What makes a great song? Gary Barlow has written some of the most beloved of recent years, and in this series he meets fellow songwriters to discover the stories behind the songs.
Gary Barlow talks to the international superstar Barry Manilow about his life and career. Reluctant to take centre stage and preferring the life of accompanist and arranger, Manilow graduated to singing his own songs after writing advertising jingles and working in American television on an early forerunner of an X Factor style talent show. He talks about how he was reluctant to record a song called 'Brandy', but how as' Mandy' it gave him his breakthrough hit; how songs like 'Copacobana' came to be written; and how important the musical arrangements of his songs still are to him after a career that has included some 75 million record sales, countless performances, television shows, albums and musicals from Brooklyn to Broadway.
02/09/2021 • 31 minutes 30 seconds
In episode three of Gary Barlow’s ‘We Write the Songs’ Gary talks to Jeff Lynne. Not only a songwriter, but also producer, sound engineer, instrumentalist and singer. The two discuss the inspiration behind the Electric Light Orchestra, how Lynne works in the studio to achieve his tracks, how the musical ideas are born and how he writes his lyrics. They talk about the importance of chord sequences to his work and how one of Jeff Lynne’s most famous songs ‘Mr Blue Sky’ came to be. They also discuss Lynne’s collaborations and producing successes with ‘The Travelling Wilburys, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
02/09/2021 • 35 minutes 59 seconds
Sir Paul McCartney
The legendary Sir Paul McCartney talks to Gary Barlow about the art of songwriting and what it was really like to work with everyone from John Lennon to George Martin to Kanye West. He reveals how he and John Lennon only began writing songs because other bands were performing the same covers as them at The Cavern Club.
He shares the powerful influence Sir George Martin had on their songs and how he and John Lennon rarely wrote any musical notation down. That meant they would often arrive in the studio, not remembering their own melodies and having to recall them just from the chords and lyrics. Sir Paul also describes how the brilliance of George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the studio added to the magic of some of the best songs ever made.
02/09/2021 • 34 minutes 43 seconds
Gary Barlow gets personal with one of the most successful song writers of all time. Max Martin has made hits for Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Celine Dion and more. He's won ASCAP's Best Songwriter of the Year eleven times and sold more than 140 million records. He's also written the West End music '& Juliet' based on his own songs. Successful as he is, Max Martin keeps an incredibly low profile. In this rare interview, he explains how he works, what it takes to make a hit and how he collaborates with the world’s biggest stars.
02/09/2021 • 34 minutes 24 seconds
Gary Barlow and Sheryl Crow share the stories behind the songs - and there are alot of them! Sheryl has sold over 50 million records and won 9 Grammys. Follow her journey from singing backing vocals on Michael Jackson's Bad Tour to composing a Bond theme. She explains how her songwriting changed as life evolved from battling Breast Cancer and Depression to becoming a single parent. Discover how she finally learnt not to go to an instrument to solve all her problems. Plus enjoy Bob Dylan's unique advice for conquering writer's block. A fascinating insight into the exceptionally talented songwriter behind the anthems All I Want To Do, Tomorrow Never Dies and Everyday Is A Winding Road
02/09/2021 • 37 minutes 27 seconds
Gary Barlow chats to Sam Fischer - the Australian songwriter behind the viral hit ‘This City’ which has been streamed over 275 million times. Apart from creating his own music he also writes for other artists including Clean Bandit, Jennifer Hudson and Demi Lovato. Sam revealed how he went from being broke and dropped by his first record label to touring with Lewis Capaldi. He speaks from the heart, explaining how honesty is always the best policy when it comes to writing songs.
02/09/2021 • 32 minutes 41 seconds
Sam Smith and Gary Barlow sit down to uncover the stories behind the songs. Since exploding onto the music scene in 2012, Sam has won four Grammy Awards and an Oscar whilst consistently topping the charts with their legendary lyrics and vocals. Sam shares their soul so honestly with Gary - revealing how they wrote anthems like 'Stay With Me' and the Bond theme 'Writing’s on the Wall', and what happened at their house party to celebrate 4 Grammy wins. Find out whether success swallows creativity and some songwriting secrets from the artist who's written for Celine Dion and Mary J Blige.
02/09/2021 • 33 minutes 46 seconds
Gary Barlow talks to illustrious artist Paloma Faith about her award winning career including her five platinum selling albums; the latest 'Infinite Things' a lockdown creation. Paloma shares her creative process and how she came to the music industry, her insatiable drive and what it was like working with Prince, Pharrell Williams and Diane Warren. Paloma and Gary also talk honesty about how to craft great songs under heavy pressure
02/09/2021 • 33 minutes 16 seconds
Gary Barlow chats to MNEK, a modern musical icon amongst the LGBTQ+ community and award winning artist, producer, and writer. He reveals how he wrote the number 1 hit ‘Head and Heart’ with Joel Corry and how he got discovered as a songwriter at just 14 years old. With billions of collective streams and millions of global fans, he explains what it’s really like collaborating with Madonna, Dua Lipa, Duke Dumont, and more. Find out the true stories behind the songs.
02/09/2021 • 35 minutes 45 seconds
Gary Barlow chats to superstar John Legend about his extensive collection of awards including what it’s like to be one of fifteen people with an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony award). John is not only a singer and songwriter, he is also a record producer, actor, film producer, theatre director, and philanthropist. Gary explores John’s early influences whilst growing up in a musical family in Springfield Ohio and the crucial collaborations which paved the way to stardom. John shares the story of how he met Kanye West, who played a pivotal part in his career as well as opening up about his recent family tragedy and the impact it’s had on his relationship with his wife, Chrissy Teigen
02/09/2021 • 35 minutes 58 seconds
Gary Barlow extends his personal conversations with some of the world’s most exciting songwriters as he delves beyond the melodies and lyrics to discover the stories behind the songs. Talking to the songwriting genius Barry Gibb from his home in Miami, Barry reveals what it was like to work with Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. He also reveals how he faced the music after his brothers passed away. Barry and Gary agreed there was ‘nothing normal about being in a pop group’ and Barry shared how he’s stayed sane in a music career that has lasted over six decades. He also spoke about his new album ‘Greenfields’ which he recorded in the RCA studios in Nashville with Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John and more. As part of the Bee Gees Barry sold over 220 million records and his songs topped the charts decade after decade - sounding fresh and legendary at the same time. Tragedy, Words and Islands In The Stream all came from the musical mind of this songwriting master.