Teachers After Hours
Music industry professor Jim McCormick is also a famous songwriter
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 14:10
It’s likely that country music fans have heard a song written by Loyola’s own music industry professor Jim McCormick on the radio recently.
This semester, McCormick teaches a class called The Craft and Business of Songwriting, according to a Loyola University press release. But over the summer, he achieved the songwriter’s dream: a number one Billboard hit. His song “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do,” recorded by Brantley Gilbert, reached the top of the country charts in July.
McCormick now works between two cities, teaching in New Orleans and working as a songwriter in Nashville. He has taken what many call a “hobby” and made it a full-time career.
“I make my living as a professional songwriter,” McCormick said. “It’s been like that for about 12 years. I write a song every day. Sometimes, it can happen in less than an hour, and some songs, you can spend four or five eight-hour days on.”
McCormick received his bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University and his master’s in English from the University of New Orleans. Born and raised in New Orleans, McCormick said he fell in love with music early on.
"I used to write songs as a kid," McCormick said. “I had bands when I was in high school, bands in college. At the age of 8, I was probably falling in love with pop radio for the first time. Listening to the radio after I was supposed to be asleep, under the covers of my bed.”
The opportunity to return to New Orleans was one reason he took up the teaching position. “I missed being in my hometown more often,” he said. “I think I’d been looking for an opportunity to renew that.”
He also missed teaching, he said. McCormick previously taught in the English department at the University of New Orleans and in 2005 McCormick co-taught a songwriting class at Loyola.
But the class he teaches now works differently, he said.
“That previous class was solely about the craft of songwriting,” he said. “This current class is about craft, music publishing and entrepreneurship. I didn’t want to can’t write songs.”
Music industry studies junior Molly Portier is taking McCormick’s class this semester and said she enjoys the open, honest environment McCormick encourages.
“We bring in songs that we’ve written and have our peers critique our work while also getting his professional insight,” she said. “He opens the floor for the students to work out each song. Learning from someone who is so talented at what they do is incredibly inspiring.”
McCormick calls himself lucky to be able to make a career out of songwriting.
“I found it early on in my life, and I never quite abandoned it,” he said. “And then I discovered a way to make that love match up with a career.”
Cherie Lejeune can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org