I'd been wracking my brain on how I might be able to get away to write songs with my friends for a while. As a new mum, I've struggled to find an escape from the dishes, nappies and gah gah, and was fearful that my new love for music was going to soon fade (I released by first solo album when I was 8 months pregnant). I love the way writing a song with someone really deepens your friendship and helps you learn more about yourself. Writing with someone is a really personal experience, and for me it can be quite a spiritual release where I have the opportunity to talk to someone about my deep feelings or work on changing my perspective on something that is bothering me. You can do that by writing a funny song or by using your imagination to change a theme from something serious and dreary to something fictional and dream-like.
With the help of my recently unemployed mate and fellow songwriter Megan Cooper, we trawled Air B'nB and google searched for something that might fit the description for a weekend songwriting retreat. It needed to have private spaces for writing and sleeping, it needed to feel like a real holiday away from home, preferably something with a large fridge for all the wine and a bubble bath with a nice view. Yeah right! After travelling probably 1000kms interviewing venue owners and spying off their land (baby in tow of course), we came to a dead end, and Megsie got a bloody job.
And then it dawned on me... The Wild Mountains!
The Wild Mountains is a special place for me. When I was 13, I attended a "Youth Earth Symposium", a camp for kids from schools all over South East Queesland who had a love for Mother Earth and wanted to feel more connected to it. It was a safe, imaginative and inspiring place for me to be, and when I returned home, I remember Mum saying "what has this done to you?!" (as I quickly got a separate bin for the recycling and started building a frog pond). Richard and Susan who organised the event are now nestled on the top of a hill at The Wild Mountains, and I have continued to visit them, 23 years on.
Part of me was worried that the guests of the songwriting weekend wouldn't love The Wild Mountains as much as, me but I was totally wrong.
" The Wild Mountains was the perfect place to get away from the city and write songs. In fact it was the perfect place to get away for any reason. Beautiful views, fresh air, great little camping area and well appointed communal hall. I felt welcomed and it was a real honor to be invited to such a special place. The food was lovely, the walk around the forest was beautiful and seeing so many stars is always a revelation" Kellie Lloyd, participant
The artists who came along were..
Kellie Lloyd - Screamfeeder, Solo Artist, Warm Guns
Tim Steward - Screamfeeder, We All Want To, Solo artist
Kahl Wallis - The Medics, Solo artist
Ben Hale - The Loveless Union, Solo artist
Megan Cooper - Solo artist
Emma Bosworth - Solo artist, The Soldiers Wife
We wrote six songs in total. Each 24 hours we swapped writing partners and did it all over again, in a completely different way, with a completely different result. And then after each lunch we performed our new creations for everyone. There were goosebumps, laughs and tears.
Thank you so much to Richard, Susan, Liz and Rohan for making us all feel so welcome and comfortable in your special place. We all want to come back.