Songwriting Tips, News & More

Songwriting Tip: Creating in a Group, The Collaborating Game

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 @10:39 AM

Creating in a Group – The Collaborating Game

 Pat & Pete Luboff

Here’s a fun way to get your creative juices flowing. Get two or three, or more people in a room to play the collaboration game. The rules are simple:

 

1. NO NOES!

 

You can point to your nose and shake your head to emphasize this rule! This means anything goes! Ignore all your self-imposed limitations and barriers. Utterances such as “I can’t sing,” “That won’t work,” “I’m not good at lyrics,” “That’s stupid,” and all the variations on that theme are NOT ALLOWED. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to eliminate the negative if everyone agrees to this rule.

 

2. NO EVALUATIONS

 

If you judge your ideas before you express them or simultaneously with expressing them, you stop the flow of your ideas. When working in a group, each person has the responsibility to say WHATEVER IDEAS ARE TRIGGERED IN THE PROCESS. If you think to yourself, (trying to avoid Rule 1 by not saying it out loud) “That’s stupid,” and stop yourself from saying it, you have eliminated the stimulus that might have inspired the next person’s thought. Our rule of thumb is, if you really think it’s stupid, you are OBLIGATED to say it out loud. In the early stages of creating, all ideas are good ideas! The time for judging them comes much later in the process. Leave your judge outside the door for now.

 

3. STAY POSITIVE

 

No noes means all yeses! Every idea can be greeted with a “yes.” Every idea will inspire new ideas in other members of the group. Here are some positive phrases that can be used to build on ideas:

 

Yes, and…. Suppose…. Another idea….

Or…. Also…. How about….

What if…. And…. Let’s….

 

These phrases are indispensable tools for expressing respect for all the ideas that flow in a collaboration.

 

 

4. HAVE FUN!

 

Be silly. Make jokes. Say the wildest thing you can think of. Laugh! Aren’t we lucky to be writing songs?

 

Let’s play the collaboration game:

 

You can use any photo as the stimulus for the game. For example, use a photograph of two people kissing.

 

There’s one at http://www.masters-of-photography.com/D/doisneau/doisneau_kiss.html Double-click the photo and it will be large enough to fill one page, which you can print out. Each person in the room takes a turn saying a sentence or two about the story of the picture.

 

The idea is to say anything that comes to mind very quickly and then pass the picture to the next person. Keep going round and round until you really feel you’ve dug that kissing well as deep as you can! Here are a couple of examples:

- She just told him she’s pregnant.

- Their braces are stuck together and they’re going to an orthodontist to get unstuck.

- He doesn’t know her at all. He’s kissing her to distract her while he picks her pocket.

 

There is no end to the ideas that you can come up with. What did s/he he say just before this photo was taken? What are the fellow behind them and the woman next to them thinking? What’s going to happen next? These are the questions you will be asking about the people in your songs, so you are practicing the art of characterization.

 

This game of getting the creative flow going without boundaries can be played with any photograph or curious item. You will have to remind yourself to return to the fun, open attitude of this game whenever you feel yourself getting bogged down creatively.

 

Collaboration business tip: We think it’s best if everyone agrees up front that the song will be shared equally by all the writers who are participating in the collaboration. Mathematics can kill a collaboration. That’s why they call it division!

 

Write On!

 

Pat & Pete Luboff have recordings by Snoop Dogg ("Trust Me," the first single from the platinum-selling album "Top Dogg") Patti LaBelle (gold album and the title song for "Body Language: the Musical"), Bobby Womack (No. 2 on Billboard's Black Music chart), "Hometown, USA" from the John Travolta movie "Experts," on Michael Peterson's new CD, recently charting Miko Marks, and more.  They've been teaching songwriting workshops together since 1979. The Luboffs are the authors of the Writer's Digest new book "101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them" and "12 Steps to Building Better Songs," which they self-publish. For more information, visit http://www.writesongs.com

Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Billboard Charts, Songwriting Tips, Billboard Books, Billboard Album Charts, Billboard #1 Hit, Billboard, Creating in a Group, The Collaborating Game, Pat, Pete Luboff

Top Songs of The Decade of USA Songwriting Competition

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 @03:25 PM

As the decade is winding down, here are the top 10 songs of the USA Songwriting Competition of the past decade:

 

Ari Gold

1. "Where The Music Takes You" by Ari Gold, Joe Hogue 'JOJOHO' & Sean Petersen

This song went on to hit #10 on the Billboard charts. This song was the Overall Grand Prize winner of the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition. The song is also on the soundtrack of the 2010 Film "Bear City". 



2. "Only Fooling Myself" by Kate Voegele

This song went on to hit #26 on the Billboard charts. This song was the First Prize winner in the Pop category of the 2005 USA Songwriting Competition. Kate Voegele performed at USA Songwritiong Competition showcase at SXSW and was signed shortly thereafter. She was the youngest winner at that time (18 years old).



3. "Give Me Love" By Alannah Myles & Nancy Simmonds

This song won the Overall Grand Prize of the 2010 USA Songwriting Competition. Canadian Singer-songwriter Alannah Myles is known for her #1 Billboard hit song "Black Velvet". This songs signals Alannah's comeback. Her co-writer Nancy Simmonds has written songs recorded by Melissa Manchester, Ricky Van Shelton, Rosemary Butler and more. 



4. "Is that So Bad" by Ken Hirsch, Rosie Casey, Peter Roberts & Hillary Podell.

Ken Hirsch won first prize in the Pop category of the 2010 USA Songwriting Competition & Overall Second Prize is no stranger to the music scene, penning mega hit songs such as "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene and written songs recorded by the greatest legends in music such as Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder and B.B. King. He has written with legendary songwriters such as Howard Greenfield and Ron Miller. 



5. "Message to the Future" by James Keelaghan

This song won James Keelaghan First Prize in the Folk Category of the 2003 USA Songwriting Competition.  This Juno award-winning Canadian folk singer-songwriter also won first prize in the 2002 USA Songwriting Competition. 



6. "Bridal Train" by Vikki Simpson (The Waifs)

Vikki Simpson won the Overall Grand Prize at the 2006 USA Songwriting Competition is the lead singer and songwriter of the Australian hit group "The Waifs". They went on to win an ARIA award and toured the world. They are currently signed to Compass Records



7. “Good Ole USA” by Darrell Scott

Darrell Scott won first Prize in Country category of the 2005 USA Songwriting Competition and it was later recorded by #1 recording artist Faith Hill and the title was changed to "We've Got Nothing But Love To Prove".



8. “Home” by Jordan Zevon

This song won Jordan Zevon, the son of legendary singer-songwriter Warren Zevon Overall Grand Prize in the 2008 USA Songwriting Competition. He aslo won first prize in the pop category in 2006 with “The Joke's On Me” which he performed at the “Late Night with David Lettermen” TV show.



9. 'Lighted Up' by Grabriel Mann

Grabriel Mann won Overall Grand Prize in the 2003 USA Songwriting Competition and he formed a band “The Rescues” and was signed to Universal Records in 2009 along with bandmates Adrianne Gonzalez (1999 Top Winner) and Kyler England (2009 First Prize Winner, Country category).



10. “Does Yo Mama Know” by Pepper Mashay & Corey White

Pepper Mashay hit top 10 on the Billboard charts with this song and she won first prize in the Dance category of the 2008 USA Songwriting Competition.

For more information on the USA Songwriting Competition, visit: http://www.songwriting.net

Tags: Ken Hirsch, Rosie Casey, Kate Voegele, Ari Gold, The Waifs, Jordan Zevon, Kyler England, hit songwriter, composing songs, music composition, Billboard Charts, Jonathan George, Darrell Scott, Billboard Album Charts, Composer, Alannah Myles, Billboard #1 Hit, Pepper Mashay, Corey White, Grabriel Mann, Vikki Simpson, Peter Roberts, Hillary Podell, Nancy Simmonds, James Keelaghan, I've Never Been To Me

Kate Voegele Talks About Songwriting

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 @09:59 AM

Kate Voegele won first prize in the Pop category of the USA Songwriting Competition in 2005 and became the youngest winner at that time at just 18 years old as a teen phenom.

She went on to perform at USA Songwriting Competition showcase at SXSW (see picture below) and was signed to Interscope Records shortly after. Her winning song "Only Fooling Myself" went on to hit top 40 on the Billboard charts that year. Her 2nd album hit the Billboard 200 Album charts at #10. She has appeared on major TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", acted in "One Tree Hill" and toured with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. 

Kate Voegele Performing at USA Songwriting Competition showcase at SXSW

 

For more information on the USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net

Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Songwriting, lyric, Kate Voegele, how to write a song, American Idol, writing songs, Lyrics, lyric writing, USA Songwriting Competition, Billboard Charts, One Tree Hill, Billboard Album Charts, Hits, hit song writer, tips on how to write a song, Conan O'Brien

Top 10 USA Songwriting Winners Of The Decade

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 @07:52 PM

These are the top 10 USA Songwriting Competition winners of the decade:

1. Kate Voegele (2005 USA Songwriting Competition, 1st Prize Winner, Pop) appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Conan O'Brien performing her hit song "99 Times", a Billboard Adult Top 40 Hit, peaking at #24. She hit Top 10 On Billboard 200 Albums Chart on June 15, 20. Her album "A Fine Mess" was released on Interscope/MySpace records. Her winning song"Only Fooling Yourself" hit the Billboard charts at #37.

2. Ari Gold. Winner of the 12th Annual USA Songwriting Competition (2007). After his win in the USA Songwriting Competition, Ari's winning song went on to hit #10 on the Billboard Charts, #1 on Sirius OutQ, #1 on Logo TV, etc.

3. Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. They won the first prize in the Children's music category of the 2005 competition for their song "Scat Like That". The album of the same name won a Grammy award in the "Best Musical Album For Children" category.

4. (3 way tie) Kyler England, Gabriel Mann and Adrianne Gonzalez. Kyler England (2009 USA Songwriting Competition 1st Prize Winner), Gabriel Mann (2003 USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand Prize Winner) & Adrianne Gonzalez (1999 Overall Grand Prize Winner) formed a Pop group "The Rescues", were just signed to Universal Republic Records in 2009.

7. Sarah Lonsert. Only 17 years old, not only broke the first prize record of being the youngest winner but also the overall grand prize winner of being the youngest winner ever. The previous youngest first prize winner was Kate Voegele, who won in 2005 at 18 years old. Adrianne Gonzalez was the youngest overall grand prize winner at 22 years old when she won in 1999. Sarah also won first prize in the Dance/Electronica category, making her the first from that category to ever win the overall grand prize. Sarah Lonsert will be releasing a full length CD earlier next year. Although Sarah suffers from autism (first autistic winner ever), she is a budding singer-songwriter and has also won the L.A. Music Awards a month before her win.

8. Darrell Scott. His song "Good Ol USA" (first prize winner of the country category in 2005) was released by Faith Hill's album in 2006.

9. Vikki Simpson. Vikki became the first non-USA based musician to ever will the overall grand prize at the USA Songwriting Competition. She achieved that in 2006. She is part of the award winning group "The Waifs".

10. Steve Tannen. Steve won the overall grand prize in 2001. He went on to get signed by Nettwerk records with his duo "The Weepies" .


Tags: Kate Voegele, Sarah Lonsert, Ari Gold, song contest, USA Songwriting Competition, Billboard Charts, Music Performance, winners, Billboard Album Charts, Songwriters, Hits, Grammy Award

USA Songwriting Competition Winner Hits Top 10

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Fri, Jun 19, 2009 @12:22 PM

Kate Voegele Performing at USA Songwriting Competition's showcase at SXSW

Kate Voegele's new album with Interscope Records was released on May 2009 and it hit Top 10 on the Billboard charts on this week of June 15, 2009. 

Kate is also an actress on "One Tree Hill". She has appeared on "Good Morning America" and her new single "99 Times" is climbing the Billboard charts and has been receiving heavy airplay throughout United States. 

Kate Voegele started her claim to fame by winning first prize in the 2005 USA Songwriting Competition with her song "Only Fooling Myself" in the Pop category. She became the youngest winner at just 18 years old at that time. After winning the USA Songwriting Competition, she went on to perform at USA Songwriting Competition's showcase at SXSW on March 2006 (see picture above). Her stunning performance and her win lead her to be signed to Interscope records shortly after. Her winning song "Only Fooling Myself" was featured in her debut album with Intercsope records and it peaked at #37 on Billboard Charts (Adult Top 40). Her debut album peaked at #27 on the Billboard 200 Album Charts. 

Many USA Songwriting Competition winners in the past have received recording and publishing contracts, have their songs placed on the charts as well as having their songs placed on film and television. 2006 First Prize Winner and 2008 Overall Grand Prize Winner Jordan Zevon was signed to New West Records and appeared on TV program “Late Night With David Letterman”. 2007 Overall Grand Prize Winner Ari Gold had his winning song “Where The Music Takes You” hit #10 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Darrell Scott, winner of the country category of the 2005 USA Song writing Competition had his winning song "Good Ol USA" cut by award winning country singer Faith Hill and the song was renamed “We've Got Nothing But Love to Prove.” Also, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer (Kensington, MD), winners of the Children's' music category of the 2005 USA Song writing Competition won a Grammy award in the Best Children's music album in the 2006 after winning the USA Songwriting Competition. Judges include A&R managers from record labels such as Warner, Capitol Records, Universal, BMG/SONY Music. For more information on USA Songwriting Competition visit:

http://www.songwriting.net

 

Tags: Kate Voegele, hit song, hit songwriter, songwriting competition, composing songs, One Tree Hill, sxsw, songwriting showcase, Billboard Album Charts