As someone who spends 99.9% of her day writing, I often get lost and sometimes stop and write some more. Only those moments of distraction are to jot down a song I’m humming in my head. Sadly I can’t sing – this means I swear I could be a songwriter, but I’ll likely just leave it to the professionals – like the people at Downwrite, which was founded by two musical men, Hey Mercedes/Braid’s Bob Nanna and Mark Rose of Spitalfield.
If you haven’t heard of this company, here you go. So we all have those moments where we’re like man…it’s like that song was written by me! Well with Downwrite, it kind of can be…sort of. You need a song for special occasion or just want one about yourself? You can hire one of the talented songwriters (that include Matt Pryor, William Beckett and Lindsay Minton) who’ve hooked up with Downwrite for just that. This isn’t just a great idea for music lovers but for those who have a knack for songwriting and want to make something out of it.
At this point I’ll stop and just let you get to know more about Downwrite with one of its co-founders Bob Nanna.
Kendra: How are things going so far with Downwrite?
Bob Nanna: Super well. Between all of the artists on the site, we’ve completed over 225 songs for requesters. And we’ve been able to pay out over $20,000 to the artists as well.
Kendra: What was the game plan to approach the writers on your current roster?
Bob: The game plan was: This idea is new and may take some tweaking, adjusting, and growing, so if you’d like to get onboard to help get this thing fine tuned and moving, we want you to be a part of it. We initially only invited friends of ours but soon we’ll open it up to everyone.
Kendra: When do you plan on taking on other songwriters?
Bob: We’re launching new artists weekly. As for taking on a much larger crop of writers, there are needs to be addressed before that happens. For instance, if we could add a few hours to every day, that’d be helpful.
Kendra: Do customers get to pick who writes their song?
Bob: Yes, absolutely. The requesting happens directly from the songwriter’s profile page.
Kendra: What’s a song go for, is that up to the writer or you guys?
Bob: Completely up to the writer. We do require each to have at least a $100 option so there is a level baseline.
Kendra: Let’s learn a little about the men behind things for a second. Who were some of your personal influences when it came to songwriting?
Bob: As for me, I was completely enthralled by the more storytelling songwriters like Blake from Jawbreaker but also into crazy wordplay – that I have to credit Tim Kinsella for. We sorta came up at the same time but his songwriting, lyrically in particular, was very influential.
Kendra: What kind of growth can you see between the first song you wrote and the most recent one you penned?
Bob: It still fluctuates, as has my entire history of songwriting – some are easy, some are difficult – but what it has done is it has forced me to set aside time for it; forced me to practice writing (and recording too!). Without Downwrite, I might not have had the urge to sit down and write music so often.
Kendra: Back to Downwrite, since the artists own the rights to the songs, can they ultimately make an album with some of the ones they write?
Bob: Yes. As long as the songs are re-recorded.
Kendra: What are some benefits other than making some extra cash that come with being a songwriter on Downwrite?
Bob: Well, we’re still new, so I guess it remains to be seen! We’d love for it eventually to be a natural place for songwriters to go to promote their work.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape made up of some of the most well written songs, which five would have to be on there?
Bob: I can tell you my 5 favorite songs from 2013 that I would put on a mixtape right quick…
All of the above can also Get Downwrite.