S.A.C. Songwriting Challenge #3: Relationship building in songwriting
By: Michael Perlmutter
“Each individual participant must partner up with another of this year’s Challenge participants to collaborate for this song to be accepted. The theme of the song is all about relationships whether that is fresh starts, friendships, love, longing or heartbreak – you and your songwriting partner decide. Collaborate on a themed song about relationships.
Why is this challenge important to the craft of songwriting?
Songwriting is at its best when emotions and/or stories are told that people connect to. Each songwriter has their own story or experience and being able to share that with a co-writer may help to craft the story and share the feeling in a more profound way – objectivity is very helpful in conveying a story. In addition, working with someone who has a unique ability different from yours in the songwriting craft will play a huge role in the shaping of the song and its tone.”
Hello again everyone,
This week’s songwriting challenge was filled with many moments of learning. The challenge consisted of each songwriter having to find a co-writer within the group and creating a song about relationships. I found a wonderful and most talented writer, Heather Meori. As an added bonus, she also lived locally in Vancouver.
Co-writing songs to me is about, but not limited to, finding inspiration, dynamics and connection, contribution of ideas, working towards a common goal, resulting in a final product built from the coming together of passion and creativity. As much as all these aspects and more occurred this week, my biggest lessons were learned from getting to meet and know Heather Meori. In other words, connecting and knowing this person outside of the writing itself helped make me want to be a better writer.
In a matter of a week, I learned so much from this woman. Time flew by so fast that I have not even been able to express myself to her personally yet. This blog will have to do. The following are some of the important factors I took away from our session:
DEDICATION & DILIGENCE
As a mother to a 7-year-old girl, sometimes I feel like I spread myself too thin sometimes and don’t have enough time to fit in everything into one day. Well…my perspective changed when Heather and I agreed to be partners. It was later in the evening when I received my first message from her letting me know that she would be sending some ideas over. She also expressed that this would be occur as soon as her adorable children were fast asleep. Before long, she had a recording sent to me of a melody line, idea, and a baseline to boot. I was quite impressed. I definitely enjoy working with people who have that kind of drive. Wow!
Our schedules were pretty busy and clashed for time to work together, but with great reason. Not only was Heather caring for her lovely family and two children she was also getting up in the morning to get to a full day of work. I did the calculations. This allowed her to play and do what she is most passionate and talented at in the wee hours of the night into the morning…and then the cycle continued. At times, I get caught up with unexpected life events, the business of everyday necessities, motherhood and then feel frustration or upset that I wish I had more time. I was reminded that I DO HAVE TIME. I simply forgot how to cherish and treat any free time as precious. Watching Heather do her thing and still pump out songs was an eye opener for me to keep up with being grateful.
POSITIVITY & FUN = PRODUCTIVE
Meeting someone for the first time may sometimes be scary. Heather was so awesome to work with in person. A glass of wine, pad, pens and we were well on our way to figuring things out. To have such a lovely personality around makes the whole difference of whether creative juices flow nicely or not for me. Having Heather as a partner allowed for the space to be creative, yet she was also no pushover. She knows her stuff, brings stellar ideas to the table and has a way of articulating her points with always holding integrity in the relationship. All egos were left at the door.
I am also aware that I am not theoretically inclined when it comes to music. And to have Heather share so much of her ideas, bass playing, chords, etc. definitely helped get us started and kept the core of the process in check. When the times restraints tightened, I was then able to put in my strengths and modify, add, write-re-write, find anything we could possibly touch up. The whole time we worked through things, whether she was driving, I was sending out confusing messages, or coming to an agreement about things, she always held a positive attitude and kept things fun. Even when we met to write in person, she was able to hold a fun relationship with my daughter too. One thing I learned and had confirmed is that I write best with this type of writer. And I would choose this any day as opposed to someone extremely genius who wasn’t very personable or delivered negative vibes. The way Heather worked made our working environment and process feel safe. And with feeling safe, came the freedom to play to being productive.
PIECES OF THE PUZZLE
I found with our differing schedules, including the Producer’s, we could have easily found the challenge too much to handle trying to meet up. The beauty of how things worked for the both of us, was that some of the areas of creating songs one person was not the best at, the other naturally filled. As mentioned above, I am not the most theoretically inclined and so having Heather share her abilities of finding some chords, etc, was a gift! I also am somewhat useless trying to figure out harmonies. Again, she was able to pull this off and send to me in between moments of her busy life.
On my end of things, I spent my time recording the vocals, writing lyrics and figuring out how to sing our ideas out appropriately. When she was at work, I tried my best to fill in any gaps we may have still had. The Producer did the same. The greatest part of all was Heather was extremely dedicated and would continue to push ideas and demonstrate what she was capable of. When egos are at the door, and skills are combined, this is where I feel the magic is made. And again, where I was finding an issue challenging to manage, Heather was able to pull through with a solution and vice versa.
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
The best learning I did this past week was the day Heather came over. I poured us some wine and we chit chatted a bit to get to know one another. She talked about her children. I did the same regarding my daughter. We spoked about time management, work, betimes, studio times, creativity, etc. And I just remember us stopping for a moment and both of us mentioning ” WHY DO WE DO THIS?”. Haha. With families to care for, employment, appointments, sleep, etc. Why would use the very little time we have left to be part of a songwriting challenge? It was also in this moment that I realized that we created music because we were passionate. We create music to emote and at times use it as therapy. She showed me the extent of her passion which made me want to do and be more. In the matter of a moment, I was reminded of why we did what we did. We wrote songs and did it because we love it. And from this passion and love for the craft, we attain the fuel to continue working and moving along.
Of course this whole week was to learn about songwriting and how it’s done technically, collaboratively, sharing of dynamics, and process, etc. All this was implemented, and occurred, but I really wanted to stress on the relationship itself that was built in my songwriting process.
BIGGEST LESSON OF ALL: As a songwriter in need of creating…writing a lot definitely exercises the brain to work efficiently. Reading a lot definitely fills the brain of ideas and vocabulary. Listening to other music develops more understanding, but it’s the LIVING of life and connecting through the ways others LIVE life that is the “fuel” that fills the machine to drive.
Thank you Heather Meori for the experience and reminder of the beautiful things life holds whether it be children, family, balance, passion, dedication, etc. You were my fuel this week.