May 4

To One Great Songwriter, Tim DuBois, Happy Birthday!

One songwriter once said,

“If you write a great song, it’s almost undeniable.”

How good is a song if someone did not write it first? How much heart can you pour to write a great song only to have it be recorded by another? Tim DuBois says he believes a great song will somehow “find a way” And that, out of a bucket of thousands of songs you write, you can probably count the great ones on two hands.

To One Great Songwriter, Tim DuBois, Happy Birthday! 1

Early Influences

Tim DuBois owes his career in the music industry to his father, who gave him an old-fashioned car when he was young. With a 1960 Dodge Seneca in the driveway, he realized he needed something else going for him to be able to entice a “quality woman”. That moment, he saw himself pick up the guitar.

“I was never a great player but I always loved lyrics. To this day that’s the thing that motivates me. That ability to write a lyric and make somebody play that movie in their mind.”

He got an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University and married, in his words, “a chick singer”. He quit playing and writing for a few years when he had two kids in his first three years of college. After his Master’s degree in accounting, he then moved to Dallas to work for Arthur Anderson. Despite being a huge influence in the country music business, DuBois did not grow up listening to country. His time in the Dallas-Fort Worth area turned him on to Texas country music. That time, he fell in love with the songwriting intellect of Kris Kristofferson and started playing out again.

DuBois’ Outstanding Career

Twice named as one of the 101 most powerful people in the entertainment industry by Entertainment Weekly, Tim DuBois has a long list of accomplishments and awards. Though he began his career as a certified public accountant decades ago, he has left a big mark on the music business since moving to Nashville in 1977. He had five number one songs to his songwriting credit and was awarded the 1991 Country Music Association’s Song of the Year, for When I Call Your Name” with Vince Gill. Moreover, he aided in establishing Arista Records in Nashville, a label that helped launch the careers of Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, and Diamond Rio. 

He got a few more cuts but he did not have enough success to be able to write full time. When he moved back to Oklahoma to finish his Ph.D., a friend who believed in him talked him out of it. The next year he got his first writer’s deal and in twelve months’ time, he had three #1 songs including “Love in the First Degree” recorded by Alabama. Love in the First Degree is the biggest song DuBois has ever had.

In 2002, he became president and senior partner of Universal South Records. He has also been on the boards of Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He is also a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International and became the Vice President and Managing Executive of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Happy birthday, Tim! Thank you for inspiring songwriters to always do their best.


Alabama, Love in the First Degree, Tim DuBois, Vince Gill, When I Call Your Name

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