Today is Thursday, July 27, 2017

MJ songwriter tabs ASCAP Songwriter, Song of the Year honors

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Hayslip moved from his native Georgia to the Nashville area after he graduated from college to be a songwriter.

I played baseball at Georgia Southern and when I graduated in 1994, I came here. I always knew I wanted to be a songwriter going back to when I was 12-years-old, I knew I enjoyed it, he said.

Growing up in the South, he was introduced to various genres of music ranging from R&B to Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. However, after hearing the unmistakable voice of Hank Williams Jr., Hayslip realized that country music was where his heart is. It was all over after that. Hank is all I listened to from then on through high school.

For Hayslip, being a professional songwriter is much different than others would expect. He said he writes five days a week, usually with another writer who happens to be a good buddy. Together they try to write, from start to finish, one song each day. We show up, shoot the breeze, might to go lunch and throw around ideas to each other. Im dependent on whatever happens in that room that day.

The idea behind Luke Bryans hit I Dont Want This Night to End, which stayed at number one for two weeks, was simple. My publisher was talking about all these rap songs where you put your hands in the air. He said, We need a country version of that. My first thought was how the chorus is now, he said of the lyrics, which say You got your hands up, youre rockin in my truck.

The song is called I Dont Want This Night to End but you got your hands up is the most important part of that song. An artist, like Luke, when he is up on stage, wants to see that motion in the audience. The cool thing is when it gets to that line and 16,000 fans throw their hands in the air, Hayslip explained of the catchy chorus.

When he isnt busy writing, Hayslip coaches the three travel baseball teams that his sons play on. I tell everybody writing is my part-time job, he joked of his love for sports. My older teams, the Tennessee Thunder Stix and the Tennessee Prospects are two of the top teams in the state, he said. Tarver and Camden play basketball, football and baseball. Knox is going to start football next year.

Also in Hayslips immediate future is a move to Lebanon. I just love how the community comes together. Im a huge sports fan. Growing up in Georgia, you didnt ask somebody where they were going on Friday night you knew they were going to a football game, he said, adding that his purpose for moving isnt just about sports. I love how the people come together. I want my kids to grow up in that kind of atmosphere.

Coaching three successful travel baseball teams and writing numerous hit songs have made 2012 great for Hayslip but he is the first to admit that the year isnt over yet. Im on a roll.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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