Frankie Cosmos’ Songwriting Survival Kit

Frankie Cosmos Songwriting Survival Kit

New York indie-pop singer-songwriter Greta Kline – aka Frankie Cosmos – talks through the items that she can’t do without

Sharing is caring, which is why we’ve been encouraging you all to share your #songwritingsurvivalkit with us on social media. Whether it’s the tatty notebook that’s attached to you, or your trusty old guitar and amp, we want to see those pieces of kit that are essential to your songwriting life and will be re-posting all of the images that you hashtag.

For this issue, New York indie-pop singer-songwriter, Greta Kline – better known by her stage name Frankie Cosmos – talks us through the items that she can’t do without…


I always have a notebook on me and write down everything I can, including lots of bad ideas and boring nonsense. When I go to write a song I often start with the lyrics, and I use my notebook to keep track of every step of the lyric-writing process. Something I learned in a writing class is to never erase…only cross stuff out but leave it intelligible so you can see what you changed!


I go through phases of writing on other instruments, but guitar is my favorite to mess around on. I’m usually working on a chord progression around a melody or lyrics, or sometimes writing a guitar part from scratch (before I have a vocal part), but my favorite thing to do is just sit back and make everything up on the spot and see what comes out. It can be very healing, and sometimes leads to cool ideas for later.


I use this when I’m out in the world, to record voice memos of me humming or whistling melody ideas, or sometimes singing melodies with lyrics.


When I am working on a song I sometimes record myself playing each idea onto PhotoBooth or Garageband. I like to sing ideas in a spontaneous way, which sometimes leads to changes to the original melody idea. Sometimes I end up with a bunch of videos of me playing the same idea in slightly different ways, and then I’ll piece them together.


I don’t record demos with any nice equipment… When I’m working on demos, I usually just play acoustic guitar into my laptop’s internal mic, and then I use earbuds to add the vocals. I’ve grown to really like making demos with my earbuds’ mic!

Frankie Cosmos’ third album Vessel is out now. more info at

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