Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn superstardom, just launched a new publishing company called Perfect Pitch Publishing. The hitmaker has already signed four writers, as well, including Thomas Perkins, who just penned Dunn’s newest single, “Broken Neon Hearts.” The single is the first off of Dunn’s fifth solo album, 100 Proof Neon, coming this summer.
Dunn, however, will continue writing for Showbilly Music, which owns and operates his Brooks & Dunn catalog. Dunn’s personal venture allows him to sign and mentor up-and-coming artists and writers. Hayden Baker, Dakota Striplin, and Ariel Boetel round out the remaining four inaugural writers for Perfect Pitch.
Dunn says he wanted to launch a personal venture like this for a while, but didn’t want to sacrifice the time it takes to build a superstar brand like Brooks & Dunn.
“Kix and I have talked for years about starting a publishing company but didn’t have the time,” Dunn said. “We were traveling and putting all the time we had into Brooks & Dunn to really do it right.” The duo won 28 ACM Awards, 19 CMA Awards, and two Grammys thanks to their focused efforts.
Former Big Machine exec Braden Carney signed on as EVP of operations, while Dunn’s daughter Haley is VP artist relations. “We’re bare bones on purpose,” Dunn said. “I don’t want to have all that overhead and stuff involved. At the end of the day, I can pick the songs. I can afford to pay the writers and we can pitch them. It’s pretty much just Braden and a couple other young ones running through here.”
Kobalt Music, which also works closely with Showbilly, will help with administrative tasks. All of the pieces in place allow Dunn to focus on the music and the mentorship.
“I can be the coach and they’ll play this stuff and I’d go, ‘Okay I’ll tell you what, I’d change that line, I would tighten it up,’ or whatever. It’s fun to just come in and beat them down and then build them back up,” he says with a laugh.
“[Writers will] say, ‘Where is it wrong?’ and I’ll go, ‘I’ll give you a hint, but it’s not for me to tell you all that stuff, you’re supposed to learn.’ So we just nudge them along and do songwriter development.”
Dunn’s vision for his publishing company, which keeps him hanging around in the music business
Dunn hopes to provide a comprehensive, family environment for new writers to grow like he experienced during his come-up with Sony/ATV (now Sony Music Publishing).
“Donna Hilley called early in the game when Tim [DuBois] was starting Arista,” Dunn says of the late publishing legend. “She called me in Oklahoma and said that Tim had played her some songs that I had written. She said, ‘I want to give you a publishing deal over here.’ We packed a U-Haul and moved to Nashville. June Carter Cash gave us a place to live for a year.”
As for his personal career, Dunn said he and Brooks will be touring more extensively this summer after “quitting” in 2010. “You should never say never,” he said about the music business. “I didn’t want to do a farewell tour, all that corny stuff, didn’t want to do any of it. [I said,] ‘Let’s just quit,’ but we got bored. Everybody does.
“I went out and tried in the off time to do everything that you could do [after the 2010 tour.] I bought tractors. I traveled to Africa. We went everywhere. Then I went, ‘Okay, okay I want to go back and sing again. I really do.’ It’s just fun and we’ve been lucky.”