Peaks and Valleys on the Co-Writing Rollercoaster


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!

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