Channing Wilson has been a part of the local music scene for more than a decade, first gaining attention as part of The Tennessee Rounders, a high-energy band that played a mix of rockabilly, honky-tonk and country music.
Along with bandmates Bryan Gross, Peewee Moore and Mike Hagaman, Wilson earned a reputation for blistering shows.
The guys split a few years ago and have followed different paths. These days, Wilson is writing music and preparing to record an acoustic album and a demo CD featuring a full band.
He is also burning up the road between here and Nashville to his new gig as a contracted songwriter with EMI Publishing. He signed with the company last month.
Q: What exactly does signing with EMI mean for you?
A: That just means that I’m writing songs with one of the biggest publishing companies in the world. It’s the first step to everything I’m working for careerwise. It’s a big step.
Q: Does it mean you will be recording for them and putting out your own product?
A: That’s the intention. They want me to be an artist, which I am, but it’s part of the process of getting some songs cut [by other people] and getting your name out there and building a reputation so everyone in town knows who you are. I’m writing with three or four different writers in Nashville three or four times a week.
I got to write with one of my heroes last week, Guy Clark. That was phenomenal for me.
Q: When did you sign?
A: I actually signed in April. It’s been going on since January with contract talks and stuff.
Q: What have you learned?
A: I think the main thing I’ve learned is to take it more seriously than I used to. I’ve made my living with music but now I understand the business-oriented side more. You can call yourself a songwriter, but I was only writing one song a month.
... This is making me a better songwriter. I’m doing it every day and getting feedback. It’s like playing golf or anything else. If you play golf everyday, you will shave some strokes off your score.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...