For a lot of country music songwriters out there, not having walked the red carpet on your way to an American Country Music Awards ceremony when your 66 years old might signal to you that you’ve failed in your endeavors to be a hit songwriter. You’ve taken songwriting classes. You’ve joined songwriting forums. You’re done a whole lot to hone your craft – so, what was it all for? Well, what if you were only getting started?
What if things like serving your nation, raising a family and building a career always came before your love of music, because you were a good, responsible person and could not prioritize songwriting over a sense of duty and crafting a comfortable life for you and your loved ones? If you’re Ben Krahne, then you’re not at this point in your life and lagging behind; rather, you’re just getting started?
You can find Ben out in California, still living as a patriot, still loving his country and his family, and still acting responsibly and putting others before himself, even at 66 years of age. The only difference at this juncture in his life, is that Mr. Krahne has decided that “me time” is now, and he’s been writing some great country music songs recently, and many are drawing huge attention from publishers and from fans of his YouTube channel.
This isn’t getting into a biography of Ben’s life. It’s more to deliver a message: It’s never too late to start writing! If you want to write hit country songs, there’s no time limit, and you don’t have to be a spring chicken. Robert Frost was one of America’s great poets. Did he not write good poetry once past the age of 40, or maybe 50? In fact, it’s the opposite of that. The more life experience Frost gained, the more prolific his writing became. There’s a consensus among critics that his latter poetry was deeper, better constructed and more meaningful.
Songwriting, especially hit country music songwriting, really echoes life like no other genre out there. Say you’re 16 and a songwriter. About what will you be writing? How tasty your school lunch was and how your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you and you are “never, ever, ever” getting back together? That sort of stuff has its place in popular genres, to be sure, but country music is much deeper and much more true to life. It deals in true love and loss and pain; it draws from life experience. In fact, here at Country Radio Hits, we’d venture to say that older songwriters tell better, truer stories, because they have lived these lives.
So if you’re thinking it’s too late, think again!
Lessons to Learn from Ben
As an aspiring songwriter looking to break into the genre and write hit songs for country radio, are there any lessons to take away from an excellent songwriter like Ben Krahne? After all, you’ve never seen his songs go #1 on the Billboard charts, so there are no lessons, right? Don’t be so fast to demand achievement on paper as a symbol of achievement in songwriting. The field is incredibly competitive, and one has to have connections a lot of the time to even be taken seriously. The best way to get noticed is to write great songs. By that standard, one can look over Ben’s YouTube catalog and reach the understanding that the man writes truly great songs.
Do you know how long some songs get played around on indy circuits and exist online before they’re picked up by an artist? Sure, plenty of songs are pitched to publishers and handed to artists. As a songwriter in country music, you may end up doing that a lot. But that’s not the only way. There are countless hits out there right now, that will not be hits for another few years, yet have been in circulation for a while. The lesson you should take away is that you must keep writing good songs, no matter your age. If there’s a song in your heart, let it out. Look to Ben as inspiration.