his own work as a songwriter for other major artists. Alexakis founded several record labels throughout his career, and has worked as an A&R representative for major record labels as well.

RSVP is required. Email info@lama (.edu) for more information.

-LAMA Staff

Holly Knight Master Class August 7th

Holly Knight...

Holly Knight…

One of the greatest questions posed by man is “What makes a great song?” Three-time Grammy award winner and Songwriting Hall of Fame member Holly Knight will help answer that question for LAMA students during her Master Class Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 8pm. Full event details are available at the Facebook event page here.

Highlights of her career, pulled from her official bio, include:

  • Citing Mike Chapman as her mentor, together, they penned Spider’s single, Better Be Good To Me, which music icon Tina Turner recorded six months later on her 1984 multi platinum album, Private Dancer, which won a Grammy for Record of The Year.
  • Knight’s meteoric rise to success continued when she wrote the chart-topping, Love Is A Battlefield andInvincible for Pat Benatar, The Warrior for Patty Smyth, Change for John Waite, Baby Me for Chaka Khan, Never for Heartand Pleasure And Pain for Divinyls.
  • Always driven by some internal force, Holly continued writing hits, Love Touch for Rod Stewart, Obsession for Animotion, Hide Your Heart for KISS, Rag Doll with Aerosmith, Space for Cheap Trick, and many more.
  • Her songs have appeared in movies as varied as Thelma and Louise, Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome, Stewart Little, Thirteen Going On Thirty and Hot Tub Fantasy, and on TV shows such as American Idol, The Voice, 30 Rock, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Oprah Winfrey, Nip Tuck, South Park, and most recently The Voice finale, culminating in a stellar duet of Love Is A Battlefield with Cee Lo Green and one of the final contestants.
  • In 2002 Holly produced and co-wrote the title theme song for the hugely popular cult TV show, Angel.
  • She wrote and produced the title theme song for the CBS hit sitcom, Still Standing, which received an ASCAP award for recognition as one of the top TV music themes of 2003, and again in 2004.
  • Knight’s songwriting has earned her numerous awards including three Grammys® and thirteen ASCAP songwriter awards.
  • In June 2013, the songstress was inducted into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame , along with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Foreigner, JD Souther and Tony Hatch.

We are very excited to welcome Holly to LAMA!

-LAMA Staff

The Truth – Music Careers Part 2: Songwriting

Last time we chatted (The Truth – Music Careers Part 1: Performance), we learned that friends and family don’t often know the truth about what you can do with a music career. We also learned that you could have a very successful career as a performer. A little known fact is that the songwriters behind the songs that performers belt out on stage often make the most money. In this blog, we are first going to give you the basics of songwriting and then examine some of the different career options you have if you want to pursue songwriting after graduating music college.


It might come as a shock to you, and I don’t mean to pull back the curtain, but the majority of songs you hear on the radio or watch on YouTube are NOT written by the artist performing them. Pop and Country music, especially, have had a long history of using professional songwriters to compose the lyrics and melodies that the performing artists sing in the studio, on their records, and in concert. It’s not just flavor of the moment artists like Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears, but everybody from Frank Sinatra to The Supremes to Sheryl Crow to Elton John. Almost ALL country musicians make use of professional songwriters who live in Nashville or “music city” and hope a big star will record one of their songs. Most songwriters are musicians who have a knack for putting music and words together and typically stay behind the scenes. The key perk with songwriting is the fact that you get a percentage of publishing money. If you have been reading Billboard lately, you might have noticed that the only people getting rich in music these days are people with publishing because you can earn money in television and movies and not have to rely on the sale of a CD.


Just because you become a songwriter and you spend your days in a studio recording and composing songs doesn’t mean you can’t have a life performing. Brad Paisley and Bob Dylan started off as songwriters with other people performing their songs before their performing and celebrity eclipsed their songwriting. Many songwriters often perform regularly at clubs, similar to how a stand-up comedian trys out jokes in clubs to see if they work, songwriters test out songs. Other musicians pay the bills by songwriting while they have other performance side-projects and bands. Some performers straddle both sides, like David Bowie who famously wrote “All The Young Dudes” for Mott The Hoople or Elliot Smith who gave Mary Lou Lord “I Figured You Out” both at the height of their respective careers.


We all know the story about how the NBA on NBC theme came to John Tesh in his head and he left it on his answering machine. You know that theme right? We all do, even if we don’t watch basketball. Check him out performing the song and telling the story here:

You might think he just came up with a ten-second series of notes, but it’s so much more than that! EVERYTIME NBC airs a basketball game, Tesh gets a very nice royalty, and it has entered our culture. This is the power of being a jingle writer for radio and TV.  These are musicians who have a key for coming up with very simple and quick catchy music interludes. This is way harder than it looks! Radio was the original creator of jingles; while most stations don’t sound like this anymore, it’s still the same principle:


This is one of the coolest jobs you can have after graduating from music school. The music supervisor handles and supervises the music for television and movies. Not only does he or she oversee all the composers and musicians that might provide the score, but he or she also oversees the soundtrack. This could include all stages of production from a “temp soundtrack,” as the film or TV show is being developed, to actually doing the negotiations with artist managements and publishing companies to get the “sync licenses” for TV and movies. Another aspect of the job could involve picking a performer to sing a particular song, such as Randy Newman with Pixar or Elton John contributing a performance for “The Lion King”.

This is just a very small sampling of the many opportunities you have if you want a career in songwriting. For a bigger list you might want to check out LAMA’s Careers Page Link. Luckily, if you are a student at LAMA already, you can simply ask some of your teachers because LAMA’s faculty is proud to have many successful songwriters who can give you the inside track on a future career. Fellow musicians, next time those lyrics come into your head, or you start humming a tune, grab for a pencil, chalk, anything and get it down on paper, it could be your big break!

-LAMA Staff

%d bloggers like this: