At the beginning of October I embarked on a Songwriting Challenge for myself to write one new song a week for a year. Yes, one whole year!
A few weeks later I attended a daylong seminar put on by the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) called Songposium, which inspired me to include more co-writes as a contribution to my songwriting process and the yearlong challenge I have before me.
First up, meet Dayna Shereck! Dayna & I met through a common network of music industry pals and were both in attendance at Songposium that day. With my songwriting challenge in mind I approached Dayna with the idea to co-write as an opportunity for us to sit down and get to know each other, while figuring out how our experiences would come together to create something new. Thankfully, she was on board!
After deciding that we would write a song with myself as the intended artist, we got to work on some song titles that Dayna already had kicking around, and a melody that she had written while making breakfast with a lyric about bacon and eggs! —Hey, as a songwriter you soon learn to riff off what ever it takes to capture and retain a melody idea. Sometimes they come when you least expect it, and I think Dayna and I are both grateful for our iphone apps to make a record of these fleeting moments.
So we begun writing some notes around one title, but then quickly shifted to the next when she shared a song idea that struck me pretty hard.
“I’m going to leave you as soon as I figure out how”. Wow! It felt like a powerful experience that I for one could relate to, and I was sure many others could as well. And so we dove in this direction, which soon evolved into the song title “Soon As I Figure Out How”. (Check out the demo at the end of this post!) The spark was a story around the many ways in which we fantasize about leaving a relationship that is not working. Our considerations ranged from the comical to the tragic, and we realized that is was important to figure out which emotional territory this song needed to sit in. Where we landed was a story that plays out the desired actions one would take to leave a relationship, the cause of the breakdown, and the courage to do something about it.
With co-writing, I find that there is a certain level of trust and commitment needed between writers to “go beneath the surface” of an idea to get to the true emotion of a song. As this commitment may involve peeling back the layers of our own personal stories from time to time, it can be hard to do. This deep dive is one that I try to bring to my own songwriting process, and I was very pleased that Dayna and I had the courage to go there and trust in the process as two individuals coming together to create something more.
We did it! Less than one week from our initial co-writing session, Dayna and I had a complete song we were very proud of, that I was able to perform live at the weekly Open Mic that I host in Uxbridge. Many thanks to Dayna Shereck for sharing her creative spirit with me! You can find out more about Dayna and her songwriting journey as she heads to Nashville here on her blog at Songs By Dayna.
And as promised here is an acoustic demo of our song “Soon As I Figure Out How” for your listening pleasure!