How awesome is Songwriter Camp?

June 20, 2011

Written by Mason R. 8th Grader


I have been writing songs since I was ten years old, only showing a few of them to my family. This summer I decided I would go to the Real Life Real Music Songwriter Experience camp, expecting to leave with a song I was proud of and to have a good time. The night before the first day of camp, I stayed up until about midnight penning an idea to take in to Dosey Doe. The next morning I walked in the door to the beautiful barn with little confidence and a sheet of paper with a few scribbled lines I was hoping to make into a song.


Looking at the faces around me made me nervous. We were all spread out across the lower level of the barn, not daring to speak to each other. I went up to the balcony, what we call the “crow’s nest,” and read over my paper until one of the mentors made their way around to me. The first one to find me was Susan Gibson, who wrote for the Dixie Chicks. Just her looking at my paper and telling me how great it was, meant the world to me. She gave me amazing ideas that ended up inspiring the whole song. By the end of the day, there were four other kids up in the crow’s nest with me, and we sat in a circle and shared our songs.


The recording studio was one of the coolest places I have ever been. We all squeezed onto the couch in the editing room and cheered on whoever was recording at the time. Next thing I knew, it was my turn to leave my spot on the couch and go to the other side of the wall. I was so nervous, and so excited! While recording the guitar track I couldn’t stop smiling. Then, I stepped in to the little soundproof vocal room and started singing my song, when I realized…I am in a recording studio, recording my own original song, this is what I have dreamed of! The first thing I heard in my headphones after I finished recording the first track was screaming and cheering from the editing room. I was stoked.


Before I knew it, it was Sunday night: Performance night. I was shaking with nerves and excitement as I looked at the crowd coming through the door. Since I was second to last in the lineup, I had a lot of time to be nervous! Before I knew it, it was my turn. As I stepped up on the stage, the nerves disappeared and I was filled with adrenaline. I took a deep breath, looked at the crowd, and sang my song in front of my family, friends, and total strangers, but the most support came from the table of kids I had just met six days ago. I left that camp with double the confidence I came with, eleven new great friends, and memories of the best week of my life.