If you are connected with me through Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen that I was in Nashville last week songwriting and networking. I got to meet up with some great record labels, songwriters, and other individuals & companies that we, at All About Worship, partner with.
I also had the privilege of co-writing with James Tealy (Centricity songwriter), Jennie Lee Riddle (Integrity songwriter), Travis Ryan (Integrity songwriter), Michael Farren (Integrity songwriter), and Rhyan Shirley (independent songwriter). I wrote 4 songs in 4 sessions in 48 hours.
I know for pro writers, that’s normal...actually, many of them write 2-4 songs a day, 5 days a week. For me, being in 4 different songwriting sessions in 48 hours was a first. I loved it! But, at the same time, it was draining.
These were 3 hour sessions and often went even longer. Being in a room for 3+ hours with another songwriter, sharing ideas, wrestling through melodies and rhymes, and taking an idea and turning it into a real song is HARD WORK!!
I thoroughly enjoyed these writing sessions and consider it a great honor to have gotten the opportunity to write with these amazing songwriters! Here is how I went into these sessions. If you’ve never co-written before, I hope this helps you:
1. I was prepared to share several song ideas going into these sessions.
I didn’t show up and say, “What do you wanna write about?” I showed up ready to share ideas and ready to listen to their ideas. Not all my ideas even had a melody. Some were just a concept or a thought that had been brewing in me. I also didn’t go in with almost finished songs because I wanted to write a song WITH them, not just have them help me finish a song I had mostly written.
2. I had respect and trust for each writer.
I already knew these writers and consider them friends. I went into the sessions being familiar with their songs. I respected them and I knew they respected me. I knew I could trust them to be honest with me with the ideas I shared in the session. I don’t think you could have a great songwriting session if both parties do not trust and respect each other.
3. I didn’t get my feelings hurt.
In a co-write, each person present should have the freedom to share lyric or melody ideas, with equal weight. And, each person should have the freedom to give feedback on lyric or melody ideas that the others share. If my co-writer didn’t like a lyric idea I shared, I didn’t take it personally. It’s important to remember in a co-write that your main goal is to write the best song you can. Your goal isn’t to stroke each other’s ego and make each other feel good.
4. I knew what I was writing for.
One of the first things that each songwriter asked me is: “Do you have something specific you’re writing for?” My answer was: “Yes, I’m planning on recording my first worship EP this year.” Even bigger than that though, I was writing with my local church in mind. I shared about my church and how my song idea relates to my church. We talked about what God is doing in each of our churches.
Although by the end of the 48 hours, I was exhausted, I also felt a spiritual high. Spending 12+ hours with other worshipers, talking about the Word of God and discussing our faith and theology together, was so refreshing for me. I learned a lot from each writer, in how they approach songwriting, how they process their thoughts, and more. I am excited to introduce these songs at my church in the coming weeks and sharing them with the world if & when the time comes!
Originally posted here.