Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Luke Laird visited his alma mater Wednesday to share the keys to a successful career in the music industry.
Laird, who has written with music heavyweights such as Carrie Underwood, Ne-Yo and Kacey Musgraves, insists that a love for music and a diverse attitude are necessary in the music industry.
“I would like to be seen as someone who doesn’t just do one sound,” Laird said. “I look at them [each artist] all differently because I don’t want to just seem like I only do one sound, or that I’m trying to out my stamp on every artist. I want them to have their own thing, and hopefully I can help.”
Throughout his 12-year career, Laird has expanded from a songwriter to a producer and publisher. In 2011, Laird and his wife founded their own music publishing and management company, Creative Nation.
Laird discussed the need for a wide variety of skills in the industry as well.
“Going forward in the music business, the more diverse you are and the wider range of skills that you have, you stand a better chance to succeed. You need to be a producer on some things, and more of a songwriter on others. Obviously if you have more skills, you’ll get more calls to work on different things,” he said.
Laird’s success has been rewarded by an array of awards and honors, but he will never forget the first time he viewed himself as a professional.
“Each milestone has probably been equal, except I think the first time I got signed might be the biggest still … I remember sitting and reading publishing magazines and thinking that surely one of the tiny [companies] would sign me … when I finally got that first deal, I remember thinking, ‘Thank you, God. I am getting paid to wake-up and go write a song,’” he said.
Laird capped his visit with sharing keys to success.
“To do well, I guess you need to just be laid back,” he said. “When you meet a new artist or a new co-writer, just be yourself … It’s really important to make them just feel comfortable. Don’t write over the artist … It’s big to practice writing. Writing by myself makes me a better co-writer … I guess the big thing is to really love music. If you love music, you’ll be able to practice and be in the music industry, even if it’s not doing what you thought you were going to do,” he said.