zondag 12 oktober 2014

Songwriters fog

No, I don't have writer's block, never met any. Just want to talk a bit about the impenetrable fog that can cloud your overindulgent mind, when you've got a sudden burst of creativity. I've been there a few times. So for the aspiring, enthousiastic songwriters, here's my 50 cents.
Here's your first, ok second. working on it.... no, rewrite, aah here it is....your 550th song. Freshly composed with the help of those unstoppable brains that pour out emotions through your fingertips. "Is it that good? Wow, I can't believe what I just did! And I only know three chords! Better put it on tape now -just like that sleepdrunk Keith Richards did with the riff of Satisfaction- before I forget that special little ditty."

Keith is almost satisfied....
Don't be shy! If you' ve got the drive, the chops, the writings will be all over the place. Go with the flow, don't force it and before you know it, you've got that hook. Next thing, you want to play it over and over again....ok, now stop... before your mind is getting too much out there, like in a constant high. You imagine yourself on a stage in front of thousands of adoring and screaming fans: wow, bang, starstruck!
It's a pity, but there's a- too good to be true- foggy cloud that hangs all over you. There's always hope. Something like a dark vaderish voice comes to the rescue and says: "better come down to earth Luke (Skywalker). Think it over. Let the song breath for a while. You need some distraction, go and do the dishes, walk the dog, or throw out the trash. O, is it that late? Go to sleep. Sweet dreams. When you wake up (look in the mirror of truth first), listen to that wonderful stuff again with fresh ears. Does it still gives you the same thrills and chills? Yes? There it izzzz." Even if you've forgotten to record it, as long as you can remember the melody, there's nothing to fear.
It lies in the continuity of songwriting to build up your confidence and your personal style brothers and sisters. Trust in yourselves. Keep writing, playing, practising. I still do.

The obvious well-intentioned, but often false feedback every artistic talent gets and craves for in the beginning and too soon, is this: do my parents like it? "No mam/dad, stop the biased way of pleasing your obvious talented, but eagerly waiting for approvement son/ daughter!"
Well, it's a start. And even if your friends think your voice has got that special sound that belongs in some hyped TV contest, the best is, in my opinion, the humble attitude way.
JoosTVD used to gig you know...
Recording a song is like a selfie. Listening can be a painful ear experience in the beginning, but it will keep you on your toes. When I used to perform back in the day, we used to record almost every gig. Not just for laughs & kicks alone, but to use it as a truth mirror to get tighter as a band.
These days you don't have to gig to get some attention, although it's the most rewarding situation, if one exposes himself directly.
Find out what's working best for you. Are you an introspective singer-songwriter (James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens) or a frontman (with a band)- songwriter? So why not expose yourself in a small way. Bring your guitar/ bongos/ mouthharp (what else?) and good humour to your friend's party. Invite the whole neighbourhood if you like. Mouth to mouth advertising, next to the social media can be crucial in broadening your horizon.
Hey, the world is flat, because of the unavoidable www, it's easy to try out a few tunes on some of these social interactive platforms (appreciate the feedback and return the favor). Because of the tsunami of songs these days, don't expect anything though. Just write, write, write and after that, write. The Pollock way. Cut/paste words, jumble chords, do it. The next song will/can be better. The most curious, hidden things about myself I have discovered through songwriting. It's a discipline, a way of life, a commitment.
The homestudio then?

Todd at work
A small setup (for example, these days wizz kid Todd Rundgren only uses a laptop, interface software, guitar/keyboard and some already discovered creativity) is enough to get things going and is relatively cheap. There's so much for the DIY on the internet by the way. Take advantage!
So I guess you already know where to go, but as an example I've put a few of my favourite (and if you don't mind, personal) links up here:

Amazing Tunes
Fresh On The Net

Yes, there's always more....

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