Songwriting During Quarantine

Are your dancing shoes starting to look a little dusty, having been stuck inside for months with little to no fun in the works? For now, we'll have to skip that level of entertainment and dive into virtual songwriting in order to find a dash and dose of dopamine. Is there any way to streamline songwriting through a less than inspiring shiny screen? 

The perks include being able to stay in your PJs all day long, being able to hang at your house, babysitting your children or your pet, and just being able to write from the comfort of your own home. The Tennesean recently stated “Any time you’re forced out of your normal routine, there’s going to be some bad that comes with it, Reynolds said. “But there’s going to be some good that happens.” 

Songwriting During Quarantine-PitStop Musicians.jpgNow that you’re able to embrace the perks, let’s discuss the changes that you must implement. You will absolutely need to find a quiet space where you can focus and try to tune out the rest of your household. You and your fellow songwriting partners will thank you. If you’re going to invest in anything at this moment in time, it’s a strong and healthy internet connection. Be sure that you’ve got the fastest speed that you’re comfortable paying for. 

Rolling Stone says “different video apps have different weaknesses. Neil Ormandy, who co-wrote James Arthur’s global hit “Say You Won’t Let Go,” has had the most success with Google Hangouts, though “it’s a little glitchy.” “With Zoom, because the microphone shifts [from person-to-person according to who makes noise], that’s tough in a session,” says Joe Kirkland (Dua Lipa, Blackbear). “In a room you can talk over each other and hash out an idea. [Working remotely,] you have to wait for everyone to get their idea across.” Not everyone is going this route. “A lot of people are just sitting it out right now,” says Poo Bear, Justin Bieber‘s closest writing partner since 2013. Others are re-learning how to work in solitude. “I’ve written a lot more by myself,” says Luke Laird”.

So, once you’ve pulled up a chair, downloaded Zoom or Google Hangouts, what next? Start simple. Embrace the fact that there will be glitches and the sound quality won’t be the best. This is where it’s important to be thankful that you’re in the writing process, rather than recording. In fact, this is the time to work on your practicing and playing chops, stock up on those songs and allow yourself to record them later, unless you have a home studio setup that you’re happy with. 

We suggest to start small, with just one or two songwriters sharing your screen. Without being able to be in person, you’re going to have to work in overdrive, attempting to suss out the creative atmosphere, especially if you’re working with someone new. We suggest to do what you know in this time of unexpected chaos. Don’t try to push too hard.

If your live video sessions are coming out less than stellar, consider writing to a track and sending it back and forth, that way you aren’t forced to come up with a genius idea on the spot. This is a fabulous way to give necessary creative space while getting the job done. Additionally, you can use this time to simply work on your own songwriting and save the collaboration for a date when things get a little less questionable. 

It’s important to go easy on yourself, as this is a strange time for everyone. We don’t need to achieve greatness while also trying to maintain sanity during a global pandemic. Take it in stride and follow what feels creatively comfortable.