Some Tunes

Monday, April 19, 2010

And Rewrite and Rewrite

You know, this is a lot of work. But, I gotta say, I do love it. I've been getting some mentoring from Alan Roy Scott this past couple weeks and it has been invaluable. Alan has written for so many people - like Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Notorious B.I.G., Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle, Neville Bros. Roberta Flack, Cher - just to name a few. What a wide range.

Anyway, he's a great coach and I feel privileged to be able to tap into his 25 or so years as a successful songwriter. I've taken a recent song back down to the bones and even replaced some of the bones in an effort to make it a more viable commercial entity (and yes, that is my target right now). I'm currently on about the 5th rewrite and the 3rd title based on the extensiveness of the rewrites.

I felt like I was taking some lumps early on in this process, but I really wanted to fast-track my journey as long as I could keep enjoying it. With a few little bumps in the "fun" part of it, I find the challenges incredible and the personal rewards pretty intense. I also find it amazing that if I were to look back 10 years or even less, I would not have been able to find the people that I'm finding to help. Some aspects of technology are an incredible asset.

All that being said, I've decided to take a couple songs and let them go on the rewrite ride with me. I will forgo recording much at all until I increase some of my songwriter skill sets and get some good solid, "Hey maybe its time to pitch these songs" kind of feedback. The needed changes can tend to take one back to square one anyway, so . . . I'll keep increasing my ukulele "skills" and my fingers tough on the acoustic - not to mention my psyche. I think as long as you can continue to laugh at yourself when needed, you can make it through.

Here's a short "laugh at yourself" thing from last week for me. I found myself using metaphoric type lyrics to the point that people didn't know what the heck I was talking about, they didn't understand the song without my interpretation. Now, I suppose that's OK if you know your doing it, but I really thought I was being clear - apparently not. I took a mortar to the gut and survived. Now, part two of the story. My wife's work is moving and she is tasked with letting all of their clients, etc. know of the impending change. She always comes to me to wordsmith and this time was no different. However, I told her that by the time I was done with the announcement, nobody would have a clue as to if, where or why they were moving, but it would be done so poetically that it wouldn't matter and I was up to the task.

I take a breath and move on.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Industry Feedback

This is tough stuff. I feel like I'm at some sort of crossroads with my writing. I find it so hard to be objective, but I also find that I'm taking constructive criticism pretty well - maybe my skin's getting a little thicker. That being said, I'm finding it challenging to connect the dots with what makes sense intellectually and absorbing things into my DNA.

Each time I apply changes or new guidelines, I feel progress, but never as fast as I'd like it to be. The crossroads really is just this: Do I have what it takes to write professionally and play with the big boys and girls? Tuesday I thought I did and Wednesday I wasn't sure. But, after I take a few deep breaths I think it is really not just a talent thing. It is a tenacity + talent + inquisitiveness + creativity + (add in whatever you think here)-thing.

Today I have my first mentoring review in a SongU class. I've decided to review my newest write in which I applied some different techniques and I'm reluctantly excited about getting feedback. I think its a good write, but that's just me - so we'll see how some other, more seasoned ears feel about it.

Although I love taking the time to record, I have discovered that once I take the time to put something down in 1's and 0's form, it feels like I should be done. So, I'm going to only record for the fun of it or to do more live-type recording until I can get up to par on the writing.

Oh, and here's a quote that is my new mantra for writing songs: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." from Maya Angelou, Professor of English Literature Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

You know, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Take a deep breath and continue. Hey I still enjoy it, so onward and upward and downward and back upward.