Top of the Pops

Week #2 SAC Songwriter’s Challenge:

So, Rob Wells, a multi-platinum, award-winning producer/songwriter based in Toronto & Los Angeles, is “looking for strong female based Pop/Top 40 songs.  Think Selena Gomez.  Think Demi Lovato.  Think big.  Think hits.  Think target audience of 13-18 years old.  If you’re writing a global, universal, and (a little bit) quirky smash song with an interesting title, I’m interested.  If you can sing your explosive chorus a thousand times and not be sick of it, I’m interested.  Trim the fat.  No unnecessary sections or long intros.  Take me on a journey.  Make every lyric count and funnel towards a great chorus payoff.  Maximum 3:30 in length.  Good luck!”

Hmmm, this is a challenge. Usually, these types of songs are written by 45 year-old men. What do I know about 13-18 year-old girls? I wasn’t very good at being one myself. So I thought I might use something Gordon Wong and I had started in week one of the challenge that didn’t fit the Dusk strategy. Gordon has a very keen sense of the here and now. He has a beautiful voice and wonderful lyrics, plus he’s a guy; he’d know exactly what a girl wants. I thought the song we’d started had that jumped up, teen-push, song-thing going for it, as requested by Rob. Gordon knew better, of course. I started to get too ‘R’ rated and Gordon couldn’t reign me in so he slipped silently into other co-writes. Who could blame him when I was discussing needle tracks and methadone highs… as metaphors, of course?

So I then called up my good friend Max Martin in Sweden, since he’s written almost every top 40 song since Brittney Spears hit the scene in 2000. Yup, he wrote most of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, her current ‘Blank Space’ hit, most of Katy Perry’s big hits, some Pink, Ariana Grande, Jessie J and even our very own Brian Adams, oh, the list goes on. You heard it, you like it, he wrote it! His advice, ‘stay away from my songs’ write your own kind of teen hit and blaze your own path – such a wise man. Sorry Rob.

And then, as if the angels were listening, Robert Campbell reached out and asked if I’d help him kiss my lips. I mean, help him WITH ‘Kiss My Lips’. His music made me instantly forget about all that junked up pop and sent me into another Swedish Pop world with the Cardigans and ‘Kiss Me’, the song that was the anthem to the beginnings of my relationship with my now husband. How beautiful all the world is when you are first falling in love. The magic is transcendent and so Robert and I wrote about that innocence and decided to go for a pre-mega star Taylor Swift love song, before all the crazy. It may not be power-house-pop-queen but the song just might get you there…

https://soundcloud.com/kathrynberry/kiss-my-lips/s-NuPeI

Visitors welcome! www.kathrynberry.ca

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