Les traductions pour les articles avant l’automne 2013 ne sont pas disponibles pour le moment.

Song camps and writer retreats, which bring together top songwriters and artists for periods of intense writing and collaboration in relatively isolated yet inspirational locations, have proven to be extremely effective in generating songs for specific recording, TV and film projects.

ole, which is arguably the number-one operator of songwriting camps worldwide, has presented camps, with various partners and sponsors, in Berlin and London, England, and this fall will be heading back to Europe and running the fourth annual L.A. Pop + Urban song camp. “Song camps channel the spirit of the legendary Motown and Brill Building environments, focusing an elite group of songwriters to create hit songs for top pop and urban artists,” explains ole president Michael McCarty. “About 15 world-class songwriters from North America and Europe are brought together for a five-day, intensive writing retreat. These camps are fun, creative, competitive and productive. They are attended by key industry decision-makers such as music supervisors and major label A&R execs, who brief the writers on what kind of songs their stars or the latest movies and TV shows are looking for.”

Nettwerk One (NW1), the publishing arm of Nettwerk Music Group, and Island Records Australia recently got together for a 10-day Writer Retreat with a mix of international participants that included established and up-and-coming artists, writers and producers. Both Michael Taylor of Island Australia and Peter Coquillard of NW1 had purposefully sought out a creative and inspiring location to hold the retreat and came up with Ubud, the centre for fine arts, dance and music on the island of Bali. “Creating a unique and special environment for artists and writers to work together undoubtedly brings about special songs,” says Taylor.


Some of the earliest songwriter retreats took place in the early ’90s at the 14th-century Château Marouatte, which music executive/artist manager Miles Copeland (The Police) had bought in southwest France. Here, at his invitation, promising unknowns and established industry names regularly bonded in the spirit of creative collaboration. Reportedly, Canadian songwriter Greg Wells MEMBER(we can’t find him as a SOCAN member)? co-wrote the Céline Dion hit “The Reason” with Carole King while they stayed there and Keith Urban rose from obscurity after writing “But for the Grace of God” with Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos at the château. Copeland would later find that the location was perhaps part of the magic. As he told The Sunday Times, after doing some research on the area, he found that four of the top 10 songwriters of the Middle Ages came from near there. “This castle was almost central to the land of the troubadours,” he noted.

Les traductions pour les articles avant l’automne 2013 ne sont pas disponibles pour le moment.

When composer James Jandrisch sits down with a film or TV director to discuss a new project, the main item on the agenda is not the plot or the actors or what kinds of instruments he will use. “We’ll speak in emotion,” says Jandrisch, whose work on TV series such as Human Cargo, The Guard and Cold Squad has earned him two Gemini awards. “We’ll say, ‘I want happiness through here, I want sadness through here, I want empathy through here.’” Then Jandrisch must go away and locate these emotions in himself. “I find working on a drama, I can get pretty messed up,” he says. “I remember there was a scene that I did in one show where a child dies, and you know, you go there as an artist, to try to get wherever you’re going. You imagine your own child passing away.”

Jandrisch has been writing music, in one form or another, since he was a boy growing up in Winnipeg, where he spent long hours indoors (to escape the cold in winter and the mosquitoes in summer), playing around on keyboards brought home by his father, also a composer, who wrote music for Sesame Street. (“If you’re six, and your dad’s doing Sesame Street, how cool is that, right? You’d probably want to do the same thing too, if you were a kid,” he says.) Later on, in the early ’90s, after studying music at Humber College in Toronto, he moved to Vancouver, where he began his career, writing ditties for commercials, many of them in Mandarin, a language he couldn’t understand. He got his big break a few years later when he was asked to write the music for a British comedy called On the Nose, which starred Dan Aykroyd. Since then he has written music for 12 feature films and 16 television shows.

Right now he is working on Global’s new series Shattered, which will premiere this fall and which is about a detective who suffers from multiple personality disorder. Jandrisch had to develop different themes for the troubled cop’s various personalities: Ben, for example, who is serious and responsible, gets a base clarinet and a “traditional score,” while Harry, who is “kind of a yahoo,” is “very much an alt rock kind of guy…and so I’ll give him kind of twangy, out-of-tune guitars…. I have a large toolbox to try to get certain emotions,” he says.

Shattered’s season finale, during which the main character begins to understand certain root elements of his mental illness, is so charged that after watching it Jandrisch says he was affected for hours. “I’m dreading the fact that I’m going to have to write [the music for] this soon, because I know it’s going to f### me up,” he said. “I’m an emotional guy, for sure, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m hired. You have to go there.”



  • For a brief period after he graduated from high school, Jandrisch played professional football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • After Jandrisch wrote the theme song for a show about vampires called Blood Ties, a fan sent him a photo of her shoulder, upon which she had tattooed the piece’s lyrics.
  • His first rule for composing is, “Get wired on caffeine as much as you can.”

Les traductions pour les articles avant l’automne 2013 ne sont pas disponibles pour le moment.

Matthew Samuels, a.k.a. Boi-1da, was a teenager working at clothing retailer Winners in Toronto when he received a lump sum of $500 for remixing Divine Brown’s “Twist My Hair.” That’s when he knew he could make a living making beats and producing. “If I wanted 500 bucks at Winners, I’d have to work full-time for two weeks or more,” he says.

The 23-year-old has since produced tracks for Drake, Kardinal Offishall, Eminem, Saukrates, Dr. Dre, Clipse, k-os, G-Unit and more. His most recent smashes include Drake’s “Forever,” which led to Eminem’s “Not Afraid.” “I’d give a lot of credit to Drake because we’ve been working together since Day One,” says Samuels of how he got his big break. “We were both 17 years old. We had no idea what to do — we went through it together. My friend had given me his contact and we always talked on messenger, but we officially met in this studio in Scarborough and did our first song, ‘Do What You Do,’ together.”

Veteran rapper Saukrates also recognized Boi-1da’s skills and acted as a mentor early on, opening doors and presenting opportunities. “I actually met Kardi throughSoxx,” says Samuels, who went on to produce Kardi’s song “Set It Off,” which featured Dre.

Born in Jamaica and moving to Canada with his family when he was five, Samuels began making beats “for fun” when his mother bought him a Casio keyboard at age eight. By 15, he was using the FL Studio beat-making program and ended up winning three consecutive Battle of the Beatmakers, Canada’s official producer competition. “I would study other people’s beats,” he says. “I listened to a lot of Timbaland-produced tracks, a lot of Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze and Dr Dre. What I used to do a lot is remake people’s beats to a T. By doing that, I saw what they did. I taught myself. They were secretly my mentors without even knowing it.”

Samuels still works in “a basement corner” with a laptop, hard drive and MIDI keyboard, but is now creating, not recreating, beats for some of the world’s top artists. He is currently working on new tracks for Drake, Keri Hilson, B-Major and Eminem. Why are they going to Boi-1da, does he think? “Because the beats I make knock hard,” he says. “People like that hard-hitting sound and they just want to feel their music. I don’t make music because this is the style of music being made now. I try to make my music with emotion in it. I think that’s what people feel about my music — and my sound is different,” he adds. “I try to experiment with different sounds. So people appreciate that.”

And if two or more artists like what he delivers, “first come first served,” Samuels says. “That’s how it works.”