In the early 90’s, Miles Copeland, most notable for founding IRS records and managing The Police, bought the Chateau Marouatte. Constructed in the Dordogne region of Perigord Vert, France, the Chateau Marouatte is a 14th century fortified castle steeped in history. It was there that Copeland would change our industry with one word: camps.
Having 270 acres to his name, Copeland decided to invite 24 songwriters and artists to the French countryside for a week. He fed them and housed them, only asking for one thing in return: to write and record a song per day in which he would share a piece of the publishing.
For eight years, Copeland sponsored the Marouatte writing camps with Almo Irving Music Publishing. However, in 1999, Warner Chappell became his new partner and I was put in charge. That year, I took 12 writers on an overseas flight to Paris, a cross-country train to the South of France, and finally an hour long bus ride to the Chateau Marouatte for a once in a lifetime experience.
Due to my camp’s success, Warner Chappell asked if I was ready to do it all over again the following year. And, I was, but I had a vision for creating a camp for only our writers.
That year and the next, I set up a camp in Nashville where there was already a community into which I could integrate. However, it became apparent to me that the writers and I needed some new place where we could be isolated from the music industry. And, therefore, I started to host my camps in Lake Arrowhead.
There, I played matchmaker for writers who had left their everyday routines at home to nurture a creative spark. A safe space was provided for everyone to experiment with new genres and words, and make lasting connections. Ultimately, these camps became a very important exercise in taking my writers out of their comfort zones so that they could experience new perspectives and new ideas. For writers like Kevin Kadish, NIcky Sixx, Jodi Marr, and Tim Nichols, camps were a turning point where they figured out who they were and where they could take their art.
Now, I’m doing it all over again. And, this time, I want YOU to be there. I will be putting on a “first of it’s kind” songwriting retreat from June 10-13 in Normandy, France where you can be a part of an eclectic group who will partake in a camp like those that so many prolific writers still participate in today. Come with me for a weekend of inspiration and challenges that will propel you forward in your songwriting journey.