Saturday, December 26, 2009


Being a songwriter is an interesting thing, but the songwriting process is even more interesting. There are so many factors that play into how many songs you can write in a matter of time and the quality of songs written.

I've been writing more recently, but since I've moved here I've only really written a few really great songs. The first one, I wrote in about 45 minutes "(I Love You)," the second in about 20, "Nothing Personal," and the third in about 30, "Classified Reader." The thing about writing a hit for me, relies heavily on influence. Especially with songs like the ones I just mentioned. The ones that I churn out are inspired by something big and substantial. Afterall, my favorite song I've written, "Coat Pockets" was written and recorded in one night because I just felt it and it flowed out. I can still remember coming up with that chorus and thinking, "Man, this is a really good song." I guess what it comes down to is when you know something is going to work song-wise, it just comes easy. It's a natural thing because you're using yourself and nothing else to create it.

The elements of songwriting for me are time, and atmosphere. Artistic expression isn't something you can just pencil into your schedule. I can't just be like, "Ok, well tomorrow I have this one hour block of time free, so I'll write a song." I have become really jealous of professional musicians for this reason. When they aren't touring, they aren't working a job. Their hard work allows them to have a ton of time to hide away from the world and write. I used to have something like that in Idaho. When I was a student and didn't work much, I could just escape to my sound-proofed studio space my dad had added on to my room. It was artistic heaven. I could write and record songs at 3 a.m. if I wanted to, and I did. I was pretty prolific for this reason. While living in Idaho, I wrote about 40 songs in two years. So many times I've thought of a great melody or smart line for a song at work or something and because I can't start working on it right away, it gets left by the wayside. When I write, I can't sit down and think of something that made me feel a certain way last week. It's a now thing.

If I'm around people, or if people are in the other room or something, I have a hard time writing. The atmosphere has to be good for me to really get into it. I mean, it's art. If you were painting something, you wouldn't want someone hanging over your shoulder looking at what you're doing. You want privacy, it's a personal thing that requires personal space.

Today I have some time and some things to tackle so maybe I can write another hit. That's the last thing about songwriting that is interesting to me. The work I've already done influences the work I'll do in the future. As someone who loves music, I constantly want to write a better song than before. However, writing isn't about creating something better than you did before, it's about creating something different than you did before. If I could write 10 different songs that were pretty good. I would be so happy. Learning, learning.

As I grow as a writer, these obstacles will become less influential to my work, I hope. I've written two songs with a collaborative partner now so I think it's a sign of what's to come.

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