Becoming a lyric writer – part 3

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Previously on LyricSlinger …

In my first post I explained how my lyric writing journey had started. I had written lyrics for years but had never done anything with them. I described this as being a sock drawer lyricist, as the written lyrics were stuffed into drawers and left to gather dust.

Then, in my second post, I talked about how I had found a website, Musesongwriters.com , where writers can post their lyrics and get feedback from others. And how I had plucked up the courage to start posting my lyrics on the site and also to comment on the work of others, all the time building up my songwriting skills.

And then there was the BOOM moment, when I discovered that there was another website where it was possible for lyric writers to have their lyrics picked up by musicians and turned into actual songs.

And that’s where I’m going to continue the story in this post.

Music Collaboration – the most fun thing you can do with your clothes on

Fun collaboration
Fun collaboration

The Internet has opened up huge opportunities for collaboration between people from all over the world. We see this frequently in the field of science but it also applies for musical collaboration. With hindsight, I’m surprised that I was surprised when I discovered this in August 2016. We’ve all heard how musicians have been able to stitch together their own songs for many years, so why not transfer files across the Internet to work with other musicians and singers.

The particular music collaboration site that I was pointed to is called Kompoz.com . I was able to join on a basic starter package that was free (always good!) and then was free to upload whatever lyrics I wanted to. I decided to start by uploading two lyrics that I had previously posted on the Musesongwriters website and had entered into Lyrics contests on that site.

The two lyrics were for songs called ‘Breathe deep’ and ‘Mia was a rose’. I thought ‘Mia was a rose’ was probably the more commercial and the more likely to get picked up, but I was wrong. Not long after posting the lyrics, I received a message from a musician called James Fraser saying he was interested in working on Breathe deep. I was elated!

I then uploaded another lyric, this time for a song called ‘The Underdog’. It too was quickly snapped up, this time by an American musician called George Schiessl, with additional support again from James Fraser. Suddenly I had two lyrics that were being worked in parallel. Which was amazing!

Something magical happens

Magic
Magic

When you are a lyrics only writer the chances are that you have an idea in your head for how the ‘song’ should sound but it’s difficult or impossible to see that vision exactly translated by musicians. What you can do though is provide a creative brief to help shape the way the song is taken forward. So you can state the genre that you see it being and maybe name an artist that you think it could have belonged to. However, as a lyricist, you have to be prepared to release some control and be prepared to let the musicians work their magic.

And it certainly does seem like magic when the words you have written suddenly are set to a musical score. Breathe Deep and The Underdog were worked on at more or less the same time, so I had the joy of listening to two of my lyrics suddenly realized as songs. I can remember where I was when I heard them; for Breathe Deep I was listening at my computer at home, whilst for The Underdog I was walking around the grounds at my place of work, listening via headphones attached to my mobile phone. Trust me, there is no greater delight than hearing your words sung and accompanied by beautiful music.

You get an end product that the world can listen to … and buy

Simon's Soundblend Page
Simon’s Soundblend Page

At the end of a Kompoz collaboration, if all participants agree to it, you can upload the completed song onto Soundblend where it will be available for anyone in the world to buy. However, any initial thoughts of getting rich need to be heavily caveated by saying that any generated money is shared between all participants and Kompoz takes a cut. Add that to the fact that you’re unlikely to shift thousands of units and you’re more likely to earn a few cents/pence rather than become a millionaire! Still, it’s pretty fun to have a finished product that you (if no-one else) can purchase and download to your PC …

Here are the end results of those initial two Kompoz collaborations:

Breathe Deep (Vocals and all music by James Fraser, Lyrics by Simon Wright)

The Underdog (Vocals and music by George Schiessl, Dobro guitar by James Fraser, Lyrics by Simon Wright)

Music Collaboration – jump in and participate fully

Jump in
Jump in

I thoroughly recommend joining a site like Kompoz and actively participating whether you or a musician, singer or lyrics writer. And to get the most value and fun out of it you need to be prepared to be prepared to put lots in. Jump in and help with other collaborations, build connections and friendships and think about whether there is the potential for repeat collaborations, or even for form a real or virtual band.

From my perspective, as well as posting lyrics and seeing them turned into songs, I also started to have a go at adding lyrics to pre-recorded music that lacked lyrics. I found this difficult at first, having to listen to the music hundreds of times on some occasions whilst working through the lyrics that I wanted to add. But it helped to tune my ear in and increase my writing skills, as well as helping out musicians. I think that’s the definition of win:win. J

A final benefit of collaboration sites like Kompoz is that you can also contribute ideas to songs. Feedback is often really useful and learning to both give and receive feedback in the right spirit is a skill that will stand you in good stead. Of course, not all of us can hope to be as insightful in our feedback as famed producer Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson saw something that few others would have when ordering more cowbell when working with Blue Oyster Cult on their song, ‘Don’t fear the reaper’. If you haven’t seen this Saturday Night Live More Cowbell sketch then it’s an absolute must – you will be in tears of laughter.

The journey goes on

Journey
Journey

My journey as a lyric writer is hopefully only just getting started. I don’t profess to be the world’s best, I know that I am still learning every day. And that’s part of the fun. Not knowing what I might know in a year’s time that I don’t know now. Not knowing where my passion for writing lyrics might take me. I hope to share more on this blog and I hope that you will check in from time to time to share that journey with me.

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