THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Cy Winstanley of Tattletale Saints

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THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Cy Winstanley of Tattletale Saints

The annual APRA Silver Scroll award acknowledges excellence in songwriting, so at Elsewhere we modified our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire and tailored it to be specifically about the craft of songwriting for this year's five finalists.

These five  were decided by the 10,000 strong APRA membership – all songwriters or composers themselves – who voted for their champion for 2013. The Silver Scroll award is New Zealand’s only peer-voted songwriting award, and is widely considered the most prestigious songwriting award in the country.

Since 1965 the Silver Scroll Award has paid tribute to an impressive list of songwriters, with an honour roll that includes Ray Columbus, Neil Finn, Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, Chris Knox, Brooke Fraser and The Naked and Famous.

Answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire by last year's Apra Silver Scroll finalists are here.

Oh, and last year's winner's answers are here.

The 2013 APRA Silver Scroll Awards will be held at Vector Arena in Auckland on Tuesday 15th October, and will be live-streamed via NZ Herald Online.

But as to this year . . . here is Cy Winstanley -- one half of Tattle Tale Saints with Vanessa McGowan -- for which he wrote Complicated Man.

The first song which really affected you was . . .

I suppose not technically a song as it has no lyrics, but ‘Lenny’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan was a teenage classic for me. Many great faces were pulled while playing air guitar to it.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

I had a great guitar teacher who inspired me in my first few years, a lovely guy and a great player. Though on one occasion I remember him calling and asking me to bring him a sandwhich prior to a lesson - possibly an insight into my future financial state as a musician.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

Randy Newman.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Prince or Pink?

Lennon-McCartney, Michael Jackson, Prince.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father - Randy Newman

By the Time I Get to Phoenix - Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell

Desperados Under the Eaves - Warren Zevon

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

There’s no set in stone method, but typically an idea will start as both a lyrical and melodic one, but only a line or a verse at the maximum. I then put aside the melody and work on the lyrics, with the melody forming throughout the process, or nearer the end.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

In the Country of Country – Nicholas Dawidoff

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . . 

Danny Elfman.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Patty Griffin – American Kid.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

‘They look tired, but they don’t look Haggard

They got money but they don’t have Cash

They got junior but they don’t have Hank’

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

3% / 97%!

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

Very nearly, but had a few clanger lines in it that couldn’t be ignored.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best song ever?”

Bad lines in songs are like judder bars on a race track, they always jarr when you pass. Thus far, the Complicated Man track is pretty smooth, though, it is only a fresh track.

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