A bit of Music City has come to the Upstate in the past couple of months, but it’s not courtesy of a new album or concert. Instead, local singer, songwriter and educator Lindsay Brazell has launched the first South Carolina chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) right here in Greenville.
Established in 1967, the NSAI is dedicated to protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music. The association is open to writers from all genres of music, with the mission of educating, elevating and celebrating the songwriter.
“It’s an organization that educates songwriters, provides support and opportunities,” Brazell says. “It basically gives you tools to become a better songwriter.”
Brazell, who’s been playing guitar and writing songs since she was in the eighth grade, first discovered the NSAI back in 2016 on a family trip to Nashville.
“One of the goals for my chapter is to eventually start hosting our own events,” she says.
“We did all the touristy things,” she says. “We went to the Bluebird Café [a beloved Nashville music venue that first opened in 1982], and that’s where they told us about the NSAI. They said anybody can be a member, from a hobbyist up to someone making big money writing songs. So when we got back to the hotel, I joined.”
Brazell says she joined because the NSAI offered both songwriting feedback from professionals and behind-the-scenes education.
“They have a lot of resources,” she says. “They have a mini-course you can complete online about the music industry; it teaches you about split deals if you’re a co-writer, and about whether the publishers get a certain percentage. And with your membership, you get 12 ‘song-feedback’ credits, so you can submit a song and a professional songwriter listens to it and provides feedback on ways to make it better.”
Brazell decided to start her own chapter after moving from Charleston, South Carolina, to Greenville in 2017.
“We really want you to hear our stories and our songs.”
“I noticed that there were no chapters in South Carolina,” she says. “When I came to Greenville in 2017, I started playing a lot more gigs, and I started meeting a whole lot of other songwriters. And I wished there was a community and more opportunities for songwriters to share their songs and stories. So I started the chapter to meet more songwriters and so that we can maybe create some opportunities for ourselves.”
So far, local songwriters Trey Duncan, Cameron Shaw and Ray Turner have joined Brazell’s chapter, and she’s been able to bring in interested artists from the Southeast region in general.
“We actually can’t even meet in person yet, because the NSAI isn’t allowing chapters to meet in person for COVID reasons,” she says. “So we’ve been doing everything virtually. But that’s been kind of neat because we’ve been able to reach people in Spartanburg or Clemson. We even adopted a lady from North Carolina because her nearest chapter fizzled out.”
Brazell says that her ultimate goal is to make the Upstate songwriting community stronger.
“One of the goals for my chapter is to eventually start hosting our own events,” she says. “We really want you to hear our stories and our songs.”
For info on how to join the Greenville chapter of the NSAI, visit https://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/greenville-sc-0