It was about a year and half ago, I had the chance to get in touch to one of the most interesting songwriters I know via internet. His name is Roger Penkethman, a very strong songwriter, specifically a lyricist from England who literally uses his pen as a weapon. His songs have very interesting stories behind. Long story short, we spoke for a while and we came to the conclusion that we want to have a long-term collaboration, resulting him to join our Flipside family.
Mainly my writing comes from things I see happening around me, on a day to day basis. Conversations I have with family and friends, either face to face or social media. Just one line in a conversation or seen written somewhere can spark a whole bunch of ideas, that will be moulded into the final lyrics.
2. Which famous musicians have you learned from?
Wouldn’t say there has been any particular, famous musician(s) that I’ve learned from. I think the main thing I have learned from is being a fan of many genres of music, which has meant there is a large amount of content to draw ideas from. One thing I do, a lot when listening to an album is read the lyrics on the covers. As this has really helped me, in learning lyrical structure.
3. What are your fondest musical memories?
As a writer it was getting my first acceptance of a song, back in 2010. It was a Canadian singer called Pascal Gagnon who posted in the ISA newsletter asking for songs, in the style of Bloc Party. I had recently completed a song called Never Say Never with a composer, which matched so I sent it off and it was accepted. Resulting in it being released on his album Born To Be. As a fan, it would be meeting the band Status Quo in 2004. I have been an avid follower of them since first hearing their single Caroline, way back in 1973.
4. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? If so, which ones?
As I said earlier no one in particular, because I have been buying music for over forty years now from lot of genres, so as you can imagine there are a huge number of albums in my collection. So impossible to select a definite influence.
5. What advice would you give to beginners in music industry?
Basically, keep doing it, more you do the more you improve. Also never be afraid to ask someone to look or listen to your work. You never get any where without asking and who knows, what their reaction will be. Lastly learn from that reaction, whether it’s good or bad.
6. How do you balance your music with other obligations?
I do the bulk of my main writing on the computer at home, which is located upstairs where I can have quiet if needed. Plus, my partner and daughter are mostly considerate and keep the noise low, when I am working on lyrics. If ideas come to me at other times, depending where I am, I either jot them down on paper or use word on my phone.
It’s something that can be really good or really bad. Good points being, it is easier for writers to connect with each other and share ideas, as they can be on other sides of the world. Plus, easier for bands/singers to promote their music through the various platforms and build a fanbase and stay connected with them via social media. Bad points being that it is easy for some people to illegally get music or some organisations, to exploit the very people they should be supporting.
8. What is your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
Most likely the same as anyone that works in this industry, to get recognised at being good at what you do.
9. Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
First of all, it would be my Mum, because she was the main reason I started writing. I was often bullied at school and very often came home upset. My Mum always said write things down, however painful it is, it helps clear your mind. This I did, by keeping a diary of each day, what upset me, what made me smile etc. Then as I was reading the lyrics in my album covers, the idea came to me that what I was writing could be turned into lyrics. So, I started adapting the things I’d wrote, into rhymes and the adding a chorus to complete things. Also my friend Rick Palin who owns a record company here in the UK called Skyfire Promotions Ltd, who has put me in touch with some bands and singers. And has also released some of my collaborations through his company.
10. Had you ever faced rejection? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes, on several occasions over the years but you just have to take it on board and learn from it. Never let it get you down.
11. What was the worst and the best comments you have ever received about your music?
Worst would be from a singer who I helped restructure some lyrics he was struggling with. All through the writing process he was saying he liked what I was doing, to then when it was finished saying in rather bad language that he thought it was rubbish.
Best was again from another singer in the same situation. Who was very positive all through the writing process, then finally saying at the end. I had taken his idea to a whole new level and made it much better than he ever could.
12. Which musician/band would you like to collaborate with?
There is no one in particular that I would like to collaborate with. I am happy to work with anyone.
13. Any last words?
Basically thanks, to everyone I have collaborated with over the years. Also, thanks to all the people who have bought any of the songs that I have worked on that have been released. Lastly a huge thanks to a certain, Hangi Tavakoli for allowing me to be part of the Flipside team.