Jewel

Jewel discusses writing for the dance floor and what the songwriters can learn from Britney Spears.

on Jun 6, 20110

Hello again!

Episode 2 had our contestants coming to terms with the fact that as professional writers they will have to be versatile and write in every genre. This week was a dance anthem, and the legendary dance queen herself -- Donna Summer -- came in to guest judge it with us.

I cannot stress how important versatility is to our job. Does that mean every successful writer can or does write in every genre? No. I can name many iconic writers, like my friend Dianne Warren, who have a sound and genre, and are so proficient at it they can afford to specialize. But again, my goal with this group of writers is to give them every edge we can, to go out there and succeed in this highly competitive field. The more tools you have in your tool belt to get a job done, the better. In any given genre you have a handful of artists looking for songs and the writers outnumber how many artists need material. Because of this, your chances of getting a song cut every time you write are very small. You can increase your odds if you can write in multiple formats for multiple artists. As the music business continues to shrink, it is vital that up and coming writers learn to be versatile, if it really is their intent to make a living as a song-smith.

On a personal level, I also find it the most rewarding. It is very difficult to succeed in multiple formats, and I consider it a big feather in your cap to be able to do so. One of my greatest points of pride is that I have been able to write chart-toppers in pop, rock, alternative, and country genres. That's what has kept me interested as a writer. Variety is the spice of life -- at least for this Gemini.

In the hook challenge you could definitely hear who consumed music of all sorts versus those who listened to only one category. It showed up in their writing. In Karen's case, she had no experience with dance music but was able to come up with a soaring chorus that had the potential to move people if she could get a better lyric on it.

7 comments
wo wei ling
wo wei ling

hi, Just wanted to let everyone know that, to me, Jewel is the greatest song composer and the lyrics that she wrote, always seems to amaze me. not forgetting her voice... to die for!

Addam Scott
Addam Scott

Rose,

You must be on a pretty substantial regiment of crack.

"Its interesting that you are critiquing song writing. Writing never did seem to be your strength. Your strength always was your voice, not your writing."

Are you kidding me?

Besides the bigger hits the song "hands" alone qualifies her as a great songwriter. The song "The Shape of You" at The Emmys was stellar. And she's got a great deal of placements for herself and songs cut by other artists.

She's a quiet power-house of songwriting and certainly deserves recognition for it.

Mix
Mix

Jewel's strong suit has always been her lyrics, she has a great voice but she doesn't just paint a picture with her words- she gives you a photograph. Go back and listen to The Morning/AM Song & You were Meant For Me.

Ryana303
Ryana303

I love the creativity! There are a enough singing competitions on tv, but this is a new concept, which is hard to find a new concept on tv since it's almost all been done. I love how it starts with a bang! You get immediately to the HOOK competition. I love it!

Sara Kass Levy
Sara Kass Levy

Jewel,

Thank you so much for keeping up this blog. I have always been inspired by your writing and your music, and it is so illuminating to see what goes on in the world of songwriting and your insight into that! As an aspiring writer myself, I am watching every episode closely to see what works and what doesn't, and hearing your thoughts on the subject is both helpful and exciting.

I've listened to your music since I was a child, and you are still and always my favorite artist. I love your versatility and your honesty. I don't think I've ever been more excited than when I was accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy, knowing that you had gone there. :) I can't wait for your new album and to see the next episode of Platinum Hit next week!

Rose Wilde
Rose Wilde

Jewel, I'm sad to say that the more I read your blog the less interested in you and this show I become.

Its interesting that you are critiquing song writing. Writing never did seem to be your strength. Your strength always was your voice, not your writing.

Several years back, when people said you were selling out, well, I was a bit more open-minded. I figured you just wanted to break out of your genre, your box, and see what else you could be.

You have the kind of voice that you could of done anything with. I always wondered why you didn't develop it to its fullest. Opera, jazz. Instead you chose to focus on songwriting. I thought you were trying really, really hard to say something meaningful, so I forgave you. Now I realize that I was wrong- you were selling out.

Besides "Who Will Save Your Soul", and possibly the entire Pieces of You album, you didn't write more than a few songs that are memorable, not much that will endure. And you never did with your voice what you could have done besides yodel really fast. But you learned how to say and market nothing much in a lot of different ways, and now you're advising others on how to do the same. Congratulations.

Addam Scott
Addam Scott

This show is so fascinating to me as a songwriter to watch how other people work. Having the benefit of a few years on these folks gives me the opportunity to see how all of the affectations and fears of youth get in the way of just being able to sit down and write a great song. I'm really hoping this gets picked up again for a second season. I get asked quite frequently how you go about writing a song by people that aren't familiar with the different methods and the necessary balance of art and craft. Hopefully people are genuinely interested in seeing how it works. Jewel is great on the show, it's good to see her as a person who is straight to the point and no-nonsense in contrast to her earlier career where she was percieved as a soft songwriter. I have always loved her work, but I love that people can now see you need a level head to go about this work. I was never that interested in Kara until she was on Stern a few weeks ago. AI never really sold the audience on her credibility and I'm glad she has an opportunity to really display how talented she is. One thing I think viewers may be surprised by is how much harder and bsuiness minded songwriters and musicians need to be. The era of artists floating around in their left-hemisphere brains is a thing of the past. Hopefully this encourages young artists to get their heads straight as soon as possible if they want to do this for a living. Keep it up!