Hey guys,Just got a big spiel from a screener on one of my custom critiques that I actually find really helpful, and thought I'd post it up here as it seems that it can be of benefit to other artists as well. A lot of helpful ideas in here (as well as some nice compliments about my song )......Elliott - I'm glad for the opportunity to discuss this song with you. To be perfectly honest, I don't know that there's anything you should do to alter the arrangement. It flows smoothly from start to finish and feels very satisfying emotionally, or at least it does to my ears. The melody seems contagious, the instrumental performance is tasteful, and your voice exudes a great deal of emotion. All of that is very impressive. As far as not being forwarded for a particular listing, I don't think you should worry too much about that. Often times the folks who place the listings are looking for something very specific, and if a song doesn't meet their exact requirements it won't get forwarded. This is not a reflection of the quality of the material. I'm not sure to what extent you're familiar with the business of music, but it actually can be a very crass or coldhearted affair. A writer can pour his/her heart and soul into creating something heartfelt, and it may be dismissed by a reviewer with a mere wave of their hand. One witnesses this on every episode of American Idol. People stand up and sing their hearts out only to be ravaged by the judges, who are listening for a certain of standard of excellence and when they don't hear it are quick to dismiss. In that regard, it's important to develop a thick skin or you'll get nowhere in this business. As far as your stylistic "voice" is concerned, this is where I believe you should focus most of your emphasis. Most of the bigger and more important artist of today are not only accomplished writers and performers, but they are instantly recognizable, and this is because there is something about their stylistic "voice" that allows them to stand out. If anything, this is where I think your material might fall just a little bit short. As well written as this song is, I'm not sure how distinctive it actually sounds within the context of contemporary music. Unfortunately, it's really hard how to tell somehow how to arrive at a truly distinctive sounding stylistic "voice". Usually this is something that develops over time. In your case, it sounds like you've got plenty of technical ability, and that you're adept at constructing a well-written arrangement, but I'm not sure there's anything truly unique about the song or performance. My recommendation is actually not to focus on this particular song, but to write a batch of new ones that serve to further develop your vision as an artist, and if you don't have a vision for yourself as an artist, well, I think it's important that you try and develop one. That way you have something to work towards -- something to measure yourself against. Try and invest your lyrical themes with as much of your own unique personality as possible. Listen to and study contemporary music in order to better understand the contemporary musical marketplace and how you fit into it. Learn to identify your audience (i.e. the folks most interested in the type of material you play). Okay, let me back up and reiterate something I already mentioned. Don't bank everything on just this one song. An artist is always continually developing their craft, and in your case, this means writing a recording new material on a regular basis. If this song doesn't "hit pay dirt", maybe one of your other songs will. The idea is to build a large repertoire of material. Okay, I guess I've rambled on long enough. Hopefully, some of what I've written will be helpful in your quest to become a more "successful" writer/musician. Don't be discouraged by not being forwarded. If you believe in the song, stand behind it no matter what anyone says. Nobody thought Bob Dylan had any talent in the beginning, but he of course went on to prove everyone wrong. Oh, and don't base your entire opinion of something on what you family and friends think. Chances are they're a little biased.