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MFY Remix 2021- Song writing Workshop with Bridget Walsh

We were incredibly lucky to experience a workshop run by Bridget Walsh on the first day of MFY’s Remix festival. In this workshop, we learnt how to come up with ideas for song writing, even if you feel stuck. Using characters, free writing and wordplay, every participant was able to write a hook for a song by the end of the hour-long session, thanks to Bridget’s interesting and informative methods.

At the end of the Workshop, Deanna and I asked Bridget a few questions on her career and this year’s festival. Here is the interview, you can also listen to it on the MFY Remix podcast, found on Music For Youth’s Soundcloud.

Meg: Who would you say are your musical inspirations?

Bridget: There’s a band from Melbourne, Australia, called Hiatus Coyote. They have really been an inspiration to me, not just recently, because they’ve dropped a new record, but for the last seven years or so. When I left my old band, I was at a loss on how to start making the music I wanted to make, when I wasn’t really hearing it. I’m a nerd and I was trying to mix these jazzy, nerdy ideas with this hip-hop R’n’B influence, I was like “Oh my gosh is anybody actually going to listen to it?”. Then I found Hiatus and was like “they’re doing it!”

Then you also have the London jazz scene, there’s Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei. I would say basically anyone who is making art, both that I like and that is fearless. It’s really exciting that fearless art is getting a following and isn’t a niche, abstract thing you have to dig to find anymore.

Deanna: You said you come from New Zealand and also live in London, is there any place you find the most inspiration from?

Bridget: Interesting question. My piano at my mum’s house in Auckland New Zealand is the same one I learned piano on, when I was 5 years old. Whenever I’m in New Zelanad, and sat at that piano, I do a lot of writing, but it doesn’t always manifest into fully formed songs. It’s like an analogue experience like moulding clay or a putting pencil to paper. I have a keyboard here but its not the same as a piano, so I do a lot of musical writing there. But I also live here in South London, and here is a lot of action. Here is where I’m really hungry and inspired to write, so I just want to sit down and make something. But in saying that, anywhere, as we’ve discovered tonight you can put your brain anywhere and be inspired by… Hogwarts in my case!

Meg: You’re part of this new project, your new band, 10:32, how does working in a band differ from working individually?

Bridget: This is my number one top tip: being in a band is 50% relationship management.

Being in a band, if you’ve got creative chemistry with people, is almost effortless. You need to surround yourself with the right people and energy and be able to navigate people’s vulnerabilities, insecurities and egos. This is not particular to my band because my band are wonderful, and I am very fortunate to have them. But in the past, there have been challenging situations, when people are clashing heads. You’re dealing with a super vulnerable experience of creating art but also navigating other people’s energies.

I always prefer to write with other people, I think the alchemy that happens when people are adding their bits and pieces is an adventure, because you don’t know what the variables will be. Just make sure the people you’re doing that with are the right people, they might not be the right people forever but for that time or day.

Deanna: What does MFY’s theme this year, Remix, mean to you and how would you Remix your music?

Bridget: Remixing to me is about that alchemy, taking lots of different pieces of the puzzle together, looking at them from a different perspective and putting them back together in a different way. It is kind of like what we were doing with the different song writing concepts: make a list, make another list, make another! How can we put these together in diff ways that are meaningful? We can do that five times over and come up with five different outcomes.

Remix is the same to me, it’s the inter-mingling of ideas and the communion of everything being mixed together. Remix is taking something and putting it back together in a different way and creating something new, I love it!

Meg: Do you have any advice for our MFY participants who want to pursue a career in the music industry?

Bridget: My biggest advice: stay fluid.

This industry is turbulent, it’s always changing. Not only are we changing as artists, but also the infrastructure in which we create is constantly changing. COVID is a perfect example, for the last 18 months or so the main way of performing music has been taken away. You have to be agile, because it’s tough if you want to make a living as an independent artist. You have to roll with the punches, you’re going to have to work in cafes to pay rent, because no one listens to your record yet. Or you’ll have to teach piano on the side, to make sure to get your bills paid. Be able to respond to the opportunities that come along and stay ready.

The most important thing fundamentally is to do it for you, because you’ll keep finding the determination and energy to pull yourself back up again and try another option, if you believe in what you’re doing. Also, be kind to yourself about that, no human knows what they’re really doing, we are all trying our best. Artists are doing just that, with an element of transparency, we’re putting ourselves out there and showing a part of our experience, which is a scary thing to do. It’s really important to look after yourself and your wellbeing. So yeah, I have lots of advice!

We really enjoyed speaking to Bridget, she was a pleasure to have and it was a wonderful opportunity to listen to her insightful advice. If you want to hear more, check out the MFY Remix podcast, found on the Music For Youth Soundcloud.

About the author

Meg Davies

Meg Davies is our Writer-Reporter for our digital National Festival REMIX 2021.


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