This episode about insider secrets to hit songwriting in the digital age was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.

Molly Leikin is from Songwriting Consultants Ltd. She will share with us how she got into the business of songwriting.

How Molly Got Into Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting

Molly’s day job was being a social worker for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services. Her job was to go after the alleged fathers of the children of her clients. All of the fathers were allegedly famous rock stars such as Elvis, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and others. What Molly did was go to the business offices of those stars. She would bring her ukulele and also samples of her work. The said offices did not welcome her. However, they were located on Hollywood Blvd., where there was a meeting of songwriters every Friday at Warner Bros. Publishing. It was open to everybody so she went. Every week she wrote a song and it wasn’t a very good song. One time, she told the publisher running the meeting, Artie Wayne, that she turned down two gigs because she wanted to work with him, and he hired her. She became a staff of Almo Music, which is the A&M ASCAP branch. She worked with every songwriter, learned everything needed, and became a songwriter herself. She co-wrote songs for years and eventually wrote songs by herself.

During her childhood, she played the piano. In college, she studied Literature. Everybody was playing the guitar during those days, but she had short fingers so somebody taught her the baritone ukulele. Molly did have some training, but most of her music was created through her gut. She hears the melody in her head then she goes to the keyboard to find it. It’s important to write a song as you talk and sing it as you say it. If you can’t say it, don’t write it. The story is more important than the rhymes. Lyric isn’t just a series of rhymes, but it’s feelings. Write a song about the best thing that ever happened or the worst thing that ever happened. As songwriters, you’re travel agents who take listeners on emotional adventures.

Molly wrote a lot of songs, especially when she was at A&M. She wrote a song with Steve Dorff called “You Set My Dreams to Music” and it’s been recorded almost a hundred times. It’s been recorded by Anne Murray, John Travolta, Dustin Springfield, and a bunch of other artists.

She also co-wrote a bunch of songs with a composer who did a lot of movies and TV songs. One was the theme from a TV movie mini-series called East of Eden. She also co-wrote the song score for a movie called Violet with two of Nashville’s top of the top of top songwriters. The movie won an Oscar.

Molly was a staff writer for many years. From Almo, she went to Interworld, to Chappell. In Nashville, when you write with somebody, you show up at 10:00, you have coffee until 10:30, and then you start to write.

At exactly noon, you leave with a song, have lunch with all the other great writers in town and tell them what you are working on. You then go back to the office at Chappell and finish the song. There’s no fussing around. It’s business. The songs are phenomenal.

Writing the Book “Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age”

Everything is completely different now. That’s why Molly wrote her book, Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age. There are so many new income streams. The traditional ones aren’t paying like they used to but the best way to make a big chunk of cash these days is to know the music supervisors who are choosing the music for the movies, TV shows, commercials, and Indies and have a song on TV.

These days, the songwriter has to create a master. You can’t make a demo with a piano and a voice anymore. You’ve got to present a master. I don’t know how to do that. I hire good people who know how to do that. I hire great singers and all the best musicians, and we get it done. If you are going to compete in a very competitive marketplace, give them what they want. Nobody rerecords anything anymore. You create it, make the MP3, and they sync it into their project.

One time, Molly had a deal with Warner Bros Music for one song she wrote called Silver Wings and Golden Rings. After the one-year contract, they didn’t want it anymore so she got the song back. She went somewhere else, rewrote the song and it was a big hit on the country charts.

Nobody knows anything, but the thing is, you must believe in yourself. These people have power but don’t know everything, and things change. If you believe in your songs, treasure them like your children. Nothing is too good for your kids. Nothing is too good for your songs.

Molly’s book includes interviews with ten of the best A-listers in the business. They include Tim Wipperman, the publisher’s publisher in Nashville. He gave her a wonderful interview and how he treats his writers and what he expects from them. The truth is that he lets them write and do what they feel they need to do, rather than dictate, “You must do this. You must do that.” He has been very successful. Molly also interviewed Jim Andron, who has written 15,000 jingles. She also interviewed Debbie Hupp, who was a Kentucky housewife who was very unhappy. She wrote some songs at home. She thought they would be good for Johnny Cash. She also co-wrote a song which was eventually sung by Kenny Rogers.

Molly’s motivation for writing the book was a gap in the marketplace. Nobody was writing about the digital age. It’s completely different from all the other times in the music business since the caveman gonged, his first gong. If you want to be in the business, learn how it’s done now.

Through the book, you will learn, first of all, that you have to have great songs. No matter how fabulous your voice is and how well-produced the tracks are, if you don’t have the songs, you got nothing. Molly helps them take the songs that are good and make them great.

To find Molly, go to Her book, Insider Secret to Hit Songwriting in the Digital Age, is at,,, and Goodreads.

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