I was blessed to be a cowriter on “When Your Lips Are So Close,” which recently won “Single Of The Year” at the 2014 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA). I wrote the song with the artist, Gord Bamford, and his co-producer, Byron Hill. I’ve written three songs with them, and Gord has cut each of them. Three cowrites= 3 cuts, 1 #1 single, 1 gold single, 2 CCMA nominations and 1 CCMA win.
Thankfully, Gord wants to write again. That’s great. But now that we’ve written a #1 together, now that we’ve had that success, the challenge is to keep my mind right. Possible pitfalls include:
It’d be easy to lock up creatively. To not write ANYTHING unless I’m sure it’s at least as big of a hit as “When Your Lips Are So Close.” Truth is, we didn’t know “When Your Lips Are So Close” was a #1 when we wrote it. We knew it felt really strong, but that was it. I can’t get trapped into having to think it’s a sure #1 before I’m willing to roll the dice.
I also have to avoid the temptation to play it safe by bringing in ideas that are too similar to “When Your Lips Are So Close.” Yes, there are elements of it we’d be wise to bring into another song. But we don’t want to just repeat ourselves. We need to write his NEXT hit, not rewrite his LAST one.
Getting complacent or cocky.
I’ve been blessed to have Gord cut all 3 of our cowritten songs, but nothing is guaranteed. If I just get lazy, thinking on some level, “Oh, he loves all my stuff,” then I won’t bring my best work (while his other cowriters will). Gord deserves better. So does Byron. So does my family.
Identifying these head-game tripwires should help me avoid them (hopefully). Now it’s mainly a matter of carving out enough creative space to be prepared. Then we’ll all just have to hope the muse shows up.
What about you? What are some head-game tripwires that you run into, or have to actively avoid? It doesn’t have to be about following up a hit- it could be about “wow, we had a great first cowrite… now what?” or “wow, that was a terrible first cowrite… now what?” I’d love to hear from you!
READY FOR YOUR SONGS TO BE “CUT/ABLE?”
“Cut/Able: Lessons In Market-Smart Songwriting” is four powerful lessons for songwriters who want cuts & hits, who want to learn how to write commercially marketable songs, & who want their songs to connect powerfully with both fans and Music Row pros. If you want those results, these lessons can help. To get a FREE EXCERPT of “Cut/able,” just click on the image below:
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