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It doesn’t take me long to bounce back…

Collaboration then….

It’s a thing I do, and I love it.
In the early days, I had an couple of failed attempts, because I didn’t understand. I thought I should find someone whose work I liked, and work with them! Recipe for disaster!

It only dawned on me when I found a collaboration that worked, what I’d been doing wrong. My first successful collaboration was with Dan Whitehouse, who I’m still working with on my current project, “Nine Women”. A musician, singer songwriter… Not visual art, not textiles…. A completely different skill set! Aha! It was, and still is, like playing in someone else’s toy box. The next was with Bo Jones, visual artist yes, but again with a completely different skill set. There are two things that happen, one is you have no area of competition in terms of media, each person remains the expert in their own field. The other is the stuff you learn from each other. I’ve got so many more skills from working with these two, I can’t believe it! I like to think I’ve passed on a few things too. I’ve learned not just about the arts involved, but the peripheral skills, such as planning, promotion, marketing, and how to retain a calm professional demeanour under pressure (still practising that one). The differences make it productive, creative, interesting.

Similarities need to be in a different area… They need to be there… A similar work ethic, a similar opinion on quality of the work that the public sees and hears. A similar attitude to life, what is ultimately important to you. This fosters a mutual respect.

This week was collaboration week at the songwriters circle. We split into fairly random groups for an hour or so, and see what happens, then report back to the group. This week I had the good fortune, cat that got the cream stuff…. I was with Ian Sutherland, Andy Jenkins and Dave Sutherland (no relation). Oh my goodness a girl could get giddy with so much talent in the room! I do words, and I can find a melody over the chords, and a harmony vocal now and then… But I don’t play an instrument.
We started with a few “broken” lyrics from my notebook, and while Andy and I figured out more words, Dave and Ian plugged away on their guitars…. And to be honest it still seems like magic to me… At the end of an hour we had a song… A good one… Then Andy got out his guitar and added the most amazing solo…. Terrific. Sets my heart beating and my cheeks aglow!

An interesting thing happens in a good collaboration. I’ve noticed it before, and I noticed it on Monday. All ideas go in, good, bad and indifferent…. Then people say yes, or no… They say it instinctively and quickly, then you move on and nobody sulks because they didn’t get their own way. If there is a difference of opinion, it is briefly discussed, recorded, then shelved to come back to, by which time it either fits, or it doesn’t, no further discussion required. This is how we managed to write a song in an hour. I’ve never known a buzz like it. Songwriting feeds your soul. Songwriting with people as talented as this makes it soar!

Let’s do it again!

This month I have loads of recording sessions booked, after a month of hardly any. I can’t wait to get back up to the mic.


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