Music is all around us, but sometimes we don’t think about where the inspiration for a song comes from, or even how it’s made. I was completely out of my depth when I first started writing back in 2018, it didn’t come easily to me, and I didn’t know where to begin. I’ve always been a creative type, but I guess when something is totally new to you (which this was to me), it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I never considered that songwriting could be a career, but I’m so glad I stuck with it.
Thinking back, I wished there was a straightforward guide to getting started, or even a blog where someone recounts their own real-life experience in a basic, no-jargon way. Maybe that would have inspired me to pick up a pen and paper sooner to get writing those pop hits. Anyway, that explains some of the reasons why I wanted to create this blog post, my aim is to outline and share the experience of creating my song, “Oops”.
The process for “Oops” started during the first UK lockdown, and yes, I’m referring to the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic (2020, to be specific). I remember watching the news and hearing that we could no longer venture outdoors, and sheer panic hit me! I didn’t know what to do with myself and I had a complete mixture of emotions. suddenly the minutes felt like days and the days felt like years. Yes, dramatic, I know! I initially filled my time with sunbathing, listening to podcasts and attempting to make bread, but then I became stir-crazy and needed to use my time doing something productive. I mentally got myself focused on the task at hand and started to make music again.
What was my process I hear you ask?
I’ve split this into 5 easy parts:
1. Reading old journals. A classic for me when it comes to writing material. Don’t underestimate the power of an old journal, whatever the emotion!
2. Poetry. Once I’ve picked out key words and transported myself back in time (with the help of my trusty journal) I like to try and turn my words into a form of poetry, I almost see this as a little monologue. I like the text to make sense (to me anyway!) when I’m reading it out loud.
3. Logic Pro X. I only started to get to grips with this during lockdown, but oh my goodness, I couldn’t be without it anymore! If I have instrument ideas, I vocally record them into Logic and then experiment with either midi-keys or finding similar loops as a starting point for my song.
4. Walk away. Yep, this one is strange. Personally, I do my best work (whatever the field) when working in bitesize chunks. Once I’ve spent a mad amount of time on the initial songwriting process, I like to take a breather and not hear the song for a few days. Once this period is over, I listen back with fresh ears (and good headphones). Sometimes, this gives me a whole new perspective on the song, and I can hear things that my fatigued ears might have missed before!
5. Tweak music, lyrics, and melody. I’m no music producer by any means, so once I’m happy with my demo and the full structure of my song, I like to collaborate and get feedback from other creatives. The aim of this is to see if other people are hearing what I’m hearing, and it helps me to move the song forward into the main production/recording phase and beyond.
It might all sound simple, and logistically it is, but taking the time out to rejuvenate myself (and my creativity) really helped me during lockdown. This process also proves how long a song can be a work in progress for. From creation to release, it must have easily taken a solid year of hard work, tons of back-and-forth feedback, and suggestions for adjustments. It's OK though, it all helps to make the song the best it can possibly be!
Comment below and tell me your process for writing a new song! You can also sign up to my mailing list below.