Mudcat Café message #2394697 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99099   Message #2394697
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
21-Jul-08 - 09:35 PM
Thread Name: What makes a person a good songwriter?
Subject: RE: What makes a person a good songwriter?
I think its very subjective. I've gone in for these song competitions and the judges always have an agenda - usually its pushing some vision of 'traditional song'.

Other people equate a good songwriter with someone who has sold a lot of records.

Songwriting is a very slight form of artistic endeavour - compared to writing a great lyric poem - with all its layers of meaning. Or writing a great novel or symphony.

I think it is something you acquire skill at, the more you do it - and to be honest you need some modicum of success to become a serious player. Because otherwise you would give up. Most of the best writers I have known, give up. the dullards just beat them into the ground and take up all the creative opportunities. just watch a 'hits of the seventies' programme to see how dull and powerful in the industry the dullards really are.

You can see the same sort of thing happening in the folk world nowadays. I used to run a small studio, and all the record companies used to phone up and ask if I had anybody interesting in making demos - but they all had myopically stupid ideas of what they were looking for in their head - basically they all wanted a copy of what was number one that week. You can bet your ass - they're all phoning round this year looking for seth lakeman and kate rusby clones at the moment - haven't you heard its gonna be the next big thing?

Kay Russell whom i was privileged to work with for a while once said to me,   the only nice thing about the music business is the music.

And I think that's the best thing you can come to as a songwriter - do it, cos your life feels better as songwriter than someone who doesn't write songs. If you feel otherwise - maybe the best thing is to give it up.