So, I start asking questions. “What do you have already?” “Can I hear some of those?” “Is there something you’d like to say, but you haven’t said yet?” I become a question machine. My goal is to find that one thing that the artist REALLY wants to say – something they could sell onstage. So often, the artists are being told what to say by the record label, producers, and managers. They appreciate someone asking, “What is it YOU want to say?”
Help them find their voice. If you can get the answer to that question, writing the song is often the easy part. The artist gets excited because their voice is being heard. You are helping them find that voice and put it into a commercial vehicle that people will get. Everyone wins! It’s a HUGE mistake in an artist co-write to start trying to make them say what you want to say. Many times, I make choices in the song that I wouldn’t make if I were writing it alone, because I remind myself that I’m not writing this one for MY voice, but for someone else’s.
If you get a chance to write with an artist, dig deep, ask lots of questions and help them find their voice. That’s the ticket to success!