Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Adventures Of Co-Writing

I was sixteen when I walked into my first pro studio. I was there to co-write with a producer who had been signed by Capital Records as an artist earlier in his career. It was a big deal! He came in sat down and after some brief chitchat he asked me what song ideas I had been working on. I showed him a couple and off he went taking my ideas into whatever direction he chose. Whenever I would speak up with an idea he would dismiss it because, after all, I was just a punk kid.  That was my first real co-writing experience. It was a bit rough to say the least. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to co-write with all kinds of people and it has honestly been one of the most musically rewarding things that I have ever experienced.

Two heads are better than one! 
When two talented people get together to write a song the results are, on average, far better than if it was just one writer.  You are constantly being pushed by each other to come up with that perfect line. You have twice as many ideas going. When you’re stuck they aren’t and when they are drawing a blank you have that perfect idea. Their not quite right idea will lead you to another not quite right idea, which will lead you to the perfect final idea.  It’s ideas going everywhere. Lennon and McCartney needed each other and if two of the best writers in history co-write then you should seriously consider it.

Are you crazy? That’s awesome!
One of the great reasons to co-write is it keeps you from throwing out good ideas. I may be feeling sheepish about my bridge melody idea and ready to throw it out and the other person says “are you crazy that part is awesome’!  There have been times that I’ve almost thrown out the main hook of a song just because I was feeling insecure.  Nashville Producer Lynn Nichols used to tell me all artists are insecure about their music because they are sharing parts of who they are. No one wants to be rejected for who they are.  In my experience, he’s exactly right!

Find someone that is talented and fits you.
The only way to find the write co-writing partner is to just start writing with other talented people. You will know when its right.  If the person you are co-writing with isn’t talented well then none if this will matter. Your going to run into people who are talented, but for whatever reason the fit isn’t right. A lot of times people can be a bit selfish with their ideas.  Don’t be one of those people! Its only keeping you from writing a better song! 

Don’t let a bad experience stop you.
I’m glad that as a sixteen year old I didn’t let one bad experience stop me from pursuing co-writing with others. I would have missed out on so much. Not only can you write some fantastic songs but you create long lasting relationships that matter. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this. As a hip-hop artist, I've noticed that co-writing amounts to "I'll do the hook, then we each drop a verse." To me, this isn't co-writing and it fails to blend the talents of the collaborating artists. I would love to see the "co-writing" of hip-hop shift toward the methods of other genres.