Whether you’re a seasoned song-writer or a novice who’s never written musical prose, Brisbane’s I Heart Songwriting Club has something for everyone.
From humble beginnings as an informal club between teacher and student in September 2014, I Heart Songwriting Club has grown to include song-writers from around the globe. Founder, Francesca de Valence, says what started as an attempt to break her own writer’s block has become a supportive network that motivates members to write on a weekly basis.
“Early on in the club we capped members to 10 at a time for logistical reasons. Those 10 people gained so much from the club though that I decided to open it up to more people. Now anyone in the world can be a part of a new group – there are no more than 10 people in a group at a time – and each group is currently mentored and facilitated by myself,” said Francesca.
Two years on and I Heart Songwriting Club is thriving and ready to invite more members into the fold. They’ll be celebrating their two-year anniversary with a special fire-themed house concert at a secret location in Brisbane on 13 August and everyone is welcome to attend.
“For this concert we’re bringing together I Heart Songwriting Club members from all over Australia including Helen Perris, Sam Buckingham, Emma Dean, Sarah Collyer, Natalie de Jager, Erin Jane, Jessie Ryan-Allen and myself.”
“Expect to hear flammable stories, combustible songs and tales to stoke your embers. Our concerts are super relaxed and guests are encouraged to bring their own picnic blanket or chairs, drinks and snacks.”
When Francesca first started the I Heart Songwriting Club she had no idea the heights the club, and its members, would reach. Now, as she celebrates the completion of her hundredth song with the club, she’s kindly sharing some of the song-writing tips and tricks that have helped her reach this mammoth milestone.
FRANCESCA DE VALENCE’S SONG-WRITING TIPS & TRICKS
- My biggest tip is – Try to ‘uncover’ the possibilities of your very first idea rather than cutting it down and discarding it. Be childlike in exploring the wonder of this creative path, openly. If you notice inner-voices saying things like “that’s shit” or “that’s so dumb” try to bring yourself back to being an ‘explorer’ and tune that voice out. Or the other option is owning the ‘naffness’ or silliness of a song idea. Give it permission to be just so. Record your ‘workings out’ of your creative ideas. Often I have been ‘working’ on a creative idea and then at 4’11” the whole song starts to unfold. Actually that’s a 4 year old anecdote. The song unfolds earlier than that usually now. It’s all practice to tapping into that creative ‘flow.’
- Have some discipline around song-writing. Neil Finn said at Song Summit in Sydney back in 2011, “Inspiration is what happens when you start working.” If you wait to be inspired, you might be waiting a long time. Just do something!
- Focus on the process not the end goal. If you set out to write a hit song, you’re probably going to struggle a hell of a lot along the way, because you’re focused on the end goal. If you focus on the process, you’re less likely to be judgemental about your song-writing ideas. And further to the ‘hit’ song idea – that’s not even up to you to decide if it’s a hit. All that stuff is pretty much out of your control.
- You can’t easily create if you’re doing the same thing every single day. This is a tip I’m still not totally in tune with all the time. Change it up – one thing different every day. Change your way of getting to work, have lunch out in the sunshine, follow the message of your heart NOT your head. If your head says “too hard basket, I’ll just eat lunch at my desk” then you’ve not really followed the path that’s serving your higher purpose. I know we’re just talking about lunch, but still. Apply that to everything.
- Oh my gosh – have fun!
Tickets to I Heart Songwriting Club’s two-year anniversary show The Fire In Us on 13 August are $20 and available for purchase here. The location of the concert will be emailed upon booking.
If you’d like to get involved with the club and touch up your song-writing skills, you can secure a 10-week membership for $50. All funds go back into the development of the club. Check the I Heart Songwriting Club website for more details.