How Self-Discovery Feels At Popakademie Songwriting Week

Jul 19, 2019

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to collaborate with artists, producers and experts at an international level and pitch your music? For Music Performance students Nicolas Duquemin and Madelyn Petch, along with Music Production students Annabel Kilpatrick and Arvan Mohtaji, their recent exchange was a whirlwind of new experiences that had them thinking global.

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"It was an incredibly rewarding experience that took me out of my comfort zone and made me challenge my own mental blocks when it comes to my own songwriting.”

 

Flying overseas to Popakademie Baden-Württemberg (University Of Popular Music And Music Business) in Germany, students attended the Popakademie International Songwriting Week in Mannheim; a networking and collaboration event that occurs only three times a year. The project, run by the Popakademie in partnership with EMI Music Publishing, saw Collarts students—accompanied by Head of Music Production, Tommy Rando—write songs in small teams and be mentored by esteemed international songwriters.

“When we arrived, they went through a presentation and what the week was entailing,” explains Nicolas. “We got a sheet of different briefs from a variety of artists, and listened to their reference tracks and what they had previously done. We then got to choose what brief we wanted to tackle, so I chose J-Pop—they wanted rhythmic lyrics and production, dramatic harmonies and themes. It was an incredibly rewarding experience that took me out of my comfort zone and made me challenge my own mental blocks when it comes to my own songwriting.”

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“I got a lot out of the experience. I learned whole new aspects of the music industry, especially in terms of business and production.”

 

As the songs are recorded and produced, vocalists and instrumentalists enrolled in the Popakademie degree programs contributed also to their works, collaborating in professional studios to create a finished piece. The songs written were then pitched to A&R representatives from different record labels, with opportunities to be used in commercials, films and other media where they saw fit. 

“It was intensive but rewarding, we had to do a lot of research and planning. Our supervisors would then give us feedback, encouraging us to keep re-working it until we had to submit,” Arvan says. “I got a lot out of the experience. I learned whole new aspects of the music industry, especially in terms of business and production.”

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After submitting their final tracks, there’s since been discussions to release the song that Nicolas, Madelyn and Tommy wrote at Popakademie. “The artist’s name is BB Thomaz and she is signed to Sony Deutchland,” Tommy shares. “I’m so excited for Collarts students to have this chance, and to be guided through the process. It really makes me proud to see their growth in such a short time and what they achieve as upcoming songwriters, artists and producers.”

Images supplied by Arvan Mohtaji and Tommy Rando.

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