by Marty Dodson
Oct 28, 2017
If you get a chance to co-write with an artist, there are some key questions you can ask that will give you a better shot at getting a cut on their record. Those opportunities are valuable, so be sure to ask these questions before you start writing!
What’s been going on with you?
I always start there for two reasons. I truly am interested in what’s happening with their career. And it helps me know what to write when I hear the answer to that question. Often, they will say something that sparks a song idea.
What have you already recorded?
If I can get them to play me a couple of things they have already recorded, then I can tailor what we write to fit in with the songs they already have. It also helps me avoid writing something that is too similar to what they already have. There’s no better way to understand the direction they are going in than to ask this question.
What do you feel like you are missing?
I asked this question one time and it led to TWO #1’s with the same song. I asked Johnny Reid what he was missing from his record. He said, “Well, I really need a big stadium song – like a show opener.” I said “Do you have any idea what you want to say?” He replied “I have this little idea called “Fire It Up”. An hour later, we had written his stadium song. It went on to be the tour title and album title as well as a #1 for Johnny AND Joe Cocker. I always ask this question!
Those three simple questions can open up all kinds of possibilities. If you’d like to learn more about co-writing, check out The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting.
Write on! MD
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