A great song is reserved for the honest songwriter, just as gold is reserved for the persistent gold digger. The process of songwriting for me usually follows the melody-structure-lyric-dynamic phase. Let me explain.
I almost always start off my songwriting process with a melody in mind. It usually is a melody that is stuck on repeat in my head. Like an itch, I find it extremely difficult not to scratch, so I hum that melody until it forces me into picking up my guitar and adding some structure to it. FYI, most of my melodies don’t make it this far. Most melodies make it into the graveyard called my Iphone voice memos.
Once I pick up my guitar, I begin the structure part of the process. I build a song structure around that melody. Sometimes the melody is assigned to the verse, but most times it becomes the chorus. If it feels right, I might add a bridge, which for the non musically inclined refers to a section within the song that strays from it’s established pattern to create a longing within the listener for the familiarity and excitement of the impending last chorus.
Then comes the lyric phase. My weakest part, but a challenge I gladly accept. I think I struggle here because I am a private person, and sometimes finding the right words/contexts to hide behind elude me. I find this process easier when I just let go and say what I feel.
Finally dynamics! Here, I utilize different elements of music to take the listener on an adventure. Like a conversation, I want to keep the listener engaged by not being monotone with the music. It’s about contrast of expressions and emotions with my voice or the backing instrumentation.
So the next time you are moved by a song at a live show, just know there was a systematic thoughtful process behind it. I’ll continue making good music the soundtrack to your life.
Nelson of Nelly’s Echo
Life is fragile
Nothing makes you feel more alive, than when dusting your feet at deaths door. A particular recent event served to remind me of this fact. Time ticked slower, events played like a dream, and survival instincts kicked in automatically. Truth be told, if not for Gods intervention, I won’t be writing this today.
After an almost tragic event comes the reflection. It’s best to reflect objectively, but I’m human, and my emotions influence my subjectivity. The one phrase that kept replaying is that “Life is fragile.” I realized I was guilty of living like I am indestructible. Like the boy in the plastic bubble. It took one moment to remind me of that illusion. Like if I closed my eyes with my hands, the monsters will go away. Oh what folly!
I don’t say this to infer that I should live my life in a constant state of worry and guard. Au contraire mon fré! I say what I say to remind myself that life is fragile, and instead of ignoring that fact, I should embrace it. I should also embrace the fact that there is the master story tellers who has my destiny in the palms of His hands. I should embrace the one in control knowing that He wants nothing more than to see my soul prosper.
So no need to sweat the small stuff! If life’s fragile, no biggie. Bring it!