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Tips For Finding & Creating Successful Co-writes

Seven tips for finding a co-writer in your own hometown:

1. Your music store!  Usually every music store has a keyboard teacher or a guitar teacher who is also probably a songwriter.  Contact them and ask what style of music they write.  If it sounds like something that will mesh with your style, ASK if they might be interested in co-writing! This tip is especially helpful for songwriters that write lyrics only.

2. Your local music venues!  Your local music venues such as cafés, clubs, bars, VFW’s usually have bands or artists playing.  Those musicians in the band are probably songwriters.  Again, if their style sounds like it would compliment your style, then ASK if they want to co-write.

Your local churches!  Usually you will find a pianist or guitarist at the various local churches who may be willing to sit down and collaborate with you.  This will give them a chance to hear your lyrics, hear your verbal description of the emotional feel for your song and co-write with you.

Your local recording studios!  Every town, no matter the size, usually has a recording studio that the local radio stations use for recording commercials and that artists use for recording demos. Most likely you will find musicians, writers, and artists, who should be singing your songs hanging at your local recording studio.  

Your local NSAI Chapter!  There are over 130 NSAI chapters available nationwide.  There may be one close to you! Connect with potential co-writers at your local chapter’s next monthly meeting.  For a chapter near you, click on “locate a local NSAI chapter” on the NSAI website.

Music Festivals!  Attend nearby music festivals.  You can bet that at least half of the people who attend music festivals (and everyone who performs at them) are writers and performers too.  Strike up conversations with the performers at the various stages and ASK if they are an artist writer – festivals are a great place to network.

Local Radio Stations!  Local college and radio stations, of every size, frequently conduct or judge local singing and song contests.  They have their finger on the “pulse” of local talent and are in the know. Give your local radio station a call and ask to speak to the program director.  Instead of asking the program director to play your song, which most of them will never do, ASK instead who they think are the most talented up-and-coming performers in your region.  You want to ask who they feel is the next up-and-coming FEMALE artist, MALE artist, and OTHER (such as band, duo or group). Research on the internet to find out when the recommended artist’s next performances are and attend.  At the meet and greet, introduce yourself to the local artist and tell them you’re a member of NSAI, know all the inside scoop about the music industry and ASK if they might be interested in co-writing!

Five tips for creating a positive co-writing experience:

  1. Get to know your co-writer first!  Co-writing is a trust relationship, and a great co-writing relationship can last for years.  Go for coffee, listen to their goals for their music, learn their dreams and goals to see how they fit yours.  What do they consider their songwriting strengths – music or lyric?
  2. Lyricist only?  Bring three songs of other artists (from your CD or ipod) with you that will act as a launching pad and have the emotional feel that you want your lyric to reflect.  This helps your melody writer get a “feel” for what your expected end product should resemble emotionally.
  3. Melody only?  Make sure that the lyricist provides you with lyrics that reflect the emotional feel of your music, the chords you are playing so there is a good match of melody and lyric.  Think about the emotional tone of your melodies so that as you collaborate with a lyricist, you can match ideas.
  4. Talk!  Talk to your co-writer about what you both want the end product to feel like and/or say so that you are both on the same page and both wind up with a great song that you both love.
  5. Compromise!  If your co-writer suggests something that doesn’t feel right for you, be open to the idea but look for an idea that you both can agree on.  If at first you don’t succeed, then skip that part and move on to the next portion of the song.  Usually when an idea is right, both writers will agree and feel good about it.  Co-writing is often like dating, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it works for a while and then it loses its magic and sometimes it lasts for years. 

 

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