When and why did you start writing songs?
I started writing songs 15 years ago. Music is my life. I love to write songs for special people in my life, and I also like to write songs when I have the blues and feel down and out.
I used to play in two groups in Los Angeles, Mango Bang and Naked Rhythm. The styles we played were pop, rock, African, reggae, salsa, funk, and calypso. I used to write some of the music for these groups. I would listen to African guitarists like Kanda Bongo Man and Diblo Dibala, and I would come up with rhythmic ideas that were catchy and would draw interest to our audience.
Who is your biggest songwriting inspiration right now?
There are so many songwriters that inspire me, but I would have to say Ryan Tedder has been the most inspiring, since he’s written for Adele, Wiz Khalifa, Beyonce, Demi Lovato, The Frey, Ellie Goulding, and more. I remember seeing him at a Taxi conference for songwriters, and he mentioned that he started writing songs by coming up with a beat, and layer the drums numerous times until the song had a really fat sound. I really like his melodies and hooks – they’re very catchy!
What does your songwriting process typically look like?
It’s always different when I write a song. I usually like to come up with a guitar riff and develop a song based on that. Lately, with a solid lyric in a co-writing session, I’m able to write a song. I also like to start a song by coming up with a melody for the chord with a lyric, and base the entire song from the chorus. I think the best thing is to try writing as many different ways as possible.
What made you decide to join SongwriterLink?
I had been looking for co-writers for many years. I have tried advertising on websites and I was having a hard time finding lyricists, but SongwriterLink has been a great way to meet co-writers from around the globe. I think I found SongwriterLink on Facebook, or I might have been just searching online, but I know I was on an endless journey to find other people to co-co-write with. There are many great lyricists and composers on your website.
How has being a SongwriterLink member impacted you as a songwriter? Have any cool opportunities arisen as a result?
I have met many great lyricists and composers who have improved my songwriting skills, and have helped me find ways to work as a team. I’m working with a composer in France and a lyricist in North Carolina, and we came up with a song that has been picked up by an artist, which should be recorded really soon. I’m also working with another lyricist, and I’m going to perform our co-written song at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, in September.
What’s your favorite thing about collaborating with other songwriters?
My favorite thing is to receive a lyric and create ideas based on what a co-writer has presented, and to find new, innovative ways to come up with a melody, chords, and a hook to develop a song in a new direction.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far about co-writing that you wish you knew when you first started out?
The biggest lesson that I have learned is to be patient, communicate effectively, and to set a goal to complete a song. Also, I’ve learned to be open-minded when I receive or give criticism.
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (living or dead), who would it be and why?
I would say Sting, Diane Warren, Ryan Tedder, and Seal. I think their music is so inspiring, and they have proven time after time their success with writing hit songs.
Are you currently working on any songwriting-related projects that you’re excited about?
I wrote a song to audition for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. I was recently accepted into their music therapy program. I want to help children and people who are disabled and elderly, and teach them about songwriting and how it can help change their lives.
Also, I recently co-wrote a song with two members of SongwriterLink. We’re just waiting to finalize some paperwork and an artist is going to record our song.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am really happy to find SongwriterLink, and I appreciate you making this opportunity possible to meet songwriters from all over the world. I think that as a songwriter and a musician, it is our duty to find ways to help write music for people globally. I think that music is the best vehicle that everyone understands, and it a great way to change lives! Songwriters have the ability to write music to bring love, hope, change, passion, and excitement for everyone.
I think people are waiting to hear new music that is fresh, innovative, and inspiring… and I think we can make a difference. There is so much music today that does not express emotion or have any passion…. Music and lyrics are something that should touch the heart. Yes, it is nice to make a lot of money with a hit song, but I think a song that moves people with emotion and it uses dynamics effectively is a song that will last a long time.
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