My Co-Writing Pals...
In the words of my Pop, “Summer is bout over ain’t it?”. Except he’s typically saying it before the first day of summer even happens. Now, I can honestly say yes it! I don’t know where time went. That’s always how it happens though.
For the past two months, my band and I took some time off of shows to spend time enjoying our families and resting before we had to gear back up for fall dates. While we were on our little vaycay from practice, I had a lot of time to write with some new people in good ole Nashville!
Co-writing is a beautiful but scary thing. Up until very recently, I had always written my songs by myself. Even when I wrote with people in the past I never had a whole bunch of success with it. To me, co-writing didn’t feel natural. At all. Songwriting is already a very vulnerable thing, but when you sit down in a room with someone else (possibly someone you don’t even know that well) and give them an idea that’s really close to you just to have it turned down, that’s not a fun feeling. I always worried that they wouldn’t like what I came up with or they would think my skill level wasn’t that great. It brought me back to school and having to state an answer out loud just to get it wrong in front of the whole class. My point being, I was a nervous wreck when I first started co-writing with people.
Over the years, when I’d get a good song idea I couldn’t just sit on it till the next writing session. I would finish it myself. But when you’re writing with someone else there has to be a level of patience and compromise. They might take your idea in a different direction, good or bad (trust me I’ve had both). It might take you 4 hours to finish something you know you could’ve done yourself in 30 minutes. The difference is the outcome of the song. I know I can write a good song by myself, but with the right co-writer, I can write a great song that I would’ve never thought of on my own. Or, maybe I can finally finish an idea I’ve had for a couple of years thanks to someone else’s prospective.
It’s all about finding the right person that fits your personality. In a weird way, it almost like you’re trying to find a person to date. You want somebody fun to be around, that will listen to what you have to say, and someone that you just click with on an unexplainable level. I’m sure there’s probably some writers in Nashville that would think I’m being too picky, but I’m going off of personal experiences. Thankfully, I have met a handful of people that I’ve worked with really well.
This past spring, I wrote with a guy named Jacob Westfall. He’s this really cool dude from Portland, Oregon. I was at Kimbros one night and met him. He was only in town for a few months so we got together to write. Writing with him was a pretty fun experience. I threw out a song idea I've had for a couple of years and he ran with it. He’d write a line, then I’d write a line. We went back and forth for a little bit and in a few spots we had to figure out the direction we wanted to take it, but all in all, we ended up with a great song. What was so cool about writing with him was the fact we both could relate the song to personal experiences. He was thinking about his love while I was thinking about mine, and we both were in the same mind set. We finished it pretty quickly so afterward we rewarded ourselves with Frothy Monkey and Sweet CC’s. Go right ahead and judge us. It was glorious.
Another guy I’ve written with is Craig Veltri. He’s a good ole NC peep! I wanted to write with him just for the pure fact that talking with him and his girlfriend, Halee, felt like talking to friends I’ve known for years. When I went to their house we had fun just talking about different things in life. Halee may or may not have shown me an old picture of Craig in highschool..... Now THAT was wonderful! (haha sorry Craig). We ended up writing this cool song called 1am Feeling. It fits Craig’s style to a T! The best thing about writing with him was it didn’t feel like work. It flowed really nicely. I see many more co-writes in our future.
The most recent co-writing adventure was with PJ Smith. He’s a really friendly irish fellow I met at Kimbros. He gave me two of his cd’s and I listened to them nonstop. We set up a time to write during Kimbro’s open mic night. We went outside and hung out. It was probably one of the coolest experiences for me. Remember how I said co-writing is all about finding somebody you click with? We clicked immediately. He came up with this really amazing song idea and we had a really deep conversation about relationships and the world in general. I’ve never written with somebody that was so honest about their life. It felt more like a therapy session than it did work. We both talked about stuff that was on our mind and things that had been bothering us that week. It was crazy how even though we were going through totally different stages of our life we could relate to each other. We ended up with this amazing song. PJ blew my mind with how creative and talented he is.
All in all, co-writing isn’t so bad, but you have to find the right people. When you do find the right person it can be magic! I can’t wait for you guys to hear some of the songs I’ve written with these amazing people. I’m learning so much from everyone. I guess the experiences I’ve had writing with other people just confirm to me how much of a blessing God has given people with the talent of songwriting. Different people, going through different things, in different stages of life, all connecting through a universal thing. Music. If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!
That’s all from my neck of the woods! I hope you guys are doing well! I don’t think I say thanks enough for reading my posts. So... THANK YOU!
Much Love xx
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