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Living in harmony

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
Special to the Daily Nashville, Tenn., songwriters Tia Sillers and Mark Selby got married on the top of a 13,000-foot peak in Estes Park on July 4, 2001. Sillers co-wrote the No. 1 hit, "I Hope You Dance" for Lee Ann Womack. Selby wrote "There's Your Trouble" for the Dixie Chicks and "Blue on Black" for Kenny Wayne.
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BRECKENRIDGE – For almost six years, Tia Sillers and Mark Selby wrote songs together in Nashville, Tenn. Then, one morning, Selby woke up from a dream with lyrics running through his head -lyrics like “I can’t send you Valentines, I can’t say what’s on my mind, I’ll just watch the years go by, and hold it in my heart.”

He laid in bed while his subconscious essentially told him how he felt about Sillers through a song, which he says wrote itself.

Then he kept the song from her – until he couldn’t hold it in any longer.

“I was scared to death to play it for her,” Selby said. “But she’s the person I’ve reached the greatest creative level with, so No. 1, I was proud of the song (and wanted to share it with her) and No. 2, I wanted her to hear it (for personal reasons).”

Normally when Selby wrote a song, he sat and hammered it out with his favorite co-writer. But this time, he gave the song to Sillers, and without admitting it was about her, he left the room.

The minute Sillers heard it, she turned beet red.

“I told him, ‘If I fall in love with you, you better damn well send me Valentines,'” Sillers said. “We just looked at each other quick, and everything changed. The second we started kissing there was no going back.”

Before their kiss, they acknowledged their deep connection but thought they’d drive each other crazy if they spent too much time together.

“He’d always call me his soul mate,” Sillers said. “I’d always say, ‘That’s creepy. You only call people you love soul mates, and you’re just a friend.’ Now it’s very obvious that we’re perfect for each other. He’s a person who’s always been there for me.”

But for almost a year, their romance interfered with their songwriting. They were more self-conscious and less constructively critical of each other’s ideas.

Then a publishing company gave them a great opportunity, and they decided to get down to business and meet the deadline.

“(Now) when we write together, we are not husband and wife; we are songwriters who can make things work,” Sillers said.

They usually write about 15 songs together annually. Individually, each works for different publishing companies and has independent projects.

Both present workshops at the BEAMS (Breckenridge Educational and Music Seminars) weekend May 27-30 in Breckenridge.

The weekend is designed for working and aspiring songwriters who want to learn more about the business. It features professional songwriters sharing insider information, technical tools, inspirations and, of course, songs.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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