Case Studies

Writing for Labels Through Collaboration

Photograph of the blog post author, Music Gateway Team

Music Gateway Team


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It seems a lot of professionals in the music industry don’t just stick to one thing, and John Kerfoot (Kerfo Music) is no exception to this. John works as a musician, songwriter and producer in the quiet countryside of the midlands in the UK. You’d think that being able to write, perform and record all your music yourself would mean you wouldn’t bother collaborating. But luckily John can see the value of collaborating and often teams up with others.

“Collaborating with others gives me fresh and innovative ideas which stem from the other collaborators ways of writing music. This always results in a much more interesting end product that has a unique combination of multiple sets of musical influences on the record, which is always more exciting than just one person’s musical influences.”

These days, all of John’s time is dedicated to writing songs for commercial/radio artists and music for sync applications such as TV, as well as bespoke compositions for companies.

“I’ve been lucky enough to write music for companies within the aerospace engineering, fashion and advertising industries. I also remix Universal Music artist’s songs for the label.”

You might be wondering how John managed to get to this point and his story starts, as many others, from a young age:

“I first got into music because I kept getting into huge amounts of trouble at primary school for banging on everything, so I learnt the drums! Soon after, I picked up a guitar, banged a piano and discovered how to scream in pitch, so learnt to play guitar, piano and learnt to sing.

From there John played in many bands from front man (vox & gtr) in a 4 piece rock band Fire Tonight, writing all of their own material, to drumming for Jon Eno’s Screaming Kicks Big Band, completing tours to the USA and France.

Currently, John is collaborating with Cornwall-based songwriter Mark Newman, writing for some upcoming artists on Island & Capitol records as well as collaborating with singer Joy Aimee. We recently had a chat with Joy so if you’re interested in reading more about her you can do so here. John and Joy are collaborating on three songs together, one of which, ‘Wide Eyes’ is already released.

“Joy Aimee always responded to my messages with a natural passion for her music, combined with a really great sounding voice was a no-brainer to collaborate with her. If the music is good enough and the passion is there, then I’m always up for writing songs with that person.”

John actually met Joy through Music Gateway after John posted a project on the network. John received about 30 pitches to his project and ended up doing collaborations with a few of them, including Joy.

“When looking at pitches, of course I am looking for really great song ideas, with energy and that have potential to go ‘big’. I also look out for a determined co-writer/artist that is always releasing new material and working on projects behind the scenes, as this shows interest and drive in what they are doing. But most importantly, I look for a passion for their own work in their profile biographies and in their pitch messages.”

The plan is to send most of these collaborative tracks to appropriate artists and major label A&Rs to hopefully land some tracks with upcoming and established artists. The tracks that aren’t being sent to artists and labels are ones that were created for sync. This is another avenue that John has gone down, with one of his latest collaborations gaining him a sync with Evolution Media Music:

“I am also working and songwriting with Paul who is head of Pop music at Evolution Media Music. EMM provide music for all of the largest TV broadcasters worldwide. It’s been fantastic to get my first record onto a sync album, and this has come through MG.”

John came and joined us at MG after a recommendation from a tutor at his university, Point Blank Music School in London.

“I saw a number of the project titles that were being posted which really enticed me onto the platform, with the great opportunities coming in daily it’s a great way to get yourself out there and land your first sync placements etc.”

One thing that John really loved about Music Gateway is the way the platform allows you to sort through the pitches on your project and sort them into categories.

“I had around 30 or more pitches to go through so found the project management of selecting who to accept, ignore and shortlist extremely useful to streamline this process.”

Finally, John’s top tip for anyone looking to collaborate is:

“Unless the other person is tone deaf, go for it! You never know whose hands and ears your work might end up in.”

If you’d like to find people to collaborate with like John, then create a project and get started. If you’re more interested in the sync side of things take a look at our Sync Portal

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