What does it take to write a good song? The cadence of the creative process can ebb and flow for many songwriters. As a non-songwriting lover of music and someone who occasionally picks up a guitar to play along with other musicians' songs, I certainly can't imagine myself composing anything half-good in any period of time.
Enter Bristol-based indie songwriter, producer and singer Katey Brooks, an uber-talented musician I first discovered back in late 2018, when her then-current single, "In Your Arms," completely blew me away and turned me into an instant fan.
In early January of this year, Katey announced on her social media pages: "I've decided to do a song a day challenge for 2023. Yep, that’s gonna be 365 songs this year if I complete it!!! Who's with me?"
True to her word, Katey soon posted Song #1 ("Come Home") to her social media pages - a touching, piano-based break-up song that gives hope to grounding and re-discovering oneself in "those wide open internal spaces," as Katey puts it.
For anyone unfamiliar with Katey's music, she is a rebellious artist that resists formula. Her songwriting style is in the vein of iconic musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley, with a sound that blends folk, soul, blues and Americana. Her lyrics draw inspiration from elements of her past, including a troubled childhood in a religious cult, a debilitating illness in her twenties, and the shattering loss of her mother and her best friend. Her heartfelt, expressive vocals emanate emotional honesty, drawing the listener into the melodic and magical sonic landscape of her songs. Her most recent album, Revolute, was released in 2019 to huge critical acclaim across the world including a 'Best Album of the Year' credit from music magazine Popdust.
So, how does one go about writing one new song every day? Surely, that process must rely upon finding inspiration from within or from the world outside and other people's experiences. Along with her social media post introducing Song #1, Katey reached out to her listeners and gave them an opportunity to be part of her song-a-day challenge. "With each post I’ll be asking you to write your ideas and requests for stories/subjects/themes/emotions in the comments below, to give me inspiration for the next one!" Katey writes. "With each idea I pick I will credit you on your idea when I post them ... All ideas and suggestions are welcome here. Clips will be posted here daily, and the full song will then be posted on my Patreon page... So the floor is yours, take to those comments!"
As I write this post, Katey has broken the "100" mark (!) and is up to Song #103. How in the world does she do it? How does one find so much creativity on a daily basis? It's incredible. Having listened to every one of the songs that Katey has written and posted to her fans over the past few months, I'm going to go on record stating that every song is a mini-masterpiece. If you don't take my word for it, give a listen yourself!
While there are so many songs to enjoy, I've inlcuded the teasers for three of my favorites in this post.
SONG #71 - "Praise"
SONG #66 - "Where My Heart Belongs"
SONG #63 - "Joanna"
While you can watch the abbreviated teaser clips on Katey's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, the place you really want to be in order to take in the full song-a-day challenge experience (with full-length versions of each song) is Patreon ... and Katey's "Katreon" page.
For anyone unfamiliar with Patreon, it is a subscription-based platform that allows musicians to offer exclusive content to subscribers and generate a consistent monthly income. It's a place where like-minded, kind-hearted music lovers can join, support musicians and make connections. Katey comments on her 'Katreon' experience: "We meet on Zoom regularly, we chat, laugh, drink tea, I play new songs, old songs, half finished songs, and tell stories from the road. There are lots of other bonuses and perks to being a Katreon too."
So, if you're intrigued by what you've heard so far, come along for the Katreon ride to take in the remaining 200+ new songs Katey anticipates writing over the next several months.