Writing songs is a very different process for everyone who does it. I almost always start with lyrics and/or vocal melody. My songs often have a strong emotion that reverberates through the rumble of my upright bass. This emotion is often the foundational element of each song but it does not always come from me.
I feel guilty admitting this but I am a bit of an emotion parasite; feeding off the strong emotions of others to lay the foundation for my songs. I have never confessed this to my inadvertent muses.
My most recent song came from a conversation I had with my friend. She is a tough, potty-mouthed, hard-partying, heavy-drinking type of chick. Last time we talked she was vulnerable and gut-wrenchingly sad, telling me about the death of her father. It was intense.
I didn’t take me long to write a song, the next day I was at my bass, writing. I didn’t share anything personal in the lyrics and if she heard it I’m sure she would have no idea. But it was her grief and desire that the song is built on.
Not all of my songs come from pain and not all of my songs come from others. Many of us try to hide our emotions but music makes us feel, so why not put it all out there? Some of the emotions on my set list that came from me include: lust, grief, loss, longing, anxiety, and jealousy.
I have now embraced this element of my songwriting. I think it all started from singing to comfort myself or just out of boredom. Those early songs were an emotional cure that I needed at that time. I like to imagine that when I perform live that my songs connect with others and help cure them as well.
What inspired your last song?
Photo by Antonia Montoya.