The Art of Collaboration

The first time I collaborated with someone on writing a song together was about a month and a half into my songwriting journey, just over a year ago.

It was such a nerve-wrecking idea that I would be adding my own creation to someone’s else’s creation in the hopes of making it bigger and better!

Well, I have to say that partnering up with Adam Boddy was just about the best introduction I could have asked for to the art of collaborating.

What makes an awesome collaboration partner?  Someone who is a good communicator and responsive (in terms of timeliness and giving constructive feedback), as well as encouraging and honest. It also helped that we both just happened to be on the same page about a lot of things!

It doesn’t always come that easy though.

Some of you have heard our song “For Simone” before but I’m putting it up now as I’m currently into a new collaboration and needing to find some inspiration somewhere! Anywhere!

I guess it’s this way with anything in life — sometimes you have to work with people who maybe don’t do things the way you normally do.  And you’re given a challenging task and could use all the encouragement and feedback that you can get … but, instead, there is silence on the other end.  [Cue the cricket chirp].

Well, we can always learn something from the experience though and use it to better our half of being a collaborative partner.  Always a silver lining to everything!

Have you ever had a challenging collaboration that you worked your way through?

– Cafe <3

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37 thoughts on “The Art of Collaboration

  1. What a gorgeously sung song. It sounds like some kind of minor chords. I am not very good at music, so forgive me if i am wrong. It seems music is a social activity, ya know? collaborating. I just stay to myself and draw pictures. Enjoyed the music!

    • Hi Ted, thanks so much for the listen and comment! Well, I didn’t create the chords for this song, so I’m actually not sure exactly which ones were used but I most definitely would guess that there are some minor ones in there to create that moody feeling :) hey, songwriting can also be an extremely solitary activity, so I can relate too! :)

      • I am following your blog now. Yeah, that song was extremely emotive. It is funny to me that you said that songwriting is a solitary process for you. For me, music is a huge collaborative endeavor. Getting along with others and the personalities involved somehow make it more meaningful. Drawing and visual art are solitary for me. Writing music can be solitary, but I write better with other people. Anyway. I will check out your blog from time to time. thank you

        • Hi Ted! Thanks so much for following :)
          I definitely agree with you that when you’re collaborating with others, it can be such a fulfilling and great learning experience! I am truly lucky to have been able to collaborate with a few people now on some music.
          Thanks again and look forward to our future chats! :)

  2. Andy – You have always been such a dedicated father. I know your daughter will always cherish and appreciate that about you.

    Ah, I’ve just been up to work and trying to write some new music. And did/doing a couple of camping trips this summer/fall ’cause you know how much I need my dose of nature!!

  3. You’re right in that it’s not easy. Collaboration is just like company – good company can elevate and expand you while bad company can drain and drag you down. Some people might truly want to help but it just can’t work out.

    When comes to collaboration, I think it’s extremely critical that both have mutual understanding & respect for what each brings to the partnership, are committed about making it work, open to sharing and exchanging opinions/ ideas, and willing to put personal ego aside for the interest of the common goal. And then there’s the unexplainable ‘chemistry’.

    For these reasons, I’ve never been good at collaborating. :P

    • Lol! Ah, but you do at least know what’s involved to make a collaboration work! That “unexplainable chemistry” is true as well — sometimes that just makes everything else not seem so much like work. I’ve experienced that too!

      But sometimes when you have the chemistry, it’s often because you like the same things, work the same way, and while you can produce amazing things together, you don’t necessarily learn the things you would working with someone else who might have a very different way of doing things.

      So I guess all of these experiences are in the end really great in our own personal development :)

  4. Ah, yes! Creative people — pretty much by definition — have a vision, and finding someone to collaborate with who shares some part of that vision can be a challenge. And as I write this I wonder if music isn’t one of those places in art where it’s most common for multiple artists to collaborate on a single piece. Painters and sculptors certainly work alone. Most writers do, too. Dance troupes usually have a single choreographer, movies a single director (plus maybe a writer with strong influence), orchestras a single composer who designs and a single maestro who conducts performance.

    But in popular music it’s extremely common for multiple contributors with roughly equal footing. Lyrics and music by different people in some cases, and there are bands that create tunes together as a group.

    I never thought about this before! Worth further consideration.

    • Ah, very interesting thoughts, WS!

      Well, you know, I guess it makes sense for multiple people to collaborate on one song because, as I have come to learn in my songwriting journey, each component of a song — the lyrics, music composition, instrumental arrangement/performance, singing, producing/mixing — is a full art in itself!

      It is pretty difficult to master more than one of these things, imo. Heck, it’s a never-ending journey to master just one. And I think that’s why art, in any respect really, can be such a life-long journey and love/addiction — because there are no limits to where you can take your creativity or what new genres, styles, topics, etc you can explore!

  5. So nice to hear your voice after a long time Janice.
    I have been so busy and not checking in too much here on WP but was really glad to come across this in my reader.
    You sound beautiful and the song is lovely.
    I pressed play, sat back in my chair and stared out the window at big puffy white clouds in a rich blue sky; listening and daydreaming. A lovely way to spend a few minutes in an otherwise hectic day.
    I hope everything is good with you my Canadian friend :)

    • Aww, Pete that is a lovely picture you just painted and I’m so glad I could’ve been a part of it :)

      Everything is good with me, thanks! I stopped by your blog and saw you are continuing with your captivating photos. I hope you are still enjoying and everything else in life is going well, my friend :)

    • Haha, I am indeed the coffee lady!

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! I should have a new song finished next weekend that I’ll be happy to share! :)

  6. Hi Janice! It was great to hear your beautiful voice again! Haven’t been involved in many collaborations but the few that I have been involved in were with the right people…and we worked together very well. The only adjustment I had to make was getting used to another’s point of view when it wasn’t exactly the same as mine. But this was something I had to set right with myself, not them.

    • Hi Mrs. P! Thanks for the listen and nice comment, it’s always great to hear from you :)

      Ah, you’ve been lucky to have such great collaboration experiences! I think your point about seeing others’ point of view is the key one to collaborating. Even if you don’t agree with it, if you at least try to understand where they’re coming from it can totally change the way you respond to or approach the situation, thereby influencing the way they might respond to you!

      Hope all is well with you, Mrs P! :)

    • Thank you Soul n Spirit! Hm, the link is going to a “Page Not Found” page. Poetry collaboration sounds interesting though…did you have to write with other people?

        • Aww! It would be fun to do it, maybe just to show my future kids one day! :P

          Thank you again, Andy. Hope you are doing really well these days!

          • It’s been tough and been hitting a lot of rough patches in the past few weeks but it’s slowly picking up, but with you back things are finally perfect :)

            Future kids! waaaaaaaaait what did I miss? did i miss an invite?? :P

            • Ah! I cannot accept such credit lol. Well, I’m sure with your positive outlook you will find that silver lining as well :) And nope, didn’t miss an invite! I mean FUTURE kids!!

            • I certainly do try! picked up a second job also for my daughter to put her through high school. God I feel old lol!

              What you been doing all this while though? :)

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