22 August - 2016
How to Find Songwriting Opportunities By: Nikki Halliwell, 1 Comments

Ways in which I first started writing for other people came to me as such a surprise. I’d just started university and decided that a career in publishing from a recent lecture had really influenced me to get into that sector of the music industry. I started doing some googling into publishing deals including what they expect of you and what they’re all about. For a few weeks after that I starting writing to briefs from ‘Sentric Music’ as they upload real life briefs for sync deals on their website. I never submitted anything but always gave them a go. This is how I started to find songwriting opportunities to fuel my career.

Find Songwriting Opportunities

A few weeks down the line and I attended one of Manchester’s best known events. ‘Manchester’s Networking and Industry event’. Everyone from producers right through to music photographers attends, it is basically for anyone looking to work with others in the music industry. You name it they were there.

Magically, I stated on my nametag that I was a songwriter. I then met a guy called Feri, a great bloke who I work quite closely with now. Feri is a producer who works in the Swedish dance sector of the industry but also branches out to elsewhere with his music. We spoke for a bit in the loud crowd, exchanged details and he said he’d be in contact. Me being me, I thought nothing of it and well, to my surprise Feri called me up. He asked if I’d like to write towards a recent track he was working on for Universal. Exciting times this really was.

After he sent through a brief via email I started working straight away and came up with a simple little track called ‘The One’. I didn’t feel was great at first and I had many more ideas up my sleeve, but to my surprise Feri loved it. We then organised a meeting and met up at Feri’s house in Manchester. I went to his studio and recorded a demo of the track. Contracts were exchanged etc. with PRS and royalty splits and so on. I’d written for my first real life brief. It actually became rather successful. It had something like 200,000 streams on Spotify and was in the top 40 of some European country. And that was with my demo vocals produced onto it. I felt so proud.

Occurrences from similar events and recommendations by word of mouth these wonderful opportunities kept coming. I then started writing for indie labels after creating original music for pop boy/girl bands and so forth. Pop music just became something I loved writing. As an original artist writing pop/country/rock music it all felt rather natural.

Attend Networking Events

Then came a night where I decided to attend a PRS event. PRS for Music is how original artists earn a living on music they’ve written either for themselves or other artists. (If you write your own music I’d recommend getting it). I knew a fair bit about PRS for Music but I wanted to attend and learn the ins and outs so I really knew what I was doing.

There were many industry professionals on a panel talking about their work in the music industry. Up on the panel was a man called Richard Broadman from Delphic/The Six. (If you don’t know who he is, he wrote Jess Glynn’s No. 2 in 2015 and toured with Oasis). He spoke about what he does in the industry now and how he had worked with various artists and writing teams. I learnt a lot from his industry panel talk.

At the end of the overall evening I saw Richard and decided to go over and chat. Explaining who I was and what I did by writing for other people and how I was looking for work as a freelance songwriter we exchanged details with an email. I then later that night stayed up rather late writing an extremely formal email about my work and how we met and so on. It’s more like writing a musical CV.

I then sent that email thinking I’ve given it a shot if nothing comes back, and if not then not to worry.  A few days later I received an email from Richard saying how he liked the work I had done and would be in contact. Now opportunities like this don’t come around very often but Richard sent through a demo brief for ‘Little Mix’s’ newest 2017 album. I was blown away at the same time as amazed. I started working straight away pumping out as many ideas from the brief as possible. We then bounced ideas back and forth from each other. I was blown away and felt incredibly honoured to receive an opportunity like this. I have now worked with more indie labels and people looking music for sync etc.

How to Find Events Yourself

  1. Approach people and feel confident in what you do. I also find having a good starting line to approach is a great starter. Something along the lines of “Hello, I’m ‘So, so’. I’m a singer-songwriter looking for work with other artists. I have written for etc”. Then let the conversation continue from there.
  2. Business cards. They are an essential. Don’t exchange details with a scrap piece of paper. Be as professional as possible.
  3. Have something to present. A well presented and produced CD. This a bonus to keeping as professional as possible.
  4. Do your social media correctly. Present it in an easy accessible and presentable way in which people can find it.
  5. Find events using event sites like Event Bright. These are great and beneficial ways to connect with people face to face.

Written by Olly Flavell.