Hit Songwriter Tim Nichols and Me
Tim and Craig were sitting in the large conference room at ASCAP when we filed in. We were all going to watch them co-write a song. I think my expectations were quite high of what I might witness, given their track record of writing songs like "Heads Carolina, Tails California" and "Live Like You Were Dying" (and many other hit songs listed here). I was on the edge of my seat near the front- poised for the heavens to part, angels to sing and some type of songwriting miracle to happen.
Craig picked the guitar and they both bounced back ideas for about an hour. A little groove here, a little line there and more discussion. The thing that was amazing to me was that nothing really great was coming up. These hit songwriters stared at blank paper without filling it with anything amazing that day.
As a songwriter, it was the most liberating experience ever! It drove home the point to me that all songs start the same way and sometimes you just don't get anything good when you stare at a blank page. I remember thinking, "If songwriters that talented can stare at a page, so can I. Even they have bad days."
Recently, I saw Tim performing at Tin Pan South and I was able to finally thank him for the lesson. After remembering that was the "year that they didn't get anything," he just smiled and said that he was glad I learned so much.
Seven years and many good and bad co-writes later, I appreciate more and more when great ideas show up- and remember their workshop when they don't.
Tim Nichols Performing at Tin Pan South