Everything that happened during EW's Songwriters Camp
Charli XCX, Tove Lo, and Victoria Monét all joined.
Last week, Entertainment Weekly invited a handful of singers, songwriters, and producers to take over our Instagram Live and answer questions about their work. From Sean Garrett to Nija Charles to Charli XCX, EW's Songwriters Camp turned into a one-stop shop where fans could learn about the music-making process as well as how their favorite artists were coping with life in quarantine.
Kicking things off was Sean Garrett, who has worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Britney Spears. "You get the opportunity to just really do your work," said Garrett, on why he prefers to stay behind the scenes. "I was an artist first, I signed my first record deal when I was 14. But it was always an amazing thing to just go into a club or into a space where they were playing hit records that you’re doing, and...[people don't] even know it’s you."
Meanwhile, Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo revealed how isolation was influencing her creative process. "When I’m writing right now, you know, it’s hard. Where do you get the inspiration from? Every song can’t be like 'I’m home alone,'" she said with a laugh. "I’ll probably be able to make some cool interesting sounds and melodies, but I don’t know how many lyrics I can squeeze out of myself."
Songwriter and producer Nija Charles, who co-wrote "Heard About Us" and "LoveHappy" for Beyoncé and Jay-Z's album Everything Is Love, discussed how she went from writing songs in her dorm room to working with some of the biggest artists in the industry. "I would post little snippets of demos I did on Instagram with other producers that I was working with, and basically by word of mouth and me reaching out to other producers who were on the tracks that I’ve gotten, I just built my network," she said.
Also stopping by was Victoria Monét, who has co-written songs with Ariana Grande, and released her own solo work like "Ass Like That" and "Moment." "I kind of have this Taurus mentality where I really have to believe in it to do it," said Monét, about how she determines if a song is working or not. "I have the last say when it comes to my music, which I think is an artist’s right. Just don’t put anything forward that you don’t truly want to or believe in because I think you’re going to regret it later."
Later in the week, pop shape-shifter Charli XCX spoke about her upcoming album How I'm Feeling Now, and how sharing her project's creative process online during quarantine has made it one of her most collaborative works yet. "I’m not usually an artist or a person who enjoys taking a lot of feedback actually," she said. "But I really trust my fans and I really think they know me, they understand me, so to open it up for them to be able to give me direct feedback on everything from lyrics to artwork to production is really interesting."
Singer-songwriter Tayla Parx, who co-wrote several hits on Ariana Grande's album Thank U, Next, and released her own album in 2019 titled We Need To Talk, revealed that a collaboration with the British girl group Little Mix may be coming soon. “Yes, there are some ‘TaylaMade’ records coming from Little Mix. Everybody’s release dates are changing around the coronavirus obviously. A lot of artists are focused on — as they should — figuring out how we can come together in this time, and figuring out how we can feed the people the music in the best way possible. And those are artists that I’m definitely excited for those songs to come out. It’s gonna be lit.”
Last up was singer-songwriter Diana Gordon, who has collaborated with artists including Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, and Jack White, and came on to sing her solo song "Rollin" off her recent EP Wasted Youth. You can check out the performance below.