I’m now back to Europe and Amsterdam and I’d like to take a moment to tell you about the latest Listening Room International Songwriting Retreat I participated in.
Imagine a mountain. You’re driving up a winding road, the noise of the city (say Los Angeles, for instance) and the temperature are progressively dropping, you start noticing little birds in the trees.. as you drive along colourful houses and craft shops, a couple of hippy people walking by, you take a deep breathe… you are in Idyllwild!!
Now you drive to the Idyllwild Arts Academy, where you get a bit lost – well, yeah all the trees and all the wooden cabins look a bit the same, don’t they? – you pass the library, the canteen, the swimming pool, and arrive at the meeting room, surrounded by individual wooden huts equipped with pianos where you will be able to work and co-write songs the whole week. That’s gonna be a fun week!!!!
I started the week working with super talented Irish songwriter Grainne Hunt, with whom I wrote “Choices Are Mine”.
Kelly Kent-Stoll and I then wrote about those people who can’t wait “5 more minutes” when we get ready and those who always need “5 More Minutes” when we are in a hurry.. you get the idea. 😉 She performed it brilliantly at the concert at the end of the week. Very fun! Working then with the lovely Melanie Kwiatkowski, we started to talk about relationships and to write a beautiful and melancholic ballad, which title could be “I Need To See”. I then explored the sweet and healing world of Brandi Whitaker, and we wrote about a mysterious woman torn apart between her speedy computer life and her child dreams trying to find herself in the “Strawberry Creek”. On the last day, I wrote with Brian Tracy in a very interesting new way: I started with writing some music and he then wrote lyrics on it. We then blended all that in “Heaven’s Blue”.
We had a nice group, with more people than I could write with: Po Ye (Bonnie) Hui, Dena Van Slyke and guests Jen Hajj and Alan Roy Scott. Towards the end of the week, we performed some of our newly created songs in a public concert on the Idyllwild Arts campus. We had a great audience and super atmosphere and feedback. A really lovely experience where all the songs became bigger!
I hope I can participate next year again. And you could join too!!
- Touring in the desert…
- Holiday Landscapes