Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Digging Deep for Songwriting Gold

Real songwriting, like real singing, is not for the squeamish. Got a great question about the sometimes perilous activity of digging deep for songwriting gold from a very dear friend. He is a singer/songwriter who is also an Army veteran of the recent Middle East wars.

I have noticed a bit of a trend with writing and I'm a bit worried or confused. When I write songs and I come up with ideas for songs, I tend to stop when it gets TOO real inside my head.
Now I know that when song writing you have to be honest and have integrity, but what if it's something you are so passionate about it's scary to even venture there?Odd question I know, but there are things floating around my skull and some of them are a bit rough to face, if that makes any sense.
Here was my response: 

An interesting question indeed. Here’s a thought… we write for different reasons, and all are valid and important. Sometimes we write just as a catharsis. The definition of that word, according to Webster online, is  
  • purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art  
  • purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension  
  • elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression      
This cathartic exercise can really be a form of therapy work. Sometimes we talk it out, sometimes we write it privately. Point is, sometimes this turns out only to be for ourselves, not for the public. Like when you write an unsent letter to express and process something. Oddly there is a whole website named "Letters To Breathe" dedicated to these letters. Songs can do this, too.
I have done this in my life. We don’t have to face all our demons at once… there is a time and place to ‘do some work’ and only God can tell you what you need to be working on. Always write towards healing and love, always. Write as if God is wanting to know what’s on your heart (which of course is true.) But don’t omit the truth and the hate/fear/regret that you need to process on the front end of the writing. Just then go on and write towards healing and release.

I hope this helps… just know you are not alone, that you will never be perfect, that you are loved right where you are, as I am. It’s not about us anyway… it’s about clearing away the crap so we can live useful, prosperous and peaceful lives that make a difference to at least one other soul. 

Do you mind if I share this great question on my blog… and not mention your name? [He said yes.] I know there are many others out there who are not yet able to even ask the question from where they are on their journeys. Maybe you bringing it up will lend courage and get some info out there to help other travelers.

And sometimes, sometimes, the song turns out to be for the public after all. You won’t know til you finish.


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