When I first started to write songs I was co-writing a lot.
This was mainly out of necessity because I wasn’t playing guitar back then but nevertheless, I had no trouble finding someone to give me a hand.
However, after I started learning to play guitar I realised that I could write songs on my own, so I did for a fair chunk of my songwriting life but in recent times, I’ve been making a real effort to collaborate with other songwriters again.
I’ve been really enjoying just letting go of the need to keep all of my songwriting ideas to myself and started sharing them with other talented people.
For me, writing songs by yourself was good for a while, but I did miss the collaborative aspect of co-writing. Finding a songwriting collaborator was my way of changing my routine, to inject fresh new ideas into my songwriting process.
Now how you find a songwriting collaborator all boils down to how well you network and communicate with other songwriters, musicians and other related organizations.
Here are some suggestions on how to get you started finding a collaborator.
1. Ask your friends to collaborate with you.
Let your friends know that you are writing songs and that you’d like to work with them.
That’s what I did when I started. I had a friend who taught me my first chords on a guitar (I think it was an A chord) and we started jamming. All of a sudden we were writing songs.
The more chords we learnt and the more knowledge we gained we put it all into our songwriting. We would spend hours on it.
I still remember those days very fondly (I have them on tape too) and we had a lot of fun.
2. Join a songwriting organisation.
Besides asking your friends, the best way to find a co-writer is to associate yourself with other songwriters that are of a similar standard and are of similar experience to you. Where do you find these people?
At your local songwriting organisation.
I can’t stress enough the importance of a songwriting organisation to your growth as a songwriter. You’ll meet new people and new networks, you get an opportunity to perform your songs (if you are a singer/songwriter) and get them critiqued as well.
However, the most important function of a songwriting organisation is to bring songwriters together.
The organisation that I belong to is called SCALA. It’s based in Adelaide, South Australia but it services a membership that spreads all over the world.
If there’s a local organisation near you then join it and start networking.
3. Use songwriting forums/newsgroups and message boards
I think it goes without saying that the internet is the best networking and researching tool ever.
If you’re having no luck with your friends or you local songwriting organisation then hop on the web and go to a few songwriting forums and ask if anyone wants to collaborate with you.
More often than not these forums have a special section where songwriters looking for collaborators can post a request in hope of finding a co-writer.
Here are three forums/message boards I like and frequent occasionally:
Get on them, introduce yourself and ask away.
It’s always good to have a co-writer that is close to home. You can meet up personally and jam away ideas around each others kitchen tables (or recording studios).
If someone who is on the other side of the world wants to work with you though, it might be a bit challenging but not impossible.
4. Go to open mic nights
What better place to go to see and hear songwriters and musicians of all standards and experiences than your local open mic night. There are plenty of opportunities to introduce yourself to others and even a chance to perform your work to a performer-friendly audience.
I’ve experienced first hand the networking magic that open mics can create. I run one myself every Wednesday night for this very reason.
The benefits of an open mic night are many and numerous. So much so I’ve written a blog post about it called The Benefits Of Open Mics For Songwriters.
Give these four suggestions a try and see what you come up with. You have nothing to lose and great songs to gain.
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting