New To The Room with Tarah Salazar
A Blog Series By: Allison Barrett
Welcome back to Allison Asks! Last time we explored the “Basics of Cowriting” with seasoned cowriter, Ralston Wells. But what do you do when you’re new to cowriting? One of the first member meetings I sat in on was with Tarah Salazar and I remembered us talking about this being one of her goals, so I asked her to stop by to tell me how it’s been going!
[TARAH] So, I didn’t know the value in cowriting when I first started. NSAI has really shown me that having different perspectives in a room or having different ideas floating around is really awesome and just puts a whole other aspect to writing songs in general because I was so used to writing them by myself. I think probably the biggest challenge is finding people that you feel comfortable writing with because songwriting is so vulnerable. Or it can be, that’s what makes good music I think. So, finding those people who help harbor your ideas, but also help grow them and make a song even better than you could have done on your own.
[Allison] I love that! It’s so exciting to see our writers grow and try new things. So, I’m wondering, what are some characteristics to look for when making these connections?
[TARAH] I think right now especially just being new I say yes to everyone. I’m always super excited to write with new people just to have that new relationship. But I think what I’ve found that works well with me- I like kind of talking through things, so someone who talks through their ideas and is not afraid to say things out loud and just kind of bounce off of each other even if it may sound silly or they might not have a full story of what they’re wanting to say out loud, but aren’t afraid to just say the pieces and we can figure them out together. So having someone who’s comfortable, vulnerable, and just all around inviting. I think inviting is a big characteristic that I look for.
Also being relatively new to cowriting, I was sure Tarah would have some excellent advice for new cowriters, and she did!
[TARAH] Just do it. Yah, Nike, just do it. I think I was terrified to do it because I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer. I felt like I would just bring the room down. I didn’t really know because this is all so brand new to me and different than what I do for a day job, I just didn’t have the confidence to do it. The more that I do it, the more that I see the benefit of it. Even if a song isn’t finished ever or even if it’s not the best song that we’ve wrote, it’s just that practice and that working with other people that’s so important and is so much fun when you allow it to be fun and not feel so pressured.
[ALLISON] This is so great! What other advice do you have?
[TARAH] I just think when people start out - we all have our different strengths - like when I first started, I thought lyrics were my only strength, but kind of in doing it and in working with other people it’s definitely highlighted some other things I didn’t even know that I was good at or that I could bring to a cowrite. I think it’s just so important to find the people that bring out the best in your writing and see you for the writer that you are. If anyone ever puts you down or says your ideas are stupid, never write with that person again. And find the people who will bring out the best in your writing because I have and I feel like all my songs, even the ones I start writing on my own now are better for it because I’ve been able to see ‘ok I am good at this!’ I have the confidence- and building.
Well, there you have it folks- sound tips on how to navigate some of your first cowrites! Are you looking to make some new connections? Head on over to the NSAI Member Directory or check out your local chapter! What’s next for Allison Asks? Check back as I navigate Zoom cowriting with James Maltese, Ryan Jacobs, and Tim Comeaux!