Every other week, Kelleigh Bannen will provide behind-the-scenes analysis, stories and insight into Music City’s No. 1 export, with help from some of Nashville’s top songwriters, artists, executives and producers. Taste of Country will debut each new episode of her This Nashville Life podcast, and Bannen herself will introduce it as a guest writer. Thoughts and opinions expressed by Bannen are hers alone and do not reflect the opinions of Taste of Country, unless she’s talking about #TomatoGate, in which case, yeah … she’s spot on.

He’s a publisher, producer and the man behind 32 No. 1 hits. Meet Ashley Gorley: writer on songs like Brad Paisley’s "Then," Luke Bryan’s "That’s My Kind of Night" and Carrie Underwood’s "Dirty Laundry." He was the guy deejaying his middle school dances. He was the guy making tracks in high school. His passion for music of all kinds led him to go to college at Belmont University, where he interned like crazy.

What’s Ashley’s writing process like? On today’s episode of This Nashville Life, Ashley tells us about what inspires him, and how he approaches writing — especially how he prepares for writing with an artist. Interestingly, it involves a lot of improvisation. I asked him if there was a moment when he knew being a songwriter was gonna "work."

"It depends on what you’re willing to endure, and it depends on what your significant other is willing to endure,” he says.

And this led us to a really interesting conversation around how much a person needs to get by. What level of income are they willing to settle for while they’re getting started? Is their spouse willing to wait it out? Because any level of success takes time.

Ashley's first hit song (Carrie Underwood, "Don’t Forget to Remember Me") came seven years into his life as a writer. In the past we haven’t talked a lot about the role of a supportive spouse or the toll that the life of a songwriter can take on a relationship. It was compelling to hear how much of a team Ashley and his wife are, and how that really allowed him to continue to work as a songwriter even when he was between deals.

Ultimately, I think we see Ashley’s hardworking approach to writing, combined his passion for great songs as a big part of his success, but even he seems a little shocked at the number of hits that he’s had. He chalks a lot of it up to timing. But don’t be fooled, his interview is a sort of a masterclass in the kind of attitude it takes to be successful as a songwriter. Come with us as we try to figure out what it means to live This Nashville Life.

Listen to This Nashville Life Season 2, Ep. 8

About Kelleigh Bannen: Kelleigh Bannen’s This Nashville Life Podcast offers an authentic, vibrant look at the journey of someone trying to “make it” in country music. Bannen is admittedly still learning what that means. After a short career as an independent artist, the “Famous” singer signed a major label record deal and recorded two-and-a-half albums that were never released. She’s honest, but not bitter about the obstacles female artists face in country music, but her blog and podcast go much deeper.

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