by Marty Dodson
Feb 11, 2023
People often ask me, sometimes skeptically, why I almost exclusively co-write instead of writing alone. I have some reasons that I find pretty compelling, so I thought I’d share them.
1) Not many people I know are world-class at melody AND lyric.
There are plenty of people who do both, but doing both and excelling at both are different things altogether. To succeed at the highest level in the music business, you have to have a world-class melody AND lyric (unless you are writing with an artist, but that’s a whole separate blog). In order to get a song at that level, 99.9% of us have to co-write. I ALWAYS recommend that writers define what they are strongest at and really work hard to become world class at that. You can find someone to work with that is already world-class at whatever you are weaker at.
2) It’s more fun.
To me, sitting alone in a room writing is like work. I write 12 verses and can’t decide which ones are best, or even if there ARE any worth saving. I love collaborating with other creative people and coming up with a song we love. I’ve not discovered a way to get that energy in a room when I’m alone.
3) I have two (or more) people or companies working the song.
When I co-write, there are automatically more people interested in getting that song recorded. My co-writers will be pitching it and their publishers will be pitching it if they are published writers. I’ve gotten many cuts from co-writers or their publishers. In fact, I have a song on Blake Shelton’s record that never would have gotten to Blake if I had written it alone.
4) There are more people to celebrate the success of the song.
I’m a big believer in positive thinking. And, when I write, I have the expectation that something good will eventually happen with the song I’m writing. So, I look forward to sharing that success with co-writers. Over the years, I’ve made or received over 100 phone calls saying “WE GOT A CUT”! I’ve had 6 of those experiences where we said “WE HAVE A #1 SONG!!” Those are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything! Sharing those successes made them much sweeter than savoring them alone would have.
5) Co-writing helps a song be more universal.
Co-writing automatically gives you another perspective on your ideas, on the language in the song, and the telling of the story. That different perspective assures you that you have something that connects with and speaks to at least one other person. That’s a valuable service. Songs written alone can easily be too personal or “inside” for anyone else to relate to it.
There you have it! 5 good reasons to co-write. Happy writing!
Write on! ~Marty
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