The first edition of new Bristol-based podcast Behind The Scene was recorded live at Rough Trade in front of an evidently passionate audience. Behind The Scene is an informative, panel-based talk designed to explore the ins and outs of a variety of creative industries, whether music, art, film or fashion. It opened its first episode with a discussion centred around songwriting. Three experienced and informative guests joined to engage with founders and presenters of the show, BBC music reporter Harriet Robinson, and singer-songwriter Ruth Royall, to offer a plethora of interesting viewpoints.
The three guests that joined the panel were: Kanan Keeney, a renowned songwriter who offered an insight into writing for others and how to make yourself visible to said artists and musicians when you are not a performer yourself; Annie Gardiner, experimental musician with Hysterical Injury and songwriting tutor at BIMM in Bristol, who offered tips on the practical tools you can use and how they have helped her; there was Emily Isherwood, the fantastic singer-songwriter from Bristol who offered her opinion on branding as a musician and whether fitting into a bracket is a more successful approach.
The hour-long talk first looked at what is appealing about writing for other people, something which is perhaps understated in terms of its scope within the industry, in particular within the independent sector. Keeney explained a gradual desire to step away from the spotlight being the main factor behind him becoming a songwriter for others. Gardiner felt that it wasn’t too important for you to have an academic background to succeed, as fresh, singular and perhaps experimental creativity is more important, as long as the music has the feel of the person writing within it.
Branding was a particularly interesting topic of discussion, Isherwood explaining that it depends on what your message is as an artist that determines whether it is valuable. She went on to explain that for her it is significant as she sees her music as a multi-sensory form. When adding in the element of business and sustainability, Keeney agreed that branding is important for effective recognition.
Continuing with the discussion on how to make a career tenable, the panel began to discuss the tools which can be used to help artists and songwriters be able to continue their passion. PRS was discussed, Gardiner particularly keen to signify its importance not only within the digital age but also when performing live. What was also interesting was a debate on Spotify and streaming’s impact on their careers.
Following further discussion on understanding your audience, whether playing an instrument is imperative and whether a publishing deal is important, the panel opened questions to the audience, who were interested to hear about particular songwriting methods. With the talk at a close, a networking event and a performance from Royall and her band followed, capping off a successful evening of what is a very interesting prospect emerging from within the city. From the evidence of episode one, Behind The Scene offers real insight for its audience.
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