February Album Writing Month!!!

I know personally will be doing this and you should to. You have till the end of February to write 14 songs move it people!


Contact: Burr Settles

Email: press@fawm.org

Phone: 608-332-3456


International Songwriting Event Gears up for 7th Annual Event

PITTSBURGH, PA (AND WORLDWIDE) – Russian composer Igor Stravinsky once said, “work brings inspiration.” Writer Jack London put it, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” For songwriters, February Album Writing Month (FAWM) is such a club. Thousands of musicians worldwide are preparing to brandish guitars, pianos, and notepads to participate in FAWM: the annual challenge to compose 14 new songs in the 28 days of February. This year, organizers are upping the ante with a collective songwriting goal of 14,000 new works in all.

To help achieve this goal, the FAWM organizers will use Twitter to broadcast short daily songwriting exercises and inspirational ideas throughout February. Also, long-time FAWM participant Charlie Cheney (maker of Indie Band Manager software) will host a live Internet radio call-in show, “The Daily FAWMcast,” which will feature new music from the day and give callers the opportunity to discuss blitzkrieg songwriting strategies.

At the FAWM.ORG website, which serves as the hub for the project, so-called “fawmers” can post lyrics and audio or video recordings of freshly-penned songs, and give one another feedback. Participants can track the progress of songwriters they know and admire via the website’s “watchlist” feature. A real-time jukebox also allows visitors to listen to new streaming music as it is added to the site, organized chronologically or by musical genre. In 2009, over a thousand musicians signed up for the challenge (339 were “winners”), penning 7,375 new songs, instrumentals, and works of sound art in the shortest month of the year. By mid-January of this year, over 3,000 have registered from all fifty U.S. States and dozens of foreign countries including Norway, Australia, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom. Some are musical hobbyists, while others are touring musicians and recording industry professionals who use FAWM as a much-needed creative exercise. FAWM is the largest songwriting community of its kind.

Collaboration is also commonplace in the FAWM community. Songwriting novices often receive help by teaming up with more seasoned songwriters whom they meet through the site. Other collaborations spring from a desire to try something new. In 2009, for example, Seattle jazz pianist Becca Palm casually mentioned wanting to write a heavy metal song in the site’s online forums. Within 24 hours she had composed and recorded a song (entirely by passing files over the Internet) with a speed-metal guitarist from the Netherlands called Sapient Network. The track, titled “All I Am,” can be heard on 14 Songs In 28 Days (Vol. 5), the latest and a series of annual “fawmpilation” CDs released by the project to raise operating funds. Last year, over 500 of the songs born out of the challenge were collaborations.

FAWM began when Burr Settles, a singer/songwriter (and then-graduate-student at the University of Wisconsin) completed a short novel as part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge in November 2003. Realizing that there was no songwriting equivalent, he and three friends challenged each other to write a song every other day in February 2004, using an informal weblog where they posted demo recordings and constructive comments throughout the process. Subsequent public interest in that blog spurred Settles to open the challenge up to over 100 participants in 2005, which has steadily grown into the international phenomenon it is today.

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~ by Michael Stover on February 1, 2010.

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