Monday, February 28, 2011

Developing a Voice

This is a large boot.
The fun thing about writing songs for other people is that you can skip genres from day to day. But the dangerous thing is that we can sometimes leave what we do best at the door. Write what you know, not what you think you know.

There was a point in my pursuit of a songwriting deal where, on my own, I began writing mostly country songs. I figured a Nashville publisher would expect nothing else. The problem was not so much the quality of the songs (they were awful) as the fact that I wasn’t being true to my own voice. As a piano player who grew up soaking in The Beatles' White Album, I was trying to operate in a genre where I had no real authority. I didn’t grow up wearing a cowboy hat on a ranch in Texas, but some other writer did. And they will naturally write a song about farm life way better than I ever will.

I would define a voice as "the style of one's message."

There is something that each of us brings to a song that we do better than anyone else in the world. It would boring if we all tried to have the same voice and write the same song (and thankfully, some publishers understand this reality). The last thing creativity should be described as is safe. If we are true to our own voice, we will create something fresh rather than safe.

Keep writing,



  1. that was fresh! ha.

    great point, as per usual. and you're right, creativity is not at its height when shrouded in safety...

  2. Thanks, Robyn. I've realized also that it's incredibly important to be willing to take chances, because only then are we in uncharted territory!