The songwriters at Dallas Davidson’s Nashville publishing upstart, Play It Again Music Publishing, have been given the mission and the luxury to be creative.
“We feel like we’re all a family here and we’re all after the same goal, and that goal is to make an impact on music,” said Davidson, the hit songwriter and Play It Again’s president and CEO. “We don’t have fences around this company. I don’t care if they write a rap song, a pop song or a country song. This is all about music at Play It Again. We’re not focused on one certain genre. I want our writers to feel as creative as they can.”
Davidson decided to form Play It Again with close friend and business partner Marshall to give new writers the same opportunities he got when he moved to Nashville. Davidson has had more than 250 cuts recorded by country superstars Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and many others with nearly 30 Top 10 hits. He expects his company to have a similar track record.
Rose is a singer-songwriter and producer who got her start in Nashville as a performer and is additionally focusing on writing and producing music for other artists. Phillips has found the time to write several recorded cuts despite holding down a notable day job in the industry. Kolb is taking a more active writing role after years of being known as one of Music Row’s go-to engineers. Fishman brings a background in several different genres to Play It Again where he creates tracks along with his writing contributions. And most recently, Landon brings his writing and performing talent to the Play It Again team.
“We put a lot of thought into how each writer was going to come together to round out this group,” Marshall said. “I think of it as a band because everybody’s got his or her own piece to really make it what it is. With co-writes, it’s like setting up my own all-star band. In a sense that’s what I get to do every day.’”
Davidson is excited about the cross-pollination possibilities as he teams writers with different strengths to create songs that might have once been out of their comfort zones.
“Maggie Rose has gotten several cuts, including a Selena Gomez cut, and we’ve really just cut the ribbon, so to speak,” Davidson said. “So she’s already making an impact. Brian Kolb I’ve known for 11 years. Everybody knows Brian as an engineer and a producer. Well, I know him as a writer. He was my first writing partner when I moved to Nashville, so it only makes sense to sign Brian. It’s time for him to be on the map as a writer where he deserves to be. Houston is Tyler Farr’s tour manager and Tyler called me about Houston and told me about all the great songs he was writing. Kyle coming from L.A. was a fish out of water. He was into country music and what he wanted to do didn’t really fit with the stuff going on out there. He can do anything, but his forte is country. The first song I wrote with Kyle is about to be cut by a major label artist. I can’t say what it is yet, but Kyle is just a natural fit here. He brings a little bit of swagger with his style of doing his tracks, and it’s so fun to write with them.”
The company also will include Creative Director and primary song plugger Hannah Montgomery and Chief Financial Officer Megan Pool.
Davidson, whose songwriting rights remain with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, sees himself as something of a mentor to the group, but has quickly realized he’s mostly cheerleading because the results have come so quickly.
“They’ve all got a sparkle on them,” Davidson said. “It’s fun getting to hear what they do. I’ve never been on this side before. I’ve always done my thing and I’ve done it pretty damn good. But it’s always exciting to hear a song and go, ‘Oh, hell yeah!’ And here I am, I’m supposed to send Luke Bryan one of my songs, and I end up knocking it off and sending one of theirs instead.”