What does it take to write a song? Why do some people string together chord progressions so effortlessly, while others slave over every piece? Is it important to tell a story, or does the inclusion of lyrics occur only so a melody to hum with exists? Do the technical musicians quell the simpler songwriters, or can a simple three-chord change inspire more overall emotion from the listener? And in the end, is it the audience member that gives the song life?
For some, songwriting is an organic process that grows in the seeds of personal practice, while others find their stride within the jam circle. Records are made in so many ways these days, whether it involves capturing rough cuts on tape recorders, tunes made in warehouses and garages on personal digital devices, or albums produced by a professional studio that house ProTools, plenty of equipment, high-powered computers, and the finest acoustics. As I carefully studied each perspective, I began to realize there was no cut and dry manner of making a song. Most musicians that spoke of his or her inspirations, stuck to specific songwriting practices of their own. Others revealed that they enjoyed reinventing themselves by morphing in phases with the style of their music, just as an individual morphs during his or her lifetime.
In the end, the hunt for the key to songwriting became clear: it is about self-expression, and discovering a Harmonia with yourself and your bandmates. To be culturally aware is to be an artist, and the truly great songwriters speak and play from their heart in reference to the world around them. They create with the intention of portraying the emotions felt by humanity, but that most individuals are unable to express because they are not practiced in the process of artistic interpretation. That being the case, it is never too late to start thinking about the music we choose to listen to, and why it is relevant in our day-to-day life. Then, as an audience member and fan, it is always possible to be part of the journey of songwriting.
Keep and eye out for interviews from:
Stanley Lucas Revolution
Railroad to Alaska
Drums and Color