While thousands of country music fans descend upon Nashville this week for CMA Fest, many songwriters will also be traveling through Music City. Today, The Workshop owner Austin Evans offers his tips on the five best places to write a song in Nashville.
By Austin Evans
1. The Workshop
The Workshop is Nashville’s only 24-hour songwriting space. While many other places shut their doors at 5 p.m., this little spot on historic Music Row has songwriters penning hits around the clock. It’s hard to beat the location, which is among industry giants Big Machine, Ole and Liz Rose Music Publishing. Not to mention, it’s just a short walk to Edgehill Cafe for some coffee.
The Workshop has four different writing rooms, each with its own particular vibe. Large enough to comfortably accommodate at least three people, none of the rooms share a wall, which cuts down on distracting outside noise. Two guitars and a full-size keyboard are available if writers aren’t able to bring their own instruments.
The Workshop’s time slots are 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. but if you want to use that 5 o’clock slot or later you’ll have to sign up for a membership. The memberships don’t have a contract, so you can cancel at any time. Writers are also welcome to book a room for a one-time fee of $20. A “first write free” policy is in place so songwriters can come use the location once before they decide if it is for them.
Austin Evans – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (615) 933-1337
2. InDo Nashville
InDo Nashville is one of the premier co-working spaces in the city. While the focus here is more than just songwriters, they still offer a special Songwriting Membership. InDo is located in the heart of downtown Nashville. These writing rooms are comfortable, warm and inviting. Since InDo is primarily a co-working space, it one of the quieter places in town to write.
InDo books its writing session in two 3-hour blocks from Monday-Friday with the first session starting at 10 a.m. and the second starting at 2 p.m. Some of the amenities include a friendly concierge, coffee/tea/water service, high-speed Wi-Fi and community & networking events throughout the year.
Writers coming from out of town can book one-time writes for $20.
John Richardson – email@example.com
Phone: (615) 656-0077
NSAI, or the Nashville Songwriting Association International, is one of the biggest players in the songwriting world. They have chapters all over the world so if you need a place to write outside of Nashville, research to see if there’s a group near you. While NSAI’s main focus is on education and legislation, the headquarters in Nashville has several writing rooms available as well.
The rooms here are cozy and most come with a keyboard for piano players. Also located off Music Row, NSAI sits next to some of the largest publishing and management companies in the industry. While they don’t let non-members reserve rooms, membership here comes with several perks beyond the writing rooms. NSAI holds weekly seminars, pitch-to-publisher meetings, and the opportunity to attend the world-renowned NSAIs Song Camp.
To book a room here, members should call the front desk to reserve a day and time.
Phone: (800) 321-6008
4. The Nashville Public Library
Believe it or not, the library has writer rooms available as well. There are four separate spaces here with names like the Eskind Writer’s Room, Schweid/Mills Writer’s Room, Jack Knox Writer’s Room and the Fred Russell & Robert Churchill Sr. Writer’s Room.
Writing rooms at the library are free to use but there is an application process to access them. According to the library’s website:
“Usage of a Writer’s Room is restricted to persons who have a signed publisher’s contract, are underwritten by a third party, have been formerly published (with evidence of previous publication), who have a letter of interest from a publisher, journalists possessing valid press credentials, visiting scholars and academicians (current and retired).”
If you’re brand new in town you might not qualify, but if you fit the requirements this is one of the best options in town. It also comes with complimentary parking just a few blocks down from Lower Broadway and some of the best live music in the world.
Jennifer Schmid – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (615) 862-5800
5. Performance Rights Organization (PRO)
Whether you are affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC, each of these has a headquarters in Nashville with writer rooms available. The rooms are stylish and comfortable with plenty of space to stretch out. Like NSAI, booking these writer rooms is completely free for members.
The only trouble you might run into is the sheer number of members these organizations have, so if you have a day that you absolutely need a room, make sure to book it well in advance. Membership to all three is free, although you have to be invited to join SESAC. To join BMI or ASCAP, simply sign up on the company’s website.
Phone: (615) 742-5000
Phone: (615) 401-2000