I recently collaborated with Alex Priore, of The Wild Nomad Studio, to create an EP of six of the songs that I've written (details coming soon!). I've always been passionate about collaboration and this experience was an amazing opportunity to witness the profound effect of true collaboration on a project. One of the most amazing aspect of this collaboration has been watching the exponential growth of my songs as I've worked with Alex developing them for this album. This expansion of my work as been so exciting that I've continued to seek out more opportunities for collaboration and development with other artists, across several disciplines. I wanted to share with you all a few of the things I've been learning about collaboration and what it takes to collaborate well.
Step One: Hone Your Craft (aka Start Growing Now)
For the past few years I've been working hard to grow practically as a songwriter, I've read books, tried exercises, and practiced crafting my songs. Through that journey my ability as a songwriter, and the songs that I've been able to produce, have grown and matured, and my studying was the first step in this collaborative process. This is a vital step! Collaboration is the process taking your work and allowing someone else to contribute their ideas and then choosing which of those ideas you want to allow to influence your final outcome.
Take time to research what it takes to be good at whatever craft you currently practice. If you play an instrument, take lessons or find online tutorials, start jamming with other artists, practice, practice, practice. Do the thing you love to do, and keep doing it, with the intention to grow and improve. Start doing the hard work on your own and recognize that you (wonderfully) always have room for more growth and improvement, but that you're making forward progress on your own.
We need to be willing to recognize that we don't have all the answers, or all of the best ideas, before we begin to collaborate. An attitude of humility will make it significantly easier to hear other people's ideas and try them out, even if they aren't what we would have naturally chosen. Reading books, taking lessons, playing (dancing, painting, writing...) with other people will help loosen up our natural protection of our work and start the process of opening our minds to outside ideas and options.
More to come soon! What ways have you found helpful to prepare for collaboration?
Emily is a creative entrepreneur, born in the South, raised in Colorado, and loving life in Brooklyn, NY. As the co-founder of Bright Ideas she spends her time doing freelance photography, writing blog posts, drinking black coffee, experimentally cooking, laughing, playing minimalist puzzle games on her iphone, exploring NYC, and working a lot of odd jobs. You can follow Emily’s adventures on Instagram or Twitter, see what inspires her on Pinterest, check out her photography on Facebook, or read more of her posts here.