With music, we tend to love and sing songs depending on how we feel. Think about your favorite songs. Are they about love? Are they about anger or jealousy? Whatever the feeling, there’s a song that expresses it. When expressing emotion, songwriting has been a weapon of choice for most of my life. But how do you choose which feelings to express and which ones to let pass by? If you feel like throwing dishes against the wall, should you write it? If you want to gently kiss someone’s soft face, should you sing like it? Both questions create an emotional picture, so how do you choose? Should music come from a place of pain or love?
A little history on me. I began writing music at the tender age of 10. Drums were the best thing on Earth at the time, so my music expressed the exciting energy I was always feeling. The first song was written for drumlines. Inspired by a high school drumline, my music was banged out in front of the entire school only a couple weeks after writing it. My heart nearly exploded out of my chest with excitement. The performance was simple and dirty but an experience I will never forget.
Song-writing Today, Very Different
Today, I write fewer sweet drumline beats and more smooth R&B music that is better suited for the music lover. There are shocking differences between the musical types. One of the challenges is lyrics. The goal of lyrics is to write words that smoothly fit into the music. The key is to have a balance between telling your story without being overly technical and detailed that the listener loses the message. Once that balance is met with enough space for the listener to connect with the singer, magic happens.
Not About Love
Now back to the question. Should music come from a place of pain or love? Keep in mind, my music does not always contain a completely 100% positive message. “Something I meant to Do,” a recent song of mine, focuses on regret. Regret is often painful and weighs us down. In “Something I meant to Do,” I regret not being brave enough to go after what I wanted at the moment I wanted it. The moment was a chance to dance with the sweetest young girl at a school party.
Express Whatever You’re Feeling
In the end, express whatever you are feeling without judgment. If you write songs, follow the path the song takes you. Both pain and love have their place in music but it never hurts to end on a positive note. “Something I meant to Do” doesn’t end with regret but with redemption. The chance to dance again came a couple years later. The painful regret vanishes halfway through the song with the lines,
We’re grooving at last, Back from the past with you.
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Keep it smooth,