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Creative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp

Creative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp
Text and Video by Manu Leuenberger
SUISA organised the second edition of its Songwriting Camp in cooperation with Pele Loriano Productions. Like the premiere last year the camp again took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur. A total of 36 musicians from eight different countries attended the three-day event in June 2018, creating 19 pop songs in a wide range of musical styles.

The musical goal of SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp was to write and compose pop songs suitable for broadcasting and with hit-parade potential, covering the full gamut of contemporary pop music – from urban to singer/songwriter. The participating musicians were divided into teams of 3 to 4 persons with the task of producing one song in one day. The groups changed every day so that the musicians always worked on new songs with new teammates.

Songwriting camps – a well-established format in the pop music branch

The songwriting camp is a well-established production format in the international pop music business. One of the advantages of this format is that it brings together musicians who would not otherwise work together, explained Pele Loriano, the artistic director of the event, in an article about last year’s SUISA Camp published in the “NZZ” (edition of 19.10.2017): “This increases the chance that the special chemistry favouring inspiration will emerge in one of the teams. The great thing about teamwork is that it generates ideas which one person alone would not otherwise have found.”

The foreign producers and songwriters invited by Pele Loriano to the Greifensee were from France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, USA, Sweden, and Canada. In picking the artists from Switzerland, the artistic director was literally spoilt for choice: 75 responses were received to SUISA’s call for applications from members. The number of applicants was far larger then the places available.

Many SUISA members were interested and participated

In order to cope with the large demand, the five teams originally planned were increased to six songwriting groups per day. This enabled more SUISA members than planned to enjoy the opportunity of composing songs jointly with international and Swiss songwriters, and to benefit from the inspirational exchange.

Over the three days from 18 to 20 June 2018, a total of 36 music creators participated in the Songwriting Camp. Of the 26 participating SUISA members, six were from the French-speaking part of the country and three from the Ticino; the others came from German-speaking Switzerland. About 40% of the participants were female musicians (14 female, 22 male artists).

At the final “Listening Session” on Wednesday evening, the artists and guests – including representatives of music publishers – listened to the diversified results of the songwriting sessions. Overall, the teams produced 19 pop songs in the most varied musical styles; from ballads to chanson, from indie pop to dance track, with lyrics in French, German, Italian and English. The future will show whether the demo songs from the “hit factory made in Switzerland”, as the “Aargauer Zeitung” called the SUISA Songwriting Camp in its edition of 1 February 2018, will be successful in finding an audience.

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