This is Conor. John is my Dad. His injuries from the military includes a back that puts him out of commission from time to time. This is one of those times. He's going to be bedridden for two or three weeks so he won't be able to check on requests (he doesn't own a laptop). He'll put a note here as soon as he can. Thanks.
I consider myself a songwriter first (music AND lyrics - always both), then musician, then vocalist. My ability to pass along emotions may be my strongest trait. Unfortunately, my singing voice is not - therefore, in order to get my music to the world, I've made the conscious decision to offer my music and lyrics to people who are far more talented vocally than I.
My method of writing is: music first, then melody then lyrics.
I started writing in college back in the 1980s, where I majored in music. In the military, I used songwriting as therapy to help me deal with severe emotional trauma through the late-80s and 90s, especially when I was stationed overseas. It was there that I began to hone my skills at turning a phrase.
I write good Country and Soft Rock, but if I had to pick one, I'd say my strong suit is writing Ballads. I get emotionally wrapped up when writing a ballad and won't accept less than the EXACT chord progression and the EXACT melody to go with the EXACT phrasing to fit the emotion I am trying to evoke. For example, over the years, I have made a gift of my music to family and close friends for their weddings.
But the idea here is to give YOU the song you want to hear. Tell me what you want - beat, style, emotion and even a specific phrase if there is something you absolutely want to get across and I'll write it the way you want it.
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
- Opening theme for local production of the Broadway hit "California Suite"
- Original songs for the album 'In My Dreams' by The McCoy Creek Band
- Original songs for the album 'Lost In You' by The McCoy Creek Band
- Original songs for the album 'Mosquito-Bite Blues' by The McCoy Creek Band (in production)
- Original songs for the album 'Lucky-Me Sandwich' by The McCoy Creek Band (in production)
- Original songs for the album 'Once In A Blue Moon' by The McCoy Creek Band (in production)
- Original songs for live performances by the band 'Border Line'
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Interview with John Speckine
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The songs I wrote for the band 'Border Line'. I was part of the band and so got to see the responses first-hand. We played these songs in front of crowds from 100 - 21,000 and they always got a great response. Made me feel good. But the best was playing them when we opened for Keith Urban (crowd of over 21,000) and I saw people in the audience singing my songs with me. The fact that they liked them enough to learn at least some of the lyrics made me feel awesome. Coolest thing ever.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I've got the Pop/Rock album "Mosquito-Bite Blues" in production; the Country album "Lucky-Me Sandwich" in production; the Pop/Rock album "Once In A Blue Moon" still in development; and the comedy album "Moose Is A Dork" still in development (name change possibly pending).
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: A couple of mixer/master/production guys: Nate Kohrs, Martin Merenyi, John Kennedy. I've not worked extensively with any of them yet, although there are irons in the fire now, even as I type. They seem like good guys concerned with doing a good job, which is paramount to me. Being a good guy is a major consideration. I can work with good guys.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I suppose playing an acoustic guitar or a basic ol' electric would be considered 'analog'. :)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: If a client doesn't like what I come up with, they don't owe me a cent and I'll refund anything they've paid.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Finishing a song and being able to say: "Wow. That's good!!"
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I'm rich. :)
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: FIrst, the mechanical questions like beat, speed and type of music. Once that is settled, the I would need to explore the person making the request: "What emotion are you going for?" "Do you have anything SPECIFIC you want said?" "How complicated do you want the song to be?" (Couple of verses? Longer?)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Heck, I don't know. I suppose I'd want to make sure the provider was willing to work with me to make sure I got exactly what I wanted. If I'm paying this kind of money, I want it MY way. Additionally, all things being equal, I'd probably lean toward someone who was confident enough in their abilities to guarantee their work.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Holy monkey-eye. Well, I lead a fairly Spartan lifestyle, so I wouldn't need much. While overseas in the USAF, I learned to NOT watch TV, so I wouldn't need one of those. I'd definitely need at least one guitar - acoustic since there's no electricity on a desert island (maybe I could bring a squirrel-powered generator). I'd also need plenty of paper and pens so I could continue to write (sometimes I'm just compelled to write something) and my harmonicas would be nice.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been writing songs for 40 years, but it was never meant to be a profession. I wrote songs as therapy for whatever was making me sad or to express what was making me happy, and it was all just for me and those close to me. I got a kick out of doing it. As far as an actual career path, after college I got married and joined the Air Force. She met someone else and sent me a 'Dear John' letter while I was overseas but I hadn't been a very good husband so I pretty much deserved what I got (talk about needing something to use as therapy). After the AIr Force, I began a career as an Independent IT Consultant and did that until 2007, after which I ran a small hunting and fishing shop until my body couldn't work anymore (Disabled Veteran). I retired in 2013. I continued writing music, but now I want to get that music - some of which I think is pretty good - out to the world where maybe it'll mean something to someone else.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style. Hmmm. I guess, when it's all said and done, I tend to go back to what I grew up with: Pop/Rock of the 60s and 70s. Still, having grown up playing acoustic guitars, I can very easily slide into country music.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd still like to play with George Strait some time. I got to meet him at a concert once and talk to his band and they were great guys. And I can play country music in my sleep. :)
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't settle. If it's not right, it's not right. Put in the time and effort to get it EXACTLY the way you want it.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Just about everything has a country-ish feel to it, even my Pop/Rock. I grew up playing acoustic guitars so you can hear the country boy influence. But I come by it honestly: Mom is from Arkansas and Dad was from Texas.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Expressing emotions. I've made people cry to the point that they asked me to play another song. I've had people laughing to the point of tears of mirth. Between my lyrics and the music I use to help express them, I can bring out the happiness, the loneliness or the pure joy of love.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have experienced a myriad of emotions through my life: I've been happy, heartbroken, lonely, happy again, heartbroken again and lonely again. I have an extensive vocabulary and a commented-upon gift for turning a phrase (it has been suggested to me by many people, because of the way I can tell a story, that I write a book). I also have an off-the-wall sense of humor that I will add to a song if it's appropriate.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Once I know what someone is looking for, I'll start with the music to find the mood. As soon as I find just the right chord progressions, I'll start humming melodies and throwing in a few lyrics here and there until the melody is what I'm looking for, and then I work on the lyrics. My best songs are generally written in 30 minutes or less.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a nice, cozy home-made studio. It's not big, but it has all the room I need for my instruments, amps, mics and desktop computer - which serves as my mixer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The Beatles, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Paul Overstreet, George Strait, America
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I compose songs to match the emotions they wish to express, from happy to sad to comedy.