Channing Wilson has been a part of the local music scene for more than a decade, first gaining attention as part of The Tennessee Rounders, a high-energy band that played a mix of rockabilly, honky-tonk and country music.

Along with bandmates Bryan Gross, Peewee Moore and Mike Hagaman, Wilson earned a reputation for blistering shows.

The guys split a few years ago and have followed different paths. These days, Wilson is writing music and preparing to record an acoustic album and a demo CD featuring a full band.

He is also burning up the road between here and Nashville to his new gig as a contracted songwriter with EMI Publishing. He signed with the company last month.

Q: What exactly does signing with EMI mean for you?

A: That just means that I'm writing songs with one of the biggest publishing companies in the world. It's the first step to everything I'm working for careerwise. It's a big step.

Q: Does it mean you will be recording for them and putting out your own product?

A: That's the intention. They want me to be an artist, which I am, but it's part of the process of getting some songs cut [by other people] and getting your name out there and building a reputation so everyone in town knows who you are. I'm writing with three or four different writers in Nashville three or four times a week.

I got to write with one of my heroes last week, Guy Clark. That was phenomenal for me.

Q: When did you sign?

A: I actually signed in April. It's been going on since January with contract talks and stuff.

Q: What have you learned?

A: I think the main thing I've learned is to take it more seriously than I used to. I've made my living with music but now I understand the business-oriented side more. You can call yourself a songwriter, but I was only writing one song a month.

... This is making me a better songwriter. I'm doing it every day and getting feedback. It's like playing golf or anything else. If you play golf everyday, you will shave some strokes off your score.