In with the new

Since last week’s blog there has been some new, even more disturbing discoveries about the competition that has turned out to be nothing but a scam, but I won’t spend anymore time pondering over that. I’ll just wish that good, old “Mr. Karma” catches up with the individual in charge of the scam, sooner rather than later.

 
From now on I will concentrate on the new instead. A very nice and somewhat unexpected thing happened a couple of weeks back, when a song I wrote together with Fredrik Holm (www.2b-intune.com) a few of years ago won an “Honorable mention +” in SongDoor’s yearly competition. The plus stands for “deserving special recognition”. The SongDoor competition receives tens of thousands of entries from all over the world and the Country category, in which our song was entered, is one of the largest. Five finalists were chosen, one entry got an honorable mention ++ which means that the song was seriously considered for the final. Then there was one other entry ahead of us, but to land in eight place in such a big category is something I feel very proud about. Specially since this competition is the real deal. To enter their competition is very economical and they are very clear about what you can win, and you actually get the prizes and a fair amount of exposure to the media and the music industry.

 
It is the same company that I send my lyrics to for evaluation and they have always done everything they can to help me develop. They have sent me things I haven’t even asked for and they are always so happy to help me with any questions I might have. The response is always instant as long as my question arrives during working hours in their time zone.

 
The last couple of days I’ve been fiddling with something new to help my lyrics to get noticed. Well, new is a big lie. I was working with video a very long time before I ever wrote one single song lyric, but this side of my working life has been dormant for many years now. It has just been sitting there waiting for the right time and a reason to come alive again. Getting this honorable mention gave me the push to do something more with our song and since I want to help my lyrics along in any way I can, a lyric video felt like a good option. I have to say I really enjoyed being back at the editing table. Writing will always be my first love but editing and creating film is a very close second. Therefore, it is an amazing feeling when these days you can produce good quality products without being a millionaire. Especially since my videos, (yes, I’m planning to do many more) focus on the lyrics, so I can do them on a shoestring budget. The one I’m going to show you today didn’t cost me anything but my time to produce.

 
Working with video again has also reminded me about the fact that no knowledge and nothing we learn to do is ever wasted. If we are so interested in something that we take time to learn all we can about the subject, there is always a reason why we want that knowledge. It may not be obvious immediately and, I have asked myself many times why I keep training and learning stuff when nothing seems to come of it in a useful way. Getting back to editing a video this week, realizing that the knowledge is still there and that the love for the craft is still there too, has been absolutely wonderful. Especially since I now have a useful reason to dust off that knowledge and use it in a practical way again.

 
Before I go, I also want to mention that the Grand Award winner of SongDoor 2018 was Simon Finn, with whom I wrote the song “Before” a couple of years back. Simon is a very deserving winner and if you haven’t listened to his music yet, please do so on https://soundcloud.com/simonfinnsongwriter
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

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An eye opening “out with the old…”

Is it still ok to wish people a happy new year? I suppose it is, since it’s still January, so “Happy New Year” everybody!

 
It has been three months, almost to the day, since I published a new blog about lyric writing. This is mainly because my life seems to be compartmentalised depending on the season, and the last quarter of the year is always put aside for my seasonal baking business. Then, when I have dug myself out of the last batch of biscuit dough, Christmas is upon us and after that I fall in to my yearly reoccurring January blues for a while. It normally takes until the last week in January before I feel capable of anything creative again.

 
Another reason for my silence has been that I have been running out of steam when it comes to keeping a positive attitude to my lyric writing. Yes, I still love writing, and I feel I’m progressing, but I find it difficult to see viable ways to get from a “happy” amateur writer, to someone who’s lyrics will be wanted by composers and singers. I just don’t know which way to turn to find a way to show the commercial music world that I exist.

 

This problem has become even more severe since I once and for all have closed the door on the competition that I have taken part in for five years now, and who, I felt, was a good barometer of where I was at with my writing. This year there have been too many strange things gong on within and around that particular competition for me to be able to take the competition seriously anymore on a professional level and as a sincere opportunity.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I collected two more semi-final places for my lyrics from them this year, which takes my tally up to 19 over the last five years. One was what they call a “Borderline finalist” and “seriously considered for the final”, but I really don’t care.
So, what is it that feels so dodgy then?

 
Well, I sent in two versions of one of my lyrics, because I made a mistake in my first attempt and sent in an earlier version than I had planned. There wasn’t much difference between the versions. Only one line had changed with three words. The first version was sent in early enough to be judged in the first session and got a place in the semis with seven points. The amended version was sent in on the last day of the whole competition and when the results finally arrived, I saw that it had been given five points and was nowhere near the semis. There were only three words difference between the versions and personally I felt the change has made the text better. I was very puzzled over this big difference of opinion, since the judges hadn’t changed. That is until a pattern started to emerge when I compared notes with other competitors. Then it started to show that most entries going in on the day of the deadline had been given a score of five points. The most plausible explanation was that no judge had ever looked at those entries.
After the results were announced there has also been other unexplained occurrences. The winners haven’t been sent any prizes yet or even been told what they should be. When one winner asked about this on the competitions FB-forum page, the thread was deleted instead of answered.

 
The winner in the jazz and blues category is still to be announced, two months after the rest of the results have been sorted. This year when entering this specific competition, the entries were automatically put in to various other competitions too with “grand” names. Well, one of the additional competitions cost an extra £3 if we wanted to enter, but they made it sound like a bargain. The only thing is that however many times someone have asked for names on judges, prizes etc in these extra competitions there has been no real answers.

 
The sad truth is starting to become clear. It looks like it is the same people that has invented these additional “opportunities” to make the opportunity look more attractive to take part in, in the first place. There is no “small print”, rules and regulations to be found anywhere, not one single judge is named and the home pages and FB pages for these competitions look very dead. I just checked the FB page for one of them and the last status is from September on a page that all in all has five updates. Still, this is the forum we as competitors have been asked to follow for updates. It’s all a big joke really, and there won’t ever again be any more entries from me into this particular place.
Am I angry? No. In many ways believing in this competition and the hope of some day become really successful in it has been willing me on and made me want to become a better writer. That in itself has been worth the money I have poured into the competition. I also truly believe that this competition started out with good intentions, but that greed finally has taken over. They used to have an awards gala every year where the winners got their prizes. There used to be a CD made with the winning songs. There used to be a “Grand Award Winner” that used to get a day in the studio with a famous producer etc. These prizes have little by little disappeared, to the point that the winners this year haven’t even been contacted by the competition organisers after the results were announced. And, as I said earlier, no prizes have been sent out.

 

But no, I’m not angry. Just disillusioned once more, and I won’t bother printing out my certificates this year, because my semi-finalist placements aren’t worth the ink I would waste. It is a competition that plays on people’s hopes and vanity but with no clout at al out in the real world, and the titles they award have the same value as monopoly money. So, for me this year has started with a really eye-opening “out with the old”.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa