Calling All Songwriters! Beginners, Intermediates, Experts! AMA (Ask Me Anything).

Peter Frank Santovito
May 15, 2018

Award Winning Songwriter, Peter Frank Santovito, will answer any related questions to the art of writing great songs. Whether you are just getting started or you have written the 'greatest songs in the world', feel free to ask away.

Peter is a voting member of NARAS (The Grammy's) and can guide songwriters and musicians onto the right paths, for success.

"Beat of my Heart" (c.2017 Lyrics & Music By Peter Frank Santovito & Chris Price) is

# 24 on CASHBOX Adult Contemporary Music Charts as of 5. 5. 2018.

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As a voting member of NARAS, which songwriter do you feel is the current favourite in the industry and why?
May 21, 6:55PM EDT0

Roma-Kaya, Thank you for your question!  N.A.R.A.S. (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), is not only an organization of Songwriters but also includes Producers, Recording Engineers, Musicians, Recording Artists, and is also a sponsor for Advocacy, plus each City in the USA has a Chapter! As far as my favorite Songwriter? This is a tough one to narrow down to one...the Reason? You have so many great songwriters, in so many different styles and genres. Example: You have Ed Sheeran; Adam Levine; Fun; Max Martin; John Mayer; Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth; John Legend, One Republic; Rob Thomas; and don't forget the already greats! Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger-Keith Richards, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and so many more songwriters who are still writing songs! Not to mention so many up and comers and yes, the ones we have yet to discover!! I just love a great, well-written song. I'd say ED SHEERAN because I love his songs and he seems to be a genuinely humble guy.

May 22, 8:35AM EDT0
Everybody needs a time out. What do you do in your free time?
May 21, 4:25PM EDT0

Hello IAMJC16,

Thanks for your question. I always have 'something' to do. I love to relax, write, draw, fish, travel, call friends, go to concerts, fine dining. I also serve at my Church. I like to give back to Almighty God and that's a good way to thank Him for my gifts...

May 21, 4:40PM EDT0
What do you think is the most musical city in the world where you would like to perform?
May 21, 2:50AM EDT0

Cakkae,  mmmm Let's see... There are so many, from N.Y.C. to Los Angeles, Nashville to London, to Sydney Australia, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, to every City in the United States...yours is a tough question to limit to one city... since I am from N.Y.C., performing there is close to my heart. Thanks for writing!

May 21, 7:34AM EDT0
Is there any musical instrument that you feel you still want to learn and why?
May 20, 10:29PM EDT0

Hello B, and thanks for writing! Well, I 'play' 4 instruments, never taking any lessons. I would like to have learned formally, but at this 'stage' in my life, I am kind of stuck in my ways... a great example of my reluctance is, a Producer friend of mine, who has a Masters Degree in Music and He has Produced Number One Hits, Top 10 Hits, worldwide and He told me, he can't do what I do!?! (Write Songs)... Yet He can read Scores of Music, Arrange and Conduct dozens of musicians... this is something difficult to understand! All the best to you.

May 20, 10:41PM EDT0
Have you written a song for a very famous singer?
May 19, 3:57AM EDT0

Ana, your's is a different kind of question! Songs are a lot like Art.  When a person looks at Artwork, I think 'we' all may 'see' something different, or as in many cases, 'we' all see the same thing. As far as me writing a song for a famous singer, I don't think consciously that I have but maybe subconsciously I may have... Ana, here is an experiment for you (If you choose to accept it!). Listen to my songs, and you tell me if you hear any songs you think that I am singing about famous singers!!  I would love to hear what you come up with. Thank you so much for your question and for writing.

May 19, 9:40AM EDT0
Are love songs easier to write compared to other kinds of songs?
May 18, 11:48PM EDT0

Hello Zella, thank you for your question. My personal feeling is if a person has hate in their heart, it would be hard to write a song about love. Just like it would be more difficult to write a hip hop song if you are shard core rocker, although I’m sure their are exceptions...I like to write songs that have meaning and that touch peoples hearts...

May 18, 11:57PM EDT0
Who’s one songwriter you look up to and admire?
May 18, 7:30PM EDT0

Erikocaya, there are many great songwriters whom I admire. My favorite has to be Paul McCartney alone and with his group, “The Beatles”... thanks for your question.

May 18, 9:34PM EDT0
Do you ever look back at your old work and feel embarrassed about the lyrics you wrote back then?
May 18, 2:46PM EDT0

Vic, I look at songwriting as a learning process. If I read an old lyric and it is not good, I will first try to re-write the lyrics to make them better. If I feel a song is not up to standard, I just scrap it or if I feel the idea or the concept is good I’ll put it into a new song. I hope this helps. Thanks!

May 18, 5:06PM EDT0
Would you rather sing your own songs or have a singer record them for you?
May 18, 1:52PM EDT0

Jasmin, I love singing my own songs, however I also know there are many singers who are much better singers than me. So if there is an opportunity for a great singer to perform my songs better than me, I will welcome their version. Thank you, for writing. 

May 18, 5:01PM EDT0
What’s the dream? Is there any dream you still haven’t achieved at this point of your career?
May 18, 5:28AM EDT0

Pikomonde, My dreams may be different than your dreams, however, I think most human beings have similar dreams, and most, if not all of these are mine. Success, Health, a Beautiful Home, a nice Car or two, Money in the Bank, Food, Shelter, Clothing, Love, Peace, Joy, Talents, Skills, Abilities, a loving and caring Spouse, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and being a kind and generous person... let's not leave out meeting all of the 'right' people, in all of the 'right' places' at all of the 'right' times!... Thanks for writing and please, KEEP DREAMING...BIG!!

May 18, 8:55AM EDT0
Will there always be a market in the music industry for songwriter’s services?
May 18, 4:53AM EDT0

Juel, I believe a great song is the lifeblood of the Music Industry. Not every Artist writes their own songs, so look for the ones who depend on songwriters. So in answer to your question, YES, I certainly hope so!

Thanks for writing.

May 18, 8:40AM EDT0
Would you say that being a songwriter is a financially rewarding job?
May 18, 3:06AM EDT0

Christian, When you are doing anything for the money, I believe that's a bad idea. When you are doing something you really love, and you are really good at it, I believe, the money follows.

In answer to your question, let's pose the same question to let's say, Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger... I'd say they did quite well! They both have plenty of money, and they are both still touring!  Of course, not every songwriter is going to do this well and I'm sure there will be songwriters who will surpass these Artists! Follow your heart and follow your dreams! All the best to you...

May 18, 8:38AM EDT0
Do songwriters get writer’s block too?
May 17, 9:52PM EDT0

Mareyahfaye, Thank you for your question. I believe it's important to leave space in between writing sessions. By taking your mind off of the task at hand, sometimes thinking of other things helps. In answer to your question, YES, writers' block happens. Not every lyric line works, not every melody just pours out. Great songs can happen suddenly or they can take many years to complete and sometimes never. The idea is to keep writing. Keep smiling! Keep at it. Try doing something different. try writing somewhere other than the same place you usually write at...

I  wish you the best with all of your musical endeavors...

May 17, 11:14PM EDT0
Do you think songwriters should favor writing lyrics or music first?
May 16, 9:48PM EDT0

SAFTAIN,  I think each writer has to feel comfortable working the way that fits best for the individual. For me writing lyrics without having the music and song structure first, is much harder. An example: I am co writing with a gentleman in another part of my country. He had already written a poem like song. When I tried to put his lyrics to music it is near impossible. One reason is trying to sing words that are not easy to sing and there was too many lyrics that would have been difficult to remember! So I suggested to the writer to condense the 5 verses to 2 or 3 and use some of the phrases for a bridge and a chorus. Thank you for your question.

May 16, 10:04PM EDT0
What do you like to practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?
May 16, 12:45PM EDT0

UWORKBT,

I think it’s a combination of all of the things you mentioned. It’s almost like food. I like variety. Eating chicken every night gets boring. However, if I am stuck on a riff, then it makes sense to keep working on it until you nail it. The same with a new song, if I like it, I work on it until I know I can perform it well. Thanks for your question.

May 16, 2:05PM EDT0
How do you feel about publishing in general and music publishers? How can songwriters get the right medium to publish their work?
May 16, 5:44AM EDT0

R, Publishers are an important source of revenue. The reason is Publishers are the ones who put 'legs' to your songs by trying to 'place' your songs with other Artists and getting your songs recorded, etc... When I started out in NYC, I would literally do my research and go to the Publishing Companies and pound on doors! Also, go to Songwriting Workshops where you can network and possibly find an already published writer to collaborate with as I did when I met Horace Linsley. Horace was a Published Songwriter. Horace and I wrote the songs off of my "Letters To My Love" CD, "We Don't Live Together, Anymore"... years later I find out that my co-writer has written songs with Paul McCartney, Don McLean, Buddy Holly and more... you never know who you will meet and work with in life! Thanks for your question...

May 16, 7:38AM EDT0
What's the lesser-known song in your catalog that deserves more recognition?
May 16, 5:22AM EDT0

Joshua,  There are a 'few' of my songs on my second CD, "Our Love", that I would like to re-record, but as far as one song that I believe needs more recognition is from my first CD, "Letters To My Love", a song I co-wrote with my cousin Angello Olivieri, called "Feel It In My Bones". Thank you for your question!

May 16, 7:23AM EDT0
How old were you when you wrote your first song and what was it about?
May 16, 5:07AM EDT0

Hello George! My earliest recollection was around age 12 when I started writing down on little pieces of paper, Song Titles as I made them up, and then placing them into shoe boxes... my first complete song I wrote at Age 13, was about a girlfriend, "Vita" (I'm In Love With You), who was also admired by my best friend, Steve 'Ress'. Steve and I taught each other how to play guitar with the help of Steve's big brother Rich, who was at the time, taking guitar lessons! Thanks for writing...

May 16, 7:17AM EDT0
When did you have to write under pressure? What was the result like?
May 15, 10:31PM EDT0

Marina, one instance of writing under pressure, was when I had joined an Actors Workshop. The Director pointed at me and shouted, Peter, write me a song the entire class of 25 can sing along with! Talk about pressure! I was thinking about Television, Films and Out of my Mouth, came the phrase, “ Lights, Camera, Action!” It was a great feeling to hear 25 people singing my song. Over the next two weeks I completed the entire song. “Lights, Camera, Action!” Is available on my “ Letters To My Love” (Special Edition) at CDBaby.com/Santovito2, iTunes, Google, Spotify and other music sites.

May 16, 12:02AM EDT0
How important is it for songwriters to give/share their work with the right singer? Do you think that plays a great role in making your song famous and be heard?
May 15, 4:34PM EDT1

Econjulio,

The better the vocals are, can only help in selling a song... that being said, Years ago I think lead vocals weren’t so as important as they are today. With all of the television programs promoting ‘vocals’, mind you vocals, not focused on songs, unique, powerful,  wide range, becomes the winner!

May 15, 5:26PM EDT0
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