The journey you embark on with creating music is what makes you, and not necessarily what the final result is.
A few weeks ago an artist I have produced and written tracks for previously, got in touch to say they were looking to build on the momentum they currently have by releasing a “buzz single” for summer release. They wanted to know if I’d like to produce the track as well as co-write it.
Well my immediate thought and reply was …”uh yeah of course!!” You see as I’ve already said I’ve done a lot of work for this artist over the previous 18 months. I ended up producing half of their debut album and co-wrote 4 of the tracks, 2 of which were singles. They are (and no I’m not biased!) supremely talented, have an amazing voice and have a real self-awareness when it comes to understanding what they want as an artist. So to me it made complete sense to get involved with this planned summer single but then…..
The artist turned to me and said “Let’s make a summer smash; I’m thinking Calvin Harris, Sam Smith vibes with Promises mixed with a music festival EDM vibe”. So at this point it’s safe to say, the expectations of the artist and the reality of an impending summer single release began to strike a little bit of fear in to an otherwise excited Producer (yes me I’m referring to!). Of course it didn’t help I’d not so much as even written a single note for the song!
So having pulled myself together and realising the potential of what the artist was planning, I figured it was time to get writing. So first things first I set up a writing session with my long-time friend and co-writer and we got to work just sat round my piano at home. As we started with barely 3 or 4 chords between us, something started to happen. It started with a melody line for the verse, throwing ideas back and forth, trying different phrases, me altering the different ways of playing the rhythm of the piano chords. I won’t be the first to say this and I know I won’t be the last but there is something strange that happens when you’re fully in that moment of creation, those moments of inspiration. Everything suddenly becomes easy, the ideas flow and you feel like it’s never going to stop. As clichéd as it sounds, you feel like you can do anything and are the master of your own destiny!
Of course it doesn’t always go like this but when it does, you need to grab it and run with it and that’s exactly what we did. We got a basic framework of the song down that evening minus the lyrics. We sent it over to the artist who loved it thankfully and they set to work doing their thing, writing up lyrics, trying different melodic ideas and tweaking the ones we already had.
We’re now at that exciting, exhilarating and manic point currently of me making the finishing touches to the instrumental backing mix whilst the artist is preparing themselves to deliver the vocal of their lives this weekend in their own studio before they send their stems over to me for the final mix and master. I say final mix but if you knew the artist like I know them, then you can fully expect them to come back with multiple requests of revisions on the mix (did I mention they’re a diva as well!! Only joking of course, in case they’re reading this…oops).
Now here’s one more thing…sometimes what they add or change to what you’ve already written doesn’t always fit perfectly with what you may have had in your head and a healthy discussion and disagreement can ensue. Sometimes it works the other way and you are all in such perfect sync, that you’d swear you were different parts of the same body all working in tandem. Ultimately though what I’ve learned from the writing and production process is that collaboration and great communication for me personally has always led to the best songs I’ve ever been involved with writing or producing. It’s easy for us creative folk (just indulge me for a second here with my use of creative) to let the ego in and want all your ideas to win but that’s missing the point of collaboration so my piece of advice when entering a co-write or producing a song is to check the ego at the door, it makes for a truly great process and journey and let’s not forget the journey you embark on is what makes you and not always what the final result is!
If you’ve enjoyed my musings today and you want to keep up to date with my future blogs then why not subscribe to my email letter on the contacts website page. Or if you’re an artist or songwriter who has a project in mind that you’d like my help on, then contact me using the project planner form on here on DSM’s website.
Until next time….