Thiago Correa has been playing and writing music his whole life. He pursued his passion by joining Diesel (A.K.A. Udora) in 1997. After success in Brazil, Diesel went to the United States to pursue the American market and changed its name to Udora. After successfully touring in America to record crowds, there was a dissolution of the band and Thiago, back in Brazil, teamed up with his bandmate Leonardo Marques to form Transmissor. Thiago and Transmissor found success on Brazilian Radio with two singles from their debut album. From bass player to guitar player and contributing songwriter, Thiago is a successful singer/songwriter on all counts, and we had the honor and privilege of interviewing him about his songwriting process. Here is that interview.
BTS: What was the reason you started writing songs?
Thiago: I started off as a side musician. and by doing so I always had examples to follow, like virtual mentors who inspired me to be better and reach higher levels of that artistry. Some day when I was reading some Bio I realized that most of the people I admired the most had one thing in common: they all were proud and made very clear that they’re best moments and highlights were playing among great composers and artists in general. That thing got stuck in my head, as I, by that time, saw that I wasn’t getting the big picture. What I was doing felt great but to feel complete, I knew I had to write my own stuff. It was a matter of time and I felt the urge to write songs.
BTS: What was the first song you ever wrote about?
Thiago: Recently I found a scrap of a song I wrote when I was eleven years old. It talked about random feelings and was somehow a little delusional and crazy. I can’t really recall what was the first song I wrote about but when I did in fact start to write songs I know it was something that I couldn’t hold in myself. It had to do with relationship and the whole feeling of moving back home and starting over after spending many years in another country.
BTS: What is your most current song written about?
Thiago: These days I mostly write about human interactions and relationships in a way that I try to put on paper the feelings and impressions that I get resulting from those experiences. I tend to be over dramatic when I write. So afterwards I try to polish whatever I had written the day before by cutting the emotion so it doesn’t sound “weepy” or exaggerated.
BTS: Where do you derive inspiration from?
Thiago: Usually I get inspired by what happens in my life and somehow I can’t properly process without getting emotionally poisoned. That situation keeps banging in my head until it comes out as music. Its kind of a way to respond to the feeling that was bothering me… like when you have an argument with someone and later on you try to recreate that scene, thinking what would be the best lines you could use to win it. Sometimes I get inspired by something that moves me like a song or a movie. But sometimes when I have a song in my head, I make up words for the lyrics that I generally don’t know and I end up with a brand new song. The only trouble is shaping then in a way that it doesn’t sound like a copy of the original song it derived from.
BTS: Who were your musical influences in the beginning of your songwriting?
Thiago: As much as I know its is a unconscious process, I can recall been influenced by my band mates back in US. We were under so much pressure to write by the record company and were taught a lot of ways to write pretentious HIT songs that I absorbed that and in a way found a path to structure ideas in the form of songs. Those moments were more influential then a random person. But I can say that my influences came from that process combined with some popular Brazilian artists that my parents used to listen to in my childhood.
BTS: Who are your musical influences now?
Thiago: Working as a music producer and in order to be able to do so, I have to listen to as much music as I can. That of course changes my influences and I’m not influenced just by the things that I enjoy. I’m touched by all sorts of artistic expressions and I naturally see those different colors coming out of my pores.
BTS: Do you have a method of writing, place, vibe, setting, instrument you prefer to write on? And why?
Thiago: When I try to organize things and do it as planned, usually I don’t get the results I was hoping for. I get stuck very often in the preliminary stages when I’m writing. I did develop a system to build up an idea once its already substantial somehow. But I have no method when it comes to the first stroke of inspiration. It comes from the most unusual places I would think about, and in the most strange situations. Like when I’m not supposed to have that inspiration. Like having an idea for a song while playing another completely different tune at some gig or maybe at a funeral. I tend to have the best ideas when I’m under some pressure like running late to a appointment or catching a flight. As far as the instrument of choice, I like to use sometimes a instrument I don’t know how to play. That sends me in a totally new universe far from my contort zone.
BTS: What elements do you think contribute to making a great song?
Thiago: I believe it depends a lot on the ultimate goal of each particular song. However, we can say that a good pop song needs objectiveness to deliver a clear motif and a so called “hook” to be remembered. On the other hand an instrumental piece may benefit more from great musicianship, virtuosity etc, but those are general concepts and we can’t mistake those as hard rules that need to be followed anyway. In my opinion, the most valuable things in a great song are honesty and the ability to connect. Naturally, not trying desperately to do so.
BTS: How do you push past writer’s block?
Thiago: I stop. I’ll do something else and sometimes it strikes me back with no warning. When it takes too long I don’t worry about it. Often its because I didn’t have something really good after all.
BTS: What would be your advice to a beginner songwriter trying to make their way and trying to express themselves musically?
Thiago: Write what you have in mind without over thinking. be honest to yourself. That may prevent you from getting started in the first place. If you have the time and desire, write as much as you can. Trying to hold until something feels “special” enough can also be a problem. You will always have the time to revise your work later and change whatever is needed. And its also very important: I learned that later than I wanted. Have a lot of references around all the time. Listen to a lot of different music, read many books, and watch movies. You will then feel more often inspired and compelled to get it out musically.
Thiago is always touring with Transmissor. Look for their tour dates and work as they continue to move forward successfully in the music industry. Connect with them on their Official Website: http://transmissor.tnb.art.br/
Follow Transmissor on Twitter: @transmissor
And on their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/transmissoroficial?fref=ts