All You Need Is Love

Hip Hip Sonyae!

Default image

The Write Girl

Sonyae Elise: Platinum Hitmaker

Sticking With You

Dare to Suck

DJ Have My Babies

It's Poppin'

I Like The Way You Move

On Pause

The Exorcist

Reign Over Me

Nice Guys Finish Last

When Egos Collide

The Word is Hubris

Like a Tohn of Bricks

A Safe Bet

Sincerely Yours

10 Things I Love About You

Dr. Jekyll and Melissa Hyde

Lovin' It

Not Hot

Clever Girl

Rap Battles

Join the Love-Fest

The Weakest Link

I Get Chills

Speak And Spell

A Place of Truth

Straight to the Vein

Panic at the Disco

Keep It Simple Stupid

Sicker Than the Remix

Get Loose

Setting the Bar

30 Minutes or Less

I Write the Songs

On the Hook

You Only Got One Second to Save the Song

All You Need Is Love

Kara discusses the love songs she adored and which contestants let her down.

Love -- It's the subject of some of the greatest songs ever written. "Maybe I'm Amazed," by Paul McCartney, "At Last," by Etta James, and "A Song for You," by Donny Hathaway (to name a few) all give different commentaries on the most important emotion you can have. Many of the songs I have written have come from falling in love (and out of it, but let's keep it on the positive for purposes of this blog). LOVE is such a powerful and universal experience that it's almost impossible to be a a songwriter and not write about it. The first question I always ask when I walk into a room with someone I am writing with is, "So you got a boyfriend (or girlfriend)?" From that question can come great material for songs. I had high expectations for this challenge. Writing a hit love song is the songwriters' jackpot.

I loved the title "Love Me To Life" and was happy Sonyae was rewarded with immunity for it. So many relationships can love you to death, but a good one can fill you up and make you feel the best you've ever felt. It was a very inspired way of expressing the beauty in a relationship. I hope that viewers are starting to see how her lyrics and song titles really are contemporary and meaningful at the same time. I know in the beginning people were a bit shocked that we rewarded her for "Love It or Hate It," but she has always had a strong point of view with broad appeal. I was beyond impressed with Brian's melancholy melody in the verse and how it helped convey the pain of past hurts. His melody did a great job of setting up a chorus full of hope. And, let's not forget Scotty and his chord choices/voicings. They complemented the melodies perfectly. Brian, Scotty, and Sonyae were really the dream team this week and brought their song to "life."

I was happy to see Nick finally write about something that was personal to him. I have been missing that in his songs. They are well structured and hooky, but at times lack any real heart. When he started to sing the verses to his team's song, I felt (for the first time) some vulnerability from him. That's why when the second verse came around and the focus went to Stephanie and Monique it threw me for a loop. Hearing it today I thought it was an odd choice still.

I was kind of shocked at Johnny's hook for this challenge because I thought he would excel in this week's theme. He is an incredible lyricist with such sensitivity. Maybe the relationship between Johnny and Jes hurt them this week because they wrote about what they were feeling but these feelings were still developing. Maybe neither of them wanted to go too deep about their connection as it was too soon, but the best love songs do just that. . .

I felt for Jes because I have been in sessions before that were with huge artists and I was feeling deathly ill. You just have to make it work. As they say, the show must go on. I love her determination and will. Every successful writer I know has both. While I wasn't a fan of the song, she really showed us how much she wants it.

I was really surprised when Melissa said she didn't have to prove herself or show us what she was great at. Every day you have to show people your skill set whether you are a songwriter or not. And as a songwriter, you are only as good as your last hit. Life is a constant performance. You've got to give your best at every show.

Favorite judge quotes:

Keith: "That was actually a beautiful performance, of a horrible song"

Jewel: "There is a difference between simple and simplistic. . ."

The Write Girl

Kara explains why Sonyae was the winner and what each songwriter brought to the final challenge.

First off, I am so proud of the growth that Sonyae, Scotty, and Jes made over the course of the show. If I were in their shoes starting out, I don't know if I would have been able to take the pressure of the episode challenges. This was a writing boot camp and the strongest (with the exception of Johnny) definitely survived. Their diligence, team work, and commitment to learning is what landed them in the final three. Their songs were fantastic this week, and I believe they all have careers ahead of them in music.

The Winner ---- When we first met Sonyae, we knew she had a gift for lyrics and concepts, which is one of today's most important components to hit songs. But, she was seemingly at a disadvantage because she didn't play an instrument and I wasn't sure how that would translate during the course of the competition. Thankfully we began to see that Sonyae is musical. She knows what chords fit her melodies and that's why she was able to win this competition. Many topliners don't play an instrument but they are responsible for some of the biggest hits out there today. Their voices are their instrument and they sing what they feel and hear in their heads. Her melodies always came from an emotional place and I think that is why she really impressed us as well. She consistently delivered week to week. She would be an asset in any room of writers in any genre. For me, she is a force to be reckoned with and I think we will be seeing a Sonyae song on an album any day now.

And then there's Scotty who was stuck in adult contemporary ballad land when we first met him. During the course of the show, he figured out how to make more contemporary tracks and teamed up with people that pushed him to be younger, more rhythmic, and hipper. His melodic sensibility was always there, he just needed to put it on top of modern tracks. He also started scrutinizing his lyrics more during the season and that culminated in his best work, "Beautiful You." That song is a great personal anthem and I want to commend him for really speaking about such an emotional and personal subject and yet making it so universal.

Lastly Jes, a singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice and passion for writing. When she first started out she would often get lost in her own piano world. Her songs were very niche and her melodies (while lovely) fit her voice more than they did the voices of other artists. Over the competition, she really learned how to condense her songs and make every part of them meaningful. She too has a gift for emotion in her melodies and by the end of the season was writing lyrics that could match the power of her music. "Come Alive" was a brilliant melodic piece of work.

I found it very interesting that all three contestants pulled from their own life stories when they were faced with creating the biggest hit of their lives. We encouraged them from the beginning to always come from an honest place. I don't think it's a coincidence that these were some of their strongest songs. Great writers will tell you their best material came from their real life experiences -- that's the inspiration part of a song, which is so crucial to making it great. The other part is craft, which we spent a lot of time discussing on the show. Hopefully all the contestants feel they are better writers because of the show. If they do, then we all did our jobs.

Good luck to them all. We are rooting for 'em!