Seven Belmont songwriting majors recently participated in a five-day songwriting boot camp in New York City as part of a partnership between the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and Communion Music Publishing. Hosted by Communion in partnership with The Patch in Brooklyn (a program created by Mondelēz International candy brand Sour Patch Kids), the students spent five days with this year’s mentor Ben Lovett, co-founder of Communion Music and Mumford & Sons with a history of writing and collaborating with a wide range of artists. Through the program students were given the opportunity to get hands-on experience with different aspects of songwriting in a variety of sessions ranging from writing for advertising briefs, group sessions and one-on-one coaching.
The seven juniors and seniors selected to attend the boot camp were Blake Mankin, Katie Dayton, Cici Ward, Jason Earley, Becca Naber, Julianna Zachariou and Will Stone. Emily Bines, a 2008 Belmont graduate, now works at Communion Music in publishing and licensing and helped organize the experience for the Belmont students. Songwriting instructor Drew Ramsey, who accompanied the students on the trip, said, “Emily and her crew at Communion Music arranged a first-class-all-the-way experience for our students.”
The Patch–an initiative that seeks to give musicians a place to live and be inspired while on tour–was a huge hit with the students who commented on how the creative space fed their writing inspiration. Moreover, the students were able to learn and receive demo feedback from industry experts like Lovett as well as singer/songwriter Toby Lightman, American Authors lead guitarist James Adam Shelley and producer Swagg, as well as representatives from SESAC and Kobalt Music.
Naber, a senior songwriting major from Lebanon, Ohio, said, “It’s hard to say which is the best part of the experience because everything was almost like a dream. The Patch was beautiful! Every room was decorated differently and the whole place had a very trendy, Urban Outfitters sort of vibe. This made it a great space to be creative. While the house and the perks were top notch, I have to say getting to spend time talking to the mentors was my ultimate favorite thing. I have gone to plenty of convo seminars to listen to people in the industry that work closely with prestigious artists, but to be sitting on a couch next to Ben Lovett throwing out ideas for a song, that’s going to stick with me.”
Earley, a junior from Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, added, “The best part of this trip was the opportunity to write and record alongside some of the music industry’s most successful and influential figures. They were very encouraging and insightful and offered new ideas. Their process of songwriting showed us what it takes to stand out as a professional in this industry. Ben Lovett shared a songwriting practice that Mumford and Sons uses where they play a game sometimes where you write 20 songs in one day, allowing 30 minutes of writing time per song. This is helpful because it is like a detox for your mind. It gets the brain working, flushing out bad ideas, and ushering in new ideas. I’m going to use this practice!”