Scarlet Keys

Scarlet Keys

Songwriter, Educator, Podcaster

Today we talk to Scarlet Keys, songwriter, author, podcaster, and Professor of songwriting at Berklee College of Music since 2003.

Scarlet was a signed songwriter in Nashville and then evolved into one of the country’s top songwriting educators, aside from teaching at Berklee she is an in demand professor at songwriting camps and workshops across the country.

I her podcast What’s in a Song.  you will hear some amazing in depth conversations on creativity, songwriting and music. It’s an opportunity to get an in depth look at how the sausage is made with some real music industry insiders.

In this episode, Scarlet talks about her story, takes us behind the curtains of the Nashville writing community and even gives us some songwriting tips. And at the end, I am sharing an excerpt form her podcast where she talks to Grammy winning songwriter Lori Mckenna.


[00:59] – Introducing Scarlet Keys – educator, songwriter, podcaster, and good friend.

[03:22] – Scarlet shares her journey to Nashville and living the songwriting dream.

[05:38] – The day-to-day life of a paid songwriter with Warner Brothers.

[07:20] – Scarlet shares the moment the legendary Paul Williams welcomed her into the songwriting fold (and got her coffee).

[09:48] – The moment her publisher gave her permission to step off of the roller coaster of writing songs as a career.

[10:52] – How moving on to teaching helped her gain the tools she needed to become a master writer.

[12:00] – Scarlet shares the inspiration behind The Craft of Songwriting.

[13:56] – Scarlet explains her process of leading with intuition.

[15:30] – How musicians use tone to portray the emotions of the lyrics in their songs.

[18:28] – How musicians create empathy and connection with the audience.

[20:49] – Scarlet shares what a topliner does.

[21:49] – How to stop chasing visibility and connect with those who resonate in your space.

[22:31] – Scarlet introduces us to her podcast, What’s in a Song.

[23:01] – How Scarlet is using her podcast to educate, inform, and entertain and shares some of her favorite guests.

[25:00] – Scarlet shares the inspiration and excitement (and some help from Dino) that helped her launch her podcast.

[26:38] – The three biggest things Scarlet has learned from starting her podcast and the guests on her show.

[28:17] – How doing morning pages from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron helps clear away writer’s block for many artists.

[29:48] – How artists can use neuroscience to bypass the critics.

[31:05] – Scarlet shares the musician who most inspired her career.

[32:00] – A little flavor of Scarlet’s podcast, What’s in a Song, with guest Lori McKenna.

[33:41] – Lori McKenna shares the power of mumbling to find the right lyric for a song.

[36:33] – “I think that’s the songwriting itself. I think that’s when we have to be careful of the sacred space we’re in… when the magic stuff’s happening, I think we really have to pay attention,”-Lori McKenna.

[37:34] – Scarlet shares how Lori uses anaphora to tell stories through her songs.

[39:23] – How Lori McKenna invites listeners into the room with her in her songs.

[41:37] – Scarlet introduces the song Salt, and we listen to it.

[45:16] – Lori explains the importance of the first line of a song.


Dino at:


Websites: or

Scarlet Keys

Other Scarlet Key links:

Book: The Craft of Songwriting



Podcast: What’s in a Song

Authentic Leadership For Everyday People / Dino Cattaneo

Dino on LinkedIn:

Podcast Instagram – @al4edp 

Podcast Twitter – @al4edp

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Books Mentioned

The Artist’s Way