Writing (and selling) the perfect song
“I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” by the Byrds is a great song, maybe even a perfect one—but that’s me. A lot of things have changed since 1965, although the essence of what makes a song memorable or not hasn’t.
At Songposium 2012, taking place at VCC on Saturday (October 27), an array of experts will offer advice on the ways songwriters and artists can make a living from their work in the current industry paradigm. Among the topics are licensing, publishing, the opportunities presented by film and TV, and something called “The Anatomy of the Song”.
But Songposium is also offering hands-on advice with demo evaluations conducted by Kevin Gau of Vancouver’s the Left and award-winning local singer-songwriter Laurell Barker. As Barker told the Straight, revenue streams are changing—“That’s just life, you adapt,” she said—but whether you’re the Byrds or Carly Rae Jepson, it’s still ultimately “about the song.”
“In those terms, nothing has really changed all that much, even though the form that we’re finding these songs in is definitely different to how it used to be.” Barker has managed to place her music in TV shows including MTV’s The Real World and Degrassi, and she won the 2011 Billboard World Song Contest with her single “Can’t Stop Falling”. In other words, she knows her shit.
“Honestly, the first thing I always tell people when I’m teaching songwriting is that you can’t write a song unless you have something to say,” she said. “A song will always have that one key ingredient. Whether or not it’s communicated in a way that’s clear is another thing. We’re trying to help people get to that more easily.”
Barker acknowledged that presenting your demo for public critique can be a little daunting, but offered that once you’ve gotten to that stage, you’re probably already on to something. “There’s always something good in a song. If somebody’s actually drawn inspiration and they’ve gone as far as writing a song and sharing it, there’s often gold, no matter how novice their writing skills are.”
More information here.