Month: March 2012

The art of co-writing, OR first co-writes are a lot like first dates…

One of the things that I have learned a lot about since moving to Nashville is the art of the co-write. It’s a simple premise: 2 or more writers get together and combine creative forces to write the next #1 country song… or so we all hope. Not only is this a great way to step outside of your own comfort zone, but it’s also a great way to network and move up the ranks in Music City.

One of the other things I’ve learned a lot about since moving to Nashville is being single and living on your own in your 20s… which inevitably includes some adventures in dating. Surprisingly, I’ve found a lot of similarities between the two! So, here we go: the good, the bad, and the sometimes depressingly hilarious (or is it hilariously depressing?) lessons I’ve learned through 3 years of co-writes and dating.

1. Background checks/ facebook stalking does not always make you a creep. 

Seriously! Just like going on a first date, sometimes it’s good to do just a little bit of homework before your first meet up. I’m all for giving people chances and forming my own opinions, however, if a potential co-writer has a track record of stealing song ideas or trying to force unfair song contracts on a co-writer, it might be best to avoid the situation altogether.

2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

Sometimes, the best co-writes can happen by surprise. I’ve found that I’ve had some of my most creative and successful writing sessions with writers who I didn’t necessarily click with at first. Like I mentioned before, co-writes can be great for breaking you out of your own creative box, and opening yourself up to different writing styles.

3. Sometimes, a good relationship takes time to blossom. 

Just like awkward first dates can sometimes turn into great relationships, awkward first co-writes can turn into great creative relationships! You have to think of a first co-write, especially with another writer who you may not have a long personal relationship with, as a getting-to-know you session… getting to know each other’s style, language, and writing preferences is key. You have to learn to communicate with each other to communicate anything of meaning through a song, and depending on the personalities in the writing room, this can take longer to develop for some pairs, or couples!

4. And then sometimes, the chemistry just isn’t there. 

You gave it your best shot; you really tried to open up and communicate, and you put your heart into it 100%, but sometimes, the chemistry just isn’t there. Some co-writing teams just simply aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok! Just like when some relationships aren’t supposed to work out, you have to know yourself as a writer to know when that “something,” that je ne sais quoi just isn’t present in the writing room.

5. When the chemistry is there, magic can happen!

Sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time with the right person, and the magic of writing a great song just seems to happen. I feel like this is more rare than not, so when it happens, just enjoy the ride!

6. The best relationships are founded on respect. 

Writing with somebody new can sometimes be a very sensitive situation, especially if the two writers don’t see eye-to-eye on every line, note, and chord being put on paper (and just like in life, you will be hard pressed to find anybody who agrees with you 100% of the time!). It’s best to treat each other with respect, and be truthful but not hurtful in working through the challenges that come with putting multiple creative personalities together in a room. I like to go in with the opinion that just because something isn’t right for the song, doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

7. Above all, be true to yourself. 

Be open to new ideas and experiences, but know who you are and stay true to it. It makes for a richer writing experience (and a richer life, too!)