On October 24th, 2017 many of us budding GVC artists were privileged to attend the song writers workshop. Joey Landreth is from the band "The Brothers Landreth" and he has launched his own solo career. He taught us many things by sharing his personal experiences of writing his own music. We learned a lot that day, and we plan to share these with you to help inspire any shy composers who may be reading!
Often a song starts with a small idea, and a small melody. For example, if you see a shooting star you might feel inspired to write about it. Even if you don't think it's a great idea, write it down. As Joey said, "No idea is a stupid idea."
Joey gave many personal examples and opinions. He mentions the best way to write a song is to lean back and take your surroundings in. We felt like his point taught us how to be greater artists ourselves. Composing should make you as happy as his music makes him. Write something that defines who you are as a person. If writing cheesy pop songs makes you happy, then write cheesy pop songs. Just remember: have an open mind. Just because others like it doesn't mean you have to.
As he was growing up, Joey got a lot of inspiration from other artists that didn't necessarily follow the rules, like Bob Dylan and The Beatles. He aspires to be like them, which actually means he aspires to be himself.
While writing songs might feel like they should focus on what's going on inside, it's good to be able to give a physical image for the listener. Joey does this in his song "Whiskey," where he wrote a song about quitting drinking and turned it into a break-up song. Zoom out and look at the bigger picture: many people may not understand what it's like to deal with alcoholism, but lots of people can connect with and understand a bad break-up.
Sometimes it is best to co-write a song and have someone to bounce ideas off of. This person should be someone you feel comfortable being honest with, talking about whether the idea is one that is good to build on or not. Don't forget to review your song. Are you proud to show others? How does it reflect who you are and what you have to share with the world?
We had a great time at the workshop and are so grateful that Joey Landreth came to our school. We learned so much from him, and the last piece of advice we'd like to leave you with is one of our favourite pieces of wisdom from Joey.
Be yourself and take risks as you start your song-writing journey. Remember: "There's no rule book to being creative."
Written by Sam G, Susie F, and Jakiya