About Barbara L. Jordan

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Barbara Jordan is the founder of Heavy Hitters Music, a publishing company which provides independent songwriting talent to the film, television and advertising industries. Barbara’s songs have graced the soundtracks of hundreds of television shows and feature films, including such productions as The Sopranos, C.S.I, The Good Wife, and Analyze This. (Barbara’s film and tv credits at IMDB)

Barbara has also worked as an independent music supervisor on feature films, is the author of a popular songwriting book “Songwriters Playground, Innovative Exercises in Creative Songwriting”, and has taught Advanced Songwriting and Lyric Writing at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

She recently created the Soapsongs record label and Soapsongs.com website to provide daytime soap opera fans with CDs and downloadable music played on a variety of network television soap operas, including The Young and The Restless, for which her company won an Emmy for “Best Original Song for a Daytime Drama”.

[Barbara L. Jordan with husband John M. Sansone at the 2005 Emmy Awards]

 

 

 

My Story

I’m someone who lost my way and found it back through songwriting.

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A long time ago in the late Fifties, I grew up in Boston with talented mother and a World War II vet dad who never really got his career off the ground. My grandparents (Ukrainian immigrants from the town of Vilna) lived next door. I thought I was a happy kid, and didn’t have a care in the world. Until my father died and everything changed.

Mom remarried a rabbi (the local matchmaker found him for her!) and off we moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Our new house had a bunch of furniture in it, and suddenly I inherited a pretty spinet piano (I’d only played a piano once in my life up to that point – at my friend’s house who’s father was in jail. It felt like a “secret thrill” to be playing a criminal’s piano while he was in exile). That piano was a Siren Song, beckoning me to create my own new world.

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I was hooked. My mother insisted on giving me piano lessons, but all I wanted to do was compose the kind of music I heard on the classical records my parents played constantly in our house. From age 8 on, I wrote Chopin-esque fantasias and preludes that brought me the kind of ecstasy my middle class life in New Bedford, Massachusetts did not. Music was my beautiful, solitary escape.

It wasn’t until high school that someone (outside of my parents) heard me writing in the practice rooms and opened the door to my career. My high school music teacher, a brilliant Haitian musicologist, burst into the room shouting “You are a genius! I didn’t know you wrote music. I must send you to the Director of New England Conservatory to be listened to!”

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She offered me a full scholarship, which I rejected because in some crazy corner of my mind, I thought a music career was impractical. I continued on to Clark University and tried to avoid music, but it was impossible. I majored in music and wrote feverishly for the four years I was there. I still thought a career writing music was outlandish. Who does that? No one in my family ever did. My dad was an amateur singer-guitarist who entertained war veterans, but he made display showcases for a living. My mother was a frustrated actress, but she did at least encourage me to go for my dreams. I didn’t. Until…

I was living in a loft in New York City and my next door neighbor heard me writing music on my piano. Her brother was in Billy Idol’s band and he “dared” me to try and write a pop song. I knew nothing of pop music! I thought it would be a cinch, though, because after writing classical music, how difficult could a simple song be?

I wrote a dreadful song, and no one liked it. But I couldn’t let the challenge go. I wanted to master this pop songwriting thing. So I enrolled in Lou Stallman’s (hit writer) songwriting class at the Songwriters Guild of America, and …. The rest is history.

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I quickly advanced to professional songwriter. I wrote with hit writers and got a contract with Warner Chapell Publishing. My husband and I moved to Los Angeles, and soon after I began writing for movies and television. When I couldn’t fulfill all the requests coming from film directors, producers, music supervisors and editors, I became a publisher and found talented writers whose songs were sitting around collecting dust.

I created Heavy Hitters Music Publishing and became one of the first established boutique music publishers to the film and television industry. We were the primary suppliers of music to The Sopranos, daytime television, and film. I trained writers to create the kinds of songs that would SELL.

When the inevitable disability that most writers suffer (WRITERS BLOCK) appeared, I invited songwriters to my home where I conducted a “playshop” filled with outlandish creativity-enhancing exercises and assigned everyone to write a song a week. Our writing grew by leaps and bounds, and when word got out, the National Academy of Songwriters begged me to bring this phenomenon to its headquarters and teach an ongoing workshop there.

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It was a huge success, but soon the requests to do workshops internationally stressed me out and I knew it was time to write a book embodying the workshops. The reviews were incredible. Songwriters Playground: Innovative Exercises in Creative Songwriting took off.

I also became a music supervisor, created an independent record company, taught at Berklee College of Music, and won an Emmy for Heavy Hitters.

I handed over my publishing business in 2007 to an industry veteran, bought a house on the ocean in Maine, and contemplated my navel for a while. Once I recharged, I began donating my music consulting skills to charitable organizations and am now offering my wisdom to those who need a coach. We ALL need a coach. If I’d had someone like me to go to for advice when I started out, I might have shaved 10 years off my arduous hike up that mountain called the Music Industry.

That’s who I am. And Barbara L. Jordan is here for YOU now. Because no matter how excellent your songwriting training has been, no matter how much drive you have and how much networking you do, you can’t sustain your performance in this business without a coach. The best professional athletes know that. It most definitely applies to songwriters as well.

I LOVE helping writers get where they want to go. SO GET IN TOUCH . I’m saying it like Bill Withers sang in his classic tune “Use Me”:

I want to spread the news: that if it feels this good getting used, you just keep on using me until you use me up…until you use me up.

Writer(s): Chad L. Butler, Bill Withers
Copyright: Avant-garde-music Publishing Inc., Interior Music Corp., Pronto Music

 

 More

 

 

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Barbara with Paul Antonelli, music supervisor

PetePeterkin

Barbara with William “Pete” Peterkin,singer, actor, songwriter

and collaborators

 

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Barbara with Sara Haze and friend
Kassie
Barbara with Kassie DePaiva, singer and actress

 

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Barbara with Melissa Archer, actress

Ilene

Barbara with Ilene Kristen, singer and actress

 

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Barbara with Brad Hatfield, pianist with Boston Pops

OLTLwinners

Barbara with music supervisors Paul S. Glass, General Hospital,

and Daniel S. Krausz, One Life to Live

More Quotes

 

Barbara Jordan has been a inspiration to me since I first arrived in New York to become a songwriter. She showed me what it meant to be a professional songwriter, a music publisher, and a music educator, just as she’s helped so many other musicians, lyricists, composers to find their creative path in this industry. Her exacting standards, her work ethic, and her passion for nurturing creativity are a constant throughout her wide and varied career, from her work as a songwriter, to her entrepreneurial success with Heavy Hitters, to her continuing commitment to music education. She’s still inspiring me– along with a whole new generation of songwriters and publishers.

Eric Beall, Vice-President of A&R, Shapiro Bernstein, Author, and Educator.

 

Barbara is a business maven who understands the art from an artists perspective. Practical, actionable insight into how to take your game to the next level. She helped me get my songs produced, pitched, placed, and paid. I was skeptical at first. After 1 month under her guidance, I was getting my songs placed on network television shows. We ended up working together for over 10 years.

Matt Sinrod, songwriter and producer

 

Barbara Jordan literally changed my life. From being a jazz composer and a seasoned session musician, Barbara showed me how to work with directors and music supervisors to write and produce music that WORKED. The lessons I learned while working with her as a composer/songwriter for her company garnered me an Emmy as well as numerous other opportunities in both the field of songwriting for Film/TV.

I have subsequently become an educator in some of the most respected schools in higher learning, and many of the courses I have developed were a result of what I learned while working with Barbara.

Barbara has a talent for discovering and nurturing collaborative relationships that help all of the involved parties benefit from the partnership, and continue learning at the same time! She is a deep resource in both the “business” and the “art” of songwriting.

Brad Hatfield, Boston Pops Orchestra pianist and Emmy Award winning television and film composer (wiki)

 

Barbara is definitely my biggest mentor as songwriter. When I moved to LA after spending most of my life in the midwest, she was someone who was always there for me, encouraging me through my formative songwriting years. Her critiques of my songs were always very helpful to me and they led me to learn how to truly craft songs and music that were suited for TV and Film. Barbara always inspired me and gave me fuel to keep honing my craft, in times when I feared my music wouldn’t make the cut. Under her tutelage, I became a very successful writer. She presented opportunities for me to collaborate with other writers, and taught me how to have fun creating songs, while learning the business of music at the same time. I now own a music catalog that is highly successful around the world and I thank Barbara for being so instrumental in my career.

Lindsay Tomasic, Datolite Records

 

Years ago when I’d just moved to New York from Russia, I went to a conference called Music and Technology, and Barbara was one of the guest speakers along with Ray Kurzweil and Derek Sivers of CD baby At the end of her awesome lecture, Barbara asked for demos from any composer who was in the audience, and guess who had one! In about 5 weeks the phone rang. Since then my music has been featured on about half of the TV shows that I have ever heard of. Not only did Barbara place my music, but we had tons of very helpful conversations about how to make a living as a musician, and what and how to write and record songs. Her ear is impeccable, and her knowledge of the business and art of music is a rare commodity these days. For years she was a good friend, a caring and loving mentor and someone I could go to with any questions, musical or personal. Barbara knows the music business inside out and anything she is willing to share is priceless. Half of my resume was built because I was fortunate enough to be in the same room with her on that day in New York.

Misha Stefanuk, Resident Composer and Musical Director of The New Opera Company

 

Barbara Jordan was the first film and television publisher I worked with. Her energy and enthusiasm moved me right away. I had always worked on record production and artist development and I quickly learned that the process was different for writing themes that supported specific scenes or visual cues. Our work was placed very quickly and I was hooked! Barbara would follow through and call me on the phone with new opportunities very frequently and I would always make time to send music in for them. It was a very rewarding experience, the license fees and royalty checks from ASCAP her placements were great too. Barbara has a great business sense, and being a talented songwriter herself, makes her an effective communicator with both the artist and client. She has been a mentor to me since we started working together. I’ve learned a lot from her about what works and what doesn’t in the film & television medium.

Dow Brain, keyboard artist and Top Ten hit writer, LFO, Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block, Walter Beasley, Eden’s Crush (wiki)

 

Working with Barbara Jordan was a turning point in my songwriting and recording career. She took me under her wing with a great deal of care and encouragement and introduced me to Emmy winning Songwriters and Producers on her artist roster. With her savvy and accomplished business skills, I was able to have my music played on National/International Television and to create a vocal presence on the daytime soap operas.
Barbara Jordan is so easy to work with and her enthusiasm for the artistic process in music makes my work not only productive, it is enjoyable.
Barbara’s direction with collaborations in my writing resulted in two of my released albums called. “Colors of Life” and “When Love Calls”. With her, my musical opportunities were elevated to new heights. Barbara Jordan has been my mentor and supporter for over a decade and I strongly encourage others to work with this experienced, wonderful songwriter, who knows the business and has the heart to help others accomplish their creative goals.

Agona Hardison, recording artist

 

Barbara Jordan has proven that she has the necessary ingredients to succeed in the music business – the sensitivity of a poet and the skin of a crocodile. While she was at Berklee, she also proved she could teach and inspire students.

Jack Perricone, Chair Emeritus, Songwriting, Berklee College of Music, songwriter, Jackson Five, Lou Rawls, Angela Bofil

 

I heard melodies in my head but had no sense of lyrical direction. Barbara helped flush out the melodies onto paper, melodies into songs, & ultimately completed songs that told stories for the world stage to hear. I attribute all the success I have experienced as a songwriter to her gentle hand, unwavering support and encouragement.

Dwight Crum, songwriter, Soul Food and The Brotherhood, The Young and The Restless

 

I’ve known Barbara Jordan for over 20 years. When I decided I was going to get serious about writing songs, I was lucky enough to be introduced to her by friends in the business out in LA.

Barbara has been a mentor a teacher, a coach and a dear friend.. I owe her so much it would be difficult to summarize it all in such few words. We worked together for many years during which time

she placed my work in many different Broadcast and Cable TV programs.. I have immense respect for her talent and her abilities. Thank you Barbara for helping me to refine my craft. I am forever in your debt.

Joe Refano, recording artist and producer, Media Mechanix and the Liverpool Shuffle

 

Barbara Jordan has a deep knowledge of what it takes to make a song marketable for the masses. Regardless of musical genre her years of experience and know-how make her an excellent resource for those looking to improve their skills as a composer and songwriter. She was an integral part of my development as a writer and I still implement her tips and advice on a daily basis.

Jeff Meegan, Songwriter/Composer

Barbara Jordan is the composer’s “dream” publisher.

The level of success I’ve achieved as a composer with her as one of my publishers was due to her willingness to believe, love, and trust in me as a musician. Most publishers feel the necessity to analyze and critique every piece a composer submits to justify their existence. Barbara was careful to critique only when she believed in her heart it was warranted. It was based upon her expertise and experience to ensure a piece would pass through the music supervisor, or whoever would make the final decision to use the piece of music or not.

Most publishers gravitate to the response “pass” when a composer submits a composition for a project. Barbara mostly gravitated to “I like it, I’ll submit it”.

At the end of the day, I’ve gotten HUNDREDS of placements with Barbara as my publisher. All those who say “pass”, that’s exactly what it means…. no placement. Barbara has had the most courage, savvy, and honest musical ear to say “yes” most often. Because of that, I’ve had the most success with her. In case there’s any question whether the material she placed of mine diminished the quality or integrity of the product because of her upbeat inclination to endorse it as opposed to passing on it….the material I wrote is GREAT!!!!!!!

And….. Barbara Jordan is a really nice person, and on a personal level she made me feel comfortable at all times and established a relaxing foundation upon which I greatly enjoyed creating good music.

Barbara Jordan is an entity that any musician should be so lucky to associate themselves with.

Terry Silverlight, musican, drummer CSI, NCIS, The Sopranos, Burn Notice (wiki)

Barbara Jordan’s “Songwriter’s Playground” is a must have resource for all songwriters, be they novice or professionals. Many times, in the midst of writer’s block, I have referenced some of her most basic exercises, and voila… inspiration. A talented music supervisor, and songwriter, Barbara knows what makes a well crafted song great… and her book offers writer the tools to do just that.

Marjorie Maye, multi-platinum songwriter, Celine Dion, Destiny’s Child, KeSha, and X-factor and Ido

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