Larry Vannatta has been writing songs for over 25 years. He began his first band in the 90s, “Straight, Clean and Simple.” Around the same time, his music was introduced into the European Country Music Market, which proved to be successful, as he was kept busy touring. He also garnered back-to-back Juno nominations. And the next part of his journey may be what encourages you most, Larry took pause. He stopped to “raise a wonderful family.” Some of you may have had to take pause, but a pause is not an ending! He recently returned to his love of songwriting and performing original music and released his new 2011/12 album, “Working Class Man.” Upon his return, he won “Songwriter of the Year” from the European Country Music Association, and he’s been nominated for Male Artist of the Year by the Alberta Country Music Association. Not bad for someone whose only recently gotten back into music. We asked him to share his knowledge and experience of the European country music scene.
In Larry’s Words…
The European Country Market is very different than our commercial Canadian country radio format; it would be closer to our college market playing different genres of music on the same radio station. Radio programmers have their own shows and select the artists and the music they want to play. There are a lot of radio programmers in many countries across Europe, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, giving many artists an opportunity to be presented on their shows. One thing I have found with playlist reports is you can be added to a music directors program alongside big names like Brad Paisley, Zac Brown, and George Strait. A well written song, is well written no matter who wrote or performs it. That said, you still need to have:
- professionally recorded music,
- good vocals,
- well crafted songs, and
- radio promotions to represent your music.
I have been very fortunate to be working with Ross Allen the owner of Hillcrest Music Canada and his Radio Marketing Co. Ross is a singer, songwriter, producer, and recording artist who has gained the respect of recording artists and country radio stations programmers throughout the world. I have the up most respect for Ross and as he has helped me though the years giving me honest critical advice. If anybody knows the European Country Market Ross does and has proved it by getting my songs in the top European Country charts and helping me get awards in the European Country Music Market.
The European market for country music has opened many doors for me and has helped me better craft my song writing skills and provide a top quality product. I have gained many contacts and friendships throughout the European market with music directors, musicians, labels, and peers. Music directors are more accessible on the internet than they have ever been before. I was just recently chatting on Facebook with a programmer from Netherlands who remembers when I released my first single in Europe 1991. Wow he knew more about me then I knew about myself. With the exposure I have gained, promotions and success though radio singles across Europe, I highly recommend it. If you’re a songwriter looking to get your music exposed by yourself or other artists, it’s a great learning curve and understanding of the music world, learn your craft, select only the songs that fit the specific market place and professionally get them recorded.