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  • Patty Lakamp

       (4 reviews)

    Thank you Patty, for agreeing to this interview as the featured lyricist on Songstuff.  I'm excited to be able to get to know you a little bit and I'm sure our members are looking forward to knowing more as well.  Let me start out by asking you, 


    How did you get started writing song lyrics and what brought you to Songstuff?


    In April, 2016, we were having dinner with friends, and somebody said,   Tonight let’s go around the table and each of us say what is on our Bucket List.”  (I hate that kind of thing, but what can you do?) 

    I didn't have a clue what to say. I didn't have a Bucket List. I felt I had already 

    done, or was doing, everything I wanted to do. But it was my turn, and everyone was waiting, and before I knew it, I heard these words come out of my mouth:  “I want to write song lyrics.”



    ----- ‘Before I knew it, I heard these words come out of my mouth:  “I want to write song lyrics.”


    I think I was as surprised as everyone else!  My husband of 34 years looked at me and said, “Really?”


    A few weeks later, I was thinking about it and I realized it was true.  So, I wrote my first lyric, “Green Eyes,” knowing nothing about how to do it, and started searching online for more information and places to learn. I discovered SongStuff and lurked awhile before I had the courage to actually post a lyric. Later, I found the American Songwriter Lyric Contest and entered.  I won an Honorable Mention, which gave me the confidence to keep going.


    American Songwriter Magazine Lyrics Contest

    Honorable Mention:  Nov-Dec 2016:  Green Eyes

    Honorable Mention:  May-June 2017:  Friendship Hurts If You Do It Right



    Have you ever ventured into other areas of music?

    Only on the dance floor.


     If you had unlimited resources to create any genre and style song with the instruments and artists of your choice, what would that genre/style be and, who would the 

    featured vocalist and/or instrumentalist be and what would be the feel of the song and what theme would you write on?  


    Well, you had me on “unlimited resources!” And does that include bringing dead musicians back to life? If so, I’d go for John Lennon, Dan Fogelberg and Glen Campbell. (You said I had 3 choices, right?)  I would let my musicians/vocalists determine everything about the music.  As for the theme, it would be a love song, which can cover a lot of territory: Love for your spouse, or more interestingly in a lyric, for someone else’s spouse; for your kids, your friends, your home, your dog, your country.



    Do you fit into a particular style or genre of writing? Honestly, I’m so new at this, I don’t know. But I like clarity.  Some writers like to be purposely vague, and those songs can be lovely to listen to and allow listeners to hear whatever they want to hear.  That’s not me.  I want to communicate a message and leave no doubt as to what I’m talking about.



    If you could select a food or foods that best describe your writing, what would it be and why?  


    • Red hot chili peppers        
    • raw cookie dough snuck by the spoonful
    • home-baked apple pie
    • onions
    • Mocha Latte with whipped cream and a cherry on top
    • Tootsie Pop
    • Cotton candy
    • Buttered popcorn
    • Omelet
    • Fresh-squeezed lemonade 
    • Sea-Salt caramels
    • Imported fine chocolate
    • Bubble gum
    • or
    • Something not mentioned here



    Something familiar, only with a twist.  So, how about French Toast with cinnamon ice cream?


    (Don't forget to answer why). How did you know I’d forget?  To me, writing about something familiar without adding something extra, or saying it in a fresh way, is boring. 


    What sort of environment(s) do you find yourself writing in? My favorite place is my tiny little home office with all my stuff around and the whole day ahead of me. But I have learned to keep a notepad and pen with me wherever I go: at the gym, on my bedside table. I’ve even been known to write lyric notes on my golf scorecard!


    What is the process you use for writing your lyrics? Computer with three windows open on the screen: RhymeZone, Thesaurus and MSWord; a couple small spiral notebooks for specific notes to save; and a cup of coffee nearby that is invariably cold by the time I get to it.


    How formulatic are you when you initiate your writing process?  Do you free-write and then format it or do you start off with an intended format? I have learned that I can save a lot of time and grief by first writing out in prose exactly the message I want to convey, with notes about examples or phrases I might use. That way, I have a reference point to check my lyric against.  Recently, I’ve begun to outline the messages by Verse, Chorus and Bridge before I even start writing.  

    The prose exercise often gives me the hook and some interesting ideas and perspectives I didn’t know I had. Then the actual writing is a lot easier.  I’m sure everyone has a different style and procedure, but so far, this one works for me.


    --  “The prose exercise often gives me the hook and some interesting ideas and perspectives I didn’t know I had. “


    Do you have a favorite genre to write for or do you just see what comes out and determine the genre after the write? I sit there and I think about what message/revelation is trying to come out of my head!  What problem or issue I’m trying to understand. Then I work up a lyric, post it online, and see what happens.


    How much freedom do you allow your collaborators with your work? I have not really worked with co-writers, except as valuable critiquers of my work. As for musicians, I want them to have complete freedom to do their thing. I might offer input here and there, but that’s it. Even though I write lyrics, I think music is more important in a song. Good music can save a bad lyric, but not usually the other way around. And when you get them both right, it’s magic!


    What's been a most significant experience or observation for you as a writer? That it’s one of the few things you can do better as you get older. Age and life experience give you so 

    much more to bring to the party. I also love golf, where it seems ability usually declines as you get older. Also, I think writing lyrics is a socially accepted way to be totally self-centered! (“No, honey, I’m not focusing on me again; I’m writing lyrics!”) 


    Do you have boundaries in how/what you write on and in how you will allow your work to be used? 

    I think this is a question for a more experienced lyricist!  So far, nobody has wanted to use my work! Although I think many of my lyrics would work very well for television.


    What are your aspirations with your songwriting?Practically everything these days is on the web, so my lyrics will live longer than I do. I want my work to be worthy of that longevity.


    What should fans be watching for within the next year of two from you? You’re kind, but I think you might be confusing me with someone who has a fanbase! I just want to keep doing more of what I’m doing, only better and more imaginatively.  


    If you had input on the next musician or songwriter, mixer, producer, lyricist or arranger to be interviewed on Songstuff, who would that be and why?  I have met a number of very talented people on Songstuff.  It would be hard to single out just one.


    Has being a member of Songstuff been beneficial to you?

    Absolutely! We’re all here because we love music, and I have met many people on the Forums who have contributed immensely to my education!  I enjoy trying to help out with lyric critiques and I try to do that conscientiously. Most important to me, Songstuff is where I connect with musicians, particularly “moptop” (Dominick Giarraputo), who has put so many of my lyrics to music. Without his talent as a musician and producer, all I’d have are words on a piece of paper. We have a lot of fun together, even though we’ve never met in person.


    If you were to offer any advice to your fellow songwriters, what would it be?

    Writing is easy; editing is hard.  Do the hard part.


    If someone really likes your work, what is the best way for them to keep up with your latest writings?


    Lyrics: The Songstuff Lyrics Showcase “Member Collected Works”

    Here is the link to my Songstuff "Collected Works" page:



    My Soundcloud page is:



    Patty has a B.A. in Journalism. She was an advertising copywriter and creative director for half of her working years, and she loved every minute of it. She then changed careers entirely and became part-owner of a municipal bond firm until she retired. She had to study hard and acquire various certifications and licenses to sell securities.  She states she learned how to do all kinds of mind-numbingly boring financial things that were not creative in the way that she wanted to be. She finds writing lyrics in retirement is more fun

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       1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

    It looks like I'm new to this thread - but I'm new to Songstuff this week and trying to find my way around. Patty, your song library is impressive. I like your style and "je ne sais quoi" ability to weave small, meaningful details into your narrative. Nice writing! 

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       1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

    I recently met Patty online, and knew immediately from her comments and suggestions on a lyric of mine that I was going to benefit tremendously from her input. She is articulate and insightful, a fine teacher as well as lyric writer. And she is so generous with her time and thorough in following up on revisions made after her input. 


    Patty has a wonderful process for creating a story and a message within a song. And her lines and stanzas are imbued with feeling. For someone who has discovered the world of lyric writing so recently, she has quickly grasped the subtleties of the craft so necessary to go along with her writing talents and education. Her lyrics lend themselves to music in the most natural way.


    I'm so glad she has shared in the interview her philosophy on songwriting and her process. There is so much to be learned from her, and I will certainly be watching for her future works as a lyricist and recordings of her songs.  

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    I loved this interview and, Patty, I find your story so inspiring and relatable!  I, too, am a recent retiree from a right-brain occupation (last 32 years of my career spent as an in-house corporate attorney in Chicago).  I, too, stumbled upon lyric writing--just a few months ago--as a wonderful means of expression, along with woodworking and poetry writing.  (Sorry, I don't golf. 😬). And I, too, find myself on a steep learning curve, looking for ways to better my craft and to find an audience for my work.  I look forward to hearing more about your musical journey.  And I thank you for being willing to go through the interview process and "bare your soul" a bit to the world.

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    Thank you, Pahchisme Plaid and Songstuff, for suggesting this interview.  You really surprised me, because I am not an experienced lyricist.  But maybe that's the point: that forums like these can help writers at any level.  I know the forums have been very helpful to me, and I love the collegiality of the people online.  It's a big neighborhood of people with many different talents, but we all want the same thing: to produce a better product. 


    Pahchisme Plaid was wonderful to work with. (If she PM's YOU next, say YES!)


    Thank you,





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