This Next Song‘s About - A Songwriter‘s Podcast

This Next Song’s About is a podcast for songwriters looking to level-up their craft for industry success. Featuring how to’s from producers, coaches, managers, other experts and fellow artists, we dig deep into the creative process and the music industry. If you’re an artist looking for writing tips, encountering writers block or imposters syndrome, or perhaps looking to grow your fanbase, this is the podcast for you. Let Stevie Manns be your host and guide on your artist journey as we meet some incredible guests and prepare to be inspired! Think SongExploder meets Tiny Desk Concert. Subscribe and follow for free on Apple podcasts and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Are you a songwriter?

If you are a creator, a musician, a songwriter, you may struggle with the creative process from time to time! 

If you need some inspiration, creative tips or perhaps even a little support to know that you're not alone, this is the podcast for you!

Join Stevie on this journey and meet some experts, some artists and hear some unique stories and career paths that will no doubt speak to you as you move through your own artists journey.

Subscribe and follow now!


Wednesday Jan 11, 2023

If you don't know Gretchen Peters, I will bet you definitely know some of her songs. From Independence Day (Martina McBride), Cloud #9 (Bryan Adams), On A Bus To St. Cloud (Trisha Yearwood), Rock Steady (Bonnie Raitt)... the list goes on and on. 
So when I interviewed her for the first time (I was lucky enough to do it twice) I was READY. This is probably the interview I am the most proud of, we talked about sexism within the music industry, being an independent artist and finding your own path as a writer. We dig into the origins of one of her songs, "The Boy From Rye" and how it's the heart of her most recent album, Dancing With The Beast.
Note: This interview was originally recorded and published in November 2019.

Wednesday Dec 21, 2022

As we continue the final season of the podcast, Stevie revisits a discussion with artist Esabalu aka Jenn Mundia (she/her) from Season 2. 
This episode really resonated with Stevie as they both shared a story about their dads about their respective name changes. This episode was recorded during the pandemic and originally aired in March 2021. Esabalu talks about her journey to finding her new moniker as EsaBalu, embracing her Kenyan roots and taking time as a musician to process the events of the Black Lives Matter movement through storytelling and songwriting with her single “Say Their Names”. 
They discuss the recording of Esabalu's song and music video Wildfire. 
You should check out the video for Wildfire here and come back to listen to the episode: 
You can also watch the full unedited interview in the Facebook group here:  
We also talk about her journey to finding her new moniker as EsaBalu, embracing her Kenyan roots and taking time as a musician to process the events of the Black Lives Matter movement through storytelling and songwriting with her single “Say Their Names”. 
Jenn Mundia is an LA based artist with Kenyan roots and a southern upbringing, currently performing under the pseudonym, "Esabalu". As a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Jenn found herself working on the production and engineering side of the business right out of school but found her way back to stages throughout New York (Saturday Night Live w/ Kacey Musgraves, Jimmy Fallon w/ Bastille and Wallows, and Seth Meyers) and is now taking on the West coast. Jenn is currently breaking major ground in the ad and voice over world in the time of Covid and recently released her debut EP, “Moon”—find it wherever you listen to music.
Check out for more updates!

Wednesday Oct 26, 2022

In the premier episode of the final season of award nominated podcast This Next Song's About, Stevie throws it back to one of their favourite episodes as we take a trip down memory lane with Akie Bermiss, best known for his work as the keys player for the band Lake Street Dive.
This episode was originally episode #3 of the podcasts 4 years history originally published October 4th 2018 and marks the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Stevie and Akie and remains a fan favourite episode to this date.
Akie (he/him) discusses his song "Space and Time", his sometime-to-be-released science fiction soul opera double album, his children's book, and what it's like being an artist in New York City.

Wednesday May 04, 2022

Have you ever considered reinventing your artist self as a persona? Are you nervous that your fan base won't get it or won't follow your new journey? Joey Dean has thrown caution to the wind in order to do justice to his vision for his latest project, King Vagabond... 
In this episode, Stevie changes the format of the regular Q&A episode and instead walks you through the story of Joey Dean in his journey to become his new artist persona, as one half of alt-pop duo King Vagabond.
Joey Dean (he/him) is a NY-based singer-songwriter and frontman of alternative pop duo King Vagabond. Joey has spent the last eight years recording and touring with performance experience aside pop industry giants such as Shawn Mendes, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Todrick Hall, and more. As well as on nation-wide tours and festivals like Vans Warped Tour. His YouTube covers have amassed hundreds of thousands of views, including collaborations with his life partner and fellow independent artist Corvyx. When not in front of the camera or microphone, Joey dedicates his time coaching musicians, teaching them how to pursue their dreams with authenticity and true personal alignment.“Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.” Fantasy horror writer Neil Gaiman perfectly captures the inspirational vantage point of King Vagabond, the supernatural avatar housing the consciousness of frontman, vocalist Joey Dean and guitarist, producer Niko Vaude. For Joey and Niko, fiction depicts not only King Vagabond’s lyrics and visuals, teeming with literary allusions, but also the fantastical lens through which they craft a cutting-edge cocktail of sound, mixing alternative grit with ambient synths and contemporary pop hooks with innovative electronics.   King Vagabond’s alt pop soundscape skillfully balances the friction of opposing forces. Even in lyrics the past meets the present as King Vagabond filters the perspective of a contemporary world through literary, mythological, and folklorish allusion. King Vagabond dips their brush in the darker side of pop and the brighter side of electronic, inspiring listeners to dance in ecstasy or scream in triumph.  BONUS: At the end of the episode you can hear King Vagabond's first single Rule The World Follow King Vagabond @kingvagabond
If you want to hear this full conversation unedited you can sign up for our Patreon where you will also get tip sheets from all the episodes, watch the unedited videos, have a monthly check zoom hang with other creatives and much more. Go to for as little as $3 a month. 
Check out this episode from LA based songwriter Esabalu on her decision to change her moniker: 
I'd love to hear any feedback or any suggestions you have for episodes!Email: 

Wednesday Mar 30, 2022

Who doesn't struggle with writer's block? Or changing your writing habits or chord structure? Experience 'second verse hell'?? Susan Cattaneo (she/her) has 20 years as an educator teaching at Berklee College of Music so knows a thing or two about how to break the blocks. She's also an award-winning songwriter in her own right and is here to talk about all things songwriting, writer's block and being a full-time musician as a woman in her 50s.
With her powerful voice, captivating melodies and finely-crafted lyrics, Susan Cattaneo is one of Boston’s most respected singer/songwriters. A compelling performer and vivid storyteller, Susan’s music blends folk, rock and blues with hint of country. Following up on the success of her chart-topping double album. The Hammer & The Heart, Susan Cattaneo is releasing All is Quiet in April of 2022. Critics, audiences, and fellow artists have instantly connected with the personal nature of Susan’s songs. Susan is a three-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist and a three-time nominee for Best Americana Artist at the Boston Music Awards, and she won the 2018 CT folk Festival. Her last album The Hammer and The Heart charted #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and yielded a #1 song on folk radio and a top 10 album of 2017.
She is also one half of the indie folk duo called Honest Mechanik with Paul Hansen of The Grownup Noise. The duo launched their first album in July of 2020 and were nominated as Folk Act of The Year at the 2021 Boston Music Awards.
“Cattaneo’s solo songs have roots that run deep under the earth from Memphis to Nashville to Appalachia (pick a random song from her catalog and odds are it would be an ideal cover for Bonnie Raitt or Carrie Underwood or Steve Earle).” – Jed Gottlieb, The Boston HeraldBONUS: At the end of the episode you can hear Susan's new song Blackbirds from her upcoming album All Is Quiet
Check out Susan's site and tour dates here:
Follow her on insta: 

Wednesday Mar 16, 2022

Danielle Ate The Sandwich (she/her) is something of a social media marvel. Not only is she good at it, but she really enjoys how it can work for her in terms of promoting her music and engaging her fans.
Danielle talks to Stevie about some of the lessons she's learned over the years from starting on YouTube and growing her indie fanbase to the point where it could support her as a full time career.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich is the stage name of pop-folk songwriter, Danielle Anderson. Getting her start in Fort Collins, CO, now based in Kansas City, MO, Danielle has been touring nationally since 2009, after cultivating an online following from her homemade videos on Youtube. Danielle Ate the Sandwich has released seven albums of original music, made appearances internationally, opened for Mumford and Sons, Jake Shimabukuro, Suzanne Vega, Pomplamoose, and wrote the soundtrack to the Emmy nominated HBO documentary, “Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson" and has original songs featured in the documentary, “It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents." In February of 2022, Danielle completed her seventh 24 Hour Album, a songwriting challenge where Danielle writes and records new songs in just twenty hours, allowing fans to live stream her process from the recording studio and offer suggestions along the way.
Transcripts available at 
You can support Danielle on her Patreon as she mentioned in the episode here:
You can support our Patreon for BTS and early access to episodes, tip sheets and community here:

Wednesday Mar 02, 2022

Are you worried about paying the bills as you move through your music career? Are you thinking about how to about save for a 401k or college for your kids? We don't have to think of a music career as being starving artists until we one day hit the big time. We aren't being inauthentic as artists if we earn income that isn't directly from the fruits of our music or artistic labour.
Born and raised in New England, Laura Clapp (she/her) brings her passion for love and life to each of her songs and lyrics. Her voice has taken her all over the world and she weaves moments from her travels and experiences into every piece she creates.
A Berkeley Music School grad, Laura is now a Retail Market Development Specialist for Shure. She has worked as a product demonstrator for TC Helicon, performed back-up and toured internationally with Howard Jones, worked in Nashville as a singer and published songwriter.
In this episode we talk about Laura's own journey and her thoughts and considerations as she has moved through her career as both an artist and professional within the industry. She provides great insight on how to consider your career path while also being a paid performing artist.
BONUS: At the end of the episode you can hear Laura's new single Rise Up, available to stream now on all platforms.
Follow Laura @lauraclappmusic and see her website
Transcripts available at 

Wednesday Feb 16, 2022

What is all the fuss about coaches? Can they really help you achieve your goals, keep you accountable and move you forward or is it all just a big waste of money?
My guest is Heather Vickery (she/her) an award-winning entrepreneur, business owner, public speaker, author and coach. With over 20 years as an entrepreneur, Heather leverages her vast array of skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfilment and I invite her on the show to do a live coaching session with me!
This is a very vulnerable episode for me, I talk about why I started the podcast, my own career in music, my career change outside of music and I want to help you see what a coach can do for you… 
Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, win successes and it’s contagious.” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and provides attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives on their own terms. Heather is a single mom of four (all girls!) who left a decade-long marriage and came out (yes, of the closet) personally and professionally. She’s on a mission to create a global, “everyday brave” revolution.
She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families, and F*CK FEARLESS: Making The Brave Leap. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast and Co-host and producer of Was It Chance Podcast.
If you want to get hold of Heather’s tips as a PDF you can sign up for our Patreon where you will get tip sheets from all the episodes, watch the unedited videos, have a monthly check zoom hang with other creatives and much more. Go to for as little as $3 a month. 
Heather's links: 

Wednesday Feb 09, 2022

Indianapolis based singer-songwriter Jen Edds spent most of her music career in a supporting role as the “guitar/mandolin/bass/ukulele player.” Until now...
Jen (she/her) set herself a challenge to write a song a day and it has changed her life. This challenge saw her churn out 60 songs, a podcast, 2 albums and a conference presentation. She invites us to consider the process and not the outcome. If you have been a bit stuck on kickstarting your writing or levelling up your musicianship, Jen is going to give you some very actionable tips that you can start TODAY.
Follow Jen Edds on instagram @brassybroadjen
If you want to get hold of Jen’s tips as a PDF you can sign up for our Patreon where you will get tip sheets from all the episodes, watch the unedited videos, have a monthly check in with me and much more. Just go to  
If you join before February 13th you could be in with a chance of winning one of two prixes worth over $500 each! Listen to the end of the episode where I tell you what they are...

Wednesday Feb 02, 2022

Do you want to be asked to co-writing sessions or in someone's band and keep being asked back? It's not as simple as being a good songwriter or musician, it's a little more nuanced than that...
Wendy Parr (she/her) is a multi-award-winning songwriter, world-renowned vocal coach, vocal producer, speaker, educator, and so much more. She has worked with artists such as Regina Specktor, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Allie Moss and PARIS. Her 20+ years in the music industry have given her the skills and influence to be hailed by many as ‘the artist’s secret weapon’, and she is on the show to help you re-consider what you bring to the table... 

Wednesday Jan 19, 2022

Season 3 is back in February 2nd 2022 with a brand new array of expert guests to help you as a songwriter develop and hone your craft as an artist.
Host, NYC based musician and songwriter Stevie Manns asks the hard questions about being an artist to help you along your artist's journey, level-up your skills to better connect and resonate with fans from the music that you record to the way you present yourself both on and off stage.
Become a patron of This Next Song's About before February 15th to enter a giveaway to receive a Shure MV7 microphone and a 6 month songwriting masterclass from award-winning D.C. based musician Eli Lev. Go to

Wednesday Dec 08, 2021

Have you been thinking about starting a Patreon but aren't sure how to go about it? Scared no one will sign up? In this episode we revisit a conversation with independent artist Rebecca Loebe who was so successful at launching, Patreon even wrote an article about her after she raised funds for her album.
Rebecca Loebe is an independent singer-songwriter who you may remember from the Voice in 2011. Since then she has opened for Shawn Colvin, the Civil Wars, Gregory Alan Isakov, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Ellis Paul amongst others.
Her single, Growing Up was featured in Rolling Stone magazine listed as the Top 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week. As well as being a talented musician, she has also become quite an expert at owning her own distribution and runs a successful Patreon page - and Patreon even featured Rebecca on their blog after her successful album promotion.
I also mention a couple of Shure mics you can check out during the Holiday sales - 
Shure MV7 podcast and vocal mic
Shure SM58 - most durable stage & recording mic ever created!
As promised, here are the links and references discussed in today's episode:
Patreon's article on Rebecca: 
Patreon's article on Nataly Dawn: 
Amanda Palmer "The Art of Asking" TED talk: 
Simon Sinek "Start With Why" TED talk: 
Rebecca's Patreon: 
We'd love to hear any feedback about this miniseries or any suggestions you have for episodes! Email us: 

Wednesday Nov 24, 2021

As the new season of the podcast is being prepped and recorded, here's a little bonus from the archives - recorded in 2019 with Gretchen Peters. 
To view the photo I mention in the episode - you can check it out on instagram @iamsteviemanns.
I also mention a couple of Shure mics you can check out during the Holiday sales - 
Shure MV7 podcast and vocal mic
Shure SM58 - most durable stage & recording mic ever created!
Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame member, Gretchen Peters talks to Stevie ahead of her New York show at Rockwood Music Hall Dec 8th and we dig into the origins of one of her songs, "The Boy From Rye" and how it's the heart of her latest album, Dancing With The Beast.
For two decades, Gretchen Peters has been one of Nashville's most beloved and respected artists. "If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as 'On A Bus To St. Cloud,'" People Magazine wrote, "she has already earned herself a spot among country's upper echelon of contemporary composers.” Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October 2014 by singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, who called her "both a songwriter and a poet (who) sings as beautifully as she writes,” and said her song “The Matador”, "moved me so greatly, I cried from the soles of my feet”, Peters has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill.
Her 2015 album, ‘Blackbirds’, debuted at #1 on the UK Country chart and in the top 40 UK pop chart, and was awarded International Album of the Year and Song of the Year. In 2015, The Telegraph named her one of the greatest 60 female singer-songwriters of all time. Her latest album, Dancing With The Beast, was released on May 18, 2018.  

Wednesday Jun 23, 2021

Today, as we continue to celebrate Pride month my guest is Aaron Is Your Friend. Aaron is Your Friend is the project of LA-based singer, songwriter and producer Aaron Lindenberg. Aaron and I met on the New York scene a couple of years ago at a Sofar Sounds show and I really enjoyed his music and his energy so I wanted to introduce him to you on the show and we take a listen to his song "Self".
Aaron and I get deep in this episode, we talk about music releases, queer culture, gender norms and presentation as artists and we also take a listen to his song “self”. This was an interesting one for me as Aaron flipped some of my questions back to me, so it felt a lot less like an interview and more like a conversation between two friends who happen to be artists as well.
Inspired by electronic pop, R&B and dance music, Aaron makes soulful, polished pop songs about heartbreak, self love and new love. He released his debut album "Break My Own Heart" in 2020, which processes heartbreak through glittery house anthems and textured R&B, while his most recent EP, "Emotional" exorcised the demons of 2020 over warm hip-hop grooves. He is currently working on a string of larger-than-life pop singles about boys.
You can follow him @aaronisyourfriend and on Spotify here:
At the start of this episode you will hear a clip from "Tameless", a track co-written & co-produced by April Rose Gabrielli & KULICK for an incredible new documentary "Not The Science Type".The film will make its debut during the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2021. The film follows four inspiring female Scientists who are changing the world through their ground breaking work in a field dominated by men.
Listen to the full song here:

Wednesday Jun 16, 2021

Josh Breckenridge, is perhaps better known for his Broadway accolades, most recently starring in Come From Away. During the Broadway closure as a result of the pandemic J. wasted no time in writing and producing his debut album "Monotony" with producer James Frazee (Patti Smith, Sharan Van Etten, Loudon Wainright III, Bacon Brothers) As J. Breckenridge, the new musical artist with a pop-soul vibe, he has just released his fourth single, “Not Forgiving You”  a deceptively lighthearted modern pop song but the number is really a way to deal with a past abusive relationship (please note the sensitive nature of the topic discussed and please take care of yourself)
J. joins me on the show to talk about his single, Pride month, the new movement of openly gay male pop artists and how he is feeling about returning to Broadway in September as theaters re-open.
Josh mentions  to buy tickets for the streaming of his performance in A.C.T.'s theatre production of Armistead Maupin's "Tales of The City".
At the start of this episode you will hear a clip of a brand new track called "My Oh My" from North Carolina based Americana artist, Kevin Daniel. "My Oh My" is the second release off of Kevin Daniel's forthcoming album, 'Been Here Before'. The song was co-written with Ashlee Joy, formerly of Charlotte, NC-based band Matrimony and features Ashlee on vocals.
Head to Spotify to listen to Kevin Daniel: 

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