VIDEO FEATURE & WEB-EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Artist: MINDY SMITH
Song: “Starting Over Again”
Songwriters: Mindy Smith & Cliff Goldmacher
Producer: Cliff Goldmacher
Animation: Paul and Sandra Fierlinger
Mmusicmag.com has the exclusive online world premiere of the new video, “Starting Over Again.” This is the third song Mindy Smith has contributed to the Shelter Me project. AllMusic.com describes Smith as a singer-songwriter who “blends big-city intelligence and sophistication with the clear and honest passion of classic country and folk performers.” She has also contributed the show’s theme song “Shelter Me” and the curation of the compilation cd Songs for Shelter Me in connection with TVX Records and Tone Tree Music.
Shelter Me, created and produced by Steven Latham, is an inspiring series that celebrates the human-animal bond with uplifting stories about shelter pets and the people who help them.
“Starting Over Again” is featured in Episode 6 of Shelter Me and tells the story about a dog that finds a new life after being given up at a shelter. This episode, “Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws,” is hosted by Kristen Bell and it features award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell, creator of the popular Mutts comic strip. The entire series can be watched for free at ShelterMe.tv.
The new episode is airing on PBS. “Shelter Me: Community Matters” is hosted by Jane Goodall and features a story about American shelter dogs that protect elephants and rhinos in Africa, a segment about kids that comfort shelter pets by reading to them, and a high school cross-country team that runs with shelter dogs. More information can be found at Facebook.com/ShelterMeTV
“Starting Over Again” was written by Mindy Smith and Cliff Goldmacher—who has been in the music business for over twenty-five years. He is a songwriter, music producer and educator. In his years of songwriting, Goldmacher has built an extensive catalog of songs. He’s worked as a staff songwriter for a Nashville publisher and his songs have been cut by major label artists across genres—from country, pop and jazz to classical crossover. His songwriting collaborators include Grammy-winning artist Keb’ Mo’, multi-platinum selling artists Ke$ha, Lisa Loeb, Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.
Goldmacher’s music has been used on NPR’s This American Life and in national advertising campaigns. His co-write with artist Spencer Day, “Till You Come To Me,” went to #1 on the jazz charts.
We talked with Cliff Goldmacher about his approach to songwriting, his musical influences and his unique creative process.
CLIFF GOLDMACHER Web-Exclusive Interview
with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David
How did the idea of “Starting Over Again” come to you?
When I write with Mindy [Smith], I’ll usually write a simple piano part ahead of time that Mindy can sing/improvise to melodically. Her sense of melody is just so unique and beautiful that all it takes is a musical bed to get her going. Then based on what she’s singing, we’ll start to put lyrics to the melody together.
What is your creative process for writing songs?
It differs from collaboration to collaboration. When I write with Americana, Folk or Country artists, I’m involved in all aspects—instrumental, production and lyrics. But, for example, with Jazz, since I’m not a trained jazz musician, I’m primarily a lyricist.
What songwriting tip would you like to offer?
Trust your instincts. There’s a tendency to squeeze too hard or overthink your songwriting. If you’ve put in your time, why not give yourself the benefit of the doubt and go with your gut.
How has co-writing changed your music?
It’s the single most important decision I could have made as a songwriter. My entire songwriting existence these days is based on sitting down with artists and helping them write songs for their projects. If I hadn’t learned to be an effective co-writer in Nashville by writing many hundreds of songs with other aspiring songwriters, I wouldn’t have learned my craft in a way that allows me to do what I’m doing today.
How do you keep song ideas fresh?
I think the key is that I’m constantly writing with new people who bring a different approach to songs and songwriting. It’s their perspectives that keep my writing/ideas fresh.
Top 5 Musicians or Songwriters who inspired you to become a musician?
Billy Joel, Elton John, James Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Cole Porter
Instruments/equipment you can’t live without—that helps you write, record or perform?
My laptop. Even though I still get up and use a fountain pen to write in a leather bound journal, I do all of my actual songwriting on my laptop—where I also have Pro Tools and a few other pieces of software open during every writing session. The computer just makes everything so much quicker and easier—which means things stay musical and don’t get bogged down.
Universal Audio Apollo system. I have multiple units for my studios and my travel rig. I love the way they’ve designed everything to use “old school” emulations of great studio gear, and the way you can actually track through them and avoid latency. It has changed everything in my engineering and production world.
Why are these so essential to you?
So much of the work I do is based on a very limited amount of time to write and record with a given artist. The easier it is to get going and sustain the creativity, the better. The best example I can give you is the song from this video “Starting Over Again”—it was fully written and recorded in around three hours.
Tell us about your latest project, and the inspiration behind it.
Mindy Smith and I are currently inching our way towards a project together. We were introduced by a mutual friend/music publisher, and we just hit it off. We’ve written six or seven songs so far, and I’ve really been enjoying the journey. Mindy’s the real deal.
For someone discovering your music, which album will give valued perspective about your music?
One of the projects I’d suggest is the Heather Rigdon 2007 album, Young & Naïve. I wrote a good number of the songs with Heather, and the rest with some close friends/collaborators. It was the first jazz project I co-wrote and produced, and I’m still proud of the work we did.
How has living in California/Nashville/New York influenced your music?
The nicest part of having spent time in all three of the big music cities is that I’ve been exposed to different approaches to songwriting and music. It’s helped me write comfortably across multiple genres. I’ve even written an article on the differences in songwriting between Nashville and NYC.
What are your Top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Jazz Samba (1962) – Stan Getz
Living With the Law (1991) – Chris Whitley
Steady On (1989) – Shawn Colvin
Joshua Judges Ruth (1992) – Lyle Lovett
Time Out (1959) – Dave Brubeck
What’s next for you as a songwriter and/or producer?
These days I’m writing with a few different artists for their projects. I’m also in the process of putting together a new website and teaching courses on songwriting and the music business for Lynda.com
For more info, check out: