Brad Paisley and Chris DuBois Share Career Insights with Students

Mike Keefe-Feldman
March 16, 2016
Brad Paisley with Berklee students
Brad Paisley (left) and Chris DuBois (right)
Students ask questions of Brad Paisley
Students listen to Paisley and DuBois at Warner Music Nashville
Hit country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley poses with Berklee students after a clinic at Warner Music Nashville on Sunday, March 13, 2016.
Paisley and frequent co-writer Chris DuBois discuss the publishing company they co-own, Sea Gale Music, as well as songwriting and breaking into the industry.
Paisley, who is in the midst of recording a new album, meets with students after the clinic.
Paisley emphasizes the importance of using one’s reach as a songwriter to say something meaningful. “I don’t want to be a preacher about issues, but when you have people’s attention, it would be really sad to” waste that opportunity, Paisley said.
Mike Keefe-Feldman
Mike Keefe-Feldman
Mike Keefe-Feldman
Mike Keefe-Feldman

Berklee students spending their spring break learning about Nashville’s music industry met with hit country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley and Chris DuBois, his frequent songwriting collaborator and partner in the duo’s independent publishing company, Sea Gale Music. Inside Warner Music Nashville, Paisley and DuBois encouraged the students to settle for nothing less than greatness in their work.

On songwriting, Paisley noted that, as painful as criticism of one’s work can be, it is imperative for improving one’s craft.

“When someone says they don’t like your song, they’re right,” Paisley said, citing country songwriter Harlan Howard’s tip that “your first 200 [songs] don’t count.”

DuBois said that, as one is coming into the industry in an entry-level position, it’s important not to wear one’s heart on their sleeve.

“You don’t lead with, ‘I’m Brad Paisley and I want to be a star,’” Paisley said. “Whoever is serving you coffee has aspirations beyond serving coffee. Your Uber driver is a songwriter, and probably pretty good at it, so what do you do?”

DuBois encouraged the students to pursue internships within the industry, which he said would ultimately be as valuable to them as their degree. He noted that his company, which was ASCAP’s publisher of the year in 2010 and 2011, recently signed an intern to a publishing deal, and has previously hired Berklee interns.

In addition to sharing advice with the appreciative crowd of Berklee students, Paisley played several of songs for them, including “Ticks,” “Mud on the Tires,” and “High Life.”

Watch a video for Brad Paisley's "Country Nation" here:

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