“As a songwriter nothing is more important than writing the song in the room and keeping the songwriting flow alive.”
“Let’s write a romantic song. Your record is 80% done and there’s no song on it about romance and falling in love.” I said those words to Darius Rucker and producer Frank Rogers while sitting in a writing room on Music Row in Nashville. I’d never written with Frank and he’d co-written some of my favorite songs on radio. A week earlier, I’d been invited by him to hear most of Darius’s first country solo project and I was blown away.
I had written one song with Darius called Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, and I knew, if I was going to get another song on the record, I couldn’t write a song they already had. I needed something they DIDN’T have and I thought I had it all planned.
So here we all sat, and I excitedly let the words fly, “Let’s write something romantic!” Frank looked down at his notepad and threw out the title “History In The Making.” Silence (seconds ticking by). More silence (more seconds). I was thinking, Hmmmm…this title does not strike me as romantic at all. It didn’t conjure images of cozy fireplaces. Did not make me want to “make out” with the love of my life (tick-tock).
Then I had a revelation: “Write the song in the room. Go with the songwriting flow.”
You see, I’ve always believed that creativity is a river. It’s always flowing and always present. This river was flowing through the room that day and it carried the title, “History In The Making.” It’s not my job to judge or question it. It’s my obligation to trust it, to respect and trust my co-writers, and jump into that river. So I dove in headfirst and threw out the first lines:
“Don’t move, Baby don’t move,
Awww look at you
I just want to take this in.”
And we were off. Frank liked the groove I was playing. Darius threw the words “moonlight dancing off your skin, and Frank chimed in with the next line. Because we were able to keep the songwriting flow alive, two hours later we had written our first big romantic hit together. It was really that simple. It was about making the choice to let go and surrender to the moment and the creative flow in the room. Imagine the outcome if I had said, “I like History In The Making, but Frank, I was thinking of we should write something about fireplaces and rain outside”? What if I had stuck to my original plan of how that song was supposed to be written, and not honored the song that wanted to be written that day?
Today, when you sit down to write, know there’s a song in the room. It’s riding that creative river. It’s our sole job to let go, jump in, and write the song in the room.
If you’d like to here my original Guitar/Vocal of “History In The Making” just scroll down the page and hit play! Write On!
Clay Mills is a multi-Grammy nominated, 16-time hit songwriter, and co-founder of SongTown. His songs have been recorded by such artist as Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Babyface, and Reba.
Clay is also the co-author of The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.
Original Guitar/Vocal- Clay Mills
Darius Rucker record: