Artist Highlight: Robin Owens

I met Robin at the CD Baby DIY conference last year in my hometown Austin, Texas. At the time, she was starting her senior year at Berklee School of Music in Boston. I was fascinated by the fact that she took classes from Pat Pattison, who I have developed a songwriting man-crush on over the last few years. Robin is a joy and inspiration and is a fountain of songwriting information and general music nerdery. It is a real gift having her part of our community.

Meet Robin

Robin is from Chicago, IL, USA.

What do you do during the day?

I'm currently pursing an MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?

I don't! I'm a proud musical theater nerd and I still listen to Hannah Montana every once in a while.

What inspired you to want to write songs?

I didn't think about the fact that people write songs until I learned Taylor Swift wrote "Teardrops on My Guitar." Pretty immediately I knew that it was something I wanted to do.

What does your songwriting habit look like?

I want to be in the habit of writing daily, but more often than not (when not doing the 100 days challenge) I tend to write a couple times a week. I'm always thinking about ideas for songs and tinkering with them in my mind, but I don't sit down and force myself to write as much as I probably should.

How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?

More than anything it's taught me how to find inspiration in everything around me!

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?

I'm very inspired by Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, and Pat Pattison. I was lucky enough to study under him at Berklee and he taught me so much!


What challenge are you facing with songwriting?

Right now, with nothing going on in my life because of quarantine, I'm finding it hard to be inspired by my own life. While I like challenging myself to write about made up stories and situations and other people, I prefer to write about my own experience, and I'm running out of things to draw from!

What Day of 100 is your piece from?

Day 4/5 of 100

Lyrics:

The Queen of Back Bay

Her life started off charmed

She grew up in Manhattan

Studying art, studying dance, learning French and Italian

She moved to Paris at sixteen

Lived a young girl’s fantasy

Made some friends, walked the Seine, fell in love with love’s city

She saw an art house in Milan

And straight away it won her heart

Said if she ever had the funds

She would build herself one

Who knew she’d become

The Queen of Back Bay, one day

She’d be The Queen of Back Bay.

She couldn’t know it then

The beauty that she’d make, but she was

Precocious and ambitious even at that age

The Queen of Back Bay

When she returned to New York

Worldly and revered

Met a lover, one thing led to another

They were married within two years

But they were haunted by tragedy

Lost a son and his sister or brother

She lost a friend and then again when her nephews lost their mother.

She withdrew from society

The doctor sent them overseas

It did wonders for her health

She came back better than herself

And she became

The Queen of Back Bay, she became

The Queen of Back Bay

The papers printer her name

Next to rumors most uncouth, and she said

“Don’t ruin a good story with the truth.”

So her legacy grew into

The Queen of Back Bay

The Queen of Back Bay

She collected art and men of status

A socialite of her own design

The Gardners lived a life that was lavish

But Jack passed, and her life flashed

Before her eyes,

And so it was decided.

A girl’s dream, an old fantasy

Finally realized

Four floors high in a Venetian style and a courtyard with a skylight.

She filled the rooms and the hallways

With the art she had collected

Served champagne and the masses came to see a museum perfected

By The Queen of Back Bay, and it bore the name of

The Queen of Back Bay

And in her will she stated

Not a thing could be changed.

That March night of the evil heist

Isabella rolled in her grave, but she still remains

The Queen of Back Bay, even to this day.

She’s The Queen of Back Bay

Click here to listen


Check out Robin’s music page here:

robinowensmusic.com

Artist Highlight: John Nicholson

Cowboy angel is what comes to mind when I think of John. He is a part of a ton of songwriting communities all over the internet, runs a podcast (SOS: Songwriters and Original Songs), and has written hundreds of songs...if not thousands. I particularly enjoy his dry sense of humor and blunt Australian accent.


Meet John

John is from Queensland, Australia.

What do you do during the day?

Whatever I can musically, songwriting, music teaching, performing, magazine writing, podcasts etc

What Day of 100 is your piece from?

I am not really sure! 10, I think.

Point Me to the Light

V1

Lies suck and rain clouds suck.

The world is out to get you.

You want to chase the shadows out

Clear away the blue

V2

You wonder when will it end.

You wanted things to change

But would you have chosen this

If you’d known it’d be so strange

Pc

I wanted to be like Indiana Jones,

But not afraid of snakes

Finding all those hidden gems

Not putting on the brakes

C

Point me to the light

Point me to the light

V3

But all i see is darkness

A life of patronising words

Flown to the worlds four corners

On the wings of birds.

V4

I just wanted the greatest things

Those that make you strong

I checked what google said

Now i carry a shovel along.

Pc

Drain your life of autumn days

Don’t allow the pull of the tide

Let others help your cause

Pack away the pride

C

Point me to the light

Point me to the light

Click here to listen

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?

No, I dont feel guilty really - I have no shame for any music even some really over-sweet love songs!

What inspired you to want to write songs?

Have done it since I was young on and off! Then about 5 years ago it came back more like a compulsion. I was fit to burst, it was like I had to empty the tank! still fuel in the tank though!

What does your songwriting habit look like?

I write a minimum of one hour per day, play an instrument for one hour per day, and research a few hours every week.

How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?

When the compulsion came to write every song inside me I was consumed and for that short time, I had no time for much else! I soon found my balance again!

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?

Honestly, living inspires me! I live, I write! I demo! I'm inspired by acts of kindness, by selflessness, by beauty!

What challenge are you facing with songwriting?

Slowing down the output and deciding what to do with all my songs.


Check out John’s music page here:

https://johnnicholson.bandcamp.com/

Artist Highlight: Cece Yentzen

I have known Cece for years, and it has been an absolute joy and honor to have her part of our community. She has been with us since the inception when it was mainly Austin Texas-based folk. She has an incredible intuition and sincere devotion to the mystery of being human. It shows in all of her songs.

Cece is from Austin, TX.

What do you do during the day?

I'm a homeschooling mom and music teacher.

What Day of 100 is your piece from?

I generally don't write a song per day, I'm a very slow writer; I wrote a song over the entire course of the 100 days. I can't remember exactly which 100 day cycle it was, but it was one of the 2nd or 3rd cycles, I think. I didn't write it down, and it was under the old platform, so I don't have a record of when I posted it. 🙂

Flesh and Blood

V1
I was raised in these cotton fields
The canvas for our sins
We reaped and sowed our land with the evil
Of men in chains

V2
Lincoln came in ‘61
To condemn the wrong I’d done
I turned my ploughshare into a sword
And bid farewell my only son

Chorus:
But now I’d give my rifle
To work these fields with my own hands.
If I could go back
To before this Hell began

Cause I see it now,
It washes o're me like a flood,
The price of my greedWas flesh & blood

V3
20 years ago this day
Lord, it won’t leave me eyes
Along the banks of Bayou Teche
Union took us by surprise

V4
Young boy came at me running
I fired a shot in reckless haste
Underneath that soldier’s cap
I found my own son’s face

Chorus:
I’d give my rifle
To work those fields with my own hands.
If I could go back
To before this Hell began

‘Cause I see it now,
It washes o're me like a flood...

I’d give my rifle
To work those fields with my own hands.
If I could go back
To before this hell began

‘Cause I see it now
It washes o're me like a flood,
The price of my greed
Was flesh & blood

Click here to listen 

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?

I secretly want to be the bass player for Clutch. Their Psychic Warfare album is my go-to music when I'm in the Jeep running errands alone.

What inspired you to want to write songs?

I was dared by a childhood friend to write a song for my husband as a first anniversary gift when we were broke. So I did. A horrible, horrible first song... hahaha. But I was addicted after that.

What does your songwriting habit look like?

Typically in the evenings after homeschooling, music students and dinner, I'm able to take a wee little moment for practicing or writing. Sometimes on Saturday too. But family always comes first, so that doesn't always work. 

How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?

I think the coolest and most unexpected thing is that my son has started to take part in my writing process at times, therefore boosting his own musical exploration. A few months ago he sat down next to me and wrote a small piano part for a song I was working on. It'll be on the album! Also, I've added songwriting to all my student plans, and have really enjoyed hearing the songs that even my youngest students come up with. And my students LOVE it.

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?

I am inspired by everyone from Rachmaninov to Rush, and all points in between & beyond. I come from a family of musicians, and was lucky to be exposed to a very wide array of music growing up, always playing in the house... and that all comes in to play when I'm writing.


What challenge are you facing with songwriting?

Free time! I have been homeschooling my son since the beginning, and I'm a music teacher in the afternoons/evenings... so free time is in the shortest supply around here.

Check out Cece’s music page here:

ceceyentzen.com 

Artist Highlight – Dave Grandel

"I cannot say enough great things about Dave. Since the moment he joined, he has been a beacon of encouragement and enthusiasm toward his fellow songwriters. On top of that, he is a great songwriter, musician, and contributor to our community." - Rigel

Meet Dave

Dave is from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

What do you do during the day?

I’m a carpenter for the City of Regina, a landlord to one property, and I teach electric/acoustic guitar, ukulele and bass guitar two nights a week at home.

What Day of 100 is your piece from?

This one’s from August 24, 2019. I was barely into 100 Days at that point, so maybe Day 19 or 20.

This song was inspired by a comment that I made to Rigel Thurston of 100 Days Of Songwriting. I had posted a picture on the site and he asked about it. I told him where it was & that it seemed like a sky worth remembering. He thought that was a great title and suggested that I write it, so I did!

This recording is my first foray into using the Spire app, warts and all! Recorded into my iPhone in my dining room while my new pup tried eating a dime that must have fallen out of my pocket while hunting for a pick. Harmonies were added after I saved her from having to pass that dime! 😉

I have also attached the picture that inspired the song and one of my daughter taken at that inaugural Songs For Nature camp!

A SKY WORTH REMEMBERING

You and me, and nothing else

For as far as the eye can see

A getaway, long overdue

No telling where we’ll end up today


Up ahead, reaching for the horizon

Clouds race on creating...

A sky worth remembering

No looking back, hey, take a photograph of

A sky worth remembering

On with the drive, happy to be alive

Under a sky worth remembering


We took a turn down a lonely road

And you never even questioned why

It’s hard to find someone like that

So I’ll love you ‘til the day I die

Up ahead, reaching for the horizon

Clouds race on creating...

A sky worth remembering

No looking back, hey, take a photograph of

A sky worth remembering

On with the drive, happy to be alive

Under sky worth remembering


You gotta take time every once in a while

Quit trying to do so much

Get outta Dodge, take in the sights

‘cause you only get to be young once...


So chase that sky worth remembering

No looking back, hey, take a photograph of

A sky worth remembering

On with the drive, happy to be alive

Under a sky worth remembering

No looking back, hey, take a photograph of

A sky worth remembering

On with the drive, happy to be alive

Under a sky worth remembering

Click here to listen 

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?

I love so many styles of music, everything from symphonies to big band to most of the pop music 50s/60s/70s/80s/90s. I’m less taken with 21st century pop, and in the last 15 years my wife has opened my ears to today’s Country music, so yeah, as long as there isn’t any rap, I can pretty much listen to anything!

What inspired you to want to write songs?

It started out as a way to deal with my teenage heartbreak, and then I didn’t really write, for a long while...probably 12 years, too busy working... I wrote songs for girlfriends, but they never really went anywhere. I fell into the habit of writing instrumentals for many years because I just didn’t think I had anything to say. I wrote one song for my (now) wife that was a love song and my marriage proposal. I don’t play it often enough, mainly because it’s SO personal.

What does your songwriting habit look like?

I write throughout the day, usually on my phone into a songwriting app, but if I’m driving or can’t stop to write, I open my Voice Memos app and talk/sing to myself. I have a Spire recording device and the companion app which are quite handy and portable, but more to the point, they make excellent DAW-ready recordings! The app is free, the device is around $300 USD. Obviously, you can do bigger/better things with the device but the app is excellent as well.

I would love to write every day and have thousands of songs to my credit, but as a sometimes singer/songwriter/performer, I can’t have too many songs on the go or I tend to forget the lyrics or how to play the song. Plus, “...there never seems to be enough time to do the things you wanna do, once you find them…”

How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?

Invaded might be a better word... There isn’t a moment of the day that I’m not thinking about music or songwriting. I fall asleep with words bouncing around in my brain and wake with half-baked songs playing in my head. Titles and lyrics are everywhere, we just have to be open to receiving them... Antennas up!

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?

I am inspired very much when I’m out in nature and solitude...finding a quiet place usually requires some work, but the payoff is that I usually end up with a melody or chords that I like and it helps me concentrate on whatever lyrics I might be working on.

I got involved with a songwriting camp here in Saskatchewan called “Songs For Nature”. They were running a teen songwriting camp and my daughter was interested in writing songs so I asked them if there was room for a volunteer adult chaperone. Turned it into a father/daughter thing. She’s very athletic (and I couldn’t care less about most sports) so it was nice to try something together that we were both interested in! I’ve been to 4 successive adult camps and it’s been the biggest push for my songwriting (until I found 100 Days!)


What challenge are you facing with songwriting?

Believing that someone will be receptive to my work. Creativity was not exactly encouraged when I was younger. Work, on the other hand, was, so I know how to do that, but I’d rather work on creative things than building maintenance.


And, before I forget, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Rigel & Shane for all of the good work they do, as well as all of you fine folks that show up and encourage each other to do better and to never stop writing! Also, to John Nicholson for his mastering prowess that will eventually grace my EP when I get it done. It would not have been possible without your generous offer, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

100 Days is, far and away, the best online songwriting community there is... Tell all of your friends! 🙂

Check out Dave’s music page here:

http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/artist/6194648

Artist Highlight – Mandy J

"I want to introduce you to a songwriter in our community who has been a real bright spark of positivity and encouragement to myself and many others in the group. I appreciate her willingness to share her songwriting process and find ways to build up the people around her." - Rigel, our community founder.

Mandy J is from the sunny southeast of Ireland.

What do you do during the day?
During the day I am super mum, full time mother to three wonderful children. I am also studying to be a mindfulness life coach. I continue to write and practice already written songs for my up and coming album. Busy schedule, just the way I like it.

What Day of 100 is your piece from?
This RAW piece is from day 89 of 100 days of songwriting and this is the first take. I do want to work more on this song to wrap it up.

CATCHING FEELINGS

We've been doing this for some time, baby
And tonight your love lights mine,
Oh when your calling out my name
I know I hear yeah ,
I know I feel yeah,
I know I want you yeah

Chorus
Tonight Im catching feelings
Got me calling, your name
Baby I don't need yeah
But I want you, all the same
You know I see yea
You know I feel yeah
You know you keep coming back for more
You know I'm catching
Catching feelings
For yeah.

Click here to listen.

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?
What is it that makes a guilty pleasure? It is hard to say because one mans pleasure is another mans pain, right. To tell the truth I have a lots of guilty pleasures in music, when they pop up on the radio like, Cyndi Laupers hit song Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Journey's Don't Stop Believin, Cringe I know but I love it. The classic from dirty dancing by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes I've Had (The time of my life). The gambler by Kenny Rodgers, Dirty Old town by our Irish Legends the dubliners sang by the amazing Luke Kelly & Whitney Houstons how will I know just to name a few.

What inspired you to want to write songs?
That is a really good question. I come from a musical family and I have been playing music and writing songs and poems since my teenage years. What inspired me was when other people, friends and family and acquaintances have heard one of my original songs and ask me to play them at a functions. It was very early days then, and in 2014 I decided I was tired of singing covers and wanted to do a song writing course to gain a professional approach. This is what I achieved and since then I have been writing and in pre production for my up coming album.

What does your songwriting habit look like?
My Song writing habit is to free write every day for ten minutes to keep to flow going. When I write a song hook pick a title or have an idea I tell myself I am going to write this song now and I will do it. I will do a re-write the next day. Then, I will take a break after a lot of habitual work and do nothing, leaving time to reflect and practice. Then the creative process start all over again. It comes in bursts for me.

How has developing a songwriting practice effected your life?
It did for a while until I found a balance. Even then my most creative time is early hours of the morning while all the world sleeps and the kids are in bed. I quietly practice already written songs, or come up with a new song to write when I feel the urge. That effects me then as I'm tired the next day. These are the joys of a creative I guess.

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?
Artists I grew up listening to as a teenager, friends and their stories, my own life stories all inspire me to write my songs. However my children are my main inspiration for my creativity. When you hear your teenage daughter singing one of your original songs, at the top of her lungs in the shower, thats inspiration at its best. Or when my three year old carries my guitar over to me asking me to sing. It fills up my creative love cup driving me to create more songs.

What challenge are you facing with songwriting?
I don't feel I have any challenges with songwriting, thankfully. It has taken a lot of writing and practice to be in this space.

Check out Mandy J’s music page here:
https://www.facebook.com/mandy.j.music


Artist Highlight – Dave

A word from our founder, Rigel: "It has been an absolute joy getting to know Dave over the last year or so. I have learned a lot from this guy, from the heartfelt way he approaches lyrics, to his thoughtful song arrangements. Dave doesn't simply have a good songwriting habit, he cranks out completed songs at an incredible rate. I am inspired."

Meet Dave

Dave is from Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK

Dave is from Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK.

What do you do during the day (job, student, etc.)?

Day job is an unrelated admin job within an office supplies company.

Do you have any guilty pleasures in music?

Not a fan of anything ‘Spice Girls’, but I think the Bryan Adams/Mel C hit, ‘When You’re Gone’, is one of the best pop records ever and will always have me singing along. Barbara Streisand, ‘Stoney End’ album is another regular in the player. Other than that, I am a fan of most sorts of music, so guilt is not something that comes into it. There is a small list of acts that I actively dislike, but that’s maybe for another time.

What does your songwriting habit look like?

My songwriting habit is generally to be ‘writing’ every day. Writing can take the form of ‘thought’, playing an instrument, sitting down at a desk to physically write or construct, but as long as I have my voice notes/recorder or pen and paper to hand, I can write in some form.

Who are your influences? How have they shaped you?

Family is the obvious starting point, but also ... as the previous answer .... other than possibly McCartney, they all have a definite style, but they give the impression that they could actually do/write anything. Completing an online Pat Pattison course was a game changer for me in terms of songwriting, and I often refer back to the notes from that course. He is a great teacher and inspiration.

How has developing a songwriting practice affected your life?

Yes, in that it can be all consuming at times which means family/house/garden have periods of neglect. I am lucky in having a supportive wife.

What challenge are you facing with songwriting?

I guess my challenge is completing an end product. Many songs written and either part recorded, or still on the page, sometimes still in my head. I have hundreds of songs that I can’t display, should it be required. I need to discipline myself to produce ‘basic‘ demo’s. 
Work I have either completed, or posted for public view can be seen/heard on my Bandcamp page or on my YouTube channel. In the coming months I will also be launching music under the name ‘Summertown’.

What Day of 100 is your piece from?:

All my specific 100 Days posts are on the ‘old’ site, so the piece chosen was recent, and after the last session closed.


Click here to listen

Bacon & Beans

Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be ........ A cowboy 🤠

I’ve been riding this trail

For most of my life

I’ve camped under the moonlight

On every cattle drive

Still I count my blessings

Every day that I survive

I need a break from this old routine

I hear coyote roaming through my dreams

These leathered hands have long since been clean

And I’m tired of bacon and beans

I’ve ridden with the best

But still a lonely man am I

My heart took a beating

When I watched my brother die

Like so many men before him

When the river rose too high

I’m getting tired of this old routine

I hear coyote roaming through my dreams

These leathered hands have long since been clean

And I’m tired of bacon and beans

I’m getting restless in the saddle

I’ve found love for when I’m home

And though my heart is on the trail

I’m getting tired of sleeping alone

I’ll hang up my bandana (soon) and

Breathe some dust free air

Marry my sweetheart

If she’ll take the wear and tear

Buy some land in Montana

Build a farm and settle there

I’ll say goodbye to this old routine

To the coyote roaming through my dreams

My hands may soften and be clean

There’ll be no more bacon and beans


Check out Dave's music page here:

 https://davidsutherland.bandcamp.com/

August EP Challenge

We are doing an EP challenge in the first half of August. Many of you now have a handful of new songs, let's take it to the next level and finish them. This includes a fabulous show and tell on the 16th.

When: August 1 - 16

Instructions to RSVP:

  1. Visit http://community.100daysofsongwriting.com/
  2. Choose the membership plan or Try Free for the 30 day free trial.
  3. Browse our Events section to RSVP to events, and our Topics section to see our community's progress and add to it!

We Are Moving to a Mighty Network

Moving Instructions

Instructions for moving your account to our new Mighty Networks platform.

  1. Create your new account on Mighty Networks using your custom Legacy Membership link found in the email I sent you. This will take you to a signup page for Legacy members only. Your Legacy plan includes a free month to take any pressure off the transition.
  2. Save activity from the old membership site. Before you cancel your account, please browse through your activity feed and save anything that you don’t have stored on your computer or device. Once we shut down the old platform in August we won’t have access to it.
  3. Cancel your old account when you are ready. Go to the Membership Menu and click My Account.

Under Subscriptions click the tiny “cancel” button.

Finalize your cancellation and you’re done!

Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions. I can easily cancel for you if it’s too much trouble: rigel@100daysofsongwriting.com

We're moving 100 Days of Songwriting to a new platform, and starting the next chapter of this Community.

I know, I know. For some of you, this may come as a shock. But the momentum for us to move off my self-hosted site has been building, and while you may think it's due to any number of the reasons you've heard me talk about on here, it's actually a simple, positive reason.

As many of you have shared with us, there's simply so much more we can do together to master songwriting. Our current platform has many limitations and I reached my tipping point.

I am excited to expand into a new platform designed and hosted by Mighty Networks. Here are some of the things we can do in our new space:

  • Introduce you to each other by location, by categories, and by the sub-topics you're interested in
  • IOS and Android App
  • Organize dedicated groups for you to meet and go deeper with other members
  • Launch new online workshops and courses that are intuitive to use
  • A community-wide chatroom chatroom
  • Quick posts and blog style posts for more in-depth contribution

And the list goes on. There is an incredible team of support over at Mighty Networks constantly adding features and making things more intuitive.

So what's next?

  • Today we're opening the doors to the "coming soon" state in our new Community. If you are already a member, check your email for your custom Legacy link. It should match the amount you originally joined at.
  • Stay tuned for our official launch in July where I'll share more about what we're excited to do together, and talk about what the next couple months will look like leading up to the Fall 100 Day Challenge.
  • We'll be moving our writing prompts and collaboration challenges over to the Mighty Network on July 1st.
  • We'll be closing down this platform on August 1st.

FAQ

I will be continuously update my FAQ page titled New Platform Transition and Questions.

–Rigel Windsong Little Deer Thurston
Songwriter - Community Builder


100 Days of Songwriting is a motivational and inspirational community that helps songwriters get into the habit of writing.

New Platform Transition and Questions

We are moving to a new platform hosted by a company called Mighty Networks.

Moving Instructions

Instructions for moving your account to our new Mighty Networks platform.

  1. Create your new account on Mighty Networks using your custom Legacy Membership link found in the email I sent you. This will take you to a signup page for Legacy members only. Your Legacy plan includes a free month to take any pressure off the transition.
  2. Save activity from the old membership site. Before you cancel your account, please browse through your activity feed and save anything that you don’t have stored on your computer or device. Once we shut down the old platform in August we won’t have access to it.
  3. Cancel your old account when you are ready. Go to the Membership Menu and click My Account.

Under Subscriptions click the tiny “cancel” button.

Finalize your cancellation and you’re done!

Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions. I can easily cancel for you if it’s too much trouble: rigel@100daysofsongwriting.com

Question and Answers

Is the old site staying in place?

I am leaving the old membership open for the month of July to help people make the transition, but then I will be shutting it down

Will I still have access to all the workshops, song critiques and other videos?

Yes. Everything that is part of the paid membership will be transferred over to the new site during the month of July.


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