McGoozer’s Songwriting Survival Kit

18 October, 2018 in Features, Gear, Interviews

McGoozer's piano

McGoozer’s piano: “I’m not the best piano player in the world but I find it really useful…”

When this Scottish songwriter can’t find inspiration in his books and gear, he seeks it out on the open road

Back in the summer 2017 issue of our magazine we interviewed singer-songwriter Paul McGee, aka McGoozer, and were charmed by his infectious nature and the mature pop music of his debut album Songs From The Mirror. Such was the popularity of the record that a deluxe version is being released this month, with an additional three tracks including latest single Don’t Go.

This bumper reissue gives us a chance to delve a little deeper into McGoozer’s process and find out about the essential writing tools which helped the record take shape…

“I find that writing a song is never the same twice, so it’s really interesting to experiment with different routines to see which ones work best for you. Sometimes it’ll be a melody that pops into my head, or it may be an interesting lyric or title that conjures up a certain image or story. Also, on many occasions, I’ve just been noodling around on the guitar and a particular chord sequence will inspire a feeling or emotion.

“Either way I always think it’s exciting to go with the flow and embrace the initial seed of an idea and see what that seed may grow into. Don’t be afraid to write down, or sing, a lot of nonsense in the beginning. Sometimes it’s just good to see if a phrase or sentence sings well or fits in with the melody you have in mind.”


1. My trusty acoustic guitar
“I’ve had a few over the years but my Takamine G Series has been through the most with me. It’s not a particularly expensive guitar but it sounds great. It’s been all around the world with me and has never let me down – from gigs in the pouring rain to late night acoustic jams on the beach and everything in between. It’s like a sweet sounding indestructible tank. A great workhorse guitar. I also have an Epiphone Gibson electric guitar that I love for bringing different flavours and dynamics and taking a song somewhere that an acoustic wouldn’t go.”

McGoozer's guitars

McGoozer’s guitars: “I find it useful to have a selection of other instruments around to play around with”

2. Other instruments
“I find it useful to have a selection of other instruments around to play around with. I have an old battered piano at home. I’m not the best piano player in the world but I find it really useful for using different chords sequences or sounds to inspire you to which direction a song may go, which I might not come up with on guitar.”

3. My ukulele
“Love this little guy. I got this as a present when I was going on tour for a few months as a fun thing to pass the time while I was away and it actually became an integral part of what became my first single last year. Again, as it sounds completely different to an acoustic guitar, it inspired different melodies and a different overall soundscape to the song.”

The road view from the US tour bus

The road view from the US tour bus: “If you haven’t got a car or don’t drive, then go for a walk”

4. Somewhere to escape to
“Sometimes there’s no substitute for clearing your head. Especially if you live in a busy city environment. I spend a lot of time on the road, driving to gigs and that can often be a time when I’ll be hit with an idea, as it’s a great opportunity for your mind to wander. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to pull over and stop the car, to record a melody or lyric into my phone at the side of the road. If you haven’t got a car or don’t drive, then go for a walk. A break from the general day-to-day madness can be really inspiring, no matter how short.”

5. My phone
“An essential part of the overall puzzle for sure. From noting down lyrics to recording melody ideas or even just rambling about a possible idea for a song. Then listening back the next day to see if anything I said made any sense.”

McGoozer's books

McGoozer’s books: “It’s so cool to learn how the people at the top of the music industry got to where they are”

6. Biographies
“I love a musician or band biography. It’s so cool to learn how the people at the top of the music industry got to where they are. I have books on Dave Grohl, Madonna, U2, James Taylor, Queen, Sting, Jack Black. and loads more. My favourite musical insight book is A Hard Days Write which tells you the inspirations and details behind all The Beatles music. It’s such a great look into how it’s done at the highest level. Really great for songwriting tips and tricks too.”

“These tips may not work for everyone but they all, in their own way, help me tell the stories that I have spinning around in my head and for that, I’m truly grateful. Music is such a huge part of our everyday life and I’m so glad to be able to join in.”


Songs In The Mirror Deluxe and new single Don’t Go are both out on now on Right Track Records. For more info, head to mcgoozer.com



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