According to the gurus of songwriting, the way to learn the craft, build a network, and further one’s career is co-writing songs. Since I am a lyricist only, I have no choice but to co-write. The more co-writers, the better, say the experts. As of today, I have had several co-writers: Gayle Weiston-Serdan, Uncle Bob, Amy Bowen, Kanan Road, Vince Mendoza/Ryan Anderson, David Regier, James Sims, Dale Crockett, and Denise Barker.
The peaks of the co-writing experience are the first flush of excitement when the co-writer accepts the project and the joyful moment of hearing the song performed either live or in a recording. Shivers ran up my spine when I first played the video of Jim Sims singing “I’ll Be Fine.” I’ll never forget Torie singing “The Twelve-Bar Blues” at Wine Styles in Claremont. And it felt like a dream come true to have my friends in the audience to hear Kanan Road perform “Southern Californian” at the Merc. I should keep my eye on the loving gift these people have given me, and not let the valleys poison my joy.
However, though I am working on patience, I am frustrated with some aspects of the co-writing process. If a songwriter agrees to write a tune for my lyric, I expect him/her to do it in a reasonable time period. That expectation has turned out to be misguided in several cases. I have not specified a time frame for my projects so far, and that has been my mistake.
Some notably productive and prompt writers are Uncle Bob, Amy, Kanan Road, and Denise Barker. I thank them for following through on their promises. I also thank the dilatory writers for the lessons in patience they have given me. I am earning a D+/ C- on those lessons, but I’m working toward a C. As someone said on Song Ramp, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince in co-writing. Pucker up, Pam!