This is absolutely fascinating. Project Song from National Public Radio (NPR), is an intimate look at how song writers go about the business of creating words and music in real time. Hosted by Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Project Song invites musicians to spend two days in the NPR recording studio during which they are asked to write and record a new composition. NPR provides inspiration in the form of words and pictures to stimulate the musicians’ imaginations, and asks them to pick one photo and one phrase as “themes” for the song they will create. Then they get out of the way as they, and we, watch the process unfold.
So far Boilen has worked with three musicians Stephen Merritt of the group Magnetic Fields, Nellie McKay, and the duo of Laura Burhenn and John Davis, who comprise Georgie James, and the results have been both enlightening and, to my ear, very pleasing. The fascinating thing for me is to contemplate the fact that in no other era would it have been possible to observe artists at work in this very personal way.
NPR’s Project Song website has videos of each of the musicians at work, as well as the story of each session as it was presented on public radio’s All Things Considered, and a recording (with video) of the completed song. If you enjoy popular music, this is a don’t miss web experience.