I am a huge advocate for co-writing, but it wasn’t that long ago when I was way too intimidated to ever think about writing songs with someone else. I was worried I would get too nervous to have anything to contribute, but mainly, I just didn’t know how to find co-writers. After a few years of figuring it out, I am definitely not going back to only writing songs alone. Here are some tips to get you started.
Find the Right Person, Not a Person
The fact of the matter is, we can all be very different when it comes to our songwriting process. We might want to try co-writing with many different people, but ultimately, we will want to find people who share your writing values, have similar styles/influences or people you simply feel more comfortable around.
Engage in Your Music Community
Likely, there are at least a few other songwriters in your town (even if it’s really small!). Go to open mics. Use apps like SongKick or search for posters for people’s indie shows. Go to music events, if you have them. Likely, you’ll probably run into someone who does your style of music and might be up to collaborate.
Search Instagram Tags
During quarantine, I continued all my co-writes via video calling and it worked out great (plus it saves commute time). I haven’t actually met half of the people I’ve co-written with and it allows me to write with anyone in the world, as long as the time zones work out.
One way to find songwriters who live in your city (or another city) is to search the tag on social media. Suppose you search “#NewYorkSongwriters” on Instagram; more often than not, you will find plenty of songwriters who write music in your style.
Search Facebook Groups
There are actually quite a few Facebook groups dedicated to music, songwriting, production and licensing that are gold mines for finding collaborators. Use the search bar to find musicians in your area or other groups and see what happens.
SongwriterLink is a platform with many songwriters looking for co-writers. You can search for potential collaborators in your area, by style of music and much more. It is worth setting up a profile and leaving it up there—that’s how one of my co-writers found me.
Go to Conferences
At the moment, these types of events are cancelled, but I found this was my favourite way to find co-writers. Not only have you all prioritized your music in the same way—paid for the conference and took time off to attend it—but you could be around songwriters who might be well-connected.
It is great that you want to write songs with other people! But when you’re reaching out to people, you should have recorded at least a song or two that they can easily access and listen to on Soundcloud or other platforms. Have your social media profile set up so potential collaborators get a sense of who you are and what you do before they even meet you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Have your website or profile ready, send a nice email or shake their hand after a show. As far as I can tell, musicians love working with each other! Don’t be afraid to at least ask to co-write (but don’t bombard people). Even if the session never materializes or they don’t answer your message, it is worth it to ask.