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Features June 25, 2018

5 Questions With Kylie Co-Writer Lindsay Rimes: ‘You really have to move here to get things rolling’

Lars Brandle
5 Questions With Kylie Co-Writer Lindsay Rimes: ‘You really have to move here to get things rolling’
Kylie Minogue

Talk to anyone connected with Nashville, and the name Lindsay Rimes is never far from their lips. The Australian-bred songwriter and producer is fast becoming the go-to guy for shaping a hit.

Rimes is at the vanguard of a wave of homegrown music professionals getting amongst it in Music City. Like his compatriots, Rimes imbues all those qualities Aussies like to see in themselves: dependable, no nonsense, grounded, hard working.

They’re qualities that have attracted the likes of Kane Brown, Locash, Kelsea Ballerini and Kylie Minogue (whose Golden album went to No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia) to seek out his talents.

Kylie Minogue-Phil Barton-Lindsay Rimes

Kylie Minogue, Phil Barton and Lindsay Rimes

It’s a seven-day week for Rimes, who puts aside a chunk of time on a Sunday evening to chat with this reporter, as he’s cleaning up another production. He’s two years into a deal struck with the local affiliate of Sony/ATV.

Work never stops, and that’s the way he likes it. Rimes relocated from his homeland three years ago, though he hasn’t acquired a twang. Not yet anyway. “I love Nashville. It’s definitely home now.” There’s little doubt he’ll be calling the place home for years to come.

What’s a typical day like?

I’m writing songs every day. As part of my writing process, I produce the demos. It’s a relatively new thing in Nashville, maybe over the last five years, where you’ve seen guys like myself who have a production background and a songwriting background.

I’ll get in the room around 9:30am, and the writing session will start around 11am. Usually it’s a three-way write, sometimes a two-way. I’ll have my studio set up with my speakers and my computer and we’ll start writing a song.

Usually I’ll sit down with my guitar with the other cowriters and we’ll start playing and figuring out what kind of song to write. As we start digging in, I’ll start building the track.

lindsay rimes profile pic

Lindsay Rimes

For the vocals, usually there’s someone in the room who can sing better than me. I finish the demo and make it sound like a hit record or as close as possible. Then I’ll turn that song in at the end of the day. Or sometimes if it takes me a little longer, maybe the next week.

Writing every day and doing a demo every day it’s like making a record every day. It builds up. A lot of guys with my skills are backlogged. We might be 5-6 deep, sometimes 20.

You have to pick your battles for what you think is the priority. On top of that I’m producing records. So at night time, or in the afternoon, I might start working on a song I’m producing for someone. That happens pretty much Monday to Friday.

On Saturdays I’ll come into the studio and keep working on production or demos I need to finish. Really, it’s like constantly recording and writing and producing. I keep really busy. And that keeps me off the streets.

Sometimes you find the magic in the demo.

I think so. And that’s how I approach every song. I don’t think you can polish up a crappy song but, just like in the pop world, having a good demo and the power to craft the sound and direction for an artist is really fun and exciting.

I come from a pop-rock background. I’ve worked with pop and country. The similar thing happened with Kylie Minogue recently. I finished the demo and the label loved it.

I ended up producing and mixing the song (‘Golden’). On the day we wrote it, Kylie was just there, singing the song right next to me. Just casually singing it and we built it up.

The album has done great, I think it’s her most successful record in 10 years. Approaching every song like it’s a master hit record is what I have to do now.

That’s challenging because it’s a lot of work. I’m not sure a lot of guys are cut out for that. I work quickly and I’ve got the skills and I can get it done.

You need a stack of ambition to make the move to a place like Nashville.

I think so yeah, absolutely. It’s terrifying. There’s so much talent here. It’s so competitive. You just feel very small that can work for you or against you.

Fortunately I let it work for me and made a jump here, obviously I made some relationships (before relocating to the U.S.) and luckily I made enough to help me progress here, perhaps quicker than someone else if they were to move here.

That comes down to having the right attitude and showing you’re serious about being a part of the industry here. Working with Kylie, it was such a buzz. She’s such an icon. Sometimes I reminisce about if I’d stayed in Australia, I just don’t think I’d have been afforded those opportunities.

Sometimes we talk about this tall poppy situation in Australia, where you can pull people down if they want to spread their wings and match it with the best. I don’t know if that still exists.

Honestly (chasing your dreams) is an important thing to do. I’m proud to be an Australian writer and it’s a big deal for me to have the success here and have a No. 1 song for two weeks (with Kane Brown’s ‘Heaven’). It’s amazing.

Watch the video for Kane Brown’s ‘Heaven’ below:

What did you learn from working with Kylie?

It dawned on me that she’s a true artist. She knows who she is, she knows her brand and she can make any type of music. Let’s be honest, she hasn’t made a country album.

Her brand is always going to shine through. That made me realise what a great artist she is. She knows she can evolve and do different styles. She always has.

Watch Kylie’s video for ‘Golden’ below:

She’s always been pretty cutting edge with her records, like Impossible Princess. Not a lot of pop artists would have been able to pull off “Where The Wild Roses Grow” with such an obscure indie artist as Nick Cave. But she did. How amazing is that?

That just shows the evolution. She’s a true artist being able to have her brand come through even when the music can sound different.

What advice would you give to others who want to mix it up overseas?

You really need to commit to the industry you want to be a part of. There are Australian artists and writers who come here, but you need to commit.

If you’re not prepared to be a part of the industry, why would the industry get behind you and want to see you succeed? Sometimes I hear people talk about coming back and forth. That may work out but it’s the exception, not the rule. I’ve found in my experience, the Aussie accent doesn’t hurt.

They love the accent, everyone loves to hear it, everyone wants to hear you talk. That’s good. But at the end of the day, that can only go so far.

Perhaps maybe for one night it’ll help to get people interested in you. You really have to move here to get things rolling. I really believe that 100%.

Bradley Collins/ BMI ,Lindsay Rimes, Matt McGinn, Kane Brown ,Shy Carter, Mark Moffatt

Bradley Collins (BMI), Lindsay Rimes, Matt McGinn, Kane Brown, Shy Carter, Mark Moffatt

If you are thinking about making the move to Nashville, APRA AMCOS have recently opened working spaces for songwriters and managers. Contact Mark Moffat for more.

:: Round ‘em up: The Australian stampede in Nashville is real

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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