By Valerie Milano
Photos By Eric Roderick
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/6/22 – Patrick Davis, the “fearless leader” of Songwriters In Paradise fame, is a singer/songwriter from South Carolina. Growing up in a family of deep musical talent, Davis began playing the guitar in high school, occasionally joining his father’s band for a performance. He learned a slew of rock classics and honed in on his musical skills.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Davis moved to Nashville and started performing at various bars and cafés. He also played in a few different bands, eventually getting the opportunity to open for Pat Green. https://www.patgreen.com/ That led to Green asking him to write several songs, giving Davis headway to write for other artists in Texas.
For several years Davis enjoyed his success, but the music industry was steadily changing, which made him realize that his royalty payment would also suffer the consequences of a changing market. So, he transitioned back into performing and began playing dates in the Bahamas. However, he wanted to offer something more distinctive, so he invited several songwriting friends for an intimate event that included rhetoric about their songs and songwriting processes to accompany the performances.
“About 10 years ago I started toying around with the idea, it was sort of a happy accident,” Davis told THT in an exclusive interview at SIP Cabo’s home base the Bahia Hotel and Beach House https://www.bahiacabo.com/. “The concept came together as a business about 4-5 years ago.”
Davis fell in love with his newfound idea and started Songwriters in Paradise (SIP). Over a decade later, he continues to spearhead SIP events in the Bahamas expanding to Cabo, Napa, and Sonoma. THT was very thrilled to receive a four-day press pass to join Davis and his songwriter friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. And thank you to Big Hassle media https://www.bighassle.com/ for the help they gave the THT team.
The event not only brings songwriters together, but it also keeps Davis connected to his first love. He spoke about the artistic process to us. “Usually, songwriters think about the next song; everything sounds like a song,” he said. “So many of the most popular songs that we all know, and love were overheard conversations at a bar, or you hear someone say something. Last night Chris Stills played ‘Love the One You’re With’ which his dad Stephen Stills wrote, and he played it for us last night, and; the story behind that song is that he overheard someone at a party say can’t be with the one you love, love the one you are with. And those are the types of things that we are always looking for.”
Songs with a story are what make up the essence of Songwriters in Paradise, and collaboration is an important part of that. “In Nashville, we’ll usually write with another writer or two writers, and we’ll ask each other, hey do you have any ideas today?” he told us. “We kick around ideas and sit there with the guitar or around the piano. One thing leads to another, then hopefully, by lunchtime, you have like a verse or maybe a chorus. Then you go to lunch, come back, sit down, and try to knock out the rest of the song. It’s not one way to do it. There are a million ways to skin a cat.”
So how did he come up with the literally breathtaking lineup at SIP Cabo? The answer is surprisingly simple and heartwarming. “They are all my friends,” he said. “I’ve been making music for about 25 years, so my contact list is extensive. I essentially invite my friends.”
Given the nature of the high profile event, however, he does get outside requests. “I get requests from people asking to come and perform, but I’d instead stick to people I know,” Davis explained. “For me, it’s essential to stick with people I know because what happens on stage usually occurs off the location and the SIP Cabo is a very tight-knit group. At a sold-out SIP event, we only allow a group of about 75. Then, of course, we do the big shows, but those are not as fun as all of us getting to hang out amongst ourselves and have this week together. I want people to treat everyone there with respect and kindness, so that’s why it works better with just my friends.”
Indeed, both Patrick’s expertise and the expanse of his pool of musician friends is impressive. And it all shows in the lineup, which also typically includes some fresh talent. “In the past seven to eight years of doing this, there’s been about 40-50 people that have been at the different events,” he explained. “I try to have about 10-15 writers at each different one. So, I try to keep about 4-5 familiar faces and add 4-5 new people to keep the vibe going.”
As far as the event’s spectacular locations, however, he doesn’t like to play favorites, and is diplomatic in his response. “Well, they are all so different,” Davis noted. “I do love Cabo; the weather and the food are incredible and its very convenient. Napa and Healdsburg both extraordinary because I’m a bit of a wine snob and you don’t get any better wine than that. It’s really hard to pick a favorite each one has it’s own thing to offer.”
Davis’ ever-growing event is also a favorite among serious musicians who favor a boutique atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy the high profile attention it has inevitably brought to the excellent event. “To a certain degree, it’s always lovely to have the press to get a blurb here and there,” he said. “It’s suitable for the hotel and getting them some promotion because they’re incredibly good to us. But, for us, it’s not necessarily about the press but more about the camaraderie of being able to hang out together. So, yeah, it’s nice to have some, but my press will come when I release a new album. Also, it’s a nice little secret that has grown over the years. But, again, SIP events are not for the masses and are intimate. This is an anti-meet-and-greet, instead of just standing in line, meeting the artist, and snapping a photo to post on Instagram.”
And with that, Patrick distilled down what SIP events are all about. Something music lovers can truly feel personal about. “At my event, you will hang out with everyone here because it’s so small and intimate; that’s the selling point,” he said. “At the end of the day, this doesn’t feel like work; we get to do what we want.”
To learn more about SIP events visit their website at the link below: