|Read Between The Lines
By J.P. Kallio
I always had quite a mixed view of Sting. I mean I loved some of the early Police stuff, but later in his career I just found myself losing interest. So when I got my weekly Ted Talk Email telling me of a Talk by Sting about songwriting, I was not as excited about it as I perhaps should have been. But still reluctantly I pressed play. For the next 24 minutes I was mesmerized. He put into words so many things I have gone through in my songwriting.
As a songwriter it is so easy just write kind of self-absorbed songs about your own emotional turmoil, things you struggle in your life. It takes some maturity to remove yourself from the songs, to become an outside observer of life and how it treats us all. And amazingly when you start writing stories about others, you suddenly find yourself in the songs again. But somehow you manage to do it in a much more honest way. You don’t vent your own misery; you inject true life experience into a character in your song.
As I write this, it is the day before my second solo album comes out and I am in a middle of working on the third one. I have definitely moved more and more towards story songs’ and even when I listen to other artists songs, I lose interest as soon as I get that “self-centered’ emotion flow not really saying anything but wallowing in self-pity” monologue.
So I challenge you my fellow songwriters, to tell more stories in your songs. Oh yeah, and hit that play button on the Stings Ted Talk, it is fantastic!