In February 2017, the week prior to Folk Alliance International, 20 songwriting artists, photographers and video makers from six different countries (Sweden, USA, Canada, Denmark and Irland) lived and worked together at Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The songwriters represented different cultures, languages, and genres, and were paired accordingly to instigate collaboration and innovation, challenged with the task of co-writing new songs that were featured the following week at Folk Alliance International.
In February 2016, the week prior to Folk Alliance International, 14 songwriting artists from five different countries (Sweden, USA, Canada, Denmark and Wales) lived and worked together at The House of Songs own house in Austin, Texas. The songwriters represented different cultures, languages, and genres, and were paired accordingly to instigate collaboration and innovation, challenged with the task of co-writing new songs that were featured the following week at Folk Alliance International.
Participating songwriters had daily sessions, starting from scratch and navigated the highly personal process with a newly met collaborator, presented the songs nightly for their peers, and moved on to a new collaborator when done. While the focus was immediate artistic collaboration with the goal of producing new work, the project also established long-term creative and professional relationships between songwriters from different countries, expanding their networks.
After the camp all artists attended Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, MI, where the outcome of the writing camp was performed in various showcases and on the main stage during Folk Alliance's final concert. To inspire others the group also presented the concept during a panel.
A total of 28 new songs were written and Swedes were involved in the writing of 15 of those songs.
”I was blown away by the kindness and forthright nature with which we all came to these songs. Not one person I worked with seemed to have an ego attached to it, just quiet pride and a desire to co-create. What a wonderful artistic space.”
Raina Rose, USA
”The quickest way to my heart is through the instant family and bonds created during the songwriting at House of Songs.”
Cris Derksen, Canada
"I had an incredible time at The House of Songs in Austin. It was a week that left me inspired and hungry to write more. I hadn't had much co-writing experience, but over the course of the week I wrote songs with five different songwriters and I left Austin with great new songs, and friendships for life.”
Sarah MacDougall, Sweden / Canada
”It was a truly beautiful experience and something that I will draw inspiration from for years to come.”
Gareth Bonello, Wales
Gareth has also written a blog about his experience
”The international songwriting exchange was a life changing experience for me. Getting to write and learn from musicians from around the world expanded by songwriting immensely. These artists were truly kindred spirits, and getting to spend a week in The House of Songs together talking about music, and life is a time I will never forget. Thank you Troy and House of Songs!'
Lydia Hol, Canada
“I wasn't quite sure what to expect... I'm just so grateful for having been a part of it all and for getting to know all those new friends and talents. It has truly been one of those experiences you remember forever. I also learned a lot...about myself, songwriting, going back to basics. Can we do it again..?! ;)”
”It is such a special thing to be put together with a bunch of musicians that you don't know, and then write songs together. I had never imagined that we would end up being family.”
Ida Wenøe, Denmark
”The songwriter summit was one of the most fulfilling experiences I've had in my professional career. Getting to meet, create, play, and bond with this group of fellow writers from around the globe not only yielded some great new music but it opened up a world of opportunities and new friendships with peers whom we would have never come to know otherwise.”
Graham Weber, USA
"I feel like my heart has opened up to a universal language, and love, that I may now speak for the rest of my life."
Shawnee Kilgore, USA
"The House of Songs is one of the most inspiring experiences i've ever had! I wish i could live there!!!"
Paul Pigat, Canada
"Staying at the House of Songs is probably the most inspiring thing I've ever done. Writing songs with someone you never met before forces you to put your ego aside and without that fat bastard standing in your way you become a better songwriter."
Dennis Kalla, Sweden
"Terrifying and eye-opening. It was an honor to be able to work and be around these supremely talented writers, creators, thinkers, fine people, and musicians. I think we learned a lot, and hopefully managed to snake a few tricks for the tool-sheds back home and create some bridges for exchange in the future.” Daniel Thomas Phipps, USA
Dennis Kalla, Luleå / Tornedalen
Sarah MacDougall, White Horse, Yukon, (grew up in, Malmö, Sweden)
Tom Levin, Stockholm
Cris Derksen, Northern Alberta
Lydia Hol, Vancouver, British Columbia
Paul Pigat; Vancouver, British Columbia
Matt the Electrician, Pacific Grove, California
Raina Rose, Portland, Oregon
Graham Weber, Cincinatti, Ohio
Shawnee Kilgore, Bellingham, Washington
Daniel Thomas Phipps, New Braunfels, Texas
U.K / Wales
Gareth Bonello (The Gentle Good), Cardiff
Ida Wenøe, Berlin
The House of Songs U.S., The House of Songs Canada (with partners), Wales Arts International, Folk Alliance International, Export Music Sweden, STIM's Promotionnämnd, Live at Heart, MTA Production, BD Pop, Epiphone, Bose, State of Texas Music Office of the Governor and City of Austin.
Learn more about The House of Songs.