The Power Of Community For Songwriters

When I first started writing songs I was obsessed with listening to recordings. The songs and the sound just got me busy. I was totally preoccupied with my favorite artist. I read books on Bob Dylan, I read split notes and interviews with Eagles. Deep down I felt part of their world through their music. I spent a lot of time on my own doing this. Little did I know that eventually, I would need to find a songwriters community.

Of course, I had a lot of free time as a kid to spend on my own playing music.

My mom realized I was doing my chores, but then, I lived in a fantasy world where I dreamed of one day writing songs that would be played on this magical format called radio. In fact, I’m sure to prevent severe illness, every American has heard of the Top 40 Days Countdown with Casey Kasem from ages 11 to 17.

As I got older, I felt further removed from my first love of music.

There was college, then a respectable job. I had to make a decision to work my day job and then stay up at night working on my music. But I was doing something I love, and it gave me energy! Great energy. However, I didn’t feel as connected as I once did with music.

Community Power for Songwriters…

What I was missing was the songwriters community: a group of like-minded creative soulmates. So, when I was in my early twenties living in New York City, I got an invitation from a new friend to join Song Circle. Of course, I had no idea what the Song Circle was, however, I showed up for her because my friend said he trusted her. When I arrived, I found a group of nine songwriters sitting in a circle. I joined, one by one, we all took turns playing our songs for the group.

After playing each song, everyone in the group made comments about the song—comments about what they liked, what they didn’t get, or comments about how to make the song stronger. I’ve never experienced this before, but it wasn’t embarrassing in the least.

The songwriters community has a common goal…

You see, everyone in the room had a common goal: to become the best writers we could be. I knew this only from the energy in the room. I felt it. There is something truly magical about energy, intention, and focus by a group of people with a common goal. And we all wanted to be the best writers we could be. Eric Bell, Alex Forbes, Shelley Pekin… Many of the group’s members went on to write hit songs, produce records, and run publishing companies!

I often thought about what made that group so special. I think its core was intention and connection.

We checked our ego at the door and reached out to a shared energy all consumed to learn from each other. And boy did we. One person played a ballad, the other played a rock and I song with country songs. We didn’t care, it was all about creating great music and getting better.

SongTown is built on a sense of belonging…

That’s what Marty and I dreamed of bringing to SongTown – that sense of belonging. That feeling of sharing the love of songwriting with each other. It’s the same feeling I had as a kid living through the specific notes of a record, only now, I can do it with my fellow songwriters. I’ve seen this same collective energy in our online classes as students participate in writing and shaping SongTown SongCircles all over the world. In these crazy times, it keeps us all together.

SongTown SkyCircle Euro

Today, I feel connected to other writers in more and more new ways…

Like when the writer of one of my books reads like Mastering Co-Writing and sends me an email to share how much I helped him. Or when my former student Sarah Davis writes the world’s #1 Billboard song, abcdefu, with another SongTown alum Gayle!

Community for Songwriters, SongTown, Gayle
Actress Gayle.

So when people ask me, “How does a songwriter go from point A to point Z in the music business?” I can say with absolute certainty…

It’s not about chasing down that co-writing with a big star artist or newer songwriter. This is done by working with your friends around you.

The group must rise together in the creative river.

write on! ~ cm

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