Any great songwriter knows that co-writing can not only help you find more connections in this industry, but it can make your songs much better. However, writing with other people can be difficult when you aren’t used to it, and finding a great person to write with can be just as hard. When you’re looking for new writers, here are some questions to ask to see if they fit your writing preferences:
1. What genre/style do you write best with?
One of the first questions you should have in mind when meeting a potential co-writer is what genre do they have the most experience with. This is important to know ahead of time so you’re aware of what type of song you’ll be writing and an idea of what you may wanna do with it. For example, if you’re a country artist looking to write more songs for your upcoming album you’ll probably wanna do this with another country writer. If you’re looking to get more experience in writing for different genres or if you plan on pitching to sync/writing for someone else’s artist project, then it makes sense to work with writers in other genres.
2. Are you better at lyrics or melody?
This is another question you can ask to significantly improve your co-writing experience. It typically yields the best results when writers work with people that have opposing skills. If you’re better at making lyrics than coming up with a strong hook melody, it could be really beneficial for you to work with someone with a melody strong point. Of course writers with similar strengths can still create something great, but this is a good thought to keep in mind.
3. Can you produce?
Having a producer in the writing room is SUPER helpful. Obviously it’s not always necessary, but if you can find a writer that doubles as a producer or knows of one that can tag along this is ideal. Allowing a producer in the room means by the end of the write you’ll likely have a pitchable demo, which is a great start to developing the finished track.
4. What does your writing process look like?
Everyone writes differently, and we all have our own techniques we use when writing for ourselves. Some writers need to start with the chorus first, or start by finding a melody while others start with the verses. While there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this, asking this question gives you a good idea of what to expect when you sit down to write with them.
5. Do you have any ideas in mind?
Once you’ve decided if you want to write with this person, the first thing to ask when getting ready to write with them is what ideas they’ve been toying with recently. Most songwriters keep a note of cool lines they have, unfinished verses, or song concepts they’d be interested in trying. An important thing to remember is that while it’s great to hear out the other person’s ideas, make sure you show up prepared to share your own. Even if you end up working off of your co-writer’s idea or starting something new, it’s always professional to show up prepared and ready to contribute.
These are just some general questions to keep in mind to help you figure out what you’re looking for in a co writer, and none of them have to be a deciding factor on whether you should write with them or not. If you’re really into someone’s music or writing style go for it! You have nothing to lose by reaching out to make new connections and working with as many people as possible. Happy writing!