Sunday, 25 July 2010

How to Know if You're a Songwriter

I started poetry when I was 8 and though it wasn't what I'd call great art, it was definitely an amazing medium for expressing myself. Ever since I was in preschool I have loved literature. I know this because, one of my earliest memories is of my dad teaching me to recognise words and to read and memorize short sentences and paragraphs from a small book of classical poetry and tales ( I know, its pretty crazy). He would do this before he travelled and quiz me on it when he returned. I also remember my mom reading to me and encouraging my intense love of books at the ages of 4 and 5. I just loved being able to escape into another world so much so that whenever I read I became complete oblivious of my surroundings and entered a state of flow (or hyperfocus).This early admiration for the written word led to desire to write and express myself like the authors and writers I admired. I also had a healthy appreciation for music and after trying out several forms of dance and music groups like tap, ballet, hip hop, orchestra and chorus, I decided to try my hand at songwriting. My first song was really silly but it had a catchy tune and my siblings thought it was pretty cool so I kept trying and have been writing songs ever since.

Anyway, that was just a brief intro to my history with songwriting. Lately I've been meeting a lot of musicians and fellow songwriters so this got me thinking about how you can know if you are a songwriter. Here's what I came up with:
Music is constantly going on in your mind, whether its your own song or someone else's song that you really like.

When you walk down the street you are either listening to music,humming or singing (hopefully softly :P) to yourself.

You've been known to study music theory in your spare time.

You carry paper and a writing utensil around with you always in case you have a "lyric moment".

Friends sometimes catch you dancing to the music in your head. This is because it is so loud that you can forget that it's not technically playing anywhere.

Singing in the shower is near superhuman habit to break for you. After all, its where you get some of your best ideas.

You sometimes walk according to your beat of the moment.

You either know how to or are trying to learn to play, at least one but usually several instruments.

You can read and write music.

Your everyday words tend to have a poetic quality to them.

Music is VERY important to you.

You associate your emotions with music automatically.

You have been known to come up with songs in the weirdest places (toilets, at formal dinners, during important ceremonies).
You feel like you could use a song to describe almost anything in your life.

Your ipod, mp3 player, or computer may be full to the brim with music.

You have songbooks...of your own music.

You may be working on a demo or already be writing professionally.

You can not imagine a world without music.

You have a recorder to record tunes that you spontaneously create on your way to class. This recorder is likely to quickly fill up memory-wise.

You analyse lyrics and melodies of songs for fun.

You take personal offence when a song does well in the pop world and lacks what you would see as substance and quality.

When you're playing around with your instrument of choice, or even humming it could lead to your next masterpiece.

If you are not a singer, you already know what singer would best suit your songs.

When you get into a talk about great songwriters, composers, lyricists and musicians, you could go on and on and on...

Some of these characteristics are characteristics of a composer (someone who writes music- melodies, harmonies and instrumentals) and others are characteristic of a lyricist(someone who comes up with the words). When I refer to a songwriter I mean someone who comes up with both. Anyway, if you liked this post, I intend to do a couple more about music in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for that. And if you have anything in particular that you want to know about music, you could email me at, and I will try my best to help.

Photos from: We Heart It
Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Are you a songwriter or musician? What do you think identifies a songwriter? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.


jen@ricochet said...

I think I fit in here; I just lack training. I can't spot read music, but have studied music theory in my spare time.

I'm a self taught guitarist who mostly reads tab. I could so get into some drums as well, but never had my own set.

I'm a lyrical poet, but I've only written three songs that were actually meant to be songs.

I really like this post and was immediately drawn to it when reading the title!

Music is definitely IMPORTANT to me!

Cafe Fashionista said...

Though I've always found the idea of being a songwriter or musician to be thrilling; I can't say that I'm either.

I believe one of the biggest qualities a songwriter must have is the ability to translate raw emotion and feeling to the listener. :) said...

i'm not a songwriter but i think the best songs mAke us feel something rather than just be technically good... a technically good song without that special chemistry and feeling will fall flat but a song that strikes a cord within us even if it might not be as technical is still a great song... i hope that makes sense!

Jeff King said...

I just couldn't imagine myself being a song writer... so I guess that’s how I know I am not one.

Best of luck.

a cat of impossible colour said...

I don't think I have ever written a song! I used to write the odd composition, and I write a lot of poetry, but I have never combined the two.

Thanks so much for your kind comments - on my blog and on Damon's. I really appreciate them!

Andrea xx

Zmaga said...

I think I am more of a lyricist... I should definitely try writing lyrics more.

Leia said...

Well I do love music but I don't think I have a way with words! :P


Sadako said...

Not a songwriter but that sounds like a good definition of one.

Audrey Allure said...

Haha I actually have a lot of those qualities but I'm not a songwriter. I do have a big love for music though :)

Anonymous said...

this post made me smile :) im more a musician than a songwriter but i can identify with several of these! i have a friend who is though and you were spot on

thanks so much for commenting btw! <33

misty said...

If I could only read music. Love this post!

meg said...

So creative. You truly are. Really a unique way of seeing things.

ellie said...

That is so cool. Very inspiring post.

wallflower said...

This is pretty neat.
I've always loved music. Unfortunately I always gave up on all the instruments I ever tried to learn. I still have my whole life, though. :)

By the way I tagged you in a DARE today!!

Elaine said...

Music is important to me but I don't think I have the creative process to be a songwriter!

clothed much, a modest fashion blog

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