- Hannah Conkin
Interview: "Scripts" - The Songs You've Never Heard
This new song "Scripts" beautifully tells the story of a young girl at a loss for words, trying to find her voice and courage. What was collaborating on this song like for you two?
Becky & Ellie: This was a song that had a lot of back and forth with ideas, and we went through multiple writing sessions to get it right. We tweaked the lyrics a lot from the first draft because we weren't quite sure if it was a Caspar or Meg song at first, and the concept changed a bit as we worked it out. It also started as a ballad, but our amazing producer Jussi took the song in a totally new direction that we loved. I really like that it's a song where I get to sing over Ellie's amazing string arrangement. It feels like the song on the album that most represents us as a pair.
What's it like writing a song to go along with a novel? Was it always part of the plan to write "Scripts" to go along with the project?
Becky & Ellie: When we wrote the novel, we had some very clear songs and plot moments we wanted to include and others that were more vague. We knew we wanted a song that our lead character Meg and her famous brother argue about. In the story, it is a song Meg writes over a backing track meant for Caspar and all hell breaks loose when he finds out. We wanted a song that reflected both of their stories and Scripts was what came out. Lyrically, it reflects Meg's frustration at always saying the wrong thing, especially to her secret crush. However for Caspar, it's a song about the pressure of fame and an audience. It was great to write a song showcasing how Meg and Caspar are a lot more similar than they realize. It would be fun to do the male version in the future!
Becky, how do you balance a writing career with a music career? Does one take priority over the other?
Becky: I am really lucky to have multiple passions in my life and I find that the projects I work on ebb and flow over time. With the release of “The Songs You've Never Heard”, book promo has really taken priority and songwriting has taken more of a backseat. But there will be times when the book side goes quieter and I can focus more on music. I like to have lots of different things to work on and I will often follow a path I wasn't expecting. The great thing about TSYNH is that it really blends writing and music together so we can bring live music to book stores and celebrate both!
Ellie, how did you get into writing children's songs? Was this always a passion of yours?
Ellie: Songwriting, in all its forms has always been a passion. For a long time I was a music teacher, so writing children’s song was part of my job and came naturally to me. When I quit teaching I spent a lot of time in the pop song writing world, where you are always focussing on catchy melodies and hooky choruses. About six years ago one of my best friends created the kids show ’Tee and Mo’ with his animation company and we decided to work together on writing children’s songs for the series. That is how I entered the wonderful world of kids TV! The two aspects of my songwriting came together, as theme songs really need to have catchy pop elements but also be appropriate for children lyrically whilst summing up what the show is about.
You both have performed either solo or in other bands in the past. What was one of your favorite live performances you've each done?
Becky & Ellie: Becky -When I was in my early 20s I played a lot of acoustic gigs at a local venue called The Cellars – sadly it has shut down now, but it was a really magical place where performances were intimate and personal with the audience. I would often play a comedy song I wrote called “Weird Nerdy Crush” and it always took me by surprise how much the audience laughed at that song and really got into it. I have a live video a friend took once and I can see how much fun I'm having on stage so it always makes me smile.
Ellie- I think my favourite live performances have been at Glastonbury. Despite the mud and the wellies there was always such a great atmosphere there - 100% pure music enthusiasm! Years ago I was in a band that headlined the Avalon stage which will always be a highlight memory from the years of gigging and touring!
Looking toward the future, what plans do you both have? Are any more collaborations in store for you two?
Becky & Ellie: Becky is currently working on new YA projects and Ellie will be carrying on with her work in children’s TV on the shows 'Jojo and Grangran’ and ‘Pip and Posy’. Together we've actually been talking about working on some kind of novella or bonus content for TSYNH to tie up a few of the loose ends and focus on parts of the story readers most enjoyed! We are also planning lots of events, bringing live music to book shops and we are hosting a 'booksical' workshop at YALC in July. It will be great to see what sparks from performing the songs to an audience... Maybe, eventually, the west end theatre or movie adaptation?! We'll keep our fingers crossed!
Interviewed By Hannah Conkin
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