Songwriting in a Nutshell
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Song-writing is something I have never been able to describe or explain, but for the sake of this, I'll give it a go!
The only way I can think to describe it is by telling you that ideas are a little like trains. Imagine that your mind is a station and the trains are lyrics, melodies, thoughts. Like trains, they're forever coming and going and if you miss one you have to wait for the next - the first one doesn't come back. Some stay at the station longer and/or take longer to get you where you’re going than others, the same way songs can be started and finished within 20 minutes or 20 days.
Song-writing was by no means something that came naturally to me when I started. I'd always liked the idea of writing stories and creating characters and worlds of my own but the idea of writing songs had never once crossed my mind. I’d never had a musical upbringing since no one in my family really played any instruments so creating melodies and writing lyrics seemed a little daunting at first.
I started writing at about 11 years old and at that age I had never gone through that break-up that most artists write about or any other big events that were worth singing about. When I first started creating songs I’d write about my school day, my friends, or how I imagined a relationship would be based off of a scene in a film, and when I tell you these first songs and lyrics were awful, I am not exaggerating.
Taylor Swift has always been a huge inspiration to me. She’s the reason I started writing songs and the reason I taught myself guitar. She has also heavily influenced my music. Similarly to Taylor’s, my songs tell a story. In a couple of my songs now, I’ve remembered a specific day or moment and described it as if I was telling it to a friend, or in the example of one of my more recent songs below, I wanted to tell each stage as it unfolded like a scene in a film, just it’s being played in your head rather than in front of your eyes:
//He grabs his keys, gets in his car
He picks her up, the drive's not far
And they talk the ten minutes it takes
This started off as a mistake
He parks his car, they go inside
He offers her food and she offers a smile
And he grabs her waist and pulls her in
She lets go of inhibitions
And he says a girlfriend's not what he wants
But he treats her like she might have a shot
And hasn't he heard? Actions speak louder than words//
Something I have found during my whole 6 (nearly 7) years of writing songs is that the best ones come through experience, because as soon as you have experienced something first hand there’s so much more depth and understanding and emotion behind the lyrics and the story that you’re trying to tell and that makes the song so much more powerful and personal.
Being a musician is like being an artist. An artist starts with a blank canvas and draws a pencil outline of what they want the finished design to resemble. The lines and ideas become more prominent and noticeable as the artist develops their work. Colour is added and the whole canvas comes to life. The lines and pencil work are the lyrics and the colour is the melodies that bring it all together and give it life. And that’s why I love song-writing so much. It allows me to express myself in every sense. People can interpret it in whichever way they please, but the only person who will know the exact meaning behind it is myself. Music is art for the ears.