"Politeness is the poison of collaboration" ~Edwin Land
"Two heads are better than one."~Proverb
Is it possible to successfully write with someone else? Look at Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Lennon and McCartney - these partnerships were incredibly effective. But really should we take on a partner?
This month, I posed that question to several local writers and would like to share their words with you. Barry Mathers (the Cruzeros) feels that …"it certainly helps to have a good writing partner. When one brain goes dead, the other one can come up with something that gets the ball rolling again. When a song has come to a standstill and I can't finish it, a co-writer might have some good ideas of where to take it and how to get it finished." There has to be a certain amount of confidence in one's own abilities in order to let someone else into your writing space.
Michael O'Neill (local songwriter) says that…."there are so many ways of looking at the world and we usually deal with just our own control. So writing lyrics with someone else gives you a whole new perspective." That different perspective seems to be a good reason, writers look for partnerships. "Another person's truth about an experience is always fascinating. To have access to someone else's filters broadens our lyrical ideas," says Michael.
But can it work? Isn't there a certain degree of ego in the way? What about singular vision? Who decides what is good and what is tossed? Joanne Stacey (songwriter) says, …"you must be able to set your emotional side away for a moment when listening to other people's point of view and then communicate with them as to why their idea is great or why it may not work. Respect for the other writer is a must…" Lindsay May (songwriter) says, …"it might mean that all egos get put aside and a pre-nup (50/50 agreement) gets set up at the beginning." A little like a marriage.
Personally I've found it difficult to work with others in the process. Once the song is in a draft form, I tend to use several select writers to critique and offer suggestions. But it's still my baby and I'm still the one writing the song. I do, however, think it would be beneficial for every writer to try it at least once. Deborah Lee (songwriter) says, …"it can be a considerable challenge to give up all your control and spend a little extra time working cause now there's more than one opinion in the room. When it comes together, you may find you've stretched a few writing muscles you didn't know were there." I like that…writing muscles. That's what we're really doing, exercising the craft so we can get stronger and better.
If you're serious about looking for collaborators, check out this website Barry passed along. www.musiciansjunction.com/junction.
Jane Eamon is a prolific performing songwriter in the Okanagan Valley. Veteran of many songwriting workshops, she's currently one of the hosts of the popular Songwriters in the Round series in Kelowna. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit her website: www.janeandgord.com