Writing songs can be tricky business. Whether you’re a songwriter, or someone who enjoys listening to songs, at one time or another you may have wondered about the songwriting process. For me, a song always start with an original idea, a moment of inspiration, whether it’s a guitar part, a melody or a lyric, and from there it grows into a finished song. I’ll share with you two examples of songs I’ve written that appear on my debut EP “Everything Gives”, and how the songwriting process for each was very different.
I wrote Above The Clouds in about 15 minutes on a cold winter night in Regina back in November 2012. I was playing around with finger picking at the time, which is how the song started. I was plucking a chord progression, trying to let my intuition guide me. I started humming a melody and I quickly had a verse and chorus idea I liked. I often get a feeling, a sense of what I want the song to say and then I try and run with it. I had just flown to Regina from Vancouver to visit my girlfriend (now my fiancé). I missed her and the words that came out felt simple but natural. I tried to edit them at one point but ended up going back to the original lyrics, because that’s what ultimately felt the best. I think the simplicity of the lyric made the song relatable, and I’ve since played it for a number of wedding ceremonies over the past year.
Nobody But You took over 5 years to finish. The song started with a guitar riff and a melody idea but the lyric did not come so easily this time. I had some words for the chorus but every time I tried to write down words for the verses it didn’t seem to work. So I let it bubble and stew inside me, hoping that by giving myself more time the right words would eventually come. Leading up to recording “Everything Gives” in January 2013 I knew I wanted to include Nobody But You, but I still hadn’t finished it. Sometimes the best way to help finish a song is a deadline. I started gathering all the different lyric ideas I’d written over the years, and ended up splicing together old lyrics with new ones. I also changed the order of the verses to make the story more cohesive. I was really happy with the finished song even though it took me 5 years to complete.
Whether it takes you 5 minutes or 5 years, remember to stick with it, follow your gut and enjoy the process, because in the end you might end up writing a great song.