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.