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Hit songwriter reveals how to write songs that artists want to cut!

The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Spotlight: Meet this month’s featured songwriter Ross Hemsworth!

All, Featured Songwriters by The Frettie Team on September 02, 2014


This month, we are excited to showcase UK songwriter and producer Ross Hemsworth. In in our interview with Ross, he shares with us his greatest accomplishments as a songwriter as well as provides young songwriters with advice about feedback and how to stay motivated and focussed through the ups and the downs. As always we hope you find this interview not just helpful but a great way to learn about another member who makes up the great Frettie community. Never hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Q: Where do you call home?
Home is in rural Somerset, I guess I'm just a li'l 'ole country boy at heart! I was born in North Kent but moved to Devon in 2003 and then to Somerset in 2005. Been here ever since!

Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Gillingham in Kent.

Q: When did you write your first song?
My first attempts at songwriting was at the age of 14, but the only person who seamed to like them was my mum!!

Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I started writing properly in the 80's inspired by listening to Bruce Springsteen albums.  I did some co-writing with Suzi Quatro back then too, that was great fun, I had idolized her from my teen years!

Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
I was adopted at 6 weeks old so was unaware of any music in my family until I traced my birth mother when i was in my 30's! Turns out that they were a very musical family! My birth mother was a singer and brothers and sisters also had varying musical talents

Q: What’s your songwriting process typically like?
These days, I have my own studio and try to write something every day. Ideas can start as lyrics, hook lines or just an acoustic guitar idea. I usually write the basics of the song on the guitar but it will change along the way as the idea starts to form. It is often the case that the first recorded lines get deleted as the song takes shape.

Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
I don't think anywhere is ever ideal. You always want more! I'm a bit of an “equipaholic!” That said, I am lucky in that I have all the tools necessary very close to me.

Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I'm studying law at the moment with the Open University, so most of my reading is legal manuals and modules. I read The Music Row blog and always enjoy that!

Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Bruce Springsteen, Little Big Town and The Eagles

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to Ward Thomas just lately, a brilliant country duo from the UK, doing Nashville VERY well!

Q: How do you stay inspired?
That's hard - when things are going well, inspiration and creativity comes easy, but when things are going badly, I suffer from a lack of motivation and have to fight the negativity vibes, and pull myself out of it (because you can be sure nobody else will!)

Q: What's your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
Lyrics! I believe I write really good hooky melodies and hook lines, but I struggle with good meaningful lyrics, which is why I enjoy co-writing.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
My studio is at home so not far to travel! I tend to write in the afternoons, after doing my legal studies in the morning.

Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
Writing with Suzi Quatro. There was a kind of magic in the way the music just came together. There are plans to do some more co-writing with her soon and I can't wait!

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I always believe the best is yet to come and never sit back and admire a song, because tomorrow is a new day. In the modern age, songwriting is a numbers game, you have to keep throwing good songs out there and hope that some will get cut and maybe a few will be hits. But if you sit around waiting for those, you will have nothing to follow them with.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
I had a recent No. 14 position in the US Roots Country/Pop charts with my own band Temptation Road. That was quite a buzz.

Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
Listen to advice, but never let negatives put you off, learn from them. If someone says you don't have what it takes, set out to prove them wrong. The best answer to other people's criticism, is to take it constructively and then hit them with a chart topper!  Also, when writing songs, never settle for a good song when you could make it a great song. Sometimes taking two of your composition ideas and making one great song is the way forward.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I use Reaper software which is very affordable but in my opinion, every bit as good as much more expensive packages, and works with many plug ins. they have a great forum too where you can get tips from other writers and Reaper users. I also use Steven Slate Drums (SSD4) which has to be one of the best drum programs out there at the moment.

Q: How has Frettie benefited you and the songwriting community?
I'm fairly new to Frettie and having had a lot of projects on recently, I haven't had as much time as I would like, to listen to the work of others on the site. But it's a great place for writers to share ideas and concepts and maybe even team up to write together. I often use singers in Nashville on songs where the vocals were written here in the UK. We now work in a truly global environment where we can use Dropbox to share files. Along with Dropbox, Frettie also helps close the gap on global songwriting." 

Q: What's next for you?
I have a number of songs currently being pitched to some very big names in the USA and if things take off, then a move to Nashville may be on the cards in the future. For now, I'm enjoying things just the way they are and want to keep writing great music

Q: Care to add anything else?
I managed to get accepted by the USA's choosiest rights agency SESAC this month, and also joined the US Songwriter's Hall of Fame, so I'm hoping to put sleepy old Somerset on the Nashville map!

Q: Thanks for your time Ross. We look forward to connecting with you on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing?
You can find me on Frettie, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and at
www.songwritersuk.com


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