Friday, 14 July 2017

New Album Release "Emotional Sushi"

Last week I released my first album containing songs that all use my lyrics !

I have had cuts on other artist's albums and EPs, but I thought it would be fun, and good for promotion, if I created an album with some of my songs written for tv and film.  Hence the title, Emotional Sushi, as songs for tv have to convey a strong emotion in order to increase the emotion in a scene.

Many of these songs have featured in TV shows already, including NBC's Golf Channel.

You can listen to the songs here:
Emotional Sushi album on cdbaby

Emotional Sushi is available to download from cdbaby, iTunes, Amazon and many more.
You can also stream it on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music etc.

I will have a hard copy CD available in the very near future, which will be for sale on Amazon.

All the songs are available to license, easily and with no fuss.

Track 3 "No More Being Nice" is courtesy of Black Toast Music, California.

Album title: Emotional Sushi
Artists: Future Kings Of Denmark, Bamtone, Robbie Hancock, Steve Collom, Steven Wesley Guiles, Louise Goldberg, Bob Porri, Ethan Okamura, Nathan Nasby, Rob Carroll, Jeff Brown.
Songwriters: Amanda West, Steven Wesley Guiles, Briand Melanson, Robbie Hancock, Bob Porri, Louise Goldberg, Dave Walton, Steve Collom, Ethan Okamura, Nathan Nasby, Rob Carroll, Jeff Brown.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Never Let Your Dreams Die

“Our dreams do not die because we grow old; we grow old because our dreams die.“

Gabriel G. Marquez

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Six Songs In New LA Library

I rarely kiss and tell publicly (or even privately for that matter), but yesterday was a good day for me with regards to library submissions, and I truly want to thank my co-writers for their amazing musical interpretations of my words.

A 'very romantic' newly established upper end library accepted 3 more tracks on which I am the co-writer (lyrics obviously), alongside the 3 tracks of mine they already have since they started. 

Thanks to my talented co-writers things are continually getting better and better.

The songs in this library are:

Heart of Stone - with Robbie Hancock
From This Burn - with Robbie Hancock
Washing In Washing Out - with Ethan Okamura & Louise Goldberg
Better Off Blue - with Steven Guiles
Blanket of Love - with Steve Collom and Dave Walton
This Is The End - with Michelle Lockey

I met all of these co-writers through Taxi Independent A&R, and many of these tracks were originally written for the amazing songwriting group GYAWS (Get Your Ass Writing Songs - a Facebook group of like minded people).

You can hear all the tracks on my SoundCloud page or my website.

Songs on SoundCloud - Click here

Songs on website - Click here

Friday, 5 May 2017

Why You Might Want To Collaborate With A Lyricist

I recently wrote an article about collaborating with professional lyricists, and how it can improve your songs and your time management, for the TAXI A&R monthly online magazine.

I thought that I might share the article here also.

Thank you TAXI !

Link to the actual article on TAXI's website - Eight Reasons to Collaborate With a Lyricist

Article as in TAXI Newsletter:  Eight Reasons to Collaborate With a Lyricist 

I recently asked some of my co-writers why they liked working with a lyricist so much. The following eight reasons are a summary of their responses. These aren’t my ideas, they are the reasons that successful TAXI composers and songwriters gave me for preferring to collaborate, rather than write the lyrics themselves.
Remember, a good lyricist also understands music, how and why it creates an emotion, how a singer sings different sounds and stresses, as well as being able to write words. To collaborate well we need to understand each other, and how we work.
Some people are reluctant to collaborate because they’d prefer not to share in the copyright. But if it makes your life easier and increases your overall output and income, why not?

The eight reasons:

  1. You can focus on the music.
    Working with a lyricist will free you up so that you can concentrate on creating music. Many composers prefer to work with just music and never create songs, rather than have to think about the words as well. Collaborating with a lyricist means that you can write instrumentals and songs. And remember, creating a mix minus vocal will give you an instrumental version that can be pitched.
  2. It frees a different part of your brain.
    If you don’t have to stress about finding the right words, you don’t have to struggle trying to use two different parts of your brain at the same time.
  3. If you can’t imagine the situation, you can’t write about it convincingly.
    Some people find it hard to imagine themselves in a situation, or feeling an emotion they haven’t felt. This is something that a good lyricist can do naturally. It’s much easier to sing the words as if you mean it, than to write them as if you know what you are talking about.
  4. There is a certain relief in handing over the responsibility of writing the lyrics.
    Coming up with an entire lyric on your own can be daunting. Co-writing with a lyricist can ease this.
  5. Working with a good lyricist can mean that the finished lyrics are more professional.
    Just as a good composer knows all the subtle nuances and tweaks to make a piece of music have the desired effect, a good lyricist knows how to use prosody; the sounds, stresses, line length, number of lines, etc., to create the same overall emotions required. Creating seamless, wonderful lyrics is an art in itself.
  6. You can use a lyricist to write words in a “voice” you yourself don’t have.
    Many composers write in several genres and styles, and can’t always “speak” or “think” the way someone singing in that style would.
    For instance, you may be great at composing Hip-Hop instrumental tracks, but can you talk the talk? If you are male, can you write romantic love songs to another man so that it can be sung by a female singer?
    Good lyricists can write as if they were many different people and have an incredible imagination.
  7. There are lyricists who can write lyrics to a melody or composition that you have already created.
    This is a skill which is little recognised, and not common. There is a lot more to writing lyrics to an existing melody than it would at first appear. And it is a lot harder than writing lyrics on a blank page.
    Many composers (and some lyricists) find it difficult to add words to melody after the fact, or may not even realise that they are not doing it well. Matching the stresses and moods, completing the prosody, so that it is seamless and smooth, is not easy. I have even been given music with no topline melody, just backing and chords, and asked to write lyrics. I love a challenge!
  8. Collaborating with a lyricist can mean you create more tracks overall.
    My co-writers tell me that using my lyrics means that they not only produce twice as much, but more than twice as much. It appears that lyrics seriously slow down the creative process of a lot of composers.

The TAXI community has quite a number of skilled lyricists with a wide range of skills in virtually all popular genres of music. It’s easy to meet them on the TAXI Forum in the Collaboration Corner section, at the TAXI Road Rally each November, and in the chat room during the TAXI TV live broadcasts every Monday at 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Monday, 17 April 2017

GYAWS Songwriting Group SoundCloud Playlist

I belong to a wonderful Facebook group called GYAWS - Get Your A$$ Writing Songs.
It's just about the most supportive and fun group I belong to, although I have to admit that FAWM comes a close second.

Each week the group writes to a theme which has been selected by a group poll.  We don't critique each others work, unless someone asks something specifically.  We encourage each other to actually write and record every week, which is the purpose of the group.

GYAWS has it's own SoundCloud account, called GYAWS Music.  Every week, I compile a GYAWS SoundCloud Parade playlist of the songs submitted that week, and that the writers have agreed can go 'public'.  It's an eclectic and interesting playlist each week, with amazingly high standards, considering that these are not finished projects, and often just recorded as a one take into a phone !

So this week I decided to include the playlist in a blog post, as the theme was a favourite subject of mine 'Ocean'.  And it just happens to include a collaboration between myself and Steven Guiles, called 'Better Off Blue'.

Here it is, the GYAWS SoundCloud Parade 17.04 'Ocean'

Or if you prefer a link to SoundCloud itself CLICK HERE

If you are interested in joining the GYAWS songwriting group on Facebook, then you need to go to the GYAWS SignUp page and read all about the group. It will also explain how to apply. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Songwriting Idea - How To Give A Lyric Line New Life

When you are working on your lyrics, have you ever wondered why it's so hard to think of a good way to say what you want to say, without it sounding boring or clunky or awkward ?

Are you sometimes not happy with the lines you have written, and would like to say the same thing only in a more powerful or unusual way ?

I think all songwriters and lyricists come against this from time to time, and as a friend recently asked me for help with some lines he wasn't happy with, I thought that I would share the way that I personally try and overcome this when it happens.

It's pretty simple, I brainstorm, with myself, alone, on paper.  Yes I know, I'm old fashioned.

How I brainstorm:

*   I write the offending line, or pair of lines, at the top of the page.

*   I then write every conceivable variation of how I could write the same thing using different words and phrases, that I can think of.  No matter how silly, daft, weird or over the top sounding they may be.  

*   Just write them down.  Until you have at least 15 or 20 new lines, or fill the page.  Keep going if you can do more !

*   Then put the paper down and leave it for at least a day, maybe more.  

*   Come back to it after that and read back what you wrote.  

*   Some lines will jump out at you as being much better than others.  I use a highlighter pen to highlight the ones I like.

Usually I seem to end up creating new lines using parts of the highlighted ones, sometimes one particular highlighted line jumps out more than the others and I use that.  Whichever happens, you now have many ways of saying the same thing, hopefully at least one of them will inspire you.

Of course, if you are so modern that you don't possess paper and a pen, this works equally well on a Word doc or something similar.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

"Guide to the Best Synch Deal Possible" - Article in Digital Music News

I found this interesting and easy to follow article on Facebook today, and thought to share it here as there are some really useful titbits of information in there.

It discusses the various differences in synch licensing contracts, from different sources, plus clear examples of what is a good thing for a songwriter to sign, an OK contract, and a simply terrible contract so far as the songwriter is concerned.

There is also some in depth description of just what a synch license is, what it is for and who it affects.

This is useful information for any songwriters, and/or artists, starting out in the tv and film music business, as well as some extra detail for those who have a little more experience too.

It is just one in a series of articles, the third I think.  I'll share any others that are equally as informative here also.

Click here for the article in Digital Music News: 'A Simple Guide to the Best Synch Deal Possible'