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S.A.C. Challenge 2015 – Week 1 Blog – Writing for Matt Dusk

February 15, 2015

by Debra Alexander

Writers across Canada are working on writing a song to pitch for Matt's next album!

Writers across Canada are working on writing a song to pitch for Matt’s next album!

The S.A.C. Songwriting & Blogging Challenge 2015 got underway unofficially a few days before the official launch, with an e-mail welcome to participants and an invitation to join a special Facebook Group. The Challenge blogging community quickly coalesced online, posting greetings, best wishes, encouragement, and brief introductions about themselves and their songwriting. Many posted links to their song samples, while some have had to set up their blogs and song streaming accounts and make their very first posts. Most are dealing with a new onslaught of social media and learning how to balance life, work, and songwriting with new demands on their time. A few industrious writers are even simultaneously enrolled in Pat Pattison’s Berklee songwriting course on Coursera (the focus of a previous year’s SAC Challenge). Returning Challenge veterans welcomed newcomers and reacquainted themselves with friends from previous Challenges, and initiates jumped in fearlessly—or maybe not so much! The walls of comfort zones are tumbling down, and as brave souls inspire others to step out and step up, there’s been a chain-reaction of empathy. Everyone feels the heightening of the raised bar that a legitimate pitch possibility brings.

With the official Monday morning launch on February 9th, 117 participating songwriters were greeted with an inspiring video by artist Matt Dusk, calling on untapped Canadian songwriting talent to help him expand the musical landscape for his new record. Matt cited several reference songs, and much discussion swirled on the Facebook page as Challengers began analyzing the tracks and charting their approach to writing a song Matt would want to place on the record. Tempo, groove, BPM, chord progressions, arrangements, Matt’s vocal range, subject material for lyrics—all are finding their own way into the task, and many new co-writing relationships are being forged as well.

Canadian songwriters from coast to coast, along with some discerning U.S. music-city songwriters, recognize the value of coming together as a community under the umbrella of the annual SAC Challenge Event. We have guitar and keyboard players, producers and lyricists, vocalists and business-savvy music-pros, all reaching out to each other to lend a hand and make creative partnerships. The degree of support is amazing, ranging from offers of phone calls to help with technical, gear-related issues, to invitations to live regional events where writers can connect face-to-face. My fellow Challenge songwriting coach James Linderman has been instructing and encouraging between the lines of the Facebook communiqués, and has generously posted some much appreciated how-to videos on guitar techniques and on timing, tempo, and groove. He keeps us all laughing, and makes even the most challenging Challenge fun!

As participants engage in the creative process for the next 6 weeks, they are asked to write a weekly blog post about their experiences. Already the blog and Facebook posts bear witness to the benefits of taking part in SAC Challenges of years past. Writers have made contacts they never would’ve made, both locally and long-distance; written songs they never would’ve written, recorded songs for an upcoming record, and received a FACTOR grant for songs that came out of a Challenge. I know I speak for the whole community when I say we are grateful to Lily Cheng and The Songwriters Association of Canada, Barb Sedun and SOCAN, and Matt Dusk for this year’s Challenge. We are all excited to be involved in building a wonderful songwriting community as we develop our songwriting craft and embrace each new assignment.

Please post a link to your blog post for Week 1 in the comments section below.  Your song for week 1 will be due at the same time as your song for week 6 is due.

109 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2015 10:45 pm

    Hi folks, here’s the link to my blog entry for Challenge #1:

    • February 18, 2015 11:34 am

      Nice blog Jeffrey. Enjoyed the part where you started to think about the ballad idea that was already forming before the challenge started…you didn’t have to start from a blank page. Thanks. James

    • February 18, 2015 11:36 am

      That is indeed why he called it a challenge. Great observation. Hope you are having a successful week 2. James

  2. February 15, 2015 10:55 pm

    Permission to land! Here is my Week 1 – SAC Challenge blog entry:

    • February 18, 2015 11:39 am

      I can relate to the part about raising kids while raising a music career, Heather! Hope you are having a brilliant week 2 and finding that balance you wrote about. Namaste.

      • February 20, 2015 2:05 am

        Thanks – being a musician or performer or writer just trains us to stay awake at all hours and multitask, I guess 🙂 Always nice to hear the musical parent’s comradery!

  3. February 15, 2015 11:06 pm…_sac_songwriting__blogging_challenge_2015/

  4. David O'Reilly permalink
    February 15, 2015 11:06 pm

    Hey! Here’s my blog for the week 1 challenge:

  5. February 15, 2015 11:07 pm

    whoops here’s a shortened link (via

  6. Craig McIvor permalink
    February 15, 2015 11:12 pm

    Hi all. Hope everyone is having as much fun with this as I am. here is my post for Week’s 1 challenge:

  7. February 15, 2015 11:13 pm

    Here’s my words of the week! *viewer discretion is advised*

  8. graydon james permalink
    February 15, 2015 11:21 pm

    week one blog post:

  9. February 15, 2015 11:24 pm

    Here is Week #1 Thanks!

  10. Sean Bertram permalink
    February 15, 2015 11:26 pm

    Check out my week 1 blog! Not to brag or anything but I wrote it myself…

  11. February 15, 2015 11:46 pm

    Hey guys this is week 1 blog 1.

  12. February 15, 2015 11:58 pm

    Here it is – blog #1:

  13. February 16, 2015 12:16 am

    Enter at your own Risk.


  14. February 16, 2015 12:39 am

    Week 1- my video blog!!sac-blog/sac-challenge-week-1/

  15. February 16, 2015 1:02 am

    Here is my week 1 blog – enjoy!

  16. February 16, 2015 1:26 am

    Hi All! Posted this a couple spaces, but seems this is the official place so Ill repost it.. Here is my week one blog, it is a bit freeform and sadly don’t have an audio clip to share as I’m on the road, but will try to put up a W.I.P. clip next week. Have a great weekend songsters!

  17. February 16, 2015 1:51 am

    Here’s the link to my blog. Hope it takes you to the right place. I seem to be hopeless in navigating Tumblr. Sigh. Anyway, I do want to say how eloquent this post by Debra is. Really beautifully written, inspirational. Thank you Debra. Although I am starting out lagging behind already, I am wildly inspired and very positive. Just gotta find some time!

    • February 16, 2015 3:51 pm

      Judy, I really appreciate that you read the blog! I know it was rather long, but gosh, I just can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to be surrounded by the songwriting community as we rally around the Challenge. Kinda like a virtual Nashville. Your blog link is working fine! Great Job! 🙂

  18. February 16, 2015 1:53 am Hi Everyone – been a very busy week to keep up with week 1 that was a challenge in itself. LOL.

  19. February 16, 2015 2:17 am

    I hope Debra and James don’t have to read all of these 😉

    • February 16, 2015 3:56 pm

      Mark, That made me laugh out loud! I’m still laughing! I’ve actually read a good chunk of them already from the links that were posted on the Facebook page. Sorry I didn’t get to introduce myself to you last night at the Song Studio. James Linderman had me grabbed with a hand on each of my ears!

  20. February 16, 2015 2:39 am

    Here is my week 1 blog, enjoy & thank you!

  21. Kathryn Jean Alexander permalink
    February 16, 2015 3:35 am

    Here is the link to my blog for week #1…

    • Kathryn Jean (Alexander) permalink
      February 24, 2015 10:31 pm

      Here is a rough recording of “Love Romancing You”

  22. February 16, 2015 5:38 am

    Thanks SAC & Matt Dusk for kicking off the songwriting challenge. Blog response to challenge #1:

  23. February 16, 2015 8:08 am

    Reposting my Week 1 blog. My daughters boyfriend seems to have been logged into wordpress on my computer so my post above came from him. Whoops!

  24. February 16, 2015 8:36 am

    Good Morning! Here is the link to my Week #1 Blog. Thanks for everything!

  25. February 16, 2015 8:39 am

    here is my week 1 blog!

  26. February 16, 2015 9:03 am

    Hi, all! The horses are out of the gate, the dust is kicking up, and I love everyone’s excitement! Let’s make some music!

  27. February 16, 2015 9:45 am

    here you go! hmmm… figuring out how to do this bit IS challenging!

  28. February 16, 2015 10:29 am

    If it’s a blog you want, then a blog you shall have.
    Thanks Debra.

  29. February 16, 2015 10:54 am

    One down . . .

  30. February 16, 2015 12:00 pm

    Blog 1 entry here 🙂 ->

  31. February 16, 2015 12:16 pm

    Here is my Week 1 Blog :

    Thank you for reading

  32. February 16, 2015 12:22 pm

    Here is the Link to my song on souncloud:

    Thank you for listening!

  33. RB Marty permalink
    February 16, 2015 12:55 pm

    Week one… It is interesting writing from the viewpoint of youth and with a refined voice such as Matt.
    I like songs with a strong hooking melody and ones that musically break some rules.

    This one is about one young guy telling his friend that his friend is chasing the wrong girls and that he needs to look for beauty in what who they are not just physically. Sometimes the right one is just in front of you.
    This song was interesting to compose as all the verses are in D Major while the chorus us in C Major.

    The recording needs refinement and some of the lyrics are bound to change.. I am not a performer and had just finished the flu…

    Not sure how to add a link… RB Martin Clarke She’s The One -Just Call her Name

  34. February 16, 2015 1:10 pm

    I wrote the song “I Just want to Dance” with a performer like Matt in mind, I think he would do a great job of re-recording this song, it’s on my my website

  35. February 16, 2015 1:37 pm

    Rough demo for Matt and blog post here!

    Soundcloud has been wonky today, so here’s the link to demo just in case:

  36. February 16, 2015 1:42 pm

    My problem is this: I write songs for crooners! And Matt doesn’t want to be a crooner anymore. What to do?

  37. February 16, 2015 1:46 pm

    Hi everyone,here’s the link of my blog entry to SAC challenge week 1

  38. February 16, 2015 2:52 pm

    A Slow Brew. My thoughts on the SAC challenge week 1.

  39. February 16, 2015 3:06 pm

    Here’s my entry for the first week. Good luck to all as we continue into week 2.

  40. February 16, 2015 4:19 pm

    Hey all,

    Here’s my first S.A.C. themed post.

  41. February 16, 2015 4:20 pm

    Hi everyone, here’s my blog. Hope everyone does really well in their songwriting. 🙂 Thanks to our coaches for their continued support!

  42. February 16, 2015 5:11 pm

    This week: Getting inspiration from Jimmy Webb- and how I managed to avoid writing anything. See more at:

  43. February 16, 2015 6:23 pm

    Hello to All SAC Challengers. Week1 at

  44. February 16, 2015 8:34 pm

    Hello everybody! Here is my blog for week #1 🙂

  45. February 16, 2015 9:45 pm

    My week 1 blog. Happy songwriting!

  46. February 16, 2015 10:29 pm

    My week 1 blog post – it is a pleasure meeting you all

  47. February 17, 2015 2:57 am

    First Blog post complete. Now on to the hard stuff completing the songs!

  48. February 17, 2015 7:05 am

    This is all so new to me…all I wan to do is write lyrics that make people feel alive. I don’t have a website or an account on dropbox and I never wanted to open a facebook account. THIS is the hard stuff for ME…the writing is easy. I have already finished an incredible song for Matt Dusk for week 1 on the 2015 Challenge. Now I have to figure out how to post it to facebook which is, if I understand correctly, the only place where the mentors will see it, right?

  49. February 17, 2015 9:43 am

    I left my blog post in another section (comments below the initial Matt Challenge video) and was just informed of this link from Lily. Sorry if I got lost in the shuffle. I worked most of the weekend on the song and now am ready to do the vocals. Shall I send a rough demo to you Debra Alexander?

    • February 17, 2015 12:57 pm

      Hi Melanie, You’ve got it right now, and I read your blog. (It would be helpful to make that an actual link–but it works!) Please check my response re: your demo in a post I just made to the entire group on the Facebook page, as this is a popular question. I’ll add here that I’m sure EVERY songwriter has felt uneasy about showing a song in the making (as well as fully-produced songs they consider done!), but “workshopping” is an incredible tool, not only for making you the best writer you can be, but for making connections in your songwriting community. Practice baring your soul a little at a time. Ask for specific feedback. There is no substitute for an outside opinion and the eyes and ears of a trusted editor. All the great literary writers had editors, and I’m sure the vast majority of songwriting pros have certain people they turn to when they know they’re just too “inside” a song they’re working on. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

  50. February 17, 2015 2:16 pm

    February 13th-2015, A Valentine Riff for Matt Dusk

    Okay, so it’s been a few days since Matt offered the challenge. I’ve researched the bands Mr. Dusk has mentioned, reviewed the chatter on the SAC Blog (and there’s been a lot of it) introductory messages, encouragement to co write, and various other insights (both musical and otherwise) from motivated participants. You can read the rest of the blog here:

  51. Brian Sterling permalink
    February 17, 2015 6:53 pm

    Hi everbody! Thank you so much for the invitation. I am so busy @ work I have very little time online. I would love to participate, and feeling overwhelmed. I’ll try my best as I am a little tech challenged. Thanks again. Now how do I post a blog?

  52. Donald Delano permalink
    February 18, 2015 4:25 pm

    Okay I was sure I posted my week one blog here but don’t see it in the list of all the comments so I’ll try adding it again. I had posted in the FB group as well.

  53. February 18, 2015 11:58 pm

    Late to the big party as usual, but like the tortoise I’ll never give up.
    Here’s a link to my first week’s blog.

  54. February 19, 2015 6:01 pm

    Here is my week 1 blog post.

  55. February 20, 2015 10:31 am

    Week 1 blog link, thanks.

  56. February 21, 2015 12:10 pm

    Hello Fellow Songwriters. Here I Am:)

  57. February 21, 2015 1:53 pm

    Hi gang. Here’s my week #1 blog.

    Cheers, Donny. 🙂

  58. Skye Weste permalink
    February 23, 2015 6:20 am

    Hello everybody,

    Here my Week 1 Blog — 🙂

    • Skye Weste permalink
      February 23, 2015 6:28 am

      This is the link to one of my finished lullabies –

  59. February 23, 2015 9:26 pm

    Here is my blog posting for week 2. I am sorry to say I am not proud of the performance, but then I don’t profess to be a performer let alone a young girl. But perhaps someone with good ears can hear some hint of quality in this. I could not find someone that I wanted to sing this.. as well I couldn’t finish the back up song that I think would have been more appropriate.

    In anycase

  60. February 23, 2015 11:30 pm

    Here’s the link to my (short) week one blog post …

  61. February 23, 2015 11:48 pm

    Here’s my post, sorry so close to deadline, tech difficulties.

  62. February 24, 2015 6:31 pm
    This is the link for my submission for the week two challenge. I posted it to Facebook by the deadline but not on here, hopefully it will still be included : )

  63. March 22, 2015 11:14 pm

    Here ’tis! My Blog – week 1 challenge for Matt Dusk
    and here is the song – very rough, but it gives you the idea –…..

  64. March 24, 2015 4:14 pm

    Here is a link to my WordPress final Blog entry and a Soundcloud link to my Week 1 – Matt Dusk submission. Thanks.


  1. SAC Challenge – Week 1 of 6 | Robert Campbell
  2. S.A.C. Songwriting and Blogging Challenge 2015 | dougtaylorband

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