Reign Over Me

Jewel discusses the semantics of Scotty's title and the lack of edge in Brian and Jes' effort.

Hello dolls,

This week's challenge was to write an empowering song, incorporating the lyric: "kiss the flame."

Scotty was the runner up, with what ended up being call "Reign."

Brian was the hook challenge winner with his song, and I think made a big mistake passing on Nick. Nick is a strong contributor, and able to put his personal feelings aside in a co-write. But I guess Brian and Jes held a grudge against him, and I think they suffered for it in the writing session. Brian definitely felt the pressure to write a good track and left Jes to write lyrics alone. A banging track is great, but if the content is lame, it won't save a song. In this case, the track wasn't banging -- and it didn't end up being Pink-esque. I liked that they used her as a focus to write with, but the track fell short of its goal, had no edge, and it felt sort of light, especially when paired with lyrics that just didn't have any edge or grit.

This was a topic that both Brian and Jes felt strongly about. Both had terrible personal tragedies that they wanted to write about and heal. Those songs work very well, just think of most of Pink's songs, including one of her latest, "F--ing Perfect." The difference is her lyrics hit hard and say the truth on secrets people keep, and while Jes did try to be more poetic and metaphoric, it managed to not say a lot. It did not hit you in the guts and make you feel like a burden had been lifted by the end of it. So far, I think Brian is a better lyricist than Jes, and I was surprised he left it all to her. If they had teamed up, I feel it would have gone better. Instead they ended up with a watered down track and an angst-lite lyric. It was pleasant to listen to, but just not a smash.

Scotty's team kind of won -- though in my opinion, they got the title wrong. It should have been "Reign Over Me". . . but the melody was hooky and I was proud Nick stood up for that melody. It was funny to see Scotty's look when we said he won. Sometimes it's hard to know what you wrote is good or not. I have written songs -- even a hit like "You Were Meant For Me," and thought it was the dumbest song I ever committed to page. Sometimes our instincts are right on, and sometimes we are hard on ourselves and unable to see what's good. It's a funny damn job.

Nick deserved the prize in Spin Magazine -- and I look forward to reading what jewels of wisdom he drops in print. Go Nick!

We are getting close to the end, and I feel the writers have come a long way in learning how to be more commercial and write for other artists. We still have a ways to go, but I’m proud of them.

As always, follow me on Twitter (@jeweljk), and ask questions or voice your disagreements -- it's art after all and so subjective. . .

xx jewel

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!