Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Art of the Co-Write

Not every person who writes songs is an expert in all phases of songwriting. Sometimes a songwriter might be a better lyricist, and other folks might be more talented at the music writing part. Or, it may just be that a beginning songwriter can be paired with a more experienced songwriter to craft a stronger song (and a better songwriters!)

In Nashville, co-writing is not only a time-honored tradition, but a publishing mandated necessity. Pairing strong writers together creates amazing songs with strong verses, choruses, ideas, and structure. And it makes each writer better for the experience.

“When you go to Nashville and start co-writing, you start doing it as a job and the more you do it the better you get. You know if you build houses for 30 years you're better than you were the day you started. You know the ins and outs, you know all the nuances.” - Lee Brice

A big plus for co-writing is that it can take an artist who is not a writer at at all and has never written a note or word, and pair them with a seasoned pro who can “pull” a song out of them. We've done this a lot through the years. There's a song (or many songs) in everyone, because we have all lived a life (see “The Reason For Your Life Story”.)

By working with another more experienced writer, you can learn to craft your own songs from these experiences. Sometimes it flows easy and fast, like a raging river. Sometimes, it’s like pulling blood from a turnip, with words eking out one by one. But the process is sometimes necessary and finally rewarding.

“Co-creation is much more work than writing somewhere in a hidden corner and then publishing your content. However, the benefits outweigh the costs.” - Alexander Osterwalder

Play To Your Strengths

As I mentioned before, it could be that lyrics are easy for you, but putting music to them? Not so much. For instance, though I can do both sides, I really prefer the music part. Chords, melody, and arrangement are much more fun to me than lyrics. So working with a lyricist is easy for me.

Also, many times co-writing doesn’t have to involve sitting in a room staring at each other with the pressure on to write a “hit”. In most cases when I have written with someone who already has lyrics, they’ve sent me the words to write to. That’s much easier than sitting face to face trying to put music to lyrics.

“I have yet to have a successful outcome of sitting in a room with someone and trying to write a song. The way that I generally co-write is that someone else writes the music or part of the music.” - Shawn Colvin

If you’re starting to see there are no set rules, then you are getting it. But collaborating with someone who is better than you, or just different than you, can be vital to your growth as a songwriter.

“What I love about collaborating is that you're working with other minds that work differently to yours.” - Lauren Beukes

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a songwriter, publisher, producer, and arranger. If you’d like to get going with one of your songs, let us know. We’d be happy to help you move forward. Also check out our full services site at

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at