A Blog's Life Songwriting

You Got (Fan) Mail


FAWM is finished, I got ill over the holidays, my EP is approaching like a bullet train on buttered rails, the New Communication single is mixed and off to be pressed and it’s past midnight and I haven’t blogged for about two weeks.

So a FAWMer in New Zealand sent me a very nice message about Let’s Build An Airport and said he’s been listening to it since it came out on the FAWMpilation album last year. The comment really encouraged me and reminded me of a comment from ace songwriter Paul Williams (Bugsy Malone, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Carpenters) on the Sodajerker podcast (download it here). He said writers get paid 3 times

  • Free Therapy (know a lot about that one!)
  • Financially (sadly not so much experience)
  • and Heart Payment – when someone tells you how much your work means to them

the latter can really help you keep going. I can also help you make a real connection with the person you give it to. I’ve got to know several writers I REALLY respect by sending them thanks and specific praise for songs or parts that have really moved me.

Take a look at your mp3 playlist. Who is on there that you could email, tweet or whatever and say “this song really moves me”? Then DO IT!

I really ought to thank Dean Jackson from BBC Introducing East Midlands here for giving me a major heart payment by playing Let’s Build An Airport on his show and saying the following –

 Every now and again a song comes in and you think ‘it’s just so well crafted, it’s been written with such love and care and the attention to detail is extraordinary’ … it’s just brilliant isn’t it? Great track.

And here’s a bizarre band called Winny Puhh which translates as Winnie The Pooh – enjoy!


My Name Is Matt And I’m An Encouragement Junkie…


I try to just create because I’m human and that’s what we do, and because I enjoy it and it brings me pleasure, and all of that is true. But sometimes I just want to know that someone else out there, anyone, appreciates what I do. I often feel slightly guilty when I make comments like “If you like this song please leave me a comment, or share it with friends” etc which I fend off by telling myself I’m not asking for money, and I often take time to leave comments for other musicians and artists, telling them how much I appreciate their art. But it’s hard not too feel like some needy, clingy girlfriend or something. Yuk!

But this story made me feel better.

Courtney (Coco) Mault was so taken with the first teaser trailer for Wall.e that she would burst into tears every time the little robot said his name. As this is the modern age she uploaded a film of her bursting into tears on YouTube because it was so stupid and geeky. And a few of the people watching and leaving nice comments were lowly tech guys, wait for it, working for Pixar.

Then she got a Wall.e crew jacket from the producers for Christmas with a nice note saying they like her video.

Then months later she received an invite to fly out to a special end of wrap party and screening at the studios expense. Director Andrew Stanton gave a speech before the film started

“Six months ago, when the first trailer for Wall-E came out, we were only halfway done with the film, and we weren’t exactly sure how we were going to get it done. We were exhausted. And then, one day, a movie showed up on YouTube showing a girl watching the trailer for Wall-E. And every time she watched it, she would cry on cue. When we saw that, we knew we were on the right track.”

Everybody in the theater laughed at this knowingly. 

“Well,” Andrew Stanton said. “We invited Courtney here tonight.” 

[Her boyfriend continues] A gasp went through the theater. I turned and looked at my girlfriend, who was gape-mouthed with astonishment. Andrew Stanton asked her to stand up, and all one-thousand sets of eyes in the theater turned to find her, and thunderous applause broke out. Courtney stood, and, not knowing what to do, blew kisses to the assembled artists andcraftspeople who had made the film. 

It was one of the most moving and astounding things she had ever experienced, and I had ever witnessed, and Pixar had done it for no reason other than that her video had touched them and made them optimistic about the film they were making, and they wanted to repay her.

How much is encouragement worth? It’s worth flying someone out so you can thank them personally (not that I’m in a position to do that anytime soon!). In other words – priceless.

So how about giving some encouragement today? It doesn’t have to be me (pause to make cute puppy eyes) artists are more approachable through twitter/facebook than ever. You may just be the one that helps that next song/film/book get finished.

You Got (Fan) Mail – Paul Williams on ‘heart payments’

My New EP!