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How to find people to collaborate with

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So I'm a singer/ lyricist, and I've been in the live music scene for a good few years.


I'm looking to start collaborating online, and I'm looking for producers/ composers to collaborate with.


Is it even possible to find anyone through a platform that doesn't consist of paying other musicians for their music? 


Am I being naive thinking I could work with people in a "you help me, I help you" kinda situation? 


If there is anywhere it is possible to do something like that, I'd really appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction.

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Like Rob says it is tough. The ones who do it for pay are a tight nit group. The ones who don't are usually working a day job and they don't have tons of time to pour into a complicated composition just for kicks. 


I have been in a few collaborations and they seem a lot like a boat that goes out in a good wind and then eventually the wind dies off. Lots of momentum that seems to fade over time. Some of this is people are just busy with work and families including me. They may also have their own ideas/projects they are working on.


This next comment is going to sound very biased and maybe unfair. I think it's overall easier to sing and write lyrics than it is to compose. I mean, all I need to write lyrics is a paper and pen , a hand for writing, imagination and some time. I say that tongue- in- cheek . I have difficulty doing it because I'm mainly a person who writes and constructs music. Maybe it just seems easier to me. 


Unlike a musician who plays for someone who sings live, we need to come up with the music, play it well enough to record, blend it with the vocals, mix the project with the goal of having no mistakes in it. Everything must be balanced. The music must be something that works well with the lyrics and is ok with the person who wrote it. After all of that it needs to be mastered and then sent to social media or an album. This all requires a lot of patience on the part of the lyricist. As you might guess this all takes a lot of time, especially for free.


Then there's the male/female dynamic I've run into. If the person I'm working with has a husband or boyfriend they begin to wonder why I'm spending more time with their significant other. The truth is we NEED to spend time to make it work musically. Same sex working relationships are probably best, yet even those can make a spouse or girlfriend upset if it takes all of your free time away. It takes a rare person to understand what's going on and be ok with it. Lyricists usually write too many words for a tune and this needs to be narrowed down so it will fit a composition or the compo needs to be modified. Unless your writing prog rock, songs need a simple lyric that catches the persons ear. Too long and you loose the listener. Meaningful, to the point, coherent and effective is a winner.

I should add that these kinds of collabs are probably best  in shorter duration. Too much of it and it tends to wear me down, especially if it drags on and on with revision after revision. There can be a point where it looks like the minds won't ever meet unless you cave on something you held dear on the idea. If it comes to that point you are no longer collaborating, you end up caving for a boss to write something for them for free...no joy in any of that. Might be time to have a friendly parting of the ways.


It's fun when it works though and everything flows together and no one is upset.

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Hey Cayla 


Resourceful Rob and Insightful Tim have already provided good inputs here :)


I would just like to add that I think it's okay (probably even good) to be naive in the beginning - it allows one to be more open to new experiences. A few of them could suck but all of them would be hugely beneficial in figuring out what kind of people you could best get along with. If you're looking for long-term collaborators, then it's the personal equation that counts the most (and that takes time and patience to cultivate). If you're looking for something more short-term, then you can take a more project-wise approach with different collaborators. But both approaches require you to be pro-active and seek out as many people as possible. No point keeping too many filters in the beginning.. just jump in and have fun looking around! :)


Also, just my personal opinion (I'm a total goner without a collaborator :P )- a good collaboration might be a more difficult route to take compared to a D.I.Y. set-up but it can also be very rewarding because the song would potentially be using the best talents/skills of each collaborator and have an overall superior quality. The question is - how much time and energy are you willing to invest?

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Sreyashi makes some wonderful points. She is a great one to work with as well BTW.


As an aside to what Rob said, there is another site called Bandlab that lets you track and put it into either the app on your computer or a phone app. It's like having Garageband online.


I don't seem to fit very well using those kinds of services, mainly because I want to speak with my collaborators to determine the directions they want to take and share my ideas. In designing anything one on one communication is usually best because no one has any illusions as to the project and the direction. Most of the music I make  is not the  kind of music most listen to so it is a bit unusual and it takes a more honed approach I think and collaborators who see the direction I'm going in. I don't use Band-in-a-box. Most of my tracks are built from the ground up. One of my future goals is to make a song using elements I like with a pop or rock backdrop. From a lyricist perspective I would think they would want close communication with the rest of the team so they get their ideas across.


I could post examples of "canned" kinds of tunes that I could literally throw together in less than an hour using loops and midi. They would all be in prefect time and examples of pop or rock, however I have done other genres as well. I'm not saying this is necessarily easy. I'm saying it could be less of a hassle for me if I decided to go by the guidelines of pop or rock. I can do some of it, however I would feel I'm drifting from the music that is closer to my heart. I like to experiment and try different things and this really puts me in a place where no one knows what I might try next. I know this has lost me some of my listeners because they don't like jumping from classical to folk to whatever. 


I see online sites as helpful for a lot of people, just not me.

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