Collaborative Songwriting Difficulties

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SLIV, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. SLIV


    Jul 16, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    I think this is the right forum....

    I get these newsletters from Reverbnation and find them interesting enough to not unsubscribe. This section below caught my attention because I'm currently in a project with a very talented singer/songwriter/guitarist who writes excellent songs. The rest of the band wants to collaborate and write songs for the project as well but they just come up with marginal riffs with no room for vocals. I keep on saying, "vocals, chorus, melodies" but they say that will come in time. Jamming around one chord isn't my jam.

    Am I off-base? Would you find it patronizing if you got a copy of this blog post in your email from a bandmate?

    From the Reverbnation blog post:
    Co-Writing: How To Be A Great Collaborator And How To Attract One | ReverbNation Blog

    Your Song Arsenal
    Write often on your own. Make it as much of a ritual as you can. To be super prepared for a co-writing session, write often enough that at all times you have the following in your song arsenal:

    • At least 3 new yet unfinished ideas to bring to the table. Perhaps a stand-alone chorus, a set of lyrics, or a melody. Maybe even just a song title!
    • At least 2-3 essentially finished songs but could use re-writing. If you haven’t reached the point of satisfaction with these songs, that is a good thing. Let your collaborator help pull the song into its ideal form.
    • Your most recently finished song or songs. Ask for some small notes. Maybe there is an out of place rhyme that could use a tweak that you accidentally missed!
    Bringing lots of options to the table will give your collaborator confidence in you, and a fun experience choosing their favorites out of your arsenal. Plus, by their choices, you can assess their aesthetic. It’s an amazing way to get to know someone.
    design and RiffwRiter like this.
  2. RiffwRiter


    Aug 23, 2016
    Memphis, TN
    It's good advice, but anything could come across as patronizing if people take things the wrong way. Maybe you could say "Hey I get these interesting tidbits from reverbnation spam, want me to share them with you?" Then you are just passing along information you get without potentially sounding like a snob.
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Yeah, just do it in a positive way - "I found this article really interesting, thought you all might as well".
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  4. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I forget where this comes from, but it was a Nashville songwriter working with a fellow who was new to the business: Not an actual quote, just an approximation: "Close the door. You and I are going to come up with a lot of stupid ideas, but we'll be the only ones who know it, and when we're done we'll have a song."
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
    RiffwRiter likes this.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Don't be too dismissive of the idea of starting with a simple groove or lick. There are a lot of different ways to write songs, with the different parts developing in different sequences. Lots of great songs start out as ideas that emerge spontaneously during jams. In fact, it seems to me that it might be ideal if some band members are starting with lyrics or vocal melodies, say, while others are starting with grooves or chord progressions.
    JRA and RiffwRiter like this.
  6. SLIV


    Jul 16, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    Call me a wimp but I did nothing! Sometimes no comment does the trick.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Maybe wimpy, but maybe wise. If you say nothing now, you always have the option to speak up later. If you say something now you can't un-say it later and might regret it. See how things play out for awhile; you'll probably know when/if it's time to say something.
    SLIV likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    but in your band, as you describe it: i'd rather get it from the guitar player. ;)
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