Industry Feature Friday: Doug Folkins (Songwriter, Performing Artist)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
This week is another big week with another big deal! Doug Folkins! Ultimately, it’s the quality of his songs (and his co-written songs and his own songs) that make him an essential part of the Canadian Country Music scene.
Doug Folkins: Songwriter/Artist, Lynn Gann Music Enterprises (LGME!), Canadian Rep. for Global Songwriters Connection, CCMA, GSC, BCCMA, SOCAN.
Kind of of big deal!!! Thank you for being a part of Studio B this week, Doug!
Doug has always been around music. His grandmother played the piano often, his family had an extensive, diverse record collection he spent a lot of time going through, and his mother really loved music. And all that is what sparked his musical curiosity. In short, after he gained confidence on the guitar, he began writing songs and performing in cover bands and played many pub shows. He explored indie and folk-rock music, and then eventually found country. The rest is kind of history! (Thanks Front Porch Music for that info!)
Doug Folkins may not be a household name (yet!), but this stellar performing songwriter has a very prominent place in the North American music scene and is INCREDIBLY talented! Doug has garnered successful and long-lasting partnerships with several artists and industry across North America.
Crafting one of heck of a catalog of music, Doug (so far) has140+ songs recorded by other artists in Canada and the US including 50+ radio singles, song placements on NBC’s “The Voice”, CNN, Discovery, NatGeo, Animal Planet, History, CTV, Global and OWN networks and has released nine singles and eight CD's to Canadian Country radio as indie artist since 2018. AND A LOT MORE! Like, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
"Doug is a signed writer with Nashville publisher Lynn Gann Music Enterprises. His songs have been recorded by artists in the US and Canada, including radio singles, music videos, and multiple song placements on CNN, OWN, & National Geographic Channel programs. Doug co-writes with many Nashville hit makers and regularly co-writes with recognized Canadian artists: James Barker, Adam Gregory, Ryan Laird, Codie Prevost, Drew Gregory, Chris Buck, Beamer Wigley and The River Town Saints. Doug has also recorded and released 7 indie CDs of his own material and has performed over a thousand shows. Doug is the Canadian Rep. for Global Songwriters Connection as well as an active FACTOR juror." - dougfolkins.com
"Calling Campbell River, British Columbia home for many years now, Doug Folkins moved West from New Brunswick after university to pursue a career in forestry. Folkins has connected to artists in every corner of North America, which has landed him some big wins, including signing as a writer with Nashville publisher, Lynn Gann Music Enterprises. He’s also received a number of nominations as a songwriter with the BCCMA and has over fifty songs that have seen regular radio airplay. Doug’s song “I Can’t Blame Her” won “Best Country Song” at the 2018 Canadian Songwriting Competition." - Front Porch Music + Media
I featured Doug's song, "6 Pack Town" on my One to Watch Wednesday weekly playlist, but I had to get him on to another Studio B platform to put the spotlight on him as the respected and important industry individual he is!
Get to know Doug Folkins here:
Sarah Scott (SS): This is the first time you are being featured on Studio B! SO exciting! It's been awesome sharing your own music in my weekly playlists, but now we get to know you as a songwriter! Since this is your first time with Studio B, please tell us a bit more about yourself and your musical journey!
Doug Folkins (DF): Thanks for having me be part of the Studio B family! I started playing music and writing songs as a teenager at the University of New Brunswick. I was part of an indie punk band in my early days and eventually began recording and releasing my own material in the early 2000s. I started getting really serious about writing songs professionally in 2010 and was very fortunate to have the late Larry Wayne Clark as a mentor for a couple of years before his passing. I also worked with Sheree Spoltore in Nashville and her organization called Global Songwriters Connection where I helped grow my co-writer network and eventually land my publishing deal in 2014 with Lynn Gann Music Enterprises (Nashville).
SS: You are a signed songwriter with a Nashville publisher. Your songs have been recorded by artists in the US and Canada, including radio singles, music videos, and multiple song placements on CNN, OWN, & National Geographic Channel programs. You have 140+ songs recorded by other artists in Canada and the US including 50+ radio singles. You also co-write with many Nashville hit makers and regularly co-write with recognized Canadian artists. While honing your craft and helping others hone theirs, what are you constantly learning as a lyricist?
DF: I am always learning for sure. The one thing that I am working on consistently is building lyrics that have a conversational tone, in that lyrics should be more like dialogue than poetry. The other area to work on is developing images in the lyric so that a listener can picture the music video in their minds just from the words the singer is delivering.
SS: For you, what is your standard and what is the difference between a good or acceptable song to one of a higher standard? Also, how has your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
DF: This is a good question. Two years ago, I started categorizing my songs after each writing session with my own song quality KPIs (key performance indicator). I assign each song as either; Top Shelf, Cuttable or Catalog. For me, a "Top Shelf" song is a song that is competitive with what I hear on mainstream country radio and a song that a record label would be willing to invest in. It takes a lot of investment to make a hit, so the song needs to be "undeniable".
Yes, my style has evolved over time as I have developed my skills and understanding as a writer. I have become more lyric centric over melody overtime. I like to work with co-writers and artists that have strong melody skills to complement my strength with lyrics.
SS: Where, how, when or what was the craziest or weirdest or most unusual way (or place/event) you came up with a song idea?
DF: For me, most of my ideas come from listening. I'm always trying to be conversational with my lyrics, so I often pick up ideas and hooks from dialog in a movie or TV show, or from hearing someone use a turn of phrase or idiom that I find interesting. I have to stop what I'm doing right then and get the hook into my phone. This happened once on a road trip where I had to pull over on the shoulder of a busy freeway and get this idea of my single "Hula Girl On The Dash" into my phone after hearing a DJ talking about the idea of hitting the open road in an Elcomino.
SS: You have been in this industry for several years and have experienced several facets of it! How do you feel TikTok and other social media platforms have impacted the music business and the business of songwriting?
I think it's great! Social Media has upset the apple cart in that there are new ways for artists to find success and connect their music and their message with Fans all over the world. The traditional music industry gatekeepers have had to adapt. The ones that adapt, understand and respect the platforms have been successful. As a writer, we love to have our songs recorded and heard. Since only 4% of all recorded music ever gets played on the radio, it's great to have alternative paths for these songs to find a space. While it is still very difficult to earn any quantifiable revenue from these platforms as a pure songwriter, the model is encouraging and the future looks bright.
Follow along all of Doug's musical journey here:
Facebook: Doug Folkins Music