In February I attended a Vox session in my capacity as a radio producer. It was a songwriting workshop on the subject of supervision, and I was to record interviews with the participants and create some kind of podcast. It was an opportunity that I was thrilled to have: to see people who had been subject to supervision in the criminal justice system working with respected songwriters. How would it work? And what would the participants get out of it? I planned to observe from the sidelines, but I immediately realised that wasn’t an option. I was going to have to write a song too. Something I’ve never done. How on earth would I?
We looked at a display of photographs. We brainstormed words and phrases that the photographs suggested. Then from these images and words I pieced a song together. And while I had no experience of the criminal justice system, I did have feelings about the supervisory nature of parenthood, so I worked a kind of message to my daughter into the song.
Which is where it turned into magic. I don’t think the songwriters involved in Vox can really appreciate this. They’re used to their songs going out into the world. But for the rest of us, those of us participating in the workshops, it’s a revelation and an astonishing achievement. That feelings you wouldn’t usually share can be crafted into a song, a work of art that exists in the world, that’s yours forever. It really is incredible what you can do with the right help.