Shane McAnally has co-written 32 No. 1 singles, including some of country’s biggest hits like Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over,” Keith Urban’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and Dierks Bentley and Elle King’s “Different for Girls.” He also runs his own publishing company, SMACKSongs, and co-runs Monument Records. So who better to ask advice about the business of songwriting?
In the above interview, the triple Grammy winner gives pointers on everything from how to prepare for a co-writing session to what you should look for in a publishing deal.
“When I go into a co-write, I always have something, whether it be a story that I’ve recently heard, something I might have seen on TV, something I read in a book, something that stood out to me that I think could be a song,” he says. He reveals how his latest surprising inspiration, the Titanic, came to him in the video.
McAnally was the recipient of Billboard’s Country Power Players Trailblazer Award in August, bestowed upon him not only for his songwriting success, but also for his adventurous creativity and business acumen.
He advises that writers looking for a publishing deal should survey both small and large companies, but the most important point is “you have a No. 1 champion…if you don’t have that person who will live and die for you, who understands what you do then there’s no reason to go to that company.” He also shares his take on publishers who pair developing songwriters with advanced songwriters and why it’s not always the best move.