Having written with any number of talented songwriters in the industry - in just about every genre - perhaps Randy's favorite co-writer is his daughter, Maia. Since they've been working together and writing together her whole life, Randy says, "there's a lot of understood common information, where if I'm with another writer, especially one I haven't worked with very often, it's kind of a delicate thing. It's like being on a date with somebody; you don't want to push too hard, or be too submissive, or don't know yet politically or where their sensibilities are as far as what kind of music they like, so it's a discovery thing for you to find out who you're working with a lot."
"With Maia, we know each other, and we know our tastes. A lot of stuff is conveyed just with a look. It's much more direct and clear when her and I work. And also there's no need to be careful. If I throw out an idea and she thinks it's lame, she'll say so. And vice versa. And you don't have to dance around it, because we both totally respect each other's talent. There's no ego to massage. It's just like, 'No, it's not gonna work. What about this?' Whereas with somebody else you have to be much more delicate because you don't know them well enough to know that they're comfortable with that kind of communication. And we are, because we know each other so well."
Writing about deep romantic feelings is easier, as well, since characters can be created and the emotions written about in third person. And Randy says he tends to write in third person, anyway, even if he is borrowing from his own experiences to contribute. "I'm still talking about, well, here's the singer, he walks into the room, or she walks into the room, and this happens. It's easy to talk about it once-removed, so that you're not trying to tell a personal real-life story. And that also backs you up so that in your own mind you're opened up to include other people's stories and variations on the story. If you try to hold to your own story too closely you get really limited where the song can go. I almost always talk that way when I'm writing, so that's not really an issue with Maia." (Read more in our interview with Randy Sharp