May/June 2022 Lyric Contest Winner: Rachel Gore on Co-Writing and Motivation

Rachel Gore scored first place in the competitive American Songwriter Lyric Contest for May/June of 2022. We caught up with Gore to ask about her award-winning lyrics in the song “Out Where The Wind Blows Free,” co-written with Thomm Jutz.

Read the conversation between American Songwriter and Rachel Gore below.

What was the inspiration for “Ain’t No Wrong Way”?
I wrote “Ain’t No Wrong Way” after graduating from college in 2020. It was the first song of several that I have co-written with Thomm Jutz, who was actually one of my songwriting professors at Belmont University. After graduation, I felt a little directionless. I had always had big plans for this time of my life, but the pandemic halted those, and I had to take a step back and re-evaluate. I think that “Ain’t No Wrong Way” really became a letter to myself, and a reminder that any path I choose to take is the right one for me.

How long have you been writing lyrics?
For as long as I can remember! Before I could physically write them out, I would have my Mom pen lyrics that I spoke to her. I have stacks of journals from age 6 to current day stacked in my closet. Writing has always been second nature to me.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter today before the deadline:

Have you written music for this lyric? If so, how would you describe it?
Yes—Thomm and I wrote the melody after constructing the lyrics during our co-write. It’s an upbeat bluegrass tune. I typically write Americana/folk music but wanted to try going more bluegrass with this co-write and I really love the way it turned out.

How long does it usually take you to finish a lyric or song? How about this one?  
It truly differs for each song. This one took us about an hour to complete and we both recorded our parts for the demo (remotely) the same day as well! Some songs take months to flesh out, but “Ain’t No Wrong Way” came very naturally. 

Do you prefer co-writing or solo writing?   
I have written solo for most of my life, but have really come to appreciate co-writing over the past few years. It was definitely emphasized to me while studying Songwriting in college because there are so many cool surprises that can happen when writing with others. I love bouncing ideas off of people and I find that the songs I’m able to create with co-writers are often outside of my usual genre/style. It keeps things interesting! 

What keeps you motivated as a songwriter?  
The little moments in the mundane, immersing myself in a book, poetry, listening to podcasts, overhearing a stranger’s conversation at the grocery store, and the list goes on. When an idea sparks, I run with it and try to flesh it out, but I have to be consistent with my writing to stay motivated. It’s truly a muscle you have to exercise!

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter today before the deadline:

Are there any songwriters, artists, or events that have especially inspired you lately?  
Since December of last year, I’ve taken two songwriting classes through the School of Song, which hosts virtual songwriting classes with some really incredible artists, and they have both been really incredible. The most recent class I took was with Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, one of my all-time favorite bands. He shared a lot of new techniques and offered feedback on our songs we wrote for the class. Overall, it was honestly just inspiring to be with a group of 500-some songwriters of all skill levels participating together and lifting each other up. 

What are your songwriting goals?  
I’m currently writing and recording my first collection of songs set to be released this year, which was a huge goal of mine for a while. I’d also love to have a song that I’ve written be recorded by another artist.

What is your idea of a perfect song?  
Obviously, this differs for everyone, but to me, a perfect song is captivating. You can just feel it. I find songs every now and then that I have to replay over and over again for days. I can’t explain it at all. I’m also a sucker for traditional rhyme schemes and lots of imagery.

Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why? 
Guy Clark, John Prine, Gillian Welch—the iconic storytellers, of course. I think it takes a really talented person to not only be able to articulate their own experiences, but also others’ experiences as if they were their own. In addition, I’ve become a huge fan of some of the lesser-known female folk musicians of the 20th century. Judee Sill’s writing has really left a mark on me—I love her use of religious undertones and the intimacy in her lyrics. 

Read Rachel and Thomm’s winning lyrics HERE

Check out the Judges’ insights HERE.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Gore

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