Friday, July 24, 2015

Musings on the topic of songwriting

I asked myself this morning over a cup of coffee: how can I become a better songwriter? This led me to thinking about what makes a good songwriter, and here’s what I came up with, in no particular order:

  1. The curiosity to wonder about and explore thoughts and feelings;
  2. the creativity and intellect to create story around those thoughts/feelings;
  3. the sensibility to add emotional depth to the story;
  4. the eloquence to express the story in writing;
  5. the musicality to compose a melody around the story; and,
  6. the objectivity to edit it all.

All of the above contribute to being a good songwriter, but I believe that what sets apart the great songwriter from the good songwriters is the last one: the ability to edit.    In a Nashville documentary I saw recently a young songwriter captured this sentiment in his praise of Kris Kristofferson: “He’s thrown away better songs than I’ll ever write.”  A testament to his power of editing I guess.

By the way, do check out the documentary For the Love of Music: the Story of Nashville.  It’s on Youtube and well worth it.

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