On Songwriting

I write a lot of songs. I have piles of finished notebooks with songs in and I think altogether I have probably written 400 songs since I was twelve when I started writing. Are they good? No, most of them are rubbish, a twelve year old wrote them. I would like to think some of the more recent ones are good though and I’ll hopefully begin uploading some to youtube and/or soundcloud for people to hear.

The thing with song writing though, for me at least, is that its incredibly personal. Each song carries a little part of myself, how I was feeling when I wrote it or how I feel over what its about as a whole. Each song I write opens a little window into my life during my most private moments and that makes it incredibly difficult for me to find the courage to record and allow people to listen to my songs.

To give you an idea of how this feels if you’ve never experienced it, imagine a time in your life when you were upset. Not the most upset you’ve ever been, just maybe someone you liked rejected you or you felt like you were losing a friend. Now, imagine every feeling you had during that time, every ugly crying face you made, every stupid thing you said, imagine all of that being made into a little audiobook for everyone in the entire world to listen to. That’s how it feels when I play my songs to people.

I pour every emotion I have into these songs and that makes it even more difficult because most human emotions are not pretty or glamorous. Real human emotions are messy, sticky and ugly which makes it hard to be willing to share those moments with other people who may not understand or respect the emotions you are expressing.

There’s also the issue of writing about specific events and boiling it down to specific people. There’s always the question of how far I can go before they stop thinking it might be about them and start to know its about them, or in the opposite event if they go from thinking its about them to realizing that although it is a love song and you are currently in a relationship, its not actually about them.

Emotions are tricky and even more so when you put your face to them like a musician does to their songs but they’re also so incredibly relatable to people. Music is so important to most people because its relatable. There’s nothing better than turning on the radio and hearing a song that sounds like its about you, so that means that although I may want to write a song about that time I moved to a different country and didn’t know anyone, most people can’t relate to that. Of course, I still write the song but even while I’m writing it I know that I’m much more likely to record a song about being in love or being jealous of someone than one no one can relate to.

That brings us to the whole ‘writing for yourself’ thing. I always write what comes to my head regardless of if I think its ‘sellable’ (AKA would be somewhat popular) or not because songwriting is for me to clear my head and settle my heard and that’s what it will always be. Do I want my music to be popular? Do I want people to like my songs? Do I want to hear a crowd of people singing along to my songs? Yes, yes and yes. Are they the most important things? No, not by a long shot.

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