Relationships are what help propels us towards accomplishing our dreams.
One of my favorite quotes is the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." There are very few people in this world that can achieve greatness on their very own. Most of us need others to help guide, educate, inspire and bounce off of!
When you co-write with someone else, you are entering into a relationship with another human being. You agree to create a product together, that can result in a placement in some fashion (cover, cut, license, etc).
Co-writing songs is no different than if you went into business with someone to manufacture shoes, in the sense that you are partnering with another human being to create a product that combines both of your perspectives and experiences. It is this particular combination that makes it special.
The better you are at having relationships, the easier the co-write can be. Meaning, are you agreeable or difficult? Are you flexible or unchangeable?
I guided a co-write during my weekly workshop one evening, where the woman was badgering her co-writer so much that he got defensive and shut down. How she spoke to him was a big factor in how he reacted. All she had to do was phrase her concerns differently and he would have been happy to meet her in the middle...which is what they eventually did after we spoke about it.
You are part of a team the moment you involve someone else. Team-building results in self-development, positive communication, leadership skills and the ability to work closely together to solve problems.
John Shanks is one of the most versatile producers I have worked with, mainly because he is able to relate to so many people. I have seen him talk fashion with the girls and sports with the boys while at the same time, guiding them to their greatness!
Where John is concerned, I never got the impression it mattered what genre he worked in, as long as he loved the voice, the songs and the integrity of the project. He was happy to be a part of the team. It is that mentality that results in successful co-writes.