ago this weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Pamela Phillips
Oland when she attended the
21st Annual Northern California Songwriter's * Association Conference
: CRAFT : CONNECTION (OK, a shameless plug!) and conducted a seminar on
what else …
Writing Great Lyrics! She took us through several exercises
designed to help us allow The Muse to work
through us, and after a slow start we began to really let the ideas
flow. I was excited when she chose my idea / hook to develop, and
with the assistance of many others in the audience, we
worked step by step, line by line, crafting verse and chorus. We
didn't go so far as finishing the song,
but we learned SO much from her detailed and yet simple style of
idea from scratch and molding it into a viable, potential hit.
In "The Art of Writing Great Lyrics", Pamela does the
thing, only she's not confined to just an hour or so, and she has a
audience to work with instead of just a full lecture hall. She
takes you step by step through the craft of writing lyrics that will
stand out above the crowd (you DO want to be noticed, don't you?),
that's what she's known for. Her bio is
literally a "Who's Who" of the music, television and film
industries. Whitney Houston, Anne Murray, the Jacksons, Aretha
Franklin, Selena, Frank Sinatra (enough? HA! No way!)
Let's throw in "Xena: Warrior Princess", "The Sopranos",
"Coming To America", along
with Walt Disney's "102 Dalmatians". Her award winning
lyrics cover all the
bases including pop, R&B, country, gospel, hard rock, rockabilly,
doo-wop, alternative rock, blues and jazz. This lady KNOWS what
she's talking about!
of the Equation
Since this is a book on writing lyrics (ahem … make that "GREAT"
lyrics!), at some point you have to consider
the other half of the equation … the music. Will you be writing
that as well? If not, then you'll need a collaborator.
Pamela covers all the bases on what to expect
and what to look for in a collaborator in order to make it a successful
union. It's a job that's easier said than done, but well worth
the effort to do it right.
"The Art of Writing Great Lyrics" is,
however, more than a great
book on songwriting. It's also a great resource for what to do
AFTER your song has been written, and
re-written, and re-written again, until it's the best it can be.
you're satisfied with writing for yourself and stashing those
songs away in a binder or a folder, fine (though you're cheating the
your talent!). But if you want to make your mark and get your
songs heard you need to know what to do next. And the better
prepared you are, the better the chances of your success.
"The Art of Writing Great Lyrics" is
for every songwriter;
professional, serious semi-professional, or beginner. Pamela's
fresh presentation, with just the
right amount of detail, along with the stories she shares from her
lifetime as a professional
songwriter and the numerous examples she's included to illustrate the
she's making, make this a deceivingly easy read. Scan
the pages, just to see for yourself how much she covers and
how helpful the book will be, but then settle in for some good old
studying, because this book has the goods that can make you a GREAT
writing lyrics today is in very sad shape."
Pamela was once asked why she would want to offer a book that could
conceivably make her competition
tougher in an already highly competitive industry. At the 2001
NCSA Conference I spoke of at the
beginning of this review, she answered that by saying, "The craft of
writing lyrics today is in
very sad shape! ANYTHING I can do to help train
songwriters to do their job better will benefit the whole
industry. And sharing what I know helps to make me a
better songwriter as well, and therefore I improve my own chances of
success." She lives by her words, and
so what positively goes around must positively come back around.
See for yourself!
Copyright © 2002 by Jace
* Now West Coast
a Nashville based
songwriter, music publisher, artist manager, and freelance
As a songwriter and collaborator
much in demand in the
Country market, he also enjoys writing for A/C, Pop, R&B, Smooth
Contemporary Christian, and Cabaret. As a Freelance Writer he has
contributed reviews on new CD's to online newsletters and artist
websites, and occasionally ontributes book and concert reviews
with personal commentary on
music industry to Nashville's Songwriter's
by being selected to be a part of Nashville's Shine
On Foundation, assisting
talented songwriters, artists and musicians.