Lisa Fitz, producer, songwriter and founder of Pro7ect provides notes from the organisaiton’s latest Residential Songwriting Retreat, providing a unique insight into what these sessions can offer music creators in her own words…
It’s day three of the Pro7ect Residential Songwriting Retreat and I’m feeling excited, exhausted, overwhelmed and totally up for it. Yesterday’s writing session has emotionally and creatively purged my musical battery, so my fear at the start of the day is that I’ve peaked too soon.
Teams are announced at breakfast, and I’m working with featured artist Elle Exxe, headline producer Ian Wallman and top-line writer Christine Kowalchuk. The hardest part of a session, for me, is the unfolding sacred moments before we focus on the job at hand… walking into the room… finding your space.
Pro7ect Headline Producer Ian Wallman takes control and makes us all feel at home. His laidback demeanour steers the morning’s session, and we smoothly settle into our respective roles.
TOP TIP: if you are struggling at the start of a writing session step back and allow someone else to shape the space.
We spend the first hour drinking coffee and talking about life. Elle Exxe is on a mission to write songs for her upcoming album Love Fuelled Hate, a concept immersed in the disparate emotions experienced in and out of love. She’s written the ‘Love’ part of the album, easy… but needs help with the ‘Hate’ side of the story. No worries… we can all channel this little monster!
Elle and Christina bond straight away over an experience that frames the story of the song about to become The Hammer. Elle recounts a gritty, humbling situation, where expectation & ambition collided with disappointment, provoking an abrasive realisation… all lived out by a young, aspiring musician, determined to make her mark.
TOP TIP: keep it real. Honesty is the best policy when you are songwriting, with a team or on your own. Even if you are writing conceptually, being honest about how you feel & what you think will help with the vocabulary and workflow.
Sitting at the computer, Ian and I start with a bass line and beats, then adding rhythmical loops. We then find a chord progression that reflects the pathos of the conversation. I love this part of the songwriting process… filtering a story or feeling through a mesh of musical possibilities is like translating what we feel into what we hear.