Artist Development: Importance of a Great Song Catalog

Image courtesy of Steven Snodgrass

In 2008 I interviewed Tracy Chapman’s multi Grammy Award winning producer, David Kershenbaum (Click here to read the article). I was in awe of each and every sentence, though one clearly sticks in my mind. ‘Tracy has an amazing catalog, that still sells to this day’. Chapman is one of the great singer songwriters of recent times, and Kershenbaum’s comment on her catalog, is his way of emphasising the importance of having great songs.

There are a ton of amazing vocalists in the world, but there aren’t too many that have their own music, let alone great songs. I’ve have come across some great vocalists that write their own songs, but their songs are simply good, not great. I’ve heard some great original songs, that could use a great vocalist. So my question is shouldn’t great singers make more of an effort to connect with great songwriters? This could also be put the other way around, in that songwriters could find more success in connecting with singers that compliment their songs.

As I’m writing this post, I’m also preparing for an interview with Mark Cawley, who has written songs for range of artists such as Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and The Spice Girls! He has also spent some co-writing with the legend Burt Bacharach. I’m hoping to uncover some insights for songwriters on having a career in music as a writer.

For me, having Ineke perform my songs has been a real buzz for me. Hearing a solid vocalist give your songs an interpretation interpretation of their own, can give a special feeling. It can be difficult at first, to hear it sung differently as you may have originally had in mind, but if you can ‘let go’ as the songwriter, with the right vocalist, some real magic can appear.

A new project I’ve started is spending some time on is writing for some vocalists I met working at the holiday resort that we were staying at this summer. This female trio (From Sweden) have a great stage presence and their voices complimented each others for some killer harmonies. I got to speak to one of the singers Angelica Radvolt and we got to talk about music, and some of my crazy initiatives in music.

I was inspired by her story that she shared on stage, to which she then performed ‘You give me something’ (James Morrison’s 2006 hit song). This marked the beginning point of the song I’m currently writing ‘Somethings got to to give’. Though the songs titles are similar, they are very different styled songs.

Inspiration for me can come from the stories of others. Angela has since sent me a bit of her story to assist in the songwriting process. We continue to collaborate via instant messaging and posting ideas on Soundcloud. Involving another artist in this way has been a great motivator to keep writing, and a great feeling to be potentially building to someone’s song catalog.

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