Songwriter camp: behind the scenes

Metropolis StudiosWhen we heard that publishers Bucks Music and Peermusic had organised a week-long writing session with more than 30 artists and songwriters, we thought we’d go along to chart the progress of their work from song camp to singles chart.

Over the intensive week at Metropolis Studios in West London, the songwriters are set briefs from A&Rs and managers looking for standout material for their priority artists. Camps like these often yield scores of songs – but what actually happens to them once the week is over?

Over the coming days and weeks, we will keep in touch with the songwriters, artist managers and publishers involved, and follow the lifecycle of the songs they have created.

The roll call of talent involved in this particular camp is impressive; Rob Davis, who co-wrote Kylie’s mega-hit Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Nina Woodford (co-writer of James Morrison’s Broken Strings), The Verve’s Simon Tong, Sway, Amy Wadge, who has ‘cuts’ on Ed Sheeran’s + album, and upcoming songwriter Shereen Shabana, to name a few.

Bucks Music’s Jimmy Smith organised the song camp in association with Peermusic. He explains: ‘We do these once or twice a year, to try to get writes together and make connections. We try to work across rosters and get people working together.

Metropolis Studios Chiswick

Metropolis Studios, Chiswick, London

‘Songwriters have different styles and genres they work in so we tailor camps to expand on that. Labels, management and A&Rs are always a starting point as we need to get artists to write for and then everything else can be scheduled around that.’

Shereen Shabana is at the camp all week. She started off songwriting for herself, but after a pairing with Bucks writer Adam Argyle, began writing for others too. ‘Song camps are such a great way of getting to meet people who also write. You move out of your comfort zone when you write with others, it’s a real eye opener.

‘I’ve met people at songwriter events that I’ve worked with afterwards and got cuts from; it’s a way of opening more doors. This week I’m hoping to get a cut and meet new people that I might write with in the future,’ she adds.

Today, it was the turn of Matt Ross, artist manager from 11 Entertainment, to brief the songwriters. With breaking musician and singer-songwriter Josh Kumra’s debut album almost ready, Matt is scouting for new material to send his way. He played a few of Josh’s songs, outlined what he was looking for, and explained the artist’s background. The songwriters were then broken down into groups of four or five and tasked with coming up with some new material.

Metropolis Studio A

Metropolis Studio A

We’ll be following the progress of the songs created during the week and bring you interviews with the writers involved. Keep an eye on M online for more.