Gretchen Peters Talks About Songwriters and Hit Songs
[This transcript is excerpted from the Songwriters’ TeleSummit.]
Viv: We are delighted to be talking today to Gretchen Peters for the Songwriters TeleSummit. Gretchen, thank you so much for joining us.
Gretchen: I’m glad to be here.
Viv: And you’re going to be talking about romancing the muse. And you have an extraordinary length of experience with that. You’ve been in songwriting and performing as a songwriter for many, many years now. Could you tell us a little bit about just where you’re calling from and how you got started in the craft?
Gretchen: Well, I’m calling from my home in Nashville right now. I was born in New York and spent the first thirteen years of my life there and then moved to Boulder, Colorado and it was really in Colorado where, although I started playing music before that, it was really in Colorado where I kind of got the sort of impetuous to do this for a living. There was a very vibrant music scene there and there were a lot of new artists that were doing singer songwriter music. It was really the sort of 1970’s, the wave of singer songwriters from California and Colorado and all that. And that really sort of infected me with the desire to do that. I came up really writing, patterning myself on those sorts of artists, which meant for me that my approach to song writing was really more intuitive than it was learned. I never took a class on how to write a song or did anything like this. This would have been incredibly useful to me but there were no resources like that so I really became a singer songwriter and formulate my view of what that meant almost by osmosis.
Viv: And yet, even in the world of the formula of hit songs, you’ve had a tremendous amount of success writing songs that have achieved a great deal of notice and been cut by some major acts.
Gretchen: Yeah and I attribute that to all the records I listened to and the radio, I love to listen to songs and I think some people have a definite ear or a knack for writing something commercial. I’m not sure how that works and that really actually, that whole concept sort of ties in what I wanted to talk about today because I think people are really looking, some people are really looking, to write a hit song and it may or may not be reassuring for them to know that none of the hits that I wrote were intended to be hits.
Viv: That’s pretty wonderful. I love that your commercial success really came about through listening to others. I think that’s really kind of a key thing that we all need to take to heart.