Songwriter Spotlight: Danny Wells
Danny Wells has already had a very successful songwriting career and the best part is, he’s just getting warmed up. A member of BMI’s ultra exclusive Million-Air Club, his songs have been recorded by a long list of artists which include: Tracy Byrd, Collin Raye, Bill Anderson, Joe Diffie, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Julie Roberts, John Michael Montgomery, Billy Ray Cyrus, Confederate Railroad, James Bonamy, and Wade Hayes, with huge hits by George Strait – “Check Yes Or No”, Rascal Flatts – “These Days”, and Craig Morgan – “Little Bit Of Life”, to name a few. The following is taken from a 30 minute visit on March 24th, 2011 in his office on Music Row in Nashville. Meet hit songwriter, Danny Wells.
Q: Where are you from and when did you move to Nashville?
A: I’m from Roanoke Rapids, NC. I graduated high school in ’78 and went out to a church school in Oklahoma City and got my voice degree in ’78, ’79, and then in 1980 I moved to Nashville.
Q: What prompted your move to Nashville?
A: I came here to go to Belmont University and got my guitar degree and I was a commercial music major. You know, a typical overnight success. I came her in ’80 and got my first cut in ’95, (laughing) so 15 years later. I grew up in church and a buddy of mine, Irving Carter and I, just started writing ’cause several of my friends that were older had a band. We had a little group called New Beginning and we started writing Christian songs. I started taking piano when I was like in 2nd grade so it was just inside of me. I loved music and I loved singing so yeah, I’ve always written. Whether I ever made any money or not I was going to be doing it.
Q: Your first cut was in ’95. When was the next one?
A: (laughing) It was about 5 years later. I remember going to another publishing company, I’d go down to the tape copy room and my friend Darrell worked there and I’d say, “Look, nothing’s happening. Am I doing something wrong?” He’d say, “No, just keep doing what you’re doing.” At that particular publishing company, the guy that ran the place, we just kept talking about the ideas and it took a long while for me to understand really what an idea was, because a lot of times you just think, well that’s a song title. But just because you have a title doesn’t mean you have an idea and I just started to understand that. When I was over in that particular company I had some other records, “Hello, L-0-V-E” with John Michael Montgomery, and “While You Loved Me” for Rascal Flatts, and actually their second single, “This Everyday Love”, I wrote that with Gene Nelson. Things just started happening, I started to understand it a little bit more.
Q: When you write, do you write on guitar?
A: I’ve written on piano and guitar but mostly I do write on the guitar. I have a hook book to keep my ideas in one place, and when you sit down to write with somebody, you go through yours, they go through theirs. You might go through 15 ideas before you lock onto something. I pretty much always cowrite. I have written songs by myself but at the BMI Awards, I’ve never seen anybody walk across the stage by themselves. It’s just a joint effort, a lot of publishers and a lot of songwriters. Each songwriter has a publisher and each publisher has a song plugger so it just gives you more chances of making something happen, if there’s more people involved in the whole process.
Q: So now you’re producing and you’ve started a record label?
A: Yes, Danny Wells Production, and I’ve started a record company called Purple Cow Records with some partners of mine. Richard Donahue, Cindy Bell and Eric Nelson, and it’s an amazing time right now with all the social networking going on. We’re partnering up with Major labels and we’re definitely looking for some amazing talent and I don’t think it’s all in Nashville, I think it’s all across America.
You can visit Danny online at www.dannywellsproductions.com or www.richarddonahueproductions.com and listen to this entire interview at www.bronsonsmusic.com/danny_wells.html