On Songwriting Pt. 9
by J.P. Kallio
I’ve just been handed a slap on the face lesson, by me! I’m in a middle of songwriting for the second album of 2015 and once again I see my self falling in to the old habits of vanity and self-doubt. I get worried about silly things, like for example is the two verses enough? I feel the need cram in more words, where they are not needed. I feel one of my strengths as a songwriter is being able to say more with less, so why do I start doubting my self?
There are artists out there who are great at writing very “wordy” songs, some of the Amanda Palmers stuff blow me a way, but that is not me. My approach to songwriting was always what can I leave out rather than add, and it has served me well so far. But it is amazing how you start to doubt your self time and time again.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to ask your self, is this song good enough? But I suppose the thing is, even the best song requires you to step back for a day or so, before you can look back at it with perspective. On the moment you write the song, it can feel like the best song ever, but the next day it sounds like crap. Or the other way around, you might feel you are writing a song for the sake of writing, and your heart does not seem to be in it, but you persist to finish the song anyway. And then when you come back to it, you realise all along your unconscious mind was actually throwing some quite profound stuff on the table while you were wallowing in self-doubt.
Oh yeah, and let’s make one thing very clear, I have no idea what goes on in my head while I write a song. But I am trying to break this down, as I want to share it with you. Sometimes it is good to see that other songwriters might go through similar battles than you.
My point is you need to have faith in your self. There are times when you will doubt everything, but the next day things will look different. Finish writing those songs no matter how much you doubt your self in the moment. It’s that determination that will make a great songwriter out of you. As I write this I am listening back to two new songs I recorded yesterday, and guess what? They sound great, even if I say so my self.