SOCAN “Song Camp Monday” hosts Strumbellas bassist Darryl James

The three co-writers in the most recent SOCAN “Song Camp Monday,” held June 26, 2017. Left to right: Strumbellas bassist Darryl James, professional songwriter Jordan Smtih; and Wild Rivers singer-songwriter Khalid Yassein. (Photo: Tiana Feng)
June 28, 2017

SOCAN continued its monthly “Song Camp Mondays” initiative as three of our members spent the day of June 26, 2017, co-writing a song at The Sound Lounge in SOCAN’s Toronto office.

The co-writers this time were Darryl James, bassist of The Strumbellas, who began writing his own melodies and lyrics about four years ago, and started really developing songs about a year ago; Khalid Yassein, songwriter and one of the singers for the Toronto based indie folk band Wild Rivers; and Jordan Paul, an experienced co-writer, who has participated in Montréal Songworks -- hosted by the Songwriters Association of Canada, Canadian Heritage, and Harris & Wolf -- and the Texas Songwriters Symposium in Austin. 

The song they wrote together, with the working title "Dreamer," is a sweet ballad about a troubled person, and features  an extended driving metaphor, gorgeous harmonies, and a captivating vocal breakdown. All three writers said they allowed a fair hearing for all of the ideas proposed by each one, and all had moments of challenging some ideas for the good of the song, and of working through any roadblocks.

"It's nice to change gears and do some writing outside of The Strumbellas as the touring cycle starts to wind down." said James. "With events like this, and The SOCAN Awards, SOCAN is creating great opportunities for members to network."

Yassein has opened up to the process of co-writing as Wild Rivers has grown from his solo efforts to all four members co-operating on song creation. "When you're writing solo," he said, "if you run into walls, it's hard to get out of your own head. It's a lot easier when you co-write with other people. Today was awesome."

"With no prior rapport, it's a huge step out of your comfort zone," said Paul. "You might be hesitant at first, but you quickly get to the kind of intimacy that allows you to write together."

“Song Camp Mondays,” which take place on one Monday each month, are designed to help Canadian songwriters build their relationships, gain experience collaborating, and advance their craft by bringing the song camp experience to as many SOCAN writers as possible. For more information on the program, click here; if you’re a SOCAN member and want to apply for “Song Camp Mondays,” click here. Submissions are open to all SOCAN songwriter members, regardless of musical genre, skill level, geographical location, or whether the applicant has a publisher or not.