If you’ve ever wondered what it was like having two brilliant minds collaborate on what it takes to make the incredible songs we all know and love, you’re in for a treat.
Chris Stapleton, and Dan Wilson (lead singer for the band Semisonic, most known for their legendary hit “Closing Time”) teamed up for a sit down with ASCAP to discuss what it takes to write hit songs.
In the interview, Stapleton discusses his journey in becoming one of the greatest songwriters to ever walk the planet.
In the beginning, the country singer talked about how when he first got to Nashville, he knew so little about songwriting, that he thought everybody wrote their own music.
However, when he began to get adapt to the Music City lifestyle, he realized that wasn’t the case, while also realizing that great some of his best songs came from simply being in a room with another co-writer, and feeding off of each other’s knowledge.
“I think good songwriters are good listeners. They listen to the co-writer in the room… for the most part, it was two guys in a room with a guitar, or two guitars and a piano.
The surprising thing was how simple that was. We didn’t go into a full band or a studio… It was very much about the song.”
Dan Wilson also discussed songwriting ethics, and recalled one of his for songwriting experiences with Carol King and how they discussed splits between the money.
“One of the best things she said to me was, I said ‘How do we determine the splits of the song?’ because I really didn’t know much about that, and she said ‘I always split things evenly, according to how many people were present when the song was written,’ and even just to hear her say that to me was like ‘Oh wow,’ that’s like, it wasn’t what I was expecting.”
Stapleton then added to Wilson by talking about how he tries to make sure money is never the first thing that comes to mind when writing music:
“Personally for me, I’ve never discussed a split before I started writing a song, that’s just me, the Nashville way of doing things, it’s like if we work on a song, we split in equal parts, and I’m okay with that all the time… I don’t ever talk about it, when we’re working on songs we’ll always get it sorted out.
Most of the time, I don’t care… I don’t write the song because I want the money, I write the song because I want it to be good. I like money, everybody likes to make money, but if I approach it with an attitude like this, I’m not interested in the song.”