Collaborative Songwriting Techniques
Collaboration in songwriting can bring about all sorts of unexpected results.
If you have worked as a solo songwriter, lyricist or musician, your creative output may start to sound the same as your other work.
That's where collaboration comes in. Here's some techniques to get it right.
Be a team
It's a good idea to designate certain tasks to each member of the team. This may be an obvious choice if one of you is a lyricst and the other a musician or producer. One person deals with the words, the other, the music. But what about song structure, mood, tempo and song ambitions? These are all important aspects and need to be considered. Try to make sure everyone knows their role and not to let any one person dominate.
Understand who you are working with and get to know their personal interests, what makes them tick and how they prefer to work. Be personable if you can and make your collaborator(s) feel relaxed. The results will be much better.
Work towards the same goal
Try to create a concept for the song and make sure everyone involved is on board with this idea. It may stem from the song title or the mood a guitar riff makes. If all members of the collaboration have a clear understanding of this concept, then your songwriting process will be more efficient and hopefuly allow for less conflicts or arguments down the line.
Listen to your collaborators
Remember why you decided to collaborate in the first place - because you want others to help you with your ideas and develop them. Your collaborators are potentially experts in their field, so listen to them and try not to take any criticisms personally. They may have a different take on the same topic and can help you shape a better version of the song.
A good artist is open to new ideas and how it can improve their output. Look out for exciting ways in which your ideas can help them too.
Don't be big-headed
Even if you think you're the stronger partner in the creation process, it may be that your collaborator has relationships with influential people that you don't. For example: labels, publishers, sync companies, DJs, and playlist curators. Or they may be up-and-coming and still honing their skills, but with oodles of natural talent.
If you are unsure if a collaboration is worth it or not, remember that nothing will happen if you don't try a few things. Have the courage to give it a go, even if it's out of your comfort zone.