We had the good fortune of connecting with Autumn Buysse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Autumn, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
If your work is what you love to do, I don’t see a problem with work being most of your life. If you spend your twenties taking time off, you’ll spend your thirties regretting the fact that you did.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a pure writer, which means I write songs with and for artists.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a pure writer— for awhile, I didn’t even know that pure writers existed. It wasn’t until I moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University that I found out people make entire livings writing songs behind the scenes.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that your schedule is everything. How often you write determines how many cuts you get, which is why being protective of your writing schedule is one of the most important things a pure writer can do. I’ve learned little lessons along the way: to take a break from writing with artists that I already have tons of upcoming cuts with, to steer clear of artists who write too much because the odds of landing a cut are too low, and to loop in the right third for the room. While the craft of songwriting is all-important, time management and being intentional about which writes you book is the difference between having two cuts a year and twenty.
I’ve been lucky to befriend some of the most talented pure writers in Nashville, so I can now be more strategic about planning new writes. For example, some male artists feel more comfortable if there’s a male pure writer in the room. Melodically driven artists usually don’t write well with pure writers who are too melodically leaning as well. Artists who take themselves too seriously usually write better with a lighthearted third. Some artists need pure writers with stronger personalities, some need writers with softer personalities, some need writers to simply offer encouragement, some need three pure writers, and some only need one. I’ve done close to a thousand co-writes at this point, and the energy in the room has always hugely impacted the resulting quality of the song. The biggest way to engender great energy in the room is to make sure that everyone’s energies and talents are compatible to start with.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I grew up playing shows and taking guitar, voice, and drum lessons at the School of Rock back in my hometown of Rochester, Michigan. I learned hundreds of cover songs, how to musically collaborate with virtually anyone, and taught some classes and camps myself. I learned how to write a song by learning to play so many of the best songs ever written. It didn’t hurt that I had some of the best teachers alive: Mike Latcha, Eddie Baranek, and Murray Stewart-Jones.