ANSWER TO DON FROM VANCOUVER
11 December 2011
Don from Vancouver asked me if I would be his songwriting teacher type person. I wrote him back and I thought maybe I should post it on top because, well nobody would see it otherwise.
So here is my reply
Hey Don, writing is still a mystery to me. You can’t teach it or learn it. All I think I know is you either have it and hone it or don’t have it. You should know pretty soon if you have it. It’s pretty obvious. A hallmark of “Having it” is being able to stop thinking and allowing that primitive voice to shout out of the darkness. It has nothing to do with IQ or thought. Just ones ability to switch off. So someone like Paul Simon who seems super intelligent and technical as a human is still able to do that vital switch off…
Kind of like holding your breath and diving to the sea floor. 3 and 4 year old kids who have just started speaking and haven’t yet developed their internal voice do it naturally. They say whatever comes. They don’t edit. As for lyrics, the longer i do this, the more I feel it is more about rhythm plus tone (melody) than about language. If the melody is otherworldly and awesome then your lyric will emerge from it and the song will seem to write itself. There are writers who start with a lyric. This is cool if the lyric came from the sea floor but when they are thought out and laboured over it can sometimes feel like jamming a square peg into a round hole when they try and add the melody they have their heart set on. You know? Anyways… I am gonna sleep now. Hope this answered your question.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.