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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Oct 2019 > PAUL STATHAM

PAUL STATHAM

One of Warner Chappell’s longest-serving songwriters, Paul Statham has penned global smash hits – including Dido’s massive Here With Me – while also crafting darker fare with Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy. Now developing new artists and educating students around the UK, Paul shares his tips…

In the last decade, songwriting courses have flourished around the world, with droves of passionate students keen to cultivate the skills that will enable them to join the sizeable writing teams behind the charts. Music-industry stalwart Paul Statham is one of the architects behind the Writing For Commission module at BIMM London, a visiting professor of music at Leeds College of Music and runs BA songwriting workshops at Solent University.

He transitioned into the academic world after an illustrious career co-writing with a range of artists, most notably of course, Dido on the ubiquitous Here With Me and the title track of her 2001 debut album No Angel, as well as tracks on Kylie Minogue’s 2001 No.1 hit album Fever. He’d previously had a US Top 20 hit with his electro-pop group Peach and the song On My Own (featured in the film Sliding Doors). Here, we speak to Paul about his experiences and glean some insight into the practical realities of surviving as a professional songwriter.

MusicTech How did your interest in songwriting begin and how did your own career then develop?

Paul Statham When I was younger, I was more fascinated by sound, I loved drawing, too. I’d make these charts of popular songs of the time, deconstructing them. I’d put different instruments in different colours. It was kind of a weird hobby, but I loved trying to work out who did what in certain bands. When I discovered Brian Eno, I got more into textures and sonic landscapes. I became pretty obsessed by that.

It was only when I put my first band, B-Movie, together, that I really started songwriting. I found out that Steve the singer who was writing all our stuff was getting paid four times a year by the PRS; I realised then that there was more money in songwriting.

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About MusicTech

The art of writing songs is something that is all too often ascribed to some mythical gift that manifests itself within people at a certain age, with little thought given to the long periods of trial and error, dedication to the craft and persistence to forge a career in the industry that mark out many successful songwriters. In this issue, we have a thorough exploration of the topic, featuring a dissection of the building blocks of every hit song, as well as industry insight from a range of experts who illuminate the professional songwriting world of 2019. We discuss maintaining a career balancing writing with being an artist in your own right with Ed Harcourt and learn from Bernard Butler, Paul Statham and others about their approaches to educating the next generation of hit-makers. Elsewhere in the issue, we continue our journey through the world of synthesis. This time, we focus on wavetable and vector synthesis as well as a foray into the birth of drum machines and their intrinsic relationship with the synth world. We also put several of our go-to budget small-diaphragm condensers to the test in our very first microphone shootout. In our review section this month, we get rhythmic with IK Multimedia’s UNO Drum and wallow in the sonic delights of the Dreadbox Nyx V2 among many other new pieces of kit. Of course, we also have a range of tutorials and tips, too. I hope you enjoy the issue.