Thought: Co writing helps your song be LESS PERSONAL, and THAT'S A GOOD THING.

When I first started writing and recording, I had no real understanding of collaboration. In fact, I remember feeling weird about having another singer sing my back up lines on my record - wouldn't that make people think I wasn't capable of doing it myself? Ha! That was crazy thinking, and a lot has changed since then.

Funnily enough, though, after coming around to realizing how awesome cowriting is and releasing "Happiness", there was a reviewer who gave my record an average mark on the basis that I had cowritten songs (not all, but most) and she felt that was less respectable. Huh? It was a comment on my process, not on my music (which she thought was good) I was pretty offended and felt like this person had not done her due diligence. And most 'bands' co write together all the time. Do we ever look down on that?

In my opinion, we have a weird mindset in independent music in Canada where we don't think it's 'cool' if it's not quirky and unique enough (just ask a Canadian artist what kind of music they do and you'll get a long speech describing a fusion of every genre under the sun) While this can lead to some insanely awesome musical innovation, more often, it falls completely flat, and we have very, very few artists that have success outside of our borders (on a mass scale) Those who do have collaborated. In fact, most songs that do really, really well (hit songs) have been co-written. Adele's 21 is a great example of this. She's had multiple hits off that record and sold a ton of music. Every song was cowritten, and there were multiple producers as well. The result was unique, finely crafted songs that had a tremendous emotional reach across a broad range of people.

I think one of the problems with being very "precious" about writing everything ourselves, is that the songs then tend to be too personal. That can be fine, but generally, objectivity (found when two or three people come at a song from different angles) allows it to "come out of its shell" and make more sense lyrically to more people. It's very rare that I will pick up a record of songs entirely composed by one person and be blown away by each one (there are some exceptions) Certainly, if a person just wants to spend money recording what they want to say and don't really care about how that translates to an audience, that's fine too. There are no real "rules". But I believe (and have observed) that songs that have a huge impact on a lot of people have, typically, been co-written.

Do you want your music to have a big impact or a small one? Mass or niche? If you want to sell a few records (or give them away) to family and friends who are going to love and support you regardless - write your whole record yourself! But if you want to see your music start to make bigger strides, reach a broader audience, have a chance at radio airplay, be easier to relate to...Co write! It might change your life, and your music, for the better!

Aside: The reviewer who questioned my cowriting versus releasing songs written solely by me ended up doing an entire article on co writing, and called for my input on that. It was redeeming for both of us, I think.


 

1 comment

  • Bradley

    Bradley Winnipeg

    Very thought provoking. As a passionate fan of music, I have never thought of music composition in this fashion. I have often wondered how can such incredible soul healing, soothing or any impacting music be created.

    Very thought provoking. As a passionate fan of music, I have never thought of music composition in this fashion. I have often wondered how can such incredible soul healing, soothing or any impacting music be created.

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