This to may professionals sounds like the new hit writer was just lucky – in best case – that he managed to write one hit.
Now here’s a few things that “big successful songwriter” did not know about me when he made such comment. I’d been knocking on that door for a really long time before this one song becomes a hit. I’d put in my time writing a lot of songs: 750 at that point! Having been raised by a family that believed in hard work, I worked harder than he could imagine becoming a better writer. When that door finally opened, I was able to take advantage of the new opportunities coming my way. I could sit in a room with major artists and write songs worthy of being on their new albums. I could write new songs worthy of hitting the top of the charts. Now, I didn’t write a great song every day, but I was ready for the gig. I once heard a Hall of Fame writer say, “Great writers write great songs.”
The point of bringing up this story is to remind everyone, including myself, that the chance for success might come in our life at any moment, but how ready are we for that? If now you got a cut from the song you had sent for example to Sam Smith, what do you have for presenting to them next? Sometimes we, as humans, focus so much on success that we forget we have to maintain that success after we achieve it, and that maintenance is way harder than achieving the success in the first place. Dr Dre has a famous saying “Making a debut hit album is not that hard but keeping up with the albums after that is where many artists fail” or something with the same meaning. The more I think about what he said, the more I realize this man knows the industry better than anyone else. And this is not implying only on artists and their albums, but it’s also the same story for the writers.
Bottom line is develop your catalogue. Make it biggest you can and fill it with as many as possible songs with potential of being a hit for each of them. You never know when that door will open, but one thing you know for sure is that when it opens, you don’t want to miss any single chance.