Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are asking the public for help writing a new song. Photo courtesy of Eric Alper

Fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy may have sold hundreds of thousands of albums and earned Grammy and Juno wins, but they are turning to other musicians for help in writing for their next album.

The pair, who share 14 Juno nominations — with four wins — and a variety of other awards between them, are working on their next album and have been spending a lot of time writing new material. For one of the songs though, MacMaster and Leahy are reaching out to the public for help.

They started the song and wrote the first half of the melody within only a few minutes, according to MacMaster, but were struggling to come up with a second half. After some discussion of how nice it would be to send the song to another writer to finish it, the idea for the COVID Co-Write was born. 

“Let’s do a co-write with someone out there in the world. Let’s put it out to anyone who wants to take a shot at it,” says MacMaster. 

“It has since developed into us really wanting any musician, of any level, on any instrument, in any genre to hear the melody that we wrote and see if they’re interested in writing and becoming a co-writer just to try something and see if they can come up with a beautiful end to the story.” 

The first half of the melody is posted on MacMaster’s Facebook and entries can be submitted to until July 31 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

They’ve already received around 200 entries from around the world — MacMaster says they continue to be amazed by the creativity. 

“With every entry that we hear it’s just, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh that worked, I never would have thought of that’ and that’s what’s been most awesome about it.”

With so many entries, the winner will need to stand out above the rest, but MacMaster isn’t entirely sure what entrants can do to separate themselves from the pack.

“I can’t predict what I haven’t thought of,” says MacMaster “It’s all about what works with what’s already there.”

“I want it to be great, I really do, I don’t want it just to be a passing tune on the record, I want it to be a stand out.”]

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