So, you have some great covers and maybe some originals on YouTube, but you want to take your music and writing to the next level. You have listened to some of your favourite new music (and favourite classics!) and want to reach out to a songwriter who you greatly admire and who you feel could really add to your musical development.
Cue your fears and self critical questions: ‘Why would someone want to write with me when I’ve had no cuts?’ ‘I don’t know anyone in the industry, so why would they listen to me?’ ‘My email will probably go into spam’.
First things first, turn down all those voices and follow these steps to get you closer to building your musical team around you.
1. Do your research.
Make sure you know their music, make sure their writing would suit yours - there is nothing worse than an artist approaching a rock songwriter asking them to write new soul pop with them. Make sure there is a way they can build on your talent, and even reference songs you love and how certain aspects of what they’ve written inspired you to do ‘x’ song.
2. Compliment Sandwich.
This is the only sandwich you’re going to need in the industry - it’s a world full of egos, so play the game whilst writing your own rules. Start off by asking them how they are, how much you like their songs (and make sure you know the slightly niche ones, not just the main smashes, a songwriter’s ego loves their lesser known hits being stroked!) and something you’d like to thank them for.
In the next paragraph, state your purpose - what is that you want from them and why should they write with you. One of the main things a songwriter wants to know when writing with a new artist is what is their plan: do you have a release schedule in place (even if its a rough timeline to show you are a) organised b) not wasting their time and c) that you are committed to putting out songs they might write on)? What is your work ethic, have you suggested a few dates to start off with? Have you looked into studios or are you assuming that they should host you? Having answers to all these points before they have to ask will help your email go to the top of their list to reply to.
Final paragraph - sum up how brilliant you think they are and that even if a writing session is too much for their schedule at the minute, you’d love to take them for a coffee at their earliest convenience (or a zoom coffee!) and talk about all things musical. And make sure to proof-read your email (typos or spelling mistakes are a sure fire way to show that you haven’t taken your time over this email which is a real turn off for many people).
3. Brief is Brilliant.
They don’t need to know that at age 4 you won a school talent contest singing ‘Dancing Queen’. An essay about your life and the trials and tribulations of the music industry you’ve encountered so far - give them the key things you’d want to know if someone was approaching you. You’re talented and serious about making this your career, but you’re also fun to hang with and have great taste in songwriters :) When drafting the email, make bullet points of key things you want to say/ask and that will help keep you focused when writing and not drift off into email ramble.
In modern social media world, sliding into someone’s DMs can work but bear in mind that will have to be a much reduced email as you only have a certain amount of characters - so if you don’t have their email, reach out on Instagram/Twitter to ask for their email address saying you’d like to drop them a line about writing together.
4. Be Respectful.
If they don’t reply to your first email, you’ve got 3 more tries - so your first follow up email could be something like ‘I wanted to make sure this email got through okay, Mercury Retrograde can cause such havoc…!’ and your third and final email could be a blend of your follow up and adding any new information that may have happened since your first email (another writer they work with is writing with you, you’ve got a release coming out, you’ve got a meeting with a label/publisher that you can name drop) but remember to space these check ins out appropriately; don’t send them three days in a row, wait 2-3 weeks in between to give them the chance to maybe finish up a really big and busy time and give your email the time it deserves.
Do you need more tips or tricks, or are you looking for a coach to guide you through the wild minefield of the music industry? You can email our very own Jessica Sharman to schedule a consultation call. WA7 is a new fresh company guiding songwriters and artists through a process of self-discovery while also building a solid business model.