Lately, I’ve been diving into songwriting. I’ve loved music since I was old enough to hear it, but funny enough, I only just now started making my own.
My older brother is studying to lead worship for a Methodist church, which is amazing for him! It’s the perfect role for my big brother. Leadership, music, engaging with people, worship . . . I couldn’t be more proud of him for finding his calling. (If you’d like to support him, you can find him on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.)
I never really intended to start writing music, but one day I got a bit bored. So I grabbed my ukulele and just . . . wrote a song? Lyrics and chords and a lyric video? And it was never that big of a deal. It didn’t occur to me what I’d done until I just did it. It happened. And after I did it, I was like, “now what?”
Since the first one, the writing’s been a bit slow-going, but I’ve got two more finished and three more good starts on the way. And as I’m writing them (which, there’s no rush to finish), I’m thinking, “why not make an album?” That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
I think the reason that I haven’t written anything up until now is because of a limiting belief I had: I didn’t have any training, special skills, or knowledge of chord progressions, so I didn’t think I had the talent to write my own music. Singing was easy for me, but the rest? Could I even write lyrics?
Poetry was the thing that always came to me as a little kid, and I do have a book out now that proves that. (You can find it here.) Once I realized that, the only other thing I needed was a plan of attack. That was pretty easy, too.
I gather inspiration from all kinds of things, but the key for me is starting with one concept idea. Something easy to remember. For each song I write, I create a six-word-story that explains the meaning behind the music, and so far, it’s worked wonders. If I find myself stuck, I can trace back to that original intention and take it from there.
Still stuck? I have a sort of image I’d like to maintain with my music. A persona, if you will. (I won’t be revealing that — that’s how I stay on brand.) What sort of words, ideas, or feelings match that persona and the song’s meaning?
And then I start to think about how I want the music to sound. Happy? Moody? Angry? Reflective? Exciting? Usually, that kicks the songwriting experience into high gear because I’m crafting a mood, not just words on a page. I choose my chords based on the feeling. I don’t even really decide how the words themselves will sound until I pick the chords first.
After all that, I go back to the music I love to listen to. I soak it up. I decide that certain songs have appeal because of this aspect or that unique piece. I take bits from each and add them into my musical cauldron, so to speak.
The finishing elements really bring the music together, and only when I’m satisfied do I record. I don’t force myself to create on any sort of schedule because I believe that overly strict deadlines stifle creativity. But I do know that I will make an album, and it will be available one day for all of you lovely people to hear.
I hope you have the most magical of days.
let me know your favorite song in the comments.