by J.P. Kallio
As a songwriter I have become very aware lately of the intricacy of how I collect information, inspiration and ideas for songs. Yes there are parts of songwriting, which I call “tools” and these need to be learned. But these alone will not make a truly great songwriter. Let me get just a little bit of philosophical here.
I’m sure some of you are aware of the concept of “the third eye”. It has been around for a very long time in religions and cultures around the world. It is just one of those things that seem to appear in cultures so far apart, that it is hard not to wonder if there is some truth in it. I’m sure many skeptics are tuning off aright about now. But after writing as many songs as I have, you do start to wonder where they come from.
Time after time again I have sat down and written songs about what felt like “nothing” at the time, and after a week realised I was writing about something going on in the world around me, or my own life. These are thoughts and feelings sometimes I haven’t even admitted to my self in the moment, or something I did not think I was paying much attention to write a song about it. It is something inside in me that observes the world around me, even when the conscious mind is ignoring it all.
But as much as the information collection process is unclear, so is how that information actually finds it’s way in to the song in the songwriting process. But what I am starting to learn is this. You need to feed the songwriters third eye. This can be something as simple as get out, go for a walk, go and sit in a coffee shop on your own, or sit in a bar on your own. Or you can make bit bigger effort, like traveling can be a great source. Also read a lot, listen a lot of good music, watch great movies with good stories. By the nature of art in general it is supposed to make us think and evoke emotions, so expose your self to as many forms of art as possible.
I should also say to you to take a great care of your self, rest a lot and eat good healthy diet. But I must say that there has been times I have been overwhelmed with work, sleep deprived and suffering from a hangover and ended up writing a great song… So I am not telling you to go out and get drunk in a hopes of writing a great song… But what I am saying, is try to write in as many moments as possible and in many moods as possible. If you feel sad, this emotion could make its way in to the song.
Also a small word of warning. There are times when the songwriting can take you on a trip, it can be a lonely task. And from time to time you need to dig up old wounds with in you. These things again are something that I don’t understand how to trigger them, they seem to choose their own time to pop up. Often these moments can create a great songs, but you will be mentally drained afterwards. So yes, work hard on your songwriting, but take breaks and break out of your bubble. Go spend some time with family or friends. This is an important part.
J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter