I rarely write my own music because I often feel as though I have nothing important worth saying… I will probably never be able to write a truly gorgeous tune that lives on long after I’m dead but for copy write reasons and to diversify my revenue stream I thought ‘well I might as well try!’
So here is a detailed breakdown of my ‘Song writing practice’ as well as my ideas to creating AAART in the form of musical expression.
- cry. a lot.
Many people have never seen me cry… in fact, I have close friends that have never seen me cry and with the exception of my close family I doubt anyone has seen me cry more than once in the last 20 years.
That being said, when I’m song writing I will look out my office window and weep! full on Weeping as if some disaster has struck the work place of my husband and it was ‘Take your child to work day’. I’m very dramatic, you didn’t come here to read the antics of a vanilla and rational woman, you came for DRAMA!
I like to think of it as a great purging of emotions that I keep inside while I live my everyday life and that, by doing this all out weeping, I am in some way activating my muse so that I can create great art! I guess…
- Voice memos
I am terrible at remembering things, names, places, people, mainly people…who? However, I have found that if I have a voice memo on my phone recording while I improvise and work things out I tend to capture a song or a motif much more fully than if I’m trying to remember it off the top of my head.
- Change the tune
The best thing about ‘doing all the things’ (or playing and singing) is that you can easily change the tune whenever you feel like it… add some riffs, add some accidentals, you can do it all!!!!
This is a lot like testing all your other repertoire but this time it’s not the good name of Rogers & Hammerstein on the line, its yours… and your sad little heart song! So, deep breath, here’s how you do it!
- Ignore the first instinct you have that says ‘This is stupid’
For years I didn’t perform my own music because my first instinct is ‘This is stupid, no one wants to hear my stupid song about a boat or that guy who never text me back or even that song about your insomnia, stick to the classics! the tried and tested songs that people know and like!’ It’s also one of the reasons I don’t do pop songs, they don’t age well… But ignore that instinct and try them out anyway! Conviction is key!
- record it!
If you can play it through and it sounds good enough to record, then stick it on a recording!
- get feedback
After you’ve recorded it then you can put it up on social media and have people give you some feedback and criticism! My album is all up in rough drafts so I can get the opinions of people who know my style and will give me some feedback. It’s important that you ask people who are going to be brutally honest with you as well, because again… rule 1 may have given you too much confidence.
- Perform it live! No matter how rough
I don’t go to open mic nights because I’m a busy professional with a giant instrument. If I’m bringing my clownishly large £10k instrument to play in a pub I am being well paid for it or I’m staying home! However, If you are doing an event where in they will let you do your own thing it’s always worth having a go at performing your pieces. I have done quite a few of my pieces at various gigs so far, mixed in with my regular repertoire, and people have really enjoyed them! Yesterday at an event where they wanted me to sing I went through about half of my new stuff while no one was listening and it was utterly terrifying, but it didn’t seem too silly…
- You can forget the words, no one else knows the piece!
If I was Katy Perry and my songs were known word for word internationally and played on every major radio station all over the world I would have a teleprompter AND someone yelling in my ear what the words were at every concert! I have forgotten words constantly, for pieces I’ve been performing for years, and It’s fine! So when it’s your own piece then no one else knows what’s coming next (unless they are a super fan, and in that case they can be your teleprompter!)!
- It’s fine if it sucks!
Just keep going… If you write 1 great thing that people love and 6 bad things that people hate then that’s pretty good, keep going and you’ll have at least 20 decent things people like! The key is to make sure you’re always growing… I feel like I’m slowly growing but I’m also 90% I may just go back to writing jingles for the cats in my neighbourhood.
That’s all I got.