Friday, 8 March 2013

My admiration for those who do it

Yet again, it's another late blog. My excuse this week is not that the dog ate my homework. But I was in the process of moving half a garage full of stuff to our new place, part of which was our big Pro Tools rig. Oh it is so nice to have it back, so it can sit there, whirring expensively at me as I fight to overcome the hideous self-doubt that is manifest whenever I try and write something..

I've wondered aloud before about why the hell we bother trying to make music these days, but one thing that I really should make clear is I love working with the people who make music. Not only that, I have enormous respect for those that do, and then go out and play their own songs.

First and foremost, I respect the fact that they have taken the time to write the songs, and they've gone through the self doubt processes. These I understand can be fatal for a songwriter's career. I’ve often wondered if this is something like the yips that golfers get when all of a sudden they are unable to make a seemingly simple putt, or for cricketers and baseball players, an inability to bowl accurately or even let go of the ball at the right time.
Although this is possibly a neurological condition (focal dystonia), some experts have postulated it is caused by momentous events in the athletes life, but it tends to hit golfers more if they have been playing for 25 years and upwards. It could also be brought on through excessive use of the muscles involved and intense demands of concentration. 

Thinking too much. Overthinking things, weighed down by the need to win, or perhaps in our case, the need to be creative, or even the overwhelming expectation that you *must* create something. 

Similar to this is that hideous songwriting block, which can affect anyone, but must be incredibly hard (and possibly even more like the yips) for someone who has been writing proficiently for years. Whatever, the fact that the songwriters manage to get beyond even the initial self doubt is an incredible feat as far as I'm concerned.

Then they'll put the track together, jam it a few times, and then maybe perform it at an open mic. This for me is possibly the most incredible thing ever. How anyone has the brass balls to stand up with only a guitar or a keyboard and their voice and sing their own songs is beyond me. I have nightmares about this. The Exorcist, The Omen, Paranormal Activity and any future horror film combined could not touch the utmost dread that doing this would instil in me.

The point is, it seems at every stage of being a singer songwriter you are holding your heart out for anyone to take a stab at. The initial writing process, where you bare your soul. Jamming it, making the melody (the melody that you came up with, that could be as personal to you as the lyrics) work with a chord structure. Fine tuning, self editing, but not letting the self editing destroy your creativity or your desire to carry on making music. Then, and only then, it is played to an audience, and you have no idea of how the song will go down.

If you're lucky, you'll pick up reviews which again must be a nerve shredding thing. Even a bad review from a no-mark "journalist" in a free 'zine must be a hard thing to bear. But then I guess you have to understand that their only creativity comes from destroying other people's creativity!

I still wonder why we bother making music. But you guys out there, writing and performing your own stuff. You rule, I love working with you, and I love watching you perform. So keep going and don't give up, and don't let your computer / notepad / manuscript paper mock you with its incessant blankness!


  1. Awesome stuff Chris. You have indeed hit the nail on the head. I don't know why we expose ourselves on stage (not like that) only for people to take pot shots. If we're lucky people will pick on the lyrics - that means they're listening. Usually you just get comments on appearance or even voice if they're listening. I guess we do it for validation: "Here's how I feel, is it normal?" and the audience says "Wow, she's saying what I feel." So it's a very elaborate way of having a conversation.

    Best get writing then...

  2. Thanks Jess, your lyrics really do mean something - and you really are laying it all out there. Get cracking, the world needs to hear your tracks!

  3. A good article, it will help those who do not have the inspiration and strength to work and create something new. This will give you a new jolt and the desire to go further, to a time when everything was annoying. I often have this, I write various articles It's interesting and I like it, just sometimes there is a lot of work, the students refused to write independently. Money rules the world.