I read interviews with artists. I study their past albums, I listen to the ‘voices on the street’ who are talking to the label, the artist and the producers. I go to the artist’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages. These sources all have huge amounts of information that can help me learn where the artist’s head is. For instance, I read one time in an interview that Kenny Chesney was ‘burned out’ from finishing up an 18-month tour. He said he was going to go to the islands and ‘regroup’. Knowing all of that helped me write songs that would fit that mindset. I’ve felt burned out. I’ve wanted to just escape from it all before. So, I wrote those kinds of songs for him. Light hearted. Fun. Islandly. I knew some inside information about Kenny’s current head-space and it helped me write for him.
When you write for artists, learn everything you can about them. Their lifestyle. Things they like to sing about or won’t sing about. Their relationship status (if they just got married, they aren’t thinking about breakup songs or cheating songs, etc). Where they grew up. The more you know the better your chances of writing something so perfect for them that people think the artist wrote it. That’s the goal and that’s the ticket to a cut with an artist. If the glove doesn’t fit, they won’t cut-it.