ICMP Songwriting MA student Amy Collins and how to write an EU love song

Our MA Songwriting student Amy Collins let us in on her viral EU romance, 'I Wanna Stay With EU...'

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Whether you want to stay or remain within the European Union, there’s no denying that Brexit has become an all-consuming, passionately argued issue.

With the People’s Vote March taking place in London last weekend, our MA Songwriting student Amy Collins released her ode to the EU, ‘Stay With EU’. Alongside a video from the brilliant Brothers McLeod, the song went viral ahead of the march. We caught up with Amy to find out more about the track and how music continues to be a powerful form of political protest…

How did the song come about?

I am currently studying an MA in Songwriting at ICMP and this song came from the classes. A few weeks ago, we were given an assignment to write a political song and I chose to write about Brexit. It’s an issue I feel strongly about and I planned to walk in the People’s Vote March.

The video is brilliant. How did you hook up with the Brothers McLeod who made it?

I met Greg McLeod at Encounters Bristol, an animation and short film festival. I really admire the work of the Brothers McLeod, so after I recorded the song I immediately sent it over.

They liked the song’s positive message, so agreed to collaborate with me. I'm delighted with the final video, it’s a great reflection of the song.

The artwork is very light, contemporary and fun. They represented the countries and places I referred to in the verses and brought in the children during the bridge. They also added a lot of their own ideas such as using flags and people from all the EU countries and the animated girl by herself in the studio. It was a very collaborative process; and they sent me their ideas in terms of artwork, and I sent over different music arrangements for feedback. They are a really intuitive and creative team, were very professional in their approach and a lot of fun to work with.

What do you think about the power of the song as protest? Is it a an effective medium for protest?

Songs and music can be a powerful medium for protest, and protest songs date back centuries. Lyrics give artists an opportunity to put forward their opinions, personal experiences and comment on the times in which we live, while the melody is often more emotive. The combination of the two can evoke an emotional response from listeners, give them an opportunity to reflect on the issue discussed, relate to the ideas or in some cases broaden their perspective. I personally prefer to write in a way which is not preachy or antagonistic, although political songs will often be divisive for some.

My favourite quote about protest songs is from John Lennon discussing 'Imagine': “Now I understand what you have to do: Put your political message across with a little honey”.

In terms of 'Stay With EU', the song reflects the emotional side of why I want to stay in the European Union; the wonderful experiences I have had studying and travelling throughout Europe and the enrichment that my European friends living in London have brought to my life."

I tried to write the song in a positive way. Overall, I see it as more of a support song for the EU rather than a protest song!

You're studying our Songwriting MA. How have you found your studies so far? And what other projects are keeping you busy?

I’ve been studying the MA in Songwriting for a month so far and it’s been a brilliant experience. The course was set up by my tutor Sophie Daniels, who has a wealth of knowledge in the music industry, is a hugely talented songwriter and is a very supportive and empathetic tutor. It's a very practical, interesting and unique course.

Every week we have seminars based at Tileyard Studios either run by Sophie or industry experts. This is followed by a songwriting class where we perform an original song each week based on a brief. My colleagues and tutors are all very talented, kind and come from different backgrounds. It's great to perform in front an open and welcoming group, and the feedback I receive each week is invaluable...

Visit happiokapimusic.com to find out more about Amy’s work as a songwriter, composer and sound designer. Watch the video to 'Stay with EU.' 

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by Jim Ottewill
October 25, 2018
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