Songwriting Camps: Expanding Creative Connections for Commercial Success

2012SongworksVancouver.WebBannerBy: Vincent Degiorgio

Writing camps have become an increasingly important forum for songwriters to collaborate. In Canada, Justin Gray’s Creative Collective, and SonyMusic Canada’s Idol camps were among the first, both receiving support from the Songwriters Association of Canada. President of Tanjola Entertainment, Daniel Mekinda, remembers how the initial idea to stage a camp for Canadian idol turned out to be a great platform for launching the inaugural winner, Ryan Malcom.

“The first Canadian Idol Writing Camp was an amazing success. Every song on the album came out of that camp. It was an amazing experience to get more than 20 amazing songwriters congregating in one place for a week,” recalled Mekinda, who ran the camp while working for Sony BMG. While large-scale camps such as the Idol nine room extravaganza were common in Scandinavia, it was something new in Canada.

D-Pop is one of Europe’s most successful camps hosted by TG Management in Aalborg, Denmark. Held at various venues just an hour by plane from Copenhagen, the company that gave the world global superstars like Aqua has camped it up for more than 10 years now.

“I believe in doing what you love, and we love doing D-Pop” says organizer and partner Lotte Aagard. “We’re excited to hear every new song that’s been written. I truly believe as long as you have heart and passion in it, it stays fresh. For that reason, so has D-Pop.”

Thomas Wallen, the A&R head for Malmo, Sweden’s hyperactive Roasting House Music Publishing which has landed the No. 1 single in Japan, offered some advice on how collaborations should be put together. Spearheading a crazy roster of writers that has already conquered the Japanese market, he noted that it’s much more than throwing a few people in a room and saying “write!”

“I’d say you have to find a way of being both safe and bold at the same time”, says Wallen. “If you’re just one or the other, it gets boring and you don’t get the big songs you’re looking for. People need to get along, but the best result sometimes comes from when writers get together with skeptical minds and get overwhelmed by the skills of others. That’s when the magic happens.”

For the past seven years, the SAC has held its own professional camp called Songworks which has evolved from simply a “writer in the round” into one of our premier networking events. Held four times annually, Songworks has been introduced in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, and Vancouver to date.

Songworks is a professional invitation-only songwriting camp hosted by the Songwriters Association of Canada. The three-day intensive songwriting retreat is designed to offer writers the opportunity to collaborate on artist driven projects, allowing writers to develop long-term relationships with other songwriters and performing artists. S.A.C. members have the opportunity to submit for open chairs at a select number of SongWorks camps. Click Here for more information.

Vince DiGiorgio is an accomplished songwriter with sales that have exceeded 30 million units. He is currently President of Chapter 2 Productions.

Writing From a Title

songwritingby: Peter Linseman

A strong title can ensure that people will remember your song. Many music supervisors and publishers have to sift through thousands of titles to find the right song for publishing and licensing opportunities, so your title is a key marketing tool.

Choose fresh and innovative words and themes, then mix them together with the common words and themes. An example of this would be “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, or “Stairway to Heaven”.

As you build a list of potential titles, why not create a “Hook Book?” Most Nashville songwriters keep there titles and themes in a Hook Book and refer to it in co-writing sessions.

Titles, Titles, and more Titles

Use this list of title categories to brainstorm ideas on new titles which will hopefully lead you to new songs.

  1. Questions: What’s Love Got to do with it?
  2. Commands/Requests: Lets go crazy, Beat it
  3. Political/Social, Current Events: Imagine, We are the World
  4. Character/People: Alejandro, Vincent
  5. Places: Born in the U.S.A, N.Y. N.Y.
  6. Objects: Little Red Corvette
  7. Emotional State/ Condition of Mind: Just Can’t Get Enough, All Shook Up
  8. Action/Activities: Dancing in the street, Run to You
  9. Dates/Times: Workin’ 9-5, Last Friday Night
  10. Metaphors: Love is a Battlefield, Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall
  11. Similes: Like a Rock, Like a Virgin
  12. Numbers: 9 Crimes, Route 66
  13. Rhyming: My Guy, Rock around the Clock
  14. Alliteration: Seasons in the sun, The Way We Were
  15. Assonance: Rolling in the Deep, Sweet Dreams
  16. Music: Play that Funky Music, Your Song
  17. Novelty/Nonsense Word Titles: MMMMBop, Na Na Hey Hey
  18. Dance: Twist, Macarena
  19. One word: Blow, Fame
  20. Opposites: Ebony & Ivory, Sound of Silence
  21. Humorous: Forget You (FU)