One of the best resources we have as songwriters is the ability to co-write. Writing with others is a remarkable way to take a song idea that you might be stuck on forward, or even a great way to bring it to the finish line. Co-writing also can help spark an idea to take a path that the song might not have otherwise taken if you wrote it solely by yourself.
I also believe that God loves it when we come together, in a creative sense, in search of a new way to express our worship to Him; in pursuit of words, melody and music that is pleasing to Him… but really, this applies to any other creative outlet you find yourself doing as well.
We see it time and time again in the Bible, God commands a blessing when we come together in unity… I’m a big believer that this is the case with songwriting as well. Saying that, we find ourselves in interesting times, where being able to sit in a room with others and write music together just isn’t feasible for most of us right now. However, we also live in time when it has never been so easy to connect with someone who is not in the same room as you.
As a songwriter, I have had to adjust, just like everyone else I know, to the challenges that seem to come thick and fast every day. So, for songwriting, many of us have turned to technology to stay connected and writing together. As I’m writing this, I am scheduled to meet up over zoom with two of our songwriters here in Sydney in an hour. I have used FaceTime for years but have started using zoom as the quality is just so much better (little tip there).
The last few weeks have had an ease when it comes to finding what it is we should – and want – to write about. There is an urgency to put the word of God in people’s hearts, minds and mouths right now. We are seeing a great number of people looking to us, the Church, for a place of comfort and calm in these crazy times. How incredible that we have the opportunity to declare the promises and truths of our God, and to direct people’s eyes above the storm and waves and see the One who is in control. This urgency seems to bring an authenticity that can sometimes escape us when we are feeling creatively or spiritually dry. I myself feel drawn towards God like never before and my writing has recalibrated into a place of declaration and boldness like never before. This has translated into the number of sessions I have been involved in, where everyone is on a similar page.
If you are a songwriter, and you are looking for the words to say when writing with others, or even by yourself, I would encourage you to dive into the words that God says. He speaks mercies and promises over us that we should be singing out and changing the atmosphere of our spirits with. At the start of a session, open up the Bible and see if you can wrap melodies around some of the Psalms, or even some of the other well-known verses. How many people on the planet have seen John 3:16 on a sign at a football game; imagine a song that connects someone else’s spirit to that Bible verse in a way that brings a simple yet powerful scripture to life for them for the first time in their life. Take it on as a challenge and a commission.
Another important aspect of songwriting is being open to other ideas besides you own. This is what I love so much about writing with others. My idea won’t always be the best, even if at first the other persons idea seems like nothing special, try giving it a minute or two. Many times, I have realised after the fact, that the other songwriters idea is actually so much better than what I had, or that it makes my idea so much better. We truly are better together. Bounce ideas off each other with open hands and be ok with them making changes to your idea to see if it could be better. It doesn’t hurt to allow yourself to go down that path sometimes.
The last thing I would say is to keep collaborating light-hearted and fun. You don’t need to put all the pressure of the world on a session. God wants us writing and working together to write songs, but sometimes I think He literally wants to enjoy that moment with us. Not every song will or has to be a song that the masses need to sing. It’s actually really special to have some songs that are just between you and God… and who knows, maybe that song will present itself at a time and place that has been set in place before the start of time itself.
Let’s be writing songs of truth, boldness and declaration, but also writing songs that are full of uncontainable joy and fun. While the world is full of uncertainty, pain and confusion let’s be pointing those who listen to the constant love and assurance of Jesus Christ.