Burlington, Ontario-based co-writers Chelsea McWilliams and Tim Allard (two of the four members of The Redhill Valleys) scored 1st Place in the July/August 2021 American Songwriter Lyric Contest for their song “Anymore.” American Songwriter caught up with The Redhill Valleys to get the scoop on the lyric’s inspiration and their musical influences.
American Songwriter: What was the inspiration for “Anymore”?
The Redhill Valleys: It started with the first line, I don’t want to dream anymore, which felt like a powerful concept—the idea of trying not to do something that is inevitably out of your control. It’s about trying to get over someone by avoiding anything that triggers memories of that person, even though the attempt is futile.
AS: How long have you been writing lyrics?
TRV: We have both been writing songs since we were teenagers. When our band The Redhill Valleys formed 6 years ago, we started writing together.
AS: Have you written music for this lyric? If so, how would you describe it?
TRV: The music and the lyrics for “Anymore” developed simultaneously. It existed for a long time as a demo that Tim recorded in our apartment. When we finally played it together as a full band, it took shape as a wistful Americana/Rock mid-tempo ballad of sorts.
AS: How long does it usually take you to finish a lyric or song? How about this one?
TRV: We have gotten lucky having finished some songs in 20 minutes, but most take up to a few months for us to really feel satisfied with them. “Anymore” existed for almost an entire year before we finally finished writing it.
AS: Do you prefer co-writing or solo writing?
TRV: Most of our songs start out individually written until one of us gets fed up enough to ask the other for help. So, ultimately we prefer co-writing.
AS: What keeps you motivated as a songwriter?
TRV: For us, it’s being part of a band that keeps us motivated to write. It’s a thrill to take a song that just existed on paper hours prior and then hear it fully realized and amplified in rehearsal.
Since 1984, the American Songwriter Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters gain exposure and have fun.
AS: Are there any songwriters, artists or events that have especially inspired you lately?
TRV: Any time an artist we love releases new music, we get excited, which always sparks creativity for us.
AS: How long have you been writing songs, and what are your songwriting goals?
TRV: We have been writing songs together for 6 years. As songwriters, it would be a dream come true to have a major artist record one of our songs, but for now we hope to keep improving and write the best songs we can for our band.
AS: How do you find time to write amid life’s many demands?
TRV: The time when we feel creative or inspired to write comes in waves. Scheduling daily dedicated songwriting time in the mornings has been a great routine for us, whether we’re feeling creative or not.
AS: What is your idea of a perfect song?
TRV: If we knew the answer to this, we’d probably be better songwriters (laughs)
AS: Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why?
TRV: Tom Petty, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, The Beatles, and William Bell, to name a few, have written songs that have impacted our lives on every level imaginable. We have carried their music with us through every moment and milestone, and continue to be inspired by it every day.
Read the winning lyrics here.