Snow Patrol singer says collaborating with fans helped ease songwriting struggle

The band has released an EP of songs written with their supporters.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has told how collaborating with fans over social media helped him overcome his decade-long struggle with lyric-writing.

The Northern Irish singer, 44, hosted songwriting sessions with fans each Saturday on Instagram Live during the first months of lockdown.

The result of those meetings, which sometimes featured as many as 5,000 fans, has now been released as The Fireside Sessions, with proceeds going to the Trussell Trust anti-poverty charity.

Lightbody told the PA news agency: “Over the last 10 years the biggest pain in the arse for me has been writing the lyrics.

“For whatever reason, I just take it more seriously these days than I used to.

“I want to get it perfect even when it is impossible.

“There was still a lot of piecing together to do here, but even just those fragments do really help speed the process along.

“It’s really fun for me. I didn’t know it would be this much fun.

“It feels like the complete opposite way to how I would normally work. This way feels like I’m doing it in reverse.”

Lightbody said the lyrics are the foundation of songs rather than “the icing on the cake”.

He added: “You’ve got the lyrics already. That’s so unusual for me. I’ve only ever written one song lyrics-first in 25 years.”

Across 11 weeks, Lightbody and the so-called Saturday Songwriters wrote 12 full songs together.

Although he contributed lyrics, Lightbody’s “unwritten rule” was that each line of the song should feature a fan’s lyric.

Five of these tracks, including the single Reaching Out To You, appear on the EP.

Graham Norton Show – London
Snow Patrol performing on the Graham Norton Show in 2011 (Nick Ansell/PA)

Lightbody, who lives in Los Angeles, said he began to collaborate with fans by chance but soon found himself interacting with thousands at once.

He said: “At the time I was doing stuff on Instagram every day but I’m not doing that now because I am sick of the sight of my own face.

“I was trying to think of things that would be a bit more interesting than just playing songs.

“The original time I did it, it was with no thought that we were actually going to get a song or that it was even going to work. I just thought, ‘Let’s try it’.

“I went live and didn’t really know what I was doing.

“I have written songs on other people’s albums that maybe have five or six people in the room but not like 5,000 people. It was a completely new idea as far as I was concerned.”

The Fireside Sessions by Snow Patrol And The Saturday Songwriters is out now.

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