Hear the Rough Draft...
I Needed to See the Entire Picture
Looking at a song from a step back is important. That way you can see if everything is going to flow well and feel complete. This song didn't feel complete with the chorus lyrics I had originally intended, so I had to recycle the chorus and use it for a bridge and then add a new chorus.
In one of the songwriting books I read, it was suggested that you limit any use of existing cliches. This guards your lyrics from being predictable and meaningless. However, the author went on to explain that many songwriters are cliche creators. So, it's o.k. to have cliche sounding lines in your song, if these are original phrases. I wanted the chorus to sound cliche'ish without using any real cliches.
My client ask me to focus the song to say that the everyday love he gets from his wife is important in his life. The first two lines of the chorus are meant to reinforce the verses. Then the chorus ends with two lines that say that their time together is what these two cherish the most. I kept it in past tense to match the rest of the song, but it might be cool to change to present tense on the chorus.
Here are the new chorus lyrics:
Seeing you was enough for me to love
And I saw you every day in my mind
Being with you has always been my gift
You gave me love and you were kind
The next step is to get approval from my client to go ahead and develop this rough draft into a more polished and well arranged song and start recording.
This medium tempo rock ballad style could end up very expressive once everything is put together. Instrumentation should stay fairly simple, and the song should build up to the chorus from quieter verses.
In the previous post I included some verses written directly from words from a client. I looked over the remainder of what he had given me in order to write the chorus lyrics. He asked that the song's overall theme say that they are "meant to be."
That phrase has too much meaning to just throw "meant to be" in the song call it done. I wanted to give some visual imagery that would describe what "meant to be" feels and looks like. And the chorus needed to fit the verses. Since the couple enjoys being around the ocean, I used water/ocean imagery/metaphor once again for the chorus (already used in a verse).
Here's the chorus:
You know when you have what you want
When you’ve been filled to the brim
When the current tugs and you can’t resist
There’s only one way you can swim
These lyrics compare the tug of falling in love with the massive power of the ocean. This couple had years apart, but the current "brought him home" eventually. They are as "meant to be" as the direction of the currents in the ocean. The first two lines describe the full and content feeling you get when you are in a good loving relationship.
A possible name for the song might be, One Way You Can Swim. Now comes my favorite part, adding music.
Good descriptions = good lyrics
One of the awesome things about writing songs for other people is that I get to hear these awesome stories about how people met, fell in love, struggles they've faced, vulnerabilities, and inspirational events.
For each of the jaded people out there who think true love isn't possible, there seems to be a person out there living in a romance movie storyline. The real life movies play out over years and involve real life struggles such as being apart for long periods of time, mostly because of the realities of life.
Here's a little peek into one of my current projects. I am usually able to get some great stuff right from a person's own words. So, essentially, you are directly inspiring the song. What I usually do is read through what a person writes and highlight all the stuff I think is really important for the song. Then I organize it in little sections that evolve into verses and a chorus.
Here is an example of some of those little pieces and how the song writes itself when people have strong feelings. The parts in bold are word for word from my client:
1. Irresistible urge to talk to her/ out of character for me/I was very shy/Love at first sight for me
2. Always seemed to keep in touch/Long lost love wondering what she was doing and thinking/We never stopped thinking of each other/Time and distance conspired
3. I received a call one night while on patrol/It seemed like no time had passed/Count down the hours when we will be able to see each other again.
Something I saw made me love you
Pulled me out of my shell
I noticed that you were by yourself
And I felt my heart swell
You’ve always stayed in my thoughts
Even miles out in the sea
The stars sang a song about us
And granted a wish for me
We beat the time that stood between
The distance that took so long
You proved with a simple phone call
Fate was always strong
A Custom Anniversary Song
My next custom gift song is due in December, and it is for an anniversary gift of a woman who is in the Philippines to a man who is in Australia. The lady wants a song that captures some of her blog posts. The first thing I like to do when writing for someone is try to identify a major theme. After reading a couple of her blog posts, and taking notes, I have identified some keywords.
Here are the keywords I collected from her writing:
FAIRY TALES- princess, castle, puffy dresses, shiny tiaras, knight in shining armor
CHANCE ENCOUNTERS- old school mates, gazes, seeing faces, not knowing names, not love at first sight, no formal acquaintance
DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIP- hold hands, hug, heart flutters, butterflies, conversations, questions, long distance, praying, family, friends, love, faith, God, blessed
Then, the overarching theme I found was FATE... and this fate ties together this irrational-like thinking of fairy tales with the real world difficulty of living in a long distance relationship. Fate is what makes even the most difficult time of our lives take on a more important meaning. Fate brings us together over and over, until we are slapped in the face with an unarguable fact that there is meaning and promise to what is happening.
The Plan for this Custom Anniversary Song
I would like to use fate as the ultimate theme in the song, and I will attempt to use the story of Charm and Aaron in order to back up the idea of fate in their lives. Then, because it is an anniversary son, I will attempt to make the entire thing relevent for the rest of their lives. This is the task at hand, so if you have any ideas, suggestions, or want to make any other comment, feel free to give me some more perspective.
Writing Custom Gift Songs: My Adventure
You don't just wake up and decide you want to write custom songs for other people. It's a progression of steps, but I want to mention what I have learned from writing songs for people I know and people halfway around the world. And I want to share how someone like me could get to the point where they want to do what I want to do, write custom gift songs and custom music.
Here are 5 things I have found to be true about writing songs for other people:
1. Everyone has a story worth telling, but most people don't get to have their own song written about/for them.
2. Even if you think your life is boring, it probably isn't if you really think about it. And I love making people think about their own lives.
3. Sometimes you might have a feeling that a couple doesn't have much of a chance to stay together based on what they tell you for their song, but you go ahead an write it anyway. Then you hear months later that they broke up. Then you're glad it wasn't a wedding song. True story, believe it or not!
4. Some people want to know all the details of how the song is written/produced, and others could care less. Some people are extremely grateful and helpful for the work you do, writing lengthy emails and giving you awesome feedback and suggestions. Then others just want to get something for free, never look back, and never give any real feedback.
5. Words can describe a person at least as well as a picture, and music makes the description more emotional. You can feel like you have met someone when you get to interview them in a personal way.
My Journey to Custom Songwriting
When you write your first song, and it all works together well, you feel like you have become a magician and that you now have a new superpower. You write another few songs and read a few spell books (songwriting books) to hone your skills.
That magic feeling begins to go away as you write another and yet another song. Then you realize that your newer songs are, for the most part, better than the first bunch you wrote, and so on. You write about personal experiences which relate to you, but find that these songs don't necessarily relate well to everyone around you. Some do and some don't.
At some point you start to want to write songs that are entertaining for others. It's like having your magic wand and playing with it for a while and realizing it's a lot more fun to share than to use only for yourself. Plus you believe that if you write a song for someone else, it might be a more awesome thing for them to experience first hand, since they may have never had a custom song written about them.
So, you survey your friends and family, and see if anyone wants a song written for their wedding or other special occasion, but you don't want to hard sell people to get some practice on them and you know it might be a little awkward to get personal with someone when you solicited them to write the song in the first place.
Finally, you turn to the internet to get clients, and you learn to get a picture of what someone is like without ever meeting them. This is a new skill and goes beyond the songwriting skill in itself. It's a human connection. This is what I am learning the most. I am a student of human behavior and spirit, and I am eager to learn. That, is what songwriting and art is all about anyway.
Why Buy a Custom Gift Song
You might wonder why you would ever want to buy a custom gift song for someone instead of some other kind of gift. There are a ton of different things you could buy someone that seem like good gifts.
Here are 10 reasons you might want to go with a custom gift song, instead of something else. Feel free to add to the list with your own comments
10. It Won't End Up in a Garage Sale Next Year: It's pretty hard to think of a gift that can't be broken, can be used unlimited number of times, and doesn't take up any space. Your custom gift song will be safe from a destiny in the garage sale.
9. It's Unique and Personal: You probably have never received your own gift song, and if you have, you're part of a small minority. You can use this opportunity to show someone that you are creative in finding just about the most unique gift you could give someone.
8. Everyone Likes Music: Even though people can be picky about what they listen to, most people will tell you that they enjoy music. So if you have no idea what a person's tastes are, try a musical gift.
7. It's Way Better Than a Greeting Card: So you might be wondering what you would write in a greeting card for your anniversary or other occasion. Problem solved! Your custom song will speak for you.
6. It Proves that You Put Thought in Your Gift: Are you trying to impress someone and show them that you are a thoughtful person? You'll be hard pressed to find something more thoughtful than a customized gift song. This is especially true when they hear that they lyrics are about them.
5. You Get to Feel What it's Like to Be a Songwriter: Have you ever wondered how a song is crafted word by word and note for note. You will get a good taste of this process with your custom gift song.
4. You are a Long Way Away: Maybe you are living in a different city, state, or country. Maybe you work a different shift. Either way, your loved one will have a something to bring comfort to his/her soul when he/she misses you.
3. You Can Say it's "Our Song:" Many couples use the term "our song" when describing their first dance song or another special song, but most couples don't get to really mean that the song is "our song." Have a song that is really about you, all of it.
2. You'll Be One Step Closer to a Custom Gift Album: Buy a single custom gift song, and you are one track on your way to having an entire gift album. Talk about cool!
1. You Can Share it on Facebook With Your Friends: "Listening to my own custom song" will be a status update that's sure to get some responses. Post a link and make people jealous.