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 May 12, 2021

Shervin made his name as a portrait music photographer on the New York music scene over the last decade and has become one of the most sought after photographers in the industry. Having started with no formal photography training, he worked his way up the ladder and has since photographed musicians like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Wilco, Regina Spector, Ingrid Michaelson, Fleet Foxes, Walk the moon, Sara Bareilles and many more... I caught up with him to find out how he went from no photography background to taking iconic images for some of the most exciting new artists across the world. We also talk about what aspiring artists should consider when creating their brand and images. If you want to join our Facebook group, you can find out who the next guest will be and post a question that I might just ask during the show. Search "This Next Song's About - Inner Circle" on Facebook and join our community of artists and songwriters. 

Wednesday May 05, 2021

In today’s episode I am chatting with songwriter and mindfulness coach, Lisa McEwen. Lisa is originally from Canada and made her way down to Nashville and  had success signing with BMG as a staff writer, penning songs for major labels and artists and is now setting out to help other artists achieve their goals as a coach and consultant. In this episode we chat about Self-doubt, determination, pivoting and how to focus on who we are as artists and individuals to achieve our goals and find success. If you're a songwriter out there who sometimes struggles with self-belief and wonders whether pursuing music is the right thing, this episode is for you! We cover self-doubt, rejection, determination, mindfulness, resilience and how to focus on what makes you unique! More details on Lisa here:  Please rate and leave us a review if you enjoyed today's episode!

Wednesday Apr 21, 2021

Today's episode is a special "Producer's Perspective" episode, part of our new format to help you develop as an artist. I take a look inside the mind of a studio producer to help you get an idea of what you should expect when you’re heading in to record, whether you consider yourself a seasoned pro, or a newcomer, I promise this is one you'll want to listen to. Today’s guest is singer, songwriter and record producer, Katie Buchanan. Katie studied music at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. She works across all pop genres: from singer/songwriter to electronic inflected bops. But ultimately, she focuses on the artist and the songs. She has produced hundreds of tracks and garnered millions of plays, but cares most about creating an open, collaborative, and comfortable studio environment. Katie has come up with her top 5 tips for artists to consider before heading into the studio. Now, this doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie in the studio, or someone who’s been recording music for a while, this is a great episode and I hope it gets you thinking about your next project in a different way… Tops Tips discussed in the episode include... Producer vs Engineer Roles and Responsibilities Budget talk Royalties Finding the right Producer - FOR YOU You can find Katie at or on instagram @katie_buchanan. Her new song West (played at the beginning of the episode) is available now.

Wednesday Apr 07, 2021

Around the DMV, Jarreau (juh-ROW) Williams is known as the "man with the golden pipes.” The Alexandria, VA native and 8x Wammie nominated and 3x Wammie winner  is a consummate showman and charismatic front-man. Jarreau’s professional credits include backing 4-time Grammy Award winner Michael Buble, praise and worship with President Barack Obama and the First Family, as well as performing the National Anthem for thousands in DC’s most prominent professional sports arenas.  I chatted with Jarreau about his new single "Shoulda Known Better" and the process for re-writing the song for a more dancy remix, we have a good giggle about some of his clever lyrics and he also talks to me about his advocacy for mental health within the Black community.  You can find Jarreau.... Spotify: Instagram: @iamjarreauwilliams

Wednesday Mar 17, 2021

In this episode, I chat with Kaylyn Marie, one of my best friends and one of the best musicians I've ever seen. Kaylyn is a singer-songwriter-guitarist, bandleader, and actress with over 16 years of performing experience from national TV to local venues. Her solo work has been described as “Soulful Americana” echoing writing and vocal traits of Sara Bareilles and Laura Marling.  She is releasing music from her sophomore EP “Forget Me Not” from January to June 2021. She has won a Kennedy Center Award of Excellence in the Arts, was a finalist on American Idol, starred in a leading role in a new musical titled “Music City” from the producers of Hadestown & Dear Evan Hansen, she has completed multiple artist residencies in New York City (Rockwood, Joe’s Pub, Pete’s Candy store) recorded 3 records, carried a lead role on a Lifetime TV film, and performing as a Protest singer in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post”. But for all of her accomplishments and achievements she is one of my best friends, as a result of this podcast actually, we first met in podcast number 4 if you care to dig through the archives. She is one of the most lovely people I’ve ever met and she has such a unique ability to connect with people both as a human and as a performer.  This episode was recorded as a live podcast on March 3rd to celebrate the launch of the new season of the show and I recommend you listen to this episode and then go and check out the video for what I hope will be an immersive experience for her new single “At Work” here:  If however you prefer to watch this whole interview as a video, you can do so now, head over to the Facebook page here: Most of the pods are not live, but the unedited videos are shared exclusively to the Facebook group here:  You can follow Kaylyn here: @kaylynmariemusic on instagram and on Spotify here: 

Wednesday Mar 10, 2021

In this episode Stevie sits down with artist Esabalu (Es-a-BA-lu) to take a visual look at her 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 our 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”.  Esabalu is an LA based artist with Kenyan roots bringing her listeners an earthy and grounded vocal that bellows from the center of the earth. Her debut single, "Wildfire”, out now, is an exciting journey to the past about forgetting your cares and diving head first into steamy summer love. As a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Esabalu 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 now the West coast! Esabalu's audio engineering background has really come in handy during quarantine, with one of her latest at home projects landing her a placement in the two most recent national @ultabeauty ads, airing now. Vocal arrangement, original composition, and background vocalist are only a few of the things that define this powerhouse vocalist. Insta: Spotify: 

Wednesday Mar 03, 2021

For the first episode of a brand new season of TNSA, Stevie kicks it all off with inimitable rockabilly musician, Kyle Lacy. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia but now an NYC transplant, Kyle's unmistakable sound and energy will have you chair-dancing at the very least! Kyle notes his influences from the 50s and 60s sounds of blues, soul and rock from Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin to the swing of Brian Setzer. Kyle tours tirelessly and his band deliver the kind of Rock'n'Roll excitement that the music world has mourned for decades. “The Road To Tomorrow” is his first Full-Length Album and is out now on Dala Records.  Stevie and Kyle discuss everything from how he produced his album to have an authentic live sound with Billy Aukstik (Sharon Jones, Mark Ronson, Charles Bradley), how he writes with a band and sometimes on the spot in the studio, to the positive outlook he has taken on the pandemic and what he's learned from it as an artist.  Kyle's Spotify playlist mentioned in the episode is here: And you can join the TNSA Inner Circle Facebook groups for early-access un-edited interviews, exclusive offers, and the chance to hear new music and connect with other artists here: 

Wednesday Sep 09, 2020

Mustachioed Mainer, Jacob McCurdy, blends Folk, Rock, and Roots into his very own brand of Indie-Americana. Love, heartbreak, joy, and the perfect moment; all pitched against the lush backdrop of honest harmony. On July 24th, McCurdy released For the Weekend (FTW), his first fully produced solo EP in 9 years. Normally filling his time with weddings and pub gigs with his cover band The Dapper Gents or playing bass with The Johnny Clay Shanks band, McCurdy started focusing on writing new original material in the beginning of 2020. With the extra time on his hands due to the current pandemic, he’s been writing up a storm. First up are the five songs off the new EP comprised mostly of songs related to love (maybe more so about heartbreak). With plans for a full length album to be released in 2021, he shows no signs of stopping. With numerous virtual co-writing sessions a week, McCurdy has thrown himself into a full-time schedule of collaboration. 

Wednesday Aug 19, 2020

Gretchen Peters joins us once again on the show to talk about her new album... 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 song “Independence Day”, recorded by Martina McBride, won a CMA Song of the Year award in 1995. She has been nominated for 2 Grammys (“Independence Day/Martina McBride, “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am”/Patty Loveless), a Golden Globe (“Here I Am”/Bryan Adams), and numerous other awards. Her 2015 album, ‘Blackbirds’ was awarded International Album of the Year and Song of the Year by the UK Americana Association. In 2015, The Telegraph named her one of the greatest 60 female singer-songwriters of all time. Her latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, is a loving tribute to another Hall of Fame songwriter and a profound influence on Peters’ own writing.  

Wednesday Aug 12, 2020

Rocky Mountain raised, and international touring artist, Megan Burtt is a decorated performing songwriter. Since her sophomore release “The Bargain”, she has performed at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater, been featured with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, toured Europe, toured across the US, and supported artist like Gregory Alan Isakov, Chris Isaak, Leann Rimes and Marc Cohn. Guitar World calls band leader, Megan Burtt “Pulsing, powerful and lovely. Burtt gracefully manipulates words and melody into a sultry delight.” Burtt is a Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Kerrville, and Westword Songwriter of the Year. She is currently working on her fourth and fifth full-length albums One with with New York City with producer Louis Cato (Stephen Colbert house band, Stay Human) and the other on her home turf in Colorado.

Wednesday Aug 05, 2020

NYAC teamed up with New York's famous venue Rockwood Music Hall to put on our first virtual "In The Round" series. Our artists include... Ben Grace: Now based in San Diego, but born and raised in Sydney, Ben’s exodus from the beliefs and structures of his working class Christian childhood weaves poignantly through his lyrics, revealing itself in his deep commitment to justice and willingness to call forward the darker themes in American politics. With the lens of an outsider and the bold voice of a witness, Ben writes to challenge and disrupt our comfort with the status quo. @bengracemusic Megan Burtt: Rocky Mountain raised, and international touring artist, Megan Burtt is a decorated performing songwriter. Since her sophomore release “The Bargain”, she has performed at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater, been featured with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, toured Europe, toured across the US, and supported artist like Gregory Alan Isakov, Chris Isaak, Leann Rimes and Marc Cohn. @meganburtt Megan Leigh: Known for her angelic voice, perfectly blended harmonies, and engaging rhythms, the up-and-coming female singer songwriter from Western Maryland has been performing to audiences in the Washington DC area and all over the country. @meganleighmusic

Wednesday Jul 22, 2020

Aubrie Sellers released Far From Home - the follow up to her critically acclaimed album New City Blues - in February 2020. Rolling Stone called the record “halting and poignant” and Paste Magazine says ”she’s an honest storyteller with a singular personality. She can both float in on a cloud of love songs and crank out existential country-rock.” Having previously toured with Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, and Robert Earl Keen among others, she is set to head out on the CMT Next Women of Country Tour with Tanya Tucker in 2021. When she’s not on the road, Aubrie spends her time supporting non-profits and organizations like Girls to the Moon, Feminist Camp, Imagination Library, and World Vision and promoting her love of reading with her book club Biblioclique. Her new EP of cover songs, World On Fire, comes out in August 7th 2020.

Wednesday Jul 08, 2020

Jill Schlesinger joins Steph to demystify the current economic situation and will seek to provide some practical advice to help. Join us live on Facebook to watch these lockdown podcasts as they happen, Wednesday nights at 8PM EST on our facebook page: Or join our Inner Circle page for music fans and artists alike! Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated and Gracie Award Winning Business Analyst for CBS News. Jill appears on CBS radio and television stations nationwide covering the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign. She translates complicated business and economic news into understandable, relatable topics for everyday viewers and listeners. She is a weekly guest on NPR’s “Here and Now” and writes the nationally syndicated column “Jill on Money” for Tribune Media Services. Jill’s first book, The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money: Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs, was published in February 2019 by Ballantine Books. Resources Jill mentioned in the book include: The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money - Jill Schlesinger Get Your Financial Life Together - Beth Kobliner Worth It, Not Worth It - Jack Otter

Wednesday Jul 01, 2020

JUNE BOOK CLUB! Our second installment of Book Club featuring Glennon Doyle's runaway best-selling book "Untamed" Join us live on Facebook to watch these lockdown podcasts as they happen, Wednesday nights at 8PM EST on our facebook page: Or join our Inner Circle page for music fans and artists alike! Steph is joined by musicians and songwriters Kaylyn Marie, Erica Swindell and John Gardner (aka Common Jack) to discuss the book and how this affects us as women, but also as artists. In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. “Untamed will liberate women—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is phenomenal.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat Pray Love. There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves. Subscribe to get some exclusive content from some of our favourite artists and notifications of who our upcoming guests are!

Wednesday Jun 24, 2020

This special episode is dedicated to showcasing our POC artist community, Steph will be taking a step back behind the scenes while our guest host, NYAC alum Mishti, takes the hot seat inviting our artist guests to share some songs and their experiences with us for this one-hour special. Our artists include.... MISHTI A singer-songwriter-guitarist with the lyricism of Jeff Buckley and the badassness of Slash demands the ear of any listener with her fresh take on post-pop rock music. While finishing touches of her debut EP (produced by Cyndi Lauper’s guitarist Alex Nolan) are fine-tuned, Mishti continues to write songs for the unrequited and fantasize the next performance: “I want to create music that transforms people’s moods the same way music I love transforms mine... and changes my life in those 4 minutes… and then ‘replay’.” KOFY BROWN Kofy Brown, an Oakland, CA musician, singer and songwriter has been a pioneering force in the Bay Area’s hip-hop soul / rock scene for the last couple of decades. Leading her band on tour paving the way for other indie artist to trek forth, the Kofy Brown Band have spread the gospel of Brown’s unique style of soul, rock, funk and more all-over North America, Canada and Europe. Kofy writes, and leads her own band the KBB (Kofy Brown Band), and is the bassist / singer for Sistas in the Pit and drummer / singer for Skip the Needle. Her new release, Child of Providence, on her own indie label Simba Music, is Kofy Brown’s 10th release which is available on all electronic formats/ AKIE BERMISS Akie is a Brooklyn native raised in a musical household full of jazz and politics fueled by his former- activist mom and dad. He began singing in church, moved it to school for a while, enroute becoming somewhat of a musical chameleon. His raucous, guttural and soulful vocals are a delectable fusion of Donny Hathaway and Tom Waits. He’s equally adept singing neo-soul, funk, contemporary jazz, alternative rock, and hip hop. Over the past half a dozen years, he has become a visible contributor to the fertile Brooklyn music scene as a musician, songwriter and vocalist, notably becoming a full-time member of New York's beloved band Lake Street Dive. BE STEADWELL Be Steadwell is a musician, filmmaker, storyteller from Washington DC. In her live performances, she utilizes looping, vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be's original music features earnest lyricism, and Affirming LGBTQ content.​ Be has shared stages with fellow artist Activists Big Freedia, Nona Hendryx, Nikky Finney and Gina Yashere. In 2017 Be sang at The Women's March on the National Mall behind Maxwell and Janelle Monae in Toshi Reagon's Big Lovely Band.

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