Sunday, December 05, 2004

Music Conference continues

The registration line was moving right along. Having some fun chatting with other people in line but I had to skip out for my 1 on 1. While I had been standing in the registration line drinking a Heineken, my brother was already meeting with John.

I had convinced my younger brother to make the trip to LA with me. His 34th b-day was happening during the conference so I told him I'd pay for a 1 on 1 consult for him with John. He took me up on the offer and diligently work on 3-songs. One was ala Nora Jones with a female singer, another was a jazz/guitar song with him singing and the third was a pop/rock groove song that he sang also. After skipping out of the line with the registration desk in sight, I called John's cell to find out where we were meeting. I was only a few feet away from the meeting room near the lobby.

I peeked slowly into the room, my brother was smiling sitting on one of two chairs across a small table from John. They were both into the conversation. I introduced myself and sat down since I was footing the bill. My brother is an experienced lead rock guitar player and a fine pop singer. He also has an English degree so his lyrics always seem cool. His songs have impressed me for years, but we live in Midwest. His songs just sit collecting dust.

I was surprised to hear John quizzing him about not working hard enough on the lyrics in the first verse. “You're settling for a weaker line for the sake of the rhyme. You're weakening the song. You need to write several versions of the first two lines to come up with an ending word that offerers more rhyming possibilities. Don't reach for the easy rhyme if it dilutes your efforts.” He went on to say, “you're speaking like Yoda right here. Inversions almost always feel awkward no matter how cool you think you're being. If you're an artist like Sting you can do this, but you're not Sting so you're better off being more conversational.”

My brother seemed pumped from an hour of discussion with John.

Lesson learned:

1. Work harder and rewrite those lyrics a lot
2. Don't settle for the first thing that pops into your head
3. Do talk like Yoda unless you are Yoda
4. Don't talk like Sting unless...
5. Make it conversational

Now it was my turn! I'll catch my breath and lay it out for you. This was GREAT.