The second day we welcomed Luxembourg-born, Brussels-based rapper, MAZ to the group and met in the studio kitchen to serve up our combinations for the day. You could feel any nervousness from day one had started to dissipate and see the in jokes filter through the WhatsApp group. And before the studio door had a chance to close, our writers were hunkered down in their rooms and the music started to permeate through the walls.
I always love taking a moment in the afternoon to walk around and hear such a wonderful cross section of styles. From soulful pop sounds of Rob Davis’ room to the dancefloor hum coming from Kilter’s room, the creative energy took many forms which stayed consistent for the entire camp. After another successful haul of songs and convincing part of the group to join me to watch the Manchester United game at the local sports bar, we put an end to day two.
Day three we welcomed our other curator Angus Campbell who was unable to attend the first two days as he’d recently became a dad for the second time. We also welcomed guys from MSquared dialling in from Australia and Rhia starting her session at 1am LA time. It was the first time we had tried to integrate both in person and virtual sessions and I must thank all the writers for embracing this element of the camp (and for those who had to stay up way past their bedtimes). We were also joined by Swedish TV station, STV for an impromptu look inside of the camp for their Friday evening news where both Evan Klar and Catty gave some on camera, Emmy-winning performances.
We also welcomed a number of Future Echoes delegates who had started to roll into town before the festival kicked off the following day and later arranged for us to all have dinner that evening and avoided any forced football-based activities.
The final day started early with the knowledge that we needed to be out the door by 3pm for our listening party and to join to delegates at the opening of the festival. We’ve seen this many times over the years at SongHubs where the final days’ time constraints turn each session into a pressure cooker. But without fail, all writers rise to challenge and produced some of their best work. This was no different as we saw multiple songs the day’s session being thrown into the Dropbox just before our 3pm deadline.
The listening party itself was integrated in as part of the Future Echoes conference schedule where we were introduced to several representatives from the industry. The nervousness of day one started to creep back in but as soon as I hit the play button on the first song, people got up out of their seats and started to move. By the last song, we had the whole camp dancing together, which expressed the bond we all galvanised over the past four days. Our job was done and all that was left to do was to celebrate the start of the festival by playing endless games of shuffleboard with members of the local government.
We have to extend a huge thank you to our partners Future Echoes for inviting us to Sweden, for their festival helping us make this such a successful week of writing. Kenny and the team at Musik och Mediaakademien did an amazing job of making us feel very welcome and no task was too big for them to consider. And finally, to our curators Rebecka Digervall and Angus Campbell for your care and consideration throughout the camp and weeks leading up to it.
This was a reminder of the power of connecting people in creative spaces and the need for programs like SongHubs. Having been starved of our face-to-face opportunities for so long, this only elevated the overall feeling of togetherness we felt. I already miss the beautiful city of Norrköping, our ice-cold night-time scooter rides, singing Usher’s “Yeah!” at any conceivable opportunity, but most miss this amazing group of people.
Watch this space for releases!