I feel like all I am doing in this newsletter is just gushing over Ben, but I just have to say he throughly impresses me with his mastery of not only guitar but mandolin, banjo, piano, voice, I personally feel challenged and inspired by his skill.
On top of his instrument mastery, Ben is one of the most prolific songwriters I have ever met. Which for those of you who have followed us for a while know that I absolutely am not prolific. I spend a lot of time, a lot of time, a LOT of time on one song, on one section of a song.
Ben and I started writing together remotely through the pandemic. We figured out some systems for us to work within. Everything starts with Ableton Live, and then we swap the Ableton files back and forth using google drive. We found a couple different apps that helped us stream our audio to each other, and then we'd use facetime to talk to each other. It's a pretty cool system. Really elaborate.
It's nice that we can just write in person now. Sheesh!
One of the things that we have run into is the speed at which we work. I will spend a majority of my composition time during the week on one piece, one section of a piece, and then when Ben and I get back together, he shows me three new songs he wrote.
It has been intimidating for me. But that has always been intimidating for me! Throughout my songwriting/composition journey, I have always been slow. It has been a relentless point of insecurity for me. I would see friends in and out of music school writing stuff, and then finishing it, and then starting new stuff, and I'd still be working on the same thing, and wonder what is wrong with me? Why can't I write faster? Everyone else can!?
I think part of this stems from my own struggle with perfectionism. I will have an idea of what a song could be, and try and force the song to be that thing. The nice thing about collaborating with Ben is there is accountability. Throwing away a bunch of ideas because they aren't perfect is a good way to make him leave the project. So accepting that a thing is good enough and it is time to move on, really helps me not get so stuck on one idea and how it could be more perfecter...
Oh my goodness... writing that was really hard. I hope this points to a balance, because I know a lot of people can just put anything down, and consider it good enough. Also, I know I can become fixated, and struggle to let a thing go, but I think that is part of what makes my music unique, I also think finishing stuff is good too...