I love how one of my fellow song challengers, David Keeble, describes the musical mood swing: from “a real visit from the song fairy” to “Nice music – but it’s a mystery to me why I thought it was so great last night.” I’ve certainly had those moments.
Maybe this is one role of the co-write: the initial enthusiasm and seed of an idea is expressed and then – just as you start to doubt its value – the baton is passed to a co-writer to add their layer of creativity and keep the songwriting momentum going. I was starting to get discouraged by the collaboration piece (or lack thereof) – it’s hard to know how to navigate a virtual room of over 100 individuals and guess who would be a good musical match. I forged ahead, writing on my own and (very bravely, I thought) posted a rough draft of a song for Challenge #1. Well, that helped. Suddenly, I feel less invisible, I got great feedback, and maybe there’s a co-write in my not-so-distant future. I even took the song out for a spin at an open mic in Toronto this weekend.
As for the Week Two Challenge – Write a Top 40 Pop Song for Rob Wells: “Think Selena Gomez. Think Demi Lovato. Think big. Think hits.” These singers are so outside my usual listening and playing spheres that it took a good deal of effort to steer my imagination in that direction. I did some listening but found I didn’t relate to the messages or the musicality of these songs. I had to think of pop artists I enjoy for inspiration (Katy Perry, Pink) for inspiration. What can I pull from the genre that I could use in my own song? My conclusion: Simple chord structure, catchy chorus, and a melody that showcases the singer’s skills. Oh yes, and remember to have fun!