The songwriting process and inspirations
As a songwriter, I draw on many different things to inspire me when it comes to writing a new song. A lot of people like to draw on personal experiences for their material and while I definitely do this a lot, I also find it extremely interesting to write about others people’s stories as well. I often find myself inspired by quotes, stories, other musicians and even movies which lead me to write songs.
For example, I absolutely love Winona Ryder and have always been fascinated by her and her relationship with Johnny Depp. So after staying up extremely late one night watching Heathers and Edward Scissorhands, I decided to write a song about their relationship, but with my own take on how they came together and eventually fell apart. And this all came together to form my song Winona. Here’s a clip of it for you.
I don’t necessarily write every song the same way. Some I start with the instrumentals first, others begin with the lyrics and I add the melody in later. Most of the songs I write just start with a small idea that I gradually build on as the song begins to develop. My song Best Kept Secret for example, started off with just the chorus. It was actually completely different than what it is now but I kept the line “You’re my Best Kept Secret” and tried just writing around that. Then I started writing more lyrics and eventually added the guitar part in, which was a struggle on its own haha!!
If you’re extremely lucky, sometimes songs can just come to you. I remember writing Intersections, literally in about 5 minutes after pulling up at a four-way stop in San Diego, on my way to drop off a guitar at my friend’s house. I looked at the street and thought that an intersection was the perfect metaphor for the struggles and choices people must make as they travel through life. So I crossed through the stop, pulled over and wrote the song (minus the guitar part).
I also think it’s important to note that not every song is going to be a winner. You have to write bad songs sometimes. And I don’t mean you go write the worst song you can deliberately in order to get a good one later. I mean you’re going to write bad songs, but writing them is going to help you flesh out your style and weed out the bad or incomplete ideas to get to the real truth and meaning behind your words, and that’s what gets you a good song. Song writing and writing in general is a very gratifying process and it really helps to just get everything out that you can, even just small ideas or titles. Write everything down. It doesn’t matter if you think they sound silly or if you think it’s the greatest idea in the world. WRITE IT ALL DOWN!!! I literally wrote the chorus to my song Baby when I was around 12 or 13 (maybe younger honestly). It popped into my head one day and I made a note of it. I always thought it was catchy but as I got older I looked it over and was like “No this is stupid. It won’t work. It’s childish.” However I still forced myself to mess around with it (I mean, it was the first thing I ever really wrote, I couldn’t just give up on it) and played it for my mom and she loved it and now it’s the chorus to an awesome song (IMHO haha). Here is a clip of a live performance of that song.
Write about everything that makes you feel something. I mean ANYTHING!!. I once heard a kid sing a song he wrote about Carne Asada Fries and it was genius.
Honestly, I can’t say I have a method for songwriting that works 100% of the time but here are some other quick tips I can think of for my fellow writers out there.
WRITE IT ALL DOWN
Write about something you’re passionate about
Find a time when you feel most productive during the day and try to set aside that time for writing
Everything and anything can be inspirational so take it all in
If you can, go to the concerts of your favorite artists. That never fails to get me amped up to make some killer music
Allow yourself to be inspired by other people while still staying true to yourself
WRITE IT ALL DOWN!!!!!
Hope you enjoyed today's blog! Until next time………..