I caught up today with Greig Watts, my co-writer on “One Of The Days” and the “W” in the “DWB Music” songwriting, production and publishing group. Greig told me about his latest hit with Korean superstar BoA, offered some great insights on writing and producing for the “Idol” market, and advice for songwriters trying to break in the business…
(Pictured from left to right: Greig Watts, Pete Barringer, Paul Drew)
The story behind “One Of These Days” starts in 2003, shortly after I moved from New York to London. Singer Katie Lewis had been a contestant on series 1 of the BBC’s “Fame Academy” (Oct-Dec 2002) and her fan club had summoned a group of up-and-coming songwriters to Katie’s home in Bristol to audition some songs and songwriters for a tentative album. Somehow, I had been invited to join in and made the trip to Bristol. One of the writers there was a young lyricist from London, Greig Watts.
Greig and I had complementary skills – he was better at lyrics and I better at music – and both lived in the London area, so we agreed to keep in touch and try to co-write a few songs for Katie.
One of these songs was “One Of These Days”.
Unfortunately, nothing happened with Katie or with any of the songs we co-wrote, and after a few months Greig and I drifted apart...
Fast-forward to 2011 – I was going through old demos to see if there were any good ideas worth dusting off. I rediscovered “One Of These Days” – which I had completely forgotten about... Listening to it with a completely fresh ear, I thought it was really good...
Well, it had great potential, but there were a number of problems with the demo, and it was very obvious why nothing had happened with it: for one, the vocal track was awful – it was just impossible to hear past it. The rest of production (for which I take full responsibility) wasn’t great either – it wasn’t bad, but it sounded like a demo... and as everyone in the business knows, a good demo sounds like a record.
Finally, I felt that some of the words were a little rough. But the core of the song was all there, and I felt it was very strong: the title, the story, the message, the melody and song structure were all there, and over the following days, the song kind of got stuck in my head... I thought it would be a shame not to do anything with it, so I decided to track down Greig.
DWB & Maria Willson
As it turns out, Greig had become really successful as part of the DWB Music songwriting and production team, scoring a string of hits, particularly in European and Asian markets (Japan, Korea).
I sent Greig the old demo and he agreed that the song had potential, but wasn’t sure how much time he’d be able to commit. Originally, I wanted us to rework the lyrics to make them really great, and I was prepared to take over the rest. Greig and I did re-write a good portion of the lyrics together, via back-and-forth emails, and got it to the point where we had a great song.
What ended up happening is that Greig and his production partners re-recorded the song from scratch (I sent them the original midi files but not sure whether any of it was used) and recruited Maria Willson to sing it.
This is the only song where I had nothing to do with the production, and it was a real kick for me to discover the finished track.
DWB stayed true to the original melody, chords and song structure, but their arrangement and sound engineering was a major improvement over the original. They also came up with a new intro and introduced modulations that make it more dynamic. Maria delivered a great vocal and some cool ad-libs, including the repetition on “one of these, one of these days” in the final section. I couldn’t be happier with it... now I just hope people hear it and enjoy it.
Here’s a video of the original demo MIDI tracks against the final recording: