I’m from Sydney but live in Cologne now. It’s only a 3-hour train ride to Paris, so when I heard Francesca (founder of IHSC) was there, I hopped on a train to meet her. This was one of, if not the most fun I’ve had ever writing a song.
It wasn’t just about writing the song under the Eiffel Tower on a sparkling 28 degree summers day.
It wasn’t just about finally meeting Francesca for the first time.
And it wasn’t just about hanging out all day getting to know each other and hearing each other stories and songs in the Champ de Mars which is the park in front of the tower.
But sitting down to play songs for each other we found ourselves very quickly surrounded by a group of people.
In particular, 4 or 5 little kids came and sat next to us and listened to Francesca playing her own songs as well as Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose. So cliché, but so perfect. I’m pretty sure Piaf herself probably sat in the same spot once upon a time.
We hadn’t started writing yet.
We were just taking it in. Plus we still had to do lunch with a couple of glasses of cold ‘chardy’ to wash it down.
The day went so quickly and we really didn’t have much time to do the song. But yes we had an hour, which is the ‘rules’ of I Heart Songwriting Club. I’m in week 35 of the club now, so after 35 songs I can say that after noodling around with ideas for anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 days, once I get my idea which is the first melody line, I can then usually pump out the rest in about an hour. Sometimes less, sometimes more.
So Francesca got out her pen and I picked up the guitar. The first thing she said was “at 9 o’clock, I stepped on the bus” as ‘Bus Route’ was this weeks theme and at 9 o’clock she did step on the bus to meet me. All we really did was document what we did right there and then. We didn’t think too hard about it.
Then all we had to do was make our story rhyme either perfectly or imperfectly. The total song was done in about 20- 30 mins. We then pulled out the cameras and recorded it. The line “We were strangers then, but we’re not strangers now”, was relating to all the people in the park that were smiling and watching us. I really felt this amazing connection of how music just brings people together. It also relates to Francesca as this was the first time we’d met. And we’re not strangers now!!
If I was writing this alone it may have taken longer (even under the Eiffel Tower).
I may have spent more time tweaking here and there. But writing with FdV, there’s no BS. Just write it get it down and it’s done. OK. NEXT!
I cannot express how much I Heart Songwriting Club has changed my life. I’ve been writing songs most of my life, but some years I’d write maybe 10 – 20 songs and then I’d go 2 or 3 years without writing anything. But having my group to send songs to gives me a real buzz every week. And I love hearing and commenting on everyone else’s songs too. I don’t think I’ve missed reviewing anyone’s song yet. I know how much it means to me to get feedback on my songs, so I always make sure I do the same.
When I was in my German class, one time we had to talk about what is our superpower. I said that I could teach anyone to write a song. No matter who or what they already know. Everyone thinks it’s too hard, which I reply, if you can talk, you can write. Keep it simple.