SOCAN Song House at BreakOut West 2016 a great success

SOCAN Song House at BreakOut West 2016. Standing, left to right: Instructor Ralph Murphy, Ben Klick, Dana Blayone, Elias Lenge, Quinton Blair, Mark Times, Nuela Charles. Kneeling, left to right: Eric Taylor, Scott MacKay, Malusi Mabaleka, SOCAN's Tim Hardy. (Photo: Barb Sedun)
October 17, 2016

For two days at the 2016 BreakOut West festival and conference in Regina, the SOCAN Song House provided our member participants the opportunity to develop the craft of writing songs. The session was lead by legendary songwriter Ralph Murphy, and organized on-site by SOCAN A&R Executive Barbara Sedun and SOCAN Member and Industry Relations Executive Tim Hardy.

The participating songwriters, from Western Canada, were Nuela Charles, Eric Taylor, Ben Klick, Malusi Mabaleka, Quinton Blair, Dana Blayone, Mark Times, Scott MacKay, Keiffer Mclean, Elias Lenge.

Day One started with Ralph Murphy presenting “Murphy’s Law of Songwriting.” Each of the 10 songwriters performed a song-in-progress for a detailed critique, then went off to apply the lessons taught in the presentation. Day Two started with a review of each participant’s re-worked song, to demonstrate the improvements, while the rest of the day was spent on a co-writing exercise where each assigned group wrote a brand new song. In all, nine songs were transformed and three brand new songs were developed at the SOCAN Song House.

Left to right: Nuela Charles (left) shares a song at the SOCAN Song House at BreakOut West 2016 while Keiffer
Mclean (middle) and Mark Times (right) look on. (Photo: Barb Sedun)

This session was a collaborative affair in many ways – songwriters learning from the established mentors, as well as their peers. The members of this temporary songwriting community inspired each other and learned valuable “tricks of the trade” that can be applied to their own songs, and shared in future co-writing sessions with others.

SOCAN received lots of positive feedback on the Song House. “Working on songs with Ralph's direction helped me focus on areas in need of work in my songs,” said Dana Blayone. “I very much appreciated the opportunity to develop my craft with other artists and songwriters. It really was a great experience.”

Elias Lenge (left) and Scott MacKay (right) work on a song at the SOCAN Song House at BreakOut West 2016.
(Photo: Barb Sedun)

"The SOCAN Song House was an incredible learning experience!" said Ben Klick. "I took five pages of notes, co-wrote a song, re-wrote and strengthened another song, and started work on two new originals while at the seminar... I’m looking forward to connecting with the other artists/songwriters down the road, and getting back into the studio to record some newly written tracks!"

“In addition to meeting new members I was thrilled to watch Ralph Murphy in action,” said SOCAN’s Barbara Sedun. “It's fantastic to see the light bulbs go off when a professional like Murphy makes the songwriters re-think their perspectives.”

“It was a great experience working with such a diverse group of songwriters from Western Canada, something I don’t get to experience as much as I would like, being based in Halifax,” said SOCAN’s Tim Hardy. “I received nothing but positive feedback from the writers from day one, with most of them talking about continuing co-writing with each other after the camp was finished.  What happens after the camp is the most exciting part!”