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THE PRODUCER'S CHAIR: MARK BRIGHT

THE PRODUCER'S CHAIR: MARK BRIGHT

By James Rea www.theproducerschair.com

Knowing that, over the past three and a half decades since Mark Bright began his remarkable journey in Nashville, his legendary accomplishments as a producer, corporate executive, publisher and hit songwriter, have been well-documented, one can't help but think about, the huge array of people who have been blessed by, their association with Mark."

A partial list of artists alone would include Blackhawk, Reba McEntire, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Lonestar, Rascal Flatts, Scotty McCreery, Peter Cetera, Sting, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Steven Tyler, Keith Urban, Two Story Road, Lucy Hale, Edens Edge, Mountain Heart, Hanna Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, Luke Bryan, Whitney Duncan, Danny Gokey, Shakira and Carrie Underwood, who along with Mark is over the moon with excitement about her current album STORYTELLER, their most recent #1 Church Bells and her 4 CMA nominations which include 'Album of The Year', 'Female Vocalist of the Year', 'Music Event of the Year' and Carries first-ever nomination for 'Entertainer of the Year'.

Mark Bright
Mark Bright

Mark accredits his successes to mentors like Joe Galante and Tim Dubois but what makes Mark unique is his willingness to share that which they taught him. And teach him well they did. Bright's meteoric rise from the tape room to the Vice-Presidency of Screen Gems/EMI Music and his two year stint as president & CEO of Word Entertainment, provided Mark with a world of knowledge that only a handful of producers have been privy to.

But Mark's expertise doesn't end there. It's been said that, to be successful in business, one must know how to cut deals and he's obviously mastered that skill, as well. In 1999 Bright co-formed Teracel Music as a joint venture with Sony/ATV, signed Brett James, who landed over 40 cuts in the first year and sold it in 2005 for, the highest multiple ever paid, for a joint venture, at the time, before launching My Good Girl Music, which was later renamed Chatterbox, in another joint venture with Sony/ATV and EMI. Bright currently writes for Delbert's Boy Music.

When asked what he's into these days, Mark's answer was, he's working beside his new wife Jennifer, whom he married April 1st of this year. Also, he is celebrating his 23rd number one single "Church Bells" with Carrie Underwood and the one constant that has propelled the music industry, from day-one...the discovery and development of new talent.

The Producer's Chair: Let's talk about Storyteller. You produced 5 songs, Jay Joyce produced 6 and Zach Crowell produced 2. Is multiple producers on one album, something that is happening more frequently?

Mark Bright: I'll give you my take on this. I think it's a fantastic idea for an artist, particularly an artist that's hugely successful, to expand their creativity by working with different producers. If I were an artist, I would want to see what it would be like with with another producer to see what new direction I could go artistically. Sometimes the process works, sometimes it doesn't. In Carrie Underwood's case it obviously worked very well. Don't get me wrong, I love making whole albums and records but I think working with multiple producers can yield a better final product. I love the songs Jay Joyce produced on this album, his work was just brilliant. Also Zach Crowell did a wonderful job on his two tracks. Our processes are all quite different from each other. That's why I'm so excited about the Storyteller Album.

The Producer's Chair: Did each one of you bring the songs that you produced?

No, these songs are the ones that Carrie chose. That's really what it's all about. publishers and writers are pitching to all of us.. We're all playing songs for Carrie and the team. The bottom line is that these are the songs that she loves and in many cases wrote. The Storyteller album is her vision.

The Producer's Chair: Are artists who don't write, but who are great singers still valid in today's market?

Certainly artists who don't write are still going to have great careers, but it's hard to challenge the validity of a songwriter/artist. More and more artists in our genre need to be informed about the songs they are recording and how those songs relate to their lives. There's a much higher percentage of artists writing or co-writing their albums. This town has always been about the song and the songwriting. The best songs we've ever experienced in the history of country music have happened when two or more writers sit in a room and write a hit. Historically, these were mostly not written by the artist themselves. Culturally and artistically, that has been changing through the last few years for all the right reasons.

The Producer's Chair: What effect do you think streaming is going to have on radio in the future?

Most agree that terrestrial radio will have a finite lifespan. I don't know how long that's going to be. I actively listen to our three prominent country stations, I'm a core listener. Hopefully, our format will hang on to our live programming and our DJ personalities, because it's part of our tradition. However, streaming is here and is clearly changing our listening habits.

The Producer's Chair: YouTube has been openly criticized for hiding behind the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Are there any solutions to that?

Yes, they can start paying a fair rate. That would be a good solution. YouTube wouldn't be YouTube from the musical point of view if it wasn't for creators. You can't skirt around it. It is irrefutable. So pay a fair rate for those songs and for that artistry. We're not asking to become the Donald Trumps of the world. We want to feed our families. That's not too much to ask. Don't you agree?

I wish we didn't even have rate court. Publishers know best how to negotiate rates for their own copyrights. Also, I wish we didn't have to keep enduring out of date and irresponsible Department of Justice rulings. It's absolutely unacceptable.

The Producer's Chair: Who is leading the charge? Is there a body?

Every professional organization that I can think of is doing an excellent job in fighting for our rights. It's absolutely necessary for us as individuals and as creators of music to fight these injustices's with one voice. Sometimes I feel like we have too many ideas and we all have our particular agendas of wrongs that we need righted. I get that, but I'm afraid we're not going to be taken seriously, until we go to the hill with 'ONE VOICE'. Everyone's waiting for that voice to take charge.

The Producer's Chair: Have you ever been approached about starting a label?

As a person who's had the good fortune of owning and operating several successful publishing company's and as a former label head, I am always open to opportunities like that. Maybe I am more open to it now, more than any other time in my career, because I know a lot more than I did 10 years ago. I have a lot more experience in managing different aspects of the business and inspiring people. It's so special when you have the right team to "go up the hill together."

The Producer's Chair: Who have you learned the most from, about songwriting?

I've learned the most by sitting in a room with Hillary Lindsey. Watching her process and understanding it and visualizing an idea the way that she does was a real epiphany for me.

The Producer's Chair: What was the most exciting moment you've ever spent in the studio?

The most exciting moment for me was when we were working on the first Carrie Underwood album "Some Hearts". My engineer, Derek Bason, and myself were flying to different studio's around the west coast to get Carrie's vocal's recorded because the album needed to be completed quickly. She had just won American Idol and was in the middle of touring. It was a grueling schedule for her. I remember, we were at Electrokitty studio in Seattle, and I was thinking we've got a really hard song called "Wasted" that we need to get her to sing. I was worried she might not have enough in the tank because of the grueling touring schedule. But you know, she walked in looking fresh as a daisy. And she just blew us away. The chorus on "Wasted" is really high, but she sang through it without even a hint of fatigue. It was like she could have sung it two steps higher if we had asked her to. We were all sitting there with chill bumps. The girl is THAT good.

The Producer's Chair: What's the best advice that's ever been given to you?

I remember early in my career when I was struggling, someone said, it's important to learn how to "Thrive on rejection". I didn't know what that meant when he said it, but the thought never left me. Along the way I started understanding it what that meant. You're going to get told "No" a whole lot and it can be crippling. When somebody says "You're not good enough" or "You don't have enough talent" learn how to channel it and use it to your advantage. I think that was the best advice ever given to me.

After my initial success with Blackhawk, I had a long dry spell as a producer. I was told that I would never have find success again. I also remember my daddy saying the same thing, because he didn't want me to be in the music business. That made me want to prove him and everybody else wrong. I was able to "channel" that negativity in to working harder than I ever had in my life and the next thing I know, I was working with this new band called Rascal Flatts. I wake up everyday now, knowing that I need to prove myself, because I have something to say with the music and I'm not going to stop until somebody makes me.

Read other Producer's Chair interviews:

The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Dave Brainard

The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Victoria Shaw

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The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Tony Brown

The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Michael Knox

The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Forest Glen Whitehead

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The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Scott Hendricks

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The Producer's Chair by James Rea - Jimmie Lee Sloas

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