I must’ve stopped and started this latest blog post at least a dozen times before I decided to go right into it.
I haven’t posted a new Song of the Week in a few months for several reasons:
- It’s been a busy and fun summer!
- It’s been a busy summer!
And did I fail to mention, it’s been a busy and fun summer? 🙂
My biggest project lately is running a podcast! I’m going through every song Kate Bush has ever done, and you can find out more here.
That’s 99% of it.
The other 1% is that I’m taking some time to figure out better what my overall music sound is.
While I’ve always been a songwriter, I’ve always had trouble figuring out just what my genre/style is. One thing’s for sure: I’m not top 40!
And I never have been.
Whatever is playing on the radio passes me by most of the time unless I happen to hear it in a store (Exes and Ohs by Elle King is one such case) or at a karaoke night (a friend likes to perform Polaroid by Imagine Dragons at a local karaoke bar). I’ve never followed top 40. When it comes to my own compositions, I write what I like and just hope someone else might like it, but if they don’t, that’s OK.
I’m still not sure whether all this songwriting will be a career in the end. Some have asked me to pitch my songs to people. However, I’m reticent to do that. I write for my voice and in my own style. I don’t want to give up my own style just to please others. I would also like to be known for my music, rather than someone else getting all the glory.
More than that, I write to connecting with people to make them feel something, taking them away for a few minutes.
Moving stranger, does it really matter as long as you’re not afraid to feel. Kate Bush sang that as the first lines of her debut album The Kick Inside. And it’s a perfect description of my songwriting process.
That I don’t sit down at the piano with a four-chord progression in my head, a hook, and/or lovelorn lyrics is what sets me apart from the other songwriters I meet on occasion. I do write love songs sometimes, but I try to make them unique in some way. Most of the time, I’d rather write about the crap in my head as I’m sorting things out, hoping I can reach someone else who’s having similar thoughts and make them feel like they’re not alone. Or I’ll write from a male point of view about a book I spent two years translating into English (Lighter than Air), my great-great grandfather coming to America (a song I’ve written lyrics for but no music yet), balancing different parts of your personality (Moons in My Hand, a song I plan to record!)…..
Anything but a lovelorn love song. If Kate Bush has taught me anything, it’s that it’s OK for women artists to write about things other than love or go in completely different musical directions than people expect.
I have to be brave when I meet other songwriters. It’s not just because I’m often the only woman in the room. Gender aside, many songwriters I’ve met have a particular idea of what a good song is. Singable melody, clear story, hook, same chords between verses, etc. To them, a good song should be simple. Anything that diverges from those rules is automatically questioned or remarked upon. Recently I was told by a fellow songwriter that my latest song had “too much artistic freedom” because I didn’t have the same chord progression in all the verses, the lines didn’t flow into each other, and the lyrics felt more like prose.
I shouldn’t have been taken aback, but I was. I felt like a deer in the headlights standing there after pouring out my heart all over the piano bench. I wasn’t expecting someone to pat me on the back, but I was hoping for a little praise for doing something more interesting.
However, rather than getting angry, the more those words sank in, the more amused I became. Those comments showed that I have found what makes my songs unique, rather than being just another song on the radio that anyone could’ve written.
Not long after that, I shared that same song with a professional songwriter who I’ve been working with online for the last few months and whose music I hold in extremely high regard. No comments against my song. Instead, I was told that it was wonderful and unique. And that person’s opinion means more to me than anything else!
That same songwriter is actually helping me with a new project:
A new album!
For the last three years, I’ve been writing TONS of songs.
I write to get to the good stuff. I’ve whittled down that huge list to eleven of my best songs, songs that I feel best represent who I am and what I’m going for.
And I’m excited!
Firewalker will be available sometime next year, 2019. That’s the goal at least! I just listened to the electronic instrumentals today and they sound GREAT together!
All of this to say: I haven’t disappeared, just been busy creating!