Mark Wayne Glasmire has traveled a long, hard road since receiving his first guitar as a Christmas gift at age 10. Yet, that journey has led him to a place called success.
Glasmire explains, "I knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue music as a career. I was around 10 years old, but it took me many more years to chase the dream. Honestly, I feel like I am just now coming into my own."
Glasmire was in college before he wrote his first "real" song called "Hey Girl."
"It was a real simple country sounding song. I recorded it at a small local studio in my hometown of Bethlehem, Pa. It was not very good, but I loved the process and I learned a lot from it. I fell more and more in love with the whole music scene. I felt like I was living the dream. I later went to Nashville and re-recorded "Hey Girl" with real Nashville session players who were the best in the world. I then released it as a single in Europe where it did quite well."
Mark, who has a business administration degree from Kutztown State College in Pennsylvania moved to Nashville in 1995. While there, he worked as a construction manager for a Nashville land developer, which helped pay the bills while he continued to pursue songwriting and performing.
"When I got to Nashville I visited many of the hot songwriting cafés like Bluebird Café, Exit-In and Wildhorse Saloon. After several years in Nashville without a major label deal in hand, I became a little disillusioned with Music City, but I kept after it."
Never one to give up hope, Glasmire explains that his perseverance to succeed in the music industry has little to do with fame and much more to do with an emotional connection with his audience.
"For me it has never been about fame and fortune. It's more about spreading a positive message. I frequently receive notes from listeners who tell me that they can relate to what I am singing about. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels a certain emotion."
One of Mark's efforts to gain greater notoriety as a songwriter was to enter the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. He entered three times before placing as a finalist in the contest. "In fact, I had made up my mind that I was not going to enter anymore, just prior to being notified...sure glad I didn't give up."
The song that landed him at MerleFest in the CASC final competition in 2010 was "You Opened My Eyes." Mark says that he wrote this song in less than 30 minutes. "The song's genesis happened during a conversation with a girlfriend who reminded me that starting over can sometimes be a gift and an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective." It won first place in the country category.
"Being a part of the CASC was a wonderful experience. It helped raise the awareness of my music to many new fans. It also gave me more confidence, not only in my songwriting, but also my performing abilities. Having won my division also gave me much more credibility in the business."
After his song won first place in the CASC, Glasmire decided to release it independently to mainstream country radio stations in the United States. It performed well on the national U.S. Music Row Chart and it held at No. 1 for four weeks on the HotDisc Country Chart in the United Kingdom.
Glasmire released his self-titled album in 2012.
"I've had quite a bit of success with three songs from this album reaching No. 1 on the HotDisc Country Chart in the United Kingdom - 'I Like You,' 'Going Home' and 'The Moment.' And, just recently, I won an award during the CMAFest for 'I Like You,'" says Glasmire. He was presented a plaque from HotDisc Country commemorating its success. It tied a record for weeks at No. 1 on the chart, totaling nine straight weeks.
Now based in Arlington, Texas, Glasmire's trophy shelf seems to be growing more with each new song that he writes. He is gaining the respect of A-list Nashville artists. He has even opened for Guy Clark, Dierks Bentley and other top-tier acts.
"I'm in a really good place right now. I really believe that music is my life's purpose. And, I am thankful for the support I've received from family and friends other the years. I'm also thankful that the CASC helped catapult my career to the next level. This is what I've wanted to do my whole life, so to actually be able to do it is a treasured gift."
Like Mark Wayne Glasmire, you, too, could become a CASC winner. The first step is entering the contest. The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is now accepting applications from aspiring songwriters via U.S. Mail (P.O. Box 121855, Nashville, TN 37212). Entries may also be submitted through Sonicbids (www.sonicbids.com/chrisaustinsongwritingcontest). The deadline for submissions is February 19, 2013.