Where better to begin Bravo's new reality show Platinum Hit than the Songwriters Hall of Fame? Every working songwriter and artist aspires to be there.
People must be wondering how you can write a hook (chorus) in 30 minutes and if that is fair. Time pressure is unfortunately the reality of today's songwriter. Many times in my career, I had only a few hours to work with an artist, as that said artist had flown in for the day just for our session. Those beginning moments of working with someone need to be inspired to set the song off in the right direction. You have to figure out a way to relate to each other and create a chemistry, even if you don't naturally have one. That's part of the gig. I know that most of my big songs such as, Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad," Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me," and Celine Dion's "Taking Chances," have come within that 30 minute window. You're either feeling it that day or not. When Nevin said, "The great artists are never rushed," he may be right, but in the life of the songwriter (unfortunately) you better get used to it.
Jewel and I had high hopes for the Sonyae hook. First off, it was a universal statement: "Love It or Hate It?" Whenever I tell someone I live in Los Angeles, they always ask me, "Do you like it there?" It was also the most melodically relevant hook for today's pop market. Unfortunately her team did not set the hook up properly when they finished the song and that affected the outcome.
I was happy for Nick and his team, although I have to say his attitude was a bit much. In the end however, he did have the goods to back it up. While we are not judging on performance, it's important that the contestants arrange the song in a way that present it in the best light. Nick's team did that. It had a strong melody, lyric and structure -- all important parts in making a hit song.
You may be feeling that I was tough on the contestants, and I was -- the goal is to create a hit, which is one of the hardest things to do. Also, the music industry is full of rejection. Part of the goal in my mind is to get these contestants ready for the music business, which is cutthroat and competitive. If you only tell them how great they are (when they really aren't at times) you're not doing them any favors. They need to hear what they are doing wrong in order to correct it. As the show progresses, you will see the incredible strides they make because of our constructive criticism and how proud of them we are.
I hope you continue to tune in 'cause it gets better and better.