By: Ryan Camuto
In a day and age where everything is so commercialized and uniform, personalization goes a very long way. Maybe a coffee cup with your favorite saying, or a special t-short with your name on it to give is that special touch that forever makes it yours, but what about music? How can you have your own song, unless you write it yourself?
In today’s market, musicians are everywhere, always challenging themselves, working to give back to people and connect at a personal level with music and that is just what is happening. You can now have your own, personalized song written by aa professional musician, you can even pick them. With Downwrite.com, you can select an artist and arrangement for a personalized song, for an anniversary, or a birthday, or even just to have for yourself
Bob Nanna was actually recently enlisted via Downwrite to write a song for our editor for his 30th birthday! Needless to say the song is incredible and perfectly depicts him.
We got to ask contributor Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes) about his work with Downwrite.com, here’s what he had to say:
Hey Bob, what gave you the idea to start Downwrite.com and writing personalized songs for patrons?
It was really born out of frustration. For most songwriters, and especially the ones on the older side, touring as much isn’t an option anymore, what with families, bills, general responsibilities. So obviously, I would pick up extra work doing odds and ends around town for extra money in between tours & albums. One night, Mark and I were out and we said, hey why not try to create a “temp” job for both of us that embodied what we loved and what we were good at. So that’s where it came from. Once we started to deliver songs and see the overwhelming response, then it became about the artist-fan connection as well. Turns out, songwriters, your fans WANT to help you and WANT to connect in this way, so it all came together nicely.
How fast after you helped birth Downwrite did you start building such an incredible roster of artists ready to contribute?
Pretty much immediately. We started the site in February of 2013 with just myself and Mark Rose but already had folks like Matt Pryor and Travis Shettel ready to go as well. Mark and I basically raided our contacts lists to find folks willing to set up a profile and give it a shot.
How many have you done? Have any of them stuck with you for whatever reason?
As of this week, I’ve done 88. There are artists who have done more, too! I am very meticulous about remembering how to play each song (i take a video, teaching it back to myself). There are definitely some that stick with me – one I did for a newborn was pretty special. The ones I do for people that need to cheer up or turn things around. Those are really great.
Over the course of your songwriting for Downwrite, how do you personally keep your songs individual, what do you do to challenge yourself when approaching a new clients piece?
I never come in with anything musically in mind when i first read the request. I’ll see what sort of mood they are looking for and then I’ll start strumming. I also took some jazz guitar classes last year so I like sneaking some of those chords in there. I’m sure they’ll end up in future Braid songs as well. 🙂
We were also able to ask fellow contributor Chris Conley of Saves The Day and Two Tongues a quick couple of questions.
What is the strangest request that you have gotten for a song?
Ahhh I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their requests…
Have any of the songs you’ve written for a client inspired any of your original work (work not with Downwrite.com)?
Nah, it’s all for them! It’s an interesting exercise to write solely for others though. Fun!
Downwrite.com is a service that allows patrons to purchase different tiers of songs from over 100 artists ranging from contributors like Hawthorne Heights, Matt Pryor, Chris Conley and so many more.