27 January 2016

Chapter 29 – Songwriting sessions: The good, the bad, and the ugly

So Windswept had just offered me a generous publishing deal which I accepted, and while my lawyer and I continued to thrash through the various contracts, Windswept got straight to work and began setting me up with other writers. The first of which was with the hugely talented, and well-respected singer-songwriter and record producer; Boo Hewerdine. Boo collaborated for several years with Eddi Reader, as producer, songwriter and guitarist in her band. His song “Patience of Angels” (which was originally written for his band The Bible) went on to be a Top 40 hit for Eddi. As well as producing several solo albums, he also produced records for the The Corrs, Heidi Talbot, Laurie Freelove, and has written songs for many artists and films. Boo was such sweet man, and so very easy to work with. We wrote two great songs together that day, one of which Muff absolutely loved, called ‘Blown Away.’

Before songwriting sessions like these, I’d often find out about the writer, about what they’ve done, who they’ve worked with etc which often resulted in me arriving at the session feeling (in the words of Bill and Ted) totally unworthy, and in absolute awe. Thankfully those feelings would usually last all of 10 minutes because it turns out they were all just really nice, normal people (who’d have thought it?!)

My next session took me down to the beautiful Lewes (not far from Brighton) where I spent a few days writing with the Swedish record producer and songwriter Tore Johansson. Tore had gained much recognition due to his production work with The Cardigans (5 albums in total) and with Franz Ferdinand. But he had also collaborated with the likes of Aha, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Suede, Tom Jones and Martha Wainwright to name just a few. I really enjoyed working with Tore Johansson. I thought him quite serious to begin with, but like most sessions, you simply need a little time to get to know each other before you get stuck in … you can’t just roll in, crack open a beer and let one go, it’s a dance of sorts! We wrote and recorded 3 songs in two days, one of which I went onto record a couple of years later called “The strange of the day.”

I only ever had two sessions that went belly up (badly). One was with a very well known successful writer – who on arrival I found to be really quite cold and distant. We attempted to get to know each other and write a song but we just couldn’t! Nothing came. It’s the only time that I’ve ever walked away from the session with diddly-squat. We even called it a day half way through the session – which has never happened before or since! For whatever reason, we just didn’t click. Later I discovered the reason for the possible lack of warmth was actually due to a severe lack of communication. Said writer was told our session was going to start around 10am, but I was told 1pm … so when I swanned in without so much of an apology 3 hours late, he must of though I was a real diva-esque knob. I meanwhile just thought he was a bit of a miserable old sod, so we trundled through the session both unaware of the mix-up, waiting for it to end … not a great way to start a session to be fair and with vibes like that it was never going to result in smash hit, lets be honest. As for the second belly-up session, I’ll get to that in the next chapter.