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Songwriting duo credits S.A.C. membership with recent Factor Demo Grant win

By:Lily C | Published:7/17/2014

We’re, Campbell + Green, a husband and wife duo who got serious about writing our own songs just a few years ago. Since then we have been actively educating ourselves on the craft of writing using whatever tools we can find. We’ve recorded a few CDs and are working on another.  We are excited to say we just received word of our first FACTOR demo grant to assist in our work!

We became SAC members (Click Here to view our Songwriters Profile.) in 2010 when we were living in BC. We started out visiting SAC events, SAC Songstage nights and ‘self-medicating’ by learning online, hosting songwriter workshops in our home (Shari Ulrich, Bruce Coughlan, Gregory Hoskins) and from books.

A life changing move occurred in May 2010 when, enticed by wanderlust and music and house prices, we pulled up roots and moved to Nova Scotia. It was a real learning situation getting in to the local community and fixing up our house as a small concert venue and, writing songs! Our writing culminated in our most recent CD ‘East’ which was completed June 2013 featuring 9 original tunes and has some great local players – Jamie Robinson – producer/guitar, Adam Dowling – Drums and Jamie Gatti – bass.

We have, very gratefully, made good use of other SAC resources by attending online seminars, one-on-one mentoring sessions and participating in the “6 songs in 6 weeks” 2014 blogging challenge with Christopher Ward. Part of this challenge included co-writing. We are both novices at co-writing and I, Robert, decided, ‘Why not connect with a proven winner’ and contacted North Easton, (the 2013 blogging champ who was back at it in 2014!). Using Skype and email we wrote an up tempo pop song, “A Simple Life”. North is a real gem and he quickly and skillfully crafted a scratch demo. We really like the tune and I sing it live now at gigs, albeit a tone lower and with a few small changes. We used that initial scratch track as part of a FACTOR application for our ‘demo’ grant and we were  successful in the process and are now eager to get in to the studio to record!

We can honestly say the cost of our SAC membership has been paid back many times over by the ideas, mentoring and education received.

Applying for grants and filling out forms and doing the business side of songwriting can be a real pain and can consume a lot of time however it is actually quite useful in a few ways. It has helped us:

  • take stock of what we do, who we are and where we are going and why. – It is easy to lose sight of this when dealing with day to day minutiae in our lives.
  • build a portfolio of documents, links and promo. – We now repurpose these for festival, grant and gig submissions. It pays to have at least some level of professionalism in our presentations and even if you don’t have a million dollar video there are lots of low / no cost ways to make things look good.
  • develop patience. – You don’t ‘win’ at the ‘submission game’ on the first or even 4th round. Keep trying.
  • gain more self confidence. –  Are we on the right track? As new writers one never really knows and has doubts that what you are doing is good, bad or indifferent. We have to find honest and useful critique (not criticism!) and a positive response on a grant or a good SAC songwriting seminar can not only be educational but also be really uplifting.

You just have to keep plugging away….

Cailin and I are now writing, and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting, our songs and will be in the studio soon. Well, that plus hosting the likes of Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard, “Tillers Folly” and Charlie A’Court In our 70 seat house venue in Dartmouth www.rocamusic.ca

Oh, ya, we are also touring some venues and festivals in New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia this summer  www.CampbellAndGreen.ca, We love meeting other songwriters and invite you to come say hello, connect up and share stories about songwriting and maybe even do some co-writing.

This songwriting thing is a muscle that needs exercise. And co-writing is like having an ‘exercise buddy’. It may even grant you some other rewards… like a FACTOR grant!