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Robert Lang Studios Songwriting Class

Lesson 5 of 6

Collaborations and Co-Writes

Rocky Votolato, Kris Orlowski

Robert Lang Studios Songwriting Class

Rocky Votolato, Kris Orlowski

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Lesson Info

5. Collaborations and Co-Writes

Lesson Info

Collaborations and Co-Writes

Move it along. Doing what little more about co writing is that, yeah, yeah, I guess that's. Segment five is collaboration and co writes, and I think you've had a lot more experience with this than me. I don't have much to say about this. I think what I'd love to hear first is like your approach with co writing because I know when I first heard the idea of it I wasn't into it I thought it was I thought it was just a bad idea if it makes you nervous we'll because I didn't I didn't seem co writing is like a way to write a pure song you know it felt like manufactured okay and I'm wondering what your thoughts were on co writing before we had our conversation I just got kind of inspired about it like I just I don't know it's sort of like I feel like you know after what I explained I went through with like getting into writer's block and then and then kind of relaxing the reins a bit and just kind of letting things flow with this new record I just got to space where I don't know I was so much...

less of a perfectionist I'm just interested in trying different ways of getting to songs and told getting good songs and I've seen a lot of great songs come out of co writing but it's always really made me kind of nervous and a little suspicious like how does that work like how do you even do that with somebody and then and then being being a little worried about okay if you show up you can't contribute told you know how I think my biggest fear I think with your writing but that that doesn't usually happen right like usually minds come together on on something and you find a way tio better than the sum of the parts totally I'm comparatively a novice when it comes to co writing because I've only done about twenty or so all right so I like to yeah I mean maybe it's more like thirty cause I did write about fifteen songs for this album with the fifteen of these songs for this album were co writes and the other thirteen were my own but our professional to me yeah yeah I guess yeah but like you know l a 00:01:59.434 --> 00:02:03. nashville new york there's hundreds of writers there 00:02:03.33 --> 00:02:07. hundreds just pumping out songs every day like when 00:02:07.54 --> 00:02:10. they eat their cereal you know and that could be a 00:02:10.56 --> 00:02:13. little intimidating but also it's really cool because 00:02:13.62 --> 00:02:16. if there's that many people doing it that then it 00:02:16.16 --> 00:02:21. obviously works you know um I one of my favorite experiences 00:02:21.27 --> 00:02:24. with co writing I guess what I should say co writing 00:02:24.13 --> 00:02:26. basically khun b two people is going into a room and 00:02:26.92 --> 00:02:31. writing song or it can be four five people you have 00:02:31.09 --> 00:02:33. people that specialize in doing top lines he was you 00:02:33.84 --> 00:02:38. people who specialize in doing the music alone people 00:02:38.46 --> 00:02:41. that specialize in beats there's all sorts of these 00:02:41.01 --> 00:02:44. different there's people that are like my preferences. 00:02:44.12 --> 00:02:45. I like to go in with 00:02:46.42 --> 00:02:49. a producer because then we can build out the track 00:02:49.13 --> 00:02:51. right there and just like have like a finished demo 00:02:51.45 --> 00:02:54. by the end of the six hours that we have together 00:02:54.62 --> 00:02:57. but I also other preferences going in with lyricist 00:02:57.22 --> 00:03:00. like rocky because I have trouble coming up the lyrics 00:03:00.89 --> 00:03:04. right on the spot usually I take a couple days toe 00:03:04.13 --> 00:03:07. like come up with ideas which is funny because when 00:03:07.75 --> 00:03:10. I'm not pressuring myself the ideas come pretty quickly 00:03:10.31 --> 00:03:11. but no 00:03:12.92 --> 00:03:15. just not in volume so I just want to get a little 00:03:15.58 --> 00:03:17. bit of background about co writing so you guys kind 00:03:17.24 --> 00:03:20. of have a little more context but you mentioned top 00:03:20.07 --> 00:03:22. line what I've heard about that is that like a finished 00:03:22.58 --> 00:03:25. song or something that have ready however they they 00:03:25.73 --> 00:03:29. have a song ready for a songwriter basically all the 00:03:29.46 --> 00:03:31. music is there yeah and then and then the songwriter 00:03:31.68 --> 00:03:33. comes in and gives him a theme and an idea in the 00:03:33.51 --> 00:03:36. lyrics and that's I can't remember that is can't member 00:03:36.28 --> 00:03:37. of top line is 00:03:38.62 --> 00:03:43. melody and lyrics or if it's just lyrics and already 00:03:43.09 --> 00:03:46. of the melody done okay I can't remember should know 00:03:46.54 --> 00:03:49. that it's like it's like one o one so make sure you 00:03:49.53 --> 00:03:53. look at that later I feel bad for not knowing so but 00:03:55.02 --> 00:03:56. there there's a couple ways you get hooked up with 00:03:56.87 --> 00:04:00. co writes one your publishing company there's somebody 00:04:00.05 --> 00:04:02. a publishing company that specializes in knowing all the songwriters out there if it's okay I want you to write this person where here tomorrow we'll have you out this person ah I'll take questions in a few minutes I know you've got a couple kitchen there but ah but long story short you can also just be friends with somebody go hey rocky we should co write together there's there's there's a tunnel ways that they happen and then ah in terms of co writing for an album um sometimes the best way to get into a session with a really good co writer is teo say you're writing for your album not just to say you are ready for your army like hey writing from album because because a lot of times writers want to get cuts on other people's records because if your record does really well they make money um but one of one of the other ways is to write for licensing so if you're with a publishing company you get a pitch that comes in for grey's anatomy and they say hey we want you to write a song about freedom you say okay cool I'm actually co writing session tomorrow or I need all schedule co writing session for this week or today tomorrow or today if you're in l a it's a lot easier to get like that week more last minute but then you'll write a song with a producer or with another guy and you demo it out you send it in for a pitch so that's more like the business he stuff um I was writing for my album and I got hooked up with this guy named glen phillips he's in this band that really hit it big in the nineties called toad the wet sprocket and I show up like he's just got this like buddhists isn't about him the guy was really cool and usually wouldn't go into a writing session I might have a couple ideas but I love to just right blank slate like let's just come up with something on the spot and see where it goes because that's always a lot more scary and exciting but you know I'm always trying to ride that creative edge doesn't always happen sometimes like well cool I got this idea which is what happened 00:05:59.722 --> 00:06:02. in this session because he's like one of do you have 00:06:02.49 --> 00:06:06. any like recipes that we can like start with and I 00:06:06.26 --> 00:06:09. was like yeah, I got actually wrote basically everything 00:06:09.79 --> 00:06:12. about the lyrics for the song and I'd love for I'd 00:06:12.88 --> 00:06:15. love to just play for you see we think and so I played 00:06:15.46 --> 00:06:18. it and I had this on lee this one like ending chorus 00:06:18.72 --> 00:06:25. line yoo hoo yoo hoo hoo no which way to go but I 00:06:25.26 --> 00:06:27. had the melody for everything else and so he's like 00:06:27.29 --> 00:06:29. okay cool we'll just keep playing that I was like 00:06:29.74 --> 00:06:32. what do you mean so I could just just keep playing 00:06:32.07 --> 00:06:33. this song and 00:06:35.25 --> 00:06:37. okay, so I just start playing it fifteen minutes later. 00:06:37.98 --> 00:06:40. I'm still playing it and he's like rocking a little 00:06:40.97 --> 00:06:43. bad music and he says okay, I got it I was like wait 00:06:43.67 --> 00:06:46. what do you mean he's like can I play it again and 00:06:46.46 --> 00:06:49. he sang the whole song all the lyrics I was just like 00:06:49.34 --> 00:06:53. holy smokes it was the most there was one of the most 00:06:53.96 --> 00:06:57. beautiful lyrical songs I've ever heard and I'm putting 00:06:57.18 --> 00:06:59. it on my own that's called which way to go and it 00:06:59.63 --> 00:07:03. read yeah so it can it can turn out really good but 00:07:03.51 --> 00:07:08. it can also for flat I've written I write with some 00:07:08.35 --> 00:07:12. people in nashville and it just wasn't the right bob 00:07:12.34 --> 00:07:15. you know so there's a lot of positives to go riding 00:07:15.67 --> 00:07:18. in that you meet people and those relationships can 00:07:18.43 --> 00:07:20. last for a long time and take on different meeting 00:07:20.99 --> 00:07:22. besides just being songwriter palace like maybe you 00:07:22.93 --> 00:07:25. go on tour with them later or 00:07:26.31 --> 00:07:28. maybe they guessed on your album later 00:07:29.75 --> 00:07:32. I like or maybe you learn a lot from that you become 00:07:32.66 --> 00:07:35. a student like the craft of maybe what they're doing 00:07:35.87 --> 00:07:39. and touring tips or like, you know, there's there's 00:07:39.34 --> 00:07:42. so much value to meeting other musicians that are 00:07:42.37 --> 00:07:43. doing what you're doing that you respect 00:07:45.11 --> 00:07:49. I can't say enough about that um but also the business 00:07:49.61 --> 00:07:53. side of it is from the positive positives of co writing 00:07:53.38 --> 00:07:56. is that there's nowt to publishing companies wrapping 00:07:56.09 --> 00:07:59. one song it's the one publishing company so it gets 00:07:59.17 --> 00:08:00. out there a lot farther. 00:08:01.77 --> 00:08:03. But then, you know the all right. I think I said some of the downsides already. Like, no, you go on a session and it's kind of flop now. Or you? I don't really buy with the person or. It just doesn't feel like there's much depth to the songs sometimes I say cool runnings one of the hardest things because you go into a session for five hours and expect to come out with a song that you sing for the next five years it seems like an impossibility but it happens all the time so um that's I think as much as I want to say about correcting without taking some questions or if you thanks for sharing that no I mean my perspective on it is obviously I don't have that much experience with the one really a co write that I did have that ended up on a on a record was a song called little spring that I wrote with map on p ay dios that guy's also yeah he's a great songwriter just a fantastic lyricist especially and that was what kind of drew us together we nerd out on lines and writing and s o but yeah we did a full us tour together and that's where the song was born we were just on tour together you know that was kind of when I started getting into writer's block and he saw that happening and he was really generous and was like, hey man, let me help you out I got a I got an idea like why don't we try to co write this song and he and he basically like we were just kind of hanging out and talking and I was telling him story in my life and like he took one of the stories from my life and of like my wife and I'm eating and he turned it into that song like she wrote a lot of lyrics and then you know, I finished it up and changed some of the structure and you know but that was such a cool thing is it happened really organically like I wasn't we weren't trying to write a song he just was sort of like, you know, in the back his mind internalizing the story I told him and then he wrote these lyrics and this and this idea and melody and then you know, we just we worked on it together and and but it was it was a really organic beautiful experience for me and I that's cool I'm sure you know happens like from your experience it just it's different every time yeah every time but I'm excited about it as a way to create songs and definitely don't try more of it yeah, I think one thing that glenn said to me that I thought was really cool he's like sometimes and I heard you kind of say it in a different way but he's like sometimes we just try so hard to make because because I'm writing so special to us that we make it more special than it needs to be and down, I definitely have a deep respect for the songwriting process but I also feel like you don't want to over overdo it yeah don't over analyze don't make it so special that you just it's back to the julia cameron line like that it's if you try so hard to make great art you can't make any art it all yeah you know it's just it's it's like you gotta open up the the water and let it flow a little bit open the faucet and just see what comes out not everything is gonna be gold but if you keep digging and you keep letting things flow something will be gold in almost every session I have been in theirs this point where you hit a little I caught riding the dragon because it's like the hardest part of like is just getting through and just like pushing there like nothing feels like it's clicking or you get to a point where you're stuck on these lyrics and and I like this song is a song of good and you just every like seven out of ten times I'd say not every time but seven ten times if you pushed through you end up coming up with something really great and it's the hardest part is just so well said because I think as I remember myself as a young songwriter and that was like yeah it's it's not even just with the group meets just ourselves yeah yeah whether it's right or yourself I think that's that's really what it takes is knowing that you'll get through it yeah like knowing that that that totally stuck frustrated point can turn into something amazing and transcendent and it and it will and maybe not every time land perfectly but if you keep pushing past that point where you feel like you can't get anywhere that's when you get great songs and you can build on an album and then build a career and do what you love with your life yeah totally I think the other thing that I was thinking about in these sessions when you're writing with other people when you're collaborating is finding your place a lot of times there's somebody that may be a really good lire system you kind of let them lead with the lyrics first instead of or aaron sprinkle said this to me we're writing a song it's just like the faster you find your place in the session maybe there's somebody that's really good doing the production you let them do that and you and you add value where your skill sets are and the session's always go a lot smoother when you find your place you so I'm trying to everybody strength yeah exactly it's just it's it's a good point but yeah I love that story about matt pond do you defend him he's an awesome and I listen to total what's brockett lot when I was when I first moved to seattle that's also that was one of the bands that I listen to you, yeah, it's crazy that you wrote with him, that's crazy, I starved, so sorry questions. Oh, so what's different. Kind of know the difference between ghost writing already. But it was like the significant difference between the two. Ghost writing usually your name isn't attached to the song at all not even in the credits but you still get paid sometimes when you go strike though you get like a nominal like fee and then nothing I really have to fire yeah I'll buy you out happens a lot actually especially I'm finding that usually when you go into a co writing thing it's fifty fifty but we're going always change too and you gotta be like get it in writing if you can't ahead of time or if your publishers on board with it just like sending him off today this is fifty fifty right okay cool we're on the same page sometimes it's like you're writing with some like a bigger bigger artists like a t swift or bieber or somebody like that they'll say you know what we'll 00:14:02.586 --> 00:14:04. give you twenty percent since you're writing with 00:14:04.49 --> 00:14:08. us it's like wait but I'm writing the song with you 00:14:08.22 --> 00:14:10. like so you got to be careful about like making sure 00:14:10.71 --> 00:14:14. that you get fifty fifty or whatever you think's fair 00:14:14.34 --> 00:14:16. because you know if you're writing with taylor swift 00:14:17.4 --> 00:14:19. you're going to make a lot more money twenty percent 00:14:19.61 --> 00:14:22. then not writing it all so sometimes you gotta choose 00:14:22.87 --> 00:14:25. your battles so that's a good point yeah that's a 00:14:25.76 --> 00:14:27. good point about the business side of that and that's 00:14:27.65 --> 00:14:29. something that's super confusing when you're starting 00:14:29.85 --> 00:14:33. out like it's always confused me. I did too co writes 00:14:33.17 --> 00:14:36. with my brother for the new record like when he was 00:14:36.92 --> 00:14:39. just he was involved in writing some of the music 00:14:39.2 --> 00:14:40. and and 00:14:41.67 --> 00:14:44. and we did a sixty forty split yeah he's like I did 00:14:44.43 --> 00:14:47. the all the lyrics and the melody and and then arrangement 00:14:48.03 --> 00:14:50. and he just wrote some of the core progression did 00:14:50.26 --> 00:14:53. and the music and and so you know when then we put 00:14:53.77 --> 00:14:55. some of the stuff together at the same time like in 00:14:55.99 --> 00:14:58. the studio and so yeah I just you know well you do 00:14:58.99 --> 00:15:01. have to talk about it normally I guess the standard 00:15:01.51 --> 00:15:03. deal is fifty fifty if your co writing with somebody 00:15:03.57 --> 00:15:06. but get up front just figure it out talk about it 00:15:06.16 --> 00:15:08. don't assume anything it really just depends too on 00:15:08.67 --> 00:15:10. the situation like I rode with this guy named joe 00:15:10.98 --> 00:15:13. gill my first co write ever in l a I made it through 00:15:13.47 --> 00:15:16. round stone and he's wonderful songwriters on sony 00:15:16.87 --> 00:15:18. I think right now or warn or one of those big ones 00:15:18.84 --> 00:15:22. but he was he was like oh you've got you've got a 00:15:22.83 --> 00:15:25. song you're already like I wouldn't do a ton to it 00:15:25.46 --> 00:15:27. I would just change the course we like change the 00:15:27.27 --> 00:15:31. course into a different kind of timing and had some 00:15:31.63 --> 00:15:34. like lyrical ideas and that was it was like just give 00:15:34.33 --> 00:15:37. me fifteen percent will call good cool like okay cool 00:15:37.9 --> 00:15:40. so it was just it just depends but 00:15:41.17 --> 00:15:45. I don't know part of me like things, if if I had the 00:15:45.03 --> 00:15:48. publishing company and I that is pitching the song, 00:15:48.11 --> 00:15:50. if I'm putting us out of my album, if I'm doing all 00:15:50.79 --> 00:15:52. of the business work after the song's done, don't 00:15:52.76 --> 00:15:55. I get a bigger percentage? Because I have to give 00:15:55.03 --> 00:15:58. some of that to my team? I like, you know, so part 00:15:58.1 --> 00:16:00. of me wonders, you know, if whoever's releasing the 00:16:00.58 --> 00:16:02. song on the album should get a bigger percentage, 00:16:02.93 --> 00:16:05. but this industry standard is for fifty fifty and 00:16:05.35 --> 00:16:07. that's kind of what I've catered to. Yes, and it's 00:16:07.92 --> 00:16:10. all negotiable. That's what publicist told me? Totally 00:16:10.87 --> 00:16:14. basically you just you, khun set up whatever deal 00:16:14.04 --> 00:16:16. structure you want, you just have to agree with the 00:16:16.15 --> 00:16:18. other person that it's a fair deal. Yeah, and then? 00:16:19.32 --> 00:16:21. And then as long as everybody's on board, you're good? 00:16:21.7 --> 00:16:21. Yeah, 00:16:23.32 --> 00:16:26. cool, cool riding. Yeah, other questions about co 00:16:26.89 --> 00:16:31. writing or just in general, I've got one. Um, so you've 00:16:31.56 --> 00:16:33. been working with a lot of co writers, obviously, 00:16:33.52 --> 00:16:34. were there any 00:16:35.82 --> 00:16:37. writers that you heard you were going to be working 00:16:37.96 --> 00:16:40. with where it was like, oh my god, I can't believe 00:16:40.26 --> 00:16:43. I'm going to be working with this person, yeah, totally. 00:16:46.82 --> 00:16:49. I've always wanted work with map on p a but that hasn't 00:16:49.07 --> 00:16:52. happened yet so I'm aaron sprinkle is a guy from seattle 00:16:52.82 --> 00:16:55. here that I got to write with and I was I think my 00:16:55.54 --> 00:16:57. band was actually more stoked that I was I was really 00:16:57.65 --> 00:17:01. excited but they have like worst big tooth nail record 00:17:01.33 --> 00:17:04. fans and he did he did a lot of pretty pretty if not 00:17:04.03 --> 00:17:07. all the production was so so many cases that he's 00:17:07.92 --> 00:17:10. incredible he's absolutely terrible you know he mixed 00:17:10.53 --> 00:17:13. makers he makes no way yeah the song that there's 00:17:13.56 --> 00:17:15. so many connections with tonight this is crazy it's 00:17:15.58 --> 00:17:18. a small world aaron speak well of another person that 00:17:18.59 --> 00:17:20. kind of came out of the blue that I didn't realize 00:17:20.58 --> 00:17:22. it was so awesome in tiro with there was scrolling 00:17:22.49 --> 00:17:26. jill andrews she's a national cat and she I used to 00:17:26.45 --> 00:17:29. have this band called everybody fields but she's just 00:17:29.1 --> 00:17:31. got the voice of an angel she's amazing and we were 00:17:32.0 --> 00:17:35. a really really cool song together because she had 00:17:35.05 --> 00:17:38. an idea we just went with it so um other than that 00:17:38.68 --> 00:17:40. I don't know if there were too many clinton phillips 00:17:40.88 --> 00:17:42. oh yeah going phillips course yeah the one already 00:17:42.54 --> 00:17:45. saying he was incredible I was pretty blown away when 00:17:45.72 --> 00:17:48. I heard you say oh yeah just like he's just sort of 00:17:48.61 --> 00:17:51. like a mythical figure you know what it felt like 00:17:51.78 --> 00:17:54. that when I met him I was like, whoa yeah, your hands. 00:17:54.63 --> 00:17:59. So light, you're really you woman, yeah, yeah, it's 00:17:59.75 --> 00:18:02. just it's. Incredible that in this profession, in 00:18:02.02 --> 00:18:04. this job, you can end up meeting people that are just 00:18:04.88 --> 00:18:07. totally they don't seem him, and they seem like, you know, yes, just something totally unattainable and even part of the same world that we're in. But he's it's, just such a real do that, when you mean you got to meet him, you guys would totally get along. Yeah, yeah, I'd love to. Eventually, I would love to write something with brandon flowers home, man, suddenly on the bucket lists, I'll be sweet. Yeah, he's, a great writer, cool songs, let's, play some songs so way. Should I go first, you should go first, okay? And these are last songs, right? Yep. Kisses and drop. D it's kind of metal it's kind of metal. Well, let me just get this set up to your height and weight. All right, good it's going to get hard core in here, this's the punk, one that you're out right when you were making transition. Little spring. This spring, you know, went off for them. Next, we will begin fiona's again, little spring. Thank you, kee and I jumped the fence. I had to steal it. Holy how shocked. Clean floor left. No spilled out. Gave me a girl gave you for. Yeah, we were faster than camaro. So I sat down way engines are familiar. Raceman chris of my breath at stielike. I like the scenery goes rushing back. Wait, I can't wait to weigh. Useful banner caught the door once twice and thought to take you some days. It's, hard to be, uh up, is the only way of giving. Every time I'm that mind, you come to me with cool water. Little spring know when our world in the next one will begin. Girls are swinging in a little. I have seen my and I read. I told my breath that speed, like I like the scenery. Go rushing. That behind me, on a their food, then wait, wait! Bring it home and matt pond. I was awesome. Yes. Is this one of your coat, right? You don't want to do with john phillips going exciting. Court actually in tune. All right. Been in the studio for like the last two and a half weeks, and the last week and a half has just been singing, singing, singing, singing two songs a day, just like a lot of singing and it's been awesome. But it's, keeping me a little bit more raw than usual voice, sounds great. Thanks. Maybe it's. Because of what happened, I was singing. The head is bound. You gazes on floor. Don't wait, give, leave this wanting more. You! You, you! Which way to go? Father. Grisly thousand. Empty after use for how the faded flowers of dreams, we spoke too soon. You, you, you way to go. But there's, no harbor here, there's. Only danger in here. Chris above, rocks down. Then why won't you close these lighthouse? So holy glows to want new ones away from the show. 00:24:15.84 --> 00:24:20. Sound in the far corner only echoes through the day. 00:24:22.28 --> 00:24:26. Then the beacon of the child lights way. 00:24:28.48 --> 00:24:32. It's. You, you know. 00:24:34.18 --> 00:24:35. Trade go! 00:24:40.25 --> 00:24:44. Well, I won't have a wreck on my watch. 00:24:46.28 --> 00:24:50. And I can't tell you what. You do know that much, 00:24:53.07 --> 00:24:54. you 00:24:55.68 --> 00:24:56. know. 00:24:58.18 --> 00:24:59. Which way to go? 00:25:04.38 --> 00:25:09. But there's no number here, there's. Only danger. 00:25:10.88 --> 00:25:14. Chris there, simba and rocks down. 00:25:16.5 --> 00:25:22. Don't waste your time. This'll. Outhouse only shines 00:25:22.58 --> 00:25:27. two on the ones I love. Way from sure. 00:25:31.98 --> 00:25:35. I'm still dreaming of your eyes, your mouth, your 00:25:35.82 --> 00:25:36. touch. 00:25:38.18 --> 00:25:42. But I don't have a director on a watch. 00:25:44.88 --> 00:25:48. You, you know. 00:25:50.56 --> 00:25:51. Way to go. 00:25:58.58 --> 00:25:58. Yeah. 00:26:01.08 --> 00:26:01. Pills. 00:26:04.08 --> 00:26:07. Two it's a great song, yeah, he's, that's, that's 00:26:07.38 --> 00:26:09. gonna be on your new album. Yeah, yeah, it's, funny 00:26:09.91 --> 00:26:12. cause so I reached out to glenn. I know he reached 00:26:12.62 --> 00:26:14. out to me out of the blue is like, hey, man, I really 00:26:14.92 --> 00:26:17. love that song we wrote, I'm just gonna, I'm just 00:26:17.54 --> 00:26:21. gonna put it on my album, and I was like, what? Yeah, 00:26:21.67 --> 00:26:23. I played it for much people, and they're, like, is 00:26:23.94 --> 00:26:26. their favorite song, so they're going to put on their 00:26:26.16 --> 00:26:29. album. I was like, you know, I got my first cut, it 00:26:29.26 --> 00:26:29. was cool.

Class Description

Learn the seven elements of successful songwriting in Robert Lang Studios Songwriting Class with Rocky Votolato and Kris Orlowski. 

Robert Lang Studios, one of the Northwest’s most iconic recording studios, is world-renowned for recording bands like the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Dave Matthews and Deathcab for Cutie

The studio’s unique stone and marble live room (built into the side of a mountain) along with the very best of analog and digital gear has attracted producers, engineers, and artists from all the world. 

Rocky and Kris will teach real-world techniques that are guaranteed to make you a better songwriter. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • Lyrics and phrasing
  • Inspiration, process and technique
  • Collaboration, and song format and structure.

Robert Lang Studios Songwriting Class with Rocky Votolato and Kris Orlowski, shot in Studio A’s live room, puts you into the writer’s room with two of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected songwriters and teaches you songwriting techniques you’ll use again and again.


Ashton Thebault

I'm mixed with this class... there are some good insights and useful tidbits of information to be had but nothing to really blow open your world. Really, that's the point - you need to do the work so inspiration finds you and there is no silver bullet to successful songwriting. Both hosts are great songwriters and that helps them punctuate the points they make. It's not an amazing class but it is useful and simple which is enough to be inspiring for some.

David Nelson

Alright, here's the thing. This course is the perfect course for young songwriters who are wondering where to start and how to write songs when they've done very little or haven't been writing for a long time. It gives a great overview of how to find inspiration, how to write with others, and how to overcome the urge to write cliche, typical lyrics. It provides the basic building blocks for beginning songwriters to find direction. If you're an intermediate songwriter, or have been in the business for awhile, you won't learn much from this course. There isn't a lot on specifics, on structure, on stuff like that. However, it provides a wonderful starting point for those of us seeking direction in how to start writing songs and communicating the ideas we have most effectively.

Oxford User

This was a fun course, that was easy to understand as a complete beginner, and as someone who isn't musically gifted but is more interested in the lyrical side of things, I did feel like I definitely learned what I wanted to from the lessons. Also the duo have a great dynamic, highly reccommend!