This might sound like a normal day, but it was actually abnormal. It started last night around 1 a.m. I got a fax that I’ve been waiting for for a month. Finally came in at 1 fucking a.m. in the morning. Even more fun is the fact that my fax machine decided to tell me it didn’t have the ink to print the thing. I’m a musician who is normally on top of things, but I didn’t have backup ink in supply.
I knew I was getting up early this morning to head out to an all day industry function. Last night I had a wrench thrown in. I now had to make sure I was up extra early in order to get to Staples. The good thing is, Staples opens at 7 a.m. Mind you I don’t normally get my day rolling until about 10 a.m. cause I’m up late. So getting up for a 9 a.m. industry function was going to be a stretch. Add the need to print and respond to a fax prior to that, with a need to run to Staples and now I’m up way early. Ouch.
I wasn’t thinking ahead. It was cranky hot last night. Ugh.
Today, well, this morning. I was asked about some of the things I do musically and boom, it dawned on me that I hadn’t done the post. Oy, and I’m away from a machine all day. Hence, you likely thought I forgot SOTD. Alas I did not. I still got to it today. Only quite late. I had good cause though.
The SESAC songwriter’s bootcamp was a really good thing. I met a large group of very talented people all doing their thing for songwriting. As well, I reconnected with a few friends I haven’t seen in a while. Hell one of them, Greg Curtis, has won a Grammy and I didn’t even know. Doh. I’m a bad friend sometimes too, just like everyone else is likely to do from time to time.
I got a good idea for a song. I met about 4 new co-writers. I got a connection to two people that may be able to help me connect a song to a big artist. I may have found a touring drummer. I also discovered a couple more artists for the blog – one you’ll hear Sunday. In all, a very productive day. Of course the early morning run to conduct a fax business may be a good thing. I’ll likely know more in 10 days. Fingers and thoughts thinking good things.
One of the speeches today was about songwriting. The presenter, Jack Knight, specifically asked everyone to write down who they felt was a master songwriter. Then he started asking everyone to raise a hand and list off their 4 or 5 picks. Everyone was answering with lots and lots of the very famous songwriters. All of which would have been on my list, and many people were repeating themselves. Eventually Jack asked me and I hadn’t written anyone down, instead I decided to rattle off about 6 brilliant but non-famous writers. Jack looked at me and said, I haven’t heard of any of those writers, I want you to write down your list for me so that I can find out who they are.
Bingo, I suddenly became valuable to him since I was bringing people to his attention. So I took a pen and paper and wrote down the names along with my number to give to him. I know that makes me stick out in Jack Knight’s mind. Plus it didn’t hurt that I’m 6’4″ and white. I’m sure he won’t forget.
One of the names that was thrown up was Sting. One of the song examples he used for strong rhymes was Every Breath You Take. It’s a very catchy, very clever, very simple song. That’s one of the hardest things to write! The more simple the song, the more powerful the performance and the song has to be. Thus I figured I needed to point it out. Reality is, you as a reader/listener probably already know the song. Hopefully you already own it. If you don’t you really should. It’s a fantastic love song.
Sting has an uncanny ability to take a very simple lyric and turn it into the most amazing line in the world. His melodic and rhythmic sense help make that type of thing happen.
Listening critiques were part of the bootcamp today. Of course a great song is going to stand out. Despite that everyone will have their own take. While I’m pretty sure I’ve got some seriously good songwriting chops it’s always nice to get feedback from your peers. Thus I did that. I got a lot of super feedback, but one critique caught me completely off guard with the song I was having checked.
I unfortunately did not bring the lyrics to the song. I didn’t have my laptop with me. Thus the listener who is also an award winning songwriter dug into me and let me have it. Mostly because she couldn’t read the story as she was listening. Because of that, she missed a whole lot of the plot of the song. Her points were very valid. The song didn’t have a conversation quality, it was more poetic. Which was hard for her to follow lyrically, but musically she loved it. She probably would have loved the song had I had the lyrics with me.
That’s where a simplicity really becomes handy. I can’t compare my song to Every Breath You Take. It’s two completely different things. Mine is a way more involved plot. Which outside of the hook may make it much harder to follow – while a powerful song, it will be harder for it to stick in the consumer’s ear. However, beyond her it’s been an overwhelmingly positive and glowingly so feedback from the peers. Which is a good thing.
Lots of what the dissenter pointed out is all stuff I currently put through the ringer on the songs I write now. So it was a reaffirming thing that let me know I’m doing the same thing hit writers do to refine a song. Now if I can go write me a tune with the simplicity and power of Every Breath You Take, I’ll be a happy camper. Don’t have your own copy of it? Go get it now! By legal means of course.