A group of BIMM students together at a songwriting camp

Berlin / Songwriting

A diary of a songwriting camp

23rd February 2024


Linda Schwarz (AKA Linda Esperanza) is a Popular Music Performance student at BIMM University Berlin. Together with other students from Popular Music Performance, Songwriting and Music Production, she took part in a Songwriting Camp led by hitmaker Fink.

Fink, a long-time friend of BIMM University Berlin, has collaborated as a writer with artists such as Amy Winehouse, John Legend, Banks and Professor Green, as well as having a highly successful career as a solo artist.

This camp took place at Flow Studios in Berlin and this is Linda’s experience.

”Compose a song with real potential and I’ll make sure that it reaches the right people.”

People, ideas, immersion: chaos and resolution: we got to Flow Studios with no idea of what was in store. Fink began by saying “By the end of this Songwriting Camp, we will look back and say: we were so young then!”

Music production student from BIMM University Berlin sits at her laptop to master a demo.

And he was right.

Each of the three eight-hour days had one common goal: to present a new song. And not just any new song, but one that could be sold to someone in the industry.

And this is what Fink promised us. “Compose a song with real potential and I’ll make sure that it reaches the right people.” With that ringing in our ears, we got stuck right in.

Three days, three unique songwriting briefs

In the foreground, a Music Production student sits at his computer. He is wearing headphones. In the background, a vocalist sings into a microphone.

Each morning, Fink welcomed us with a warm speech before launching into a different brief each day. These varied from “Write for an artist on a ‘Who’s Looking List (a list sent out by publishers that gives info on artists looking for songs, collaborations and co-writes) to “write a billie song” (a song with the potential to rack up a billion streams).

We dove into the chaos of working in teams. Because each of had a specific role in our group and we were working with new people, we learned by making. Working with people involves respect and giving up our own ideas. In the end, everyone in that room will only have 25% of the song that’s created. Again, this camp is not about us, it’s about the ideas. Once we felt we were hitting our stride, another day began with a brand new briefing and a brand new group.

Because of this, each day of the camp was wildly different. The first day lulled me into a sense of false security. We were given the brief to write as if we were working with the rock band Against the Current, and this day we had time to complete the track and make a PowerPoint presentation.

The second day wasn’t so smooth. The group put together a track titled ‘Spider Webs’, a ballad about being stuck in a relationship. Ironically, as we were writing we were the ones that got stuck, left with almost no song and a lot of frustration until Fink walked into the room.

On the final day, we put together a feminist pop hit called ‘Trophy Wife’, which you can listen to here: Linda Esperanza – Trophy Wife

Working with Fink

The group of BIMM University Berlin students from Music Production, Songwriting and Popular Music Performance surround singer, songwriter and composer Fink. Fink is crouching in the middle of the group.

”Don’t be afraid to be cheesy. Every great song is 80% familiar and 20% new.”

At the camp we learned that our futures can be anything we want  we just need the right people to make it possible. It doesn’t matter how stressful the process can be – pop music is hard work. Irrespective of how we get there, we will have a song by the end of the day and with it we’ll tell a story.

This Songwriting Camp was all about experimentation, respect and testing one’s limits. I joked with Fink, “By the end of it I will definitely need therapy.” To which he replied: “My dear, this is your therapy.”

Once again, he was right. The three days of intense writing resulted in awesome work, great friendships and new stories. Just like a song can last forever, so will all the wisdom we absorbed from Fink during his Songwriting Camp.

‘Trophy Wife’ credits

Written by: Austin Hilton, Kieper, Lino Aurelien Meier and Linda Esperanza

Vocals: Linda Esperanza

Backing vocals: Lucie Frank

Listen here: Linda Esperanza – Trophy Wife

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