There Really Needs to be an “I” in Team

I must confess.  After re-reading my last post and its subsequent comments, I realize that I may have inadvertently led people to conclude the following:

  • I have morals
  • I’m a virgin
  • I’ve never had a one-night-stand

None of the above statements are true.  Kidding — I totally have morals!  Which is why I can’t deny the fact that I did indeed experience my own condensed version of the “slutty college years” before landing on my current set of conservative beliefs.  Granted, they were months and not years, as I spent most of undergrad in two separate long-term relationships… both of which involved frequent lovemaking.  I love getting naked; I just associate it with silly things like intimacy and feelings.

Anyone who is celibate for any reason — I totally respect you.  Anyone who gets around like a bicycle — I totally respect you as well (just don’t give me herpes).  I’m in no position to judge.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that if you read my blog and you happen to be a 29-year-old, 6’1″ dark-haired ER doctor with lean muscle mass and a flawless bone structure — don’t think I won’t sleep with you.  Because I will.  I’ll just insist that we get married, buy a raised ranch, and adopt a Guatemalan baby afterwards… No big deal.

But enough about gay sex!

On the career front, I have a co-write session booked this Friday morning on Music Row with an awesome up-and-coming folksy-country artist originally from Indiana.

I’m hesitantly coming to terms with the necessity of co-writing.  Pretty much everything on the radio these days is co-written.  It’s why whenever Beyoncé has a new single out you can expect to hear 5-10 different writer/producers referring to it as solely theirs while the other 4-9 end up posting angry, misspelled tweets.  And so on.

Here’s the thing: I secretly hate working with others.

This is not to say that I’m some kind of disgruntled misanthrope… though that’s sometimes true.  I’m just obsessed with the perfection of any final product that has “by Nick” attached to it.  This applies to group work in school, where one of two things invariably ends up happening:

  1. I basically complete the entire project myself and pretend that allowing the other student(s) to take equal credit is no biggie.
  2. I give up control completely, detach myself from the final results, and allow others to do all the heavy lifting while I daydream about Josh Duhamel in his undies.

Needless to say, I’m obsessed with my GPA (not that it matters in grad school).  So unless my partners are more brilliant than me — I’m such a douche — I generally stick with option number one.

This approach is not viable when it comes to songwriting.  Reasons being:

  • The point of co-writing is to incorporate different backgrounds/styles, thereby creating something better than one could come up with alone.
  • If one person sat around not contributing it would totally kill the vibe in a “why are you even here?” kind of way.
  • If the song actually goes somewhere commercially, there’s money at stake.  When splitting royalties, it helps (for general being-able-to-sleep-at-night purposes) to know that all parties indeed contributed equally.

In 2009, famous choreographer Twyla Tharp wrote a book called The Collaborative Habit, in which she discusses how imperative it is to work well with others.  After unabashedly judging the crap out of her for writing the book alone (and then realizing that I was wrong and she had a contributor), I gave it a skim.  I quote:

Collaboration is how most of our ancestors used to work and live, before machines came along and fragmented society.

Am I supposed to feel like a bad human now?  Seriously, Twyla, get a Facebook!

                                                     Slightly Recommended

But for real, I understand that Rome wasn’t built by a single person.  (Yes, I modified that saying to suit my blogging needs.)  Granted, writing a song is different than building an empire.

Nevertheless, I do recognize that writing alone involves limitations.  I play piano, my co-writer plays guitar; this is an opportunity to get outside of my box.  I also recognize my need to get over myself and accept the idea that accomplishing something with someone else doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment.  Thus, I’m looking forward to Friday morning.  It will be just my fifth co-write ever, and five is a great number for change.  A key change! Oh snap.

I will be going into that writing room armed with the following:

  • An open mind and willingness to collaborate
  • A few unfinished ideas that I have no strong emotional attachments to
  • A liter of Evian

The recipe for success, am I right?

Oh and one last thing — if you happen to be that above-mentioned ER doctor and you’re still reading, please don’t think that my issues with working together carry over into the bedroom.  I promise they don’t.  Call me!  (Though I might lead you on, back out at the last minute, and then melodramatically blog about it later.)

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