The Power of Collaboration

30 May

So…co-writing and stuff.  I haven’t done a ton of it.  I am thrilled to be able to say I co-wrote “Lovely When You Cry” with Susan and that it’s on her Tightrope album (lyric video here!).  And I’ve sat down a few times with folks to write but I can’t say a lot of things ever got finished.  This was always one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations.  Things I would do:

– hold back ideas I really liked so I could have them to myself
– let the other writer lead so much that my voice didn’t matter
– not contribute enough or speak up when I wasn’t jiving with something

Learning to co-write wasn’t a natural thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some really fun times sitting down with folks, but quite frankly my overall track record sucks.

Except…now I’m gonna talk about her like I didn’t just send her a link to this finished post, but I recently started writing with Anna Harris and hoooooly hey. We have been FINSIHING things and starting new things and back and forthing and it’s been awesome.

Suzuki Anna!
Suzuki Mandolin.

I met Anna at a gig that didn’t happen. We were both scheduled to play a writers’ night in Austin, and the sound guy had better things to do. No sound guy, no songwriters bleeding onstage, as it were.   But a couple of musical hangs later and we tried writing a song.  It didn’t get finished but we continued it over email.  This was also new to me because I write all of my songs in a book.  Like…I physically put my pen on paper in a designated songwriting book when I write my songs.  For all of my online obsessions, songwriting had never drifted into that realm.

Thanks, however, to the ease that email and the iPhone offer…we were sending lyrics and melodies and pieces of things back and forth in no time. I sent unfinished chunks of songs I had been sitting on for years and Anna was able to somehow tap into them and give them new direction. She sends me things the she’s stuck on. Sometimes that’s the worst part of the process for me…I’ll get a song to a certain point and just stop. Either I’ll get stuck on a bridge or how to resolve it or whatever, and the song just gets shoved aside. Having someone to bounce things off and also to encourage the process has been eye opening and really, shockingly productive.

I hope I’m not jinxing this whole thing by writing about it, but I doubt it.  Oh, and we’ve got a gig in Austin next week – June 6th at Flipnotics!  7 PM.  Be there, unless you’re reading this blog post in the future.  Then just…watch Netflix.  No, go see who else is playing at Flipnotics.  But seriously, come on over.

4 Responses to The Power of Collaboration


Michael Knepprath

May 30th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Sounds like fun to me! Good luck!

PS – I assume you finished the new season of Arrested Development on the day it came out? We’re still working on it. Hilarious.



May 30th, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I think I have 3 left to watch – I am loving it. Different, but still good.



June 2nd, 2013 at 3:12 am

Your site looks real nice too, Jana. Very professional. Your own pictures make it special too. Keep up the good work!

I do Twitter and LinkedIn as well. I think I’m just @Katherine.Kay — or something like that on Twitter.

Maybe I should hire you! You look like you know WordPress pretty well, or did someone else help you? (;



June 3rd, 2013 at 3:00 am

Thank you Katherine! I do some consulting over at – and I did build this site but I’m out of the building game since there are so many great designers out there! Happy to talk shop about anything, though!

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