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

on Jun 6, 2011

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.