My love affair with music and the arts can be attributed to my big bro Johnny 🙂 At a young age I marveled at his creativity (he would make personalized bookmarks with your name in various fonts using colorful felt paper), his guitar playing, his leadership. And because he could afford to buy records, I was exposed to different styles of music early on. When I heard this obscure song from the 70s by Elton John last Sunday, I got reminded again of how amazing it is to have a big brother like him 🙂 So I decided to do an acoustic cover of the song. This is for you bro! Hope you like this 🙂 Thanks for everything.
Sometimes a lyrical idea or a melody line comes from out of the nowhere and crystallizes into something that’s coherent and eventually translates into a song, or at least into portions of a song in the mind of a songwriter. That’s when inspired thought takes hold and somehow things fall into their rightful places without much effort.
More often than not though, things are not as favorable nor lend support to the creative process as you would want them to be. Something always get in the way – a day job, a household chore, a favorite TV show. You either realize that the very moment you’re hit with a dose of inspiration is the exact moment you’re not in your “fortress of creativity” (the one place you find most conducive to your creative pursuits), or you endeavor to make time for such an activity and find yourself devoid of any inspired thought.
I trust every songwriter has their own unique way of entering into the zone.
For me, it’s pretty much a process of “losing myself to find myself“. My songwriting experience is akin to entering into a realm where the journey is taken with no specific destination in mind nor road map on hand. It’s opening myself to embracing every fork on the road, and exploring wherever this may lead me. It’s letting go of the tendency to judge whatever it is the enters my head (eg. “That is so overdone already!” “That lyric is such a cliche.” “It’s not good enough.” “No that’s too provocative.”) It’s trusting that whichever direction I take, it’s an opportunity to make this journey a personal one so long as I don’t create my own roadblocks even before I begin.
It’s really taking the totality of my experiences (either personally lived or as relayed by someone else) and allowing an idea that’s currently relevant in my subconscious to take shape in my head. It could just be a general idea – but if it has personal meaning and I feel strongly about sharing it, then the words and melody to convey that idea or message will slowly come forth.
The more I de-focus, the more I allow myself the liberty to be creative and to simply enjoy the songwriting process as my own navigator.
The destination reached is neither a hit song nor a bad song – that’s really up for others to judge. But it will be a song that’s entirely my own – brought forth from somewhere inside of me because I’ve decided to get out of it’s way and allowed it come through. And as with most forms of art, the deepest satisfaction and lessons learned are derived from the journey towards their creation. And to me, that is a journey I’d take over and over again.
How about you – what road or processes do you take to get into YOUR ZONE?
Thanks for reading!