Inspiration VS Deadlines: Two Paths to a Song
Writing songs can be tricky business. Whether you’re a songwriter,
or someone who enjoys listening to songs, at one time or another you may
have wondered about the songwriting process. For me, a song always
start with an original idea, a moment of inspiration, whether it’s a
guitar part, a melody or a lyric, and from there it grows into a
finished song. I’ll share with you two examples of songs I’ve written
that appear on my debut EP “Everything Gives”, and how the songwriting
process for each was very different.
I wrote Above The Clouds in about 15 minutes on a cold winter
night in Regina back in November 2012. I was playing around with finger
picking at the time, which is how the song started. I was plucking a
chord progression, trying to let my intuition guide me. I started
humming a melody and I quickly had a verse and chorus idea I liked. I
often get a feeling, a sense of what I want the song to say and then I
try and run with it. I had just flown to Regina from Vancouver to visit
my girlfriend (now my fiancé). I missed her and the words that came
out felt simple but natural. I tried to edit them at one point but
ended up going back to the original lyrics, because that’s what
ultimately felt the best. I think the simplicity of the lyric made the
song relatable, and I’ve since played it for a number of wedding
ceremonies over the past year.
Nobody But You took over 5 years to finish. The song started
with a guitar riff and a melody idea but the lyric did not come so
easily this time. I had some words for the chorus but every time I
tried to write down words for the verses it didn’t seem to work. So I
let it bubble and stew inside me, hoping that by giving myself more time
the right words would eventually come. Leading up to recording
“Everything Gives” in January 2013 I knew I wanted to include Nobody But You,
but I still hadn’t finished it. Sometimes the best way to help finish a
song is a deadline. I started gathering all the different lyric ideas
I’d written over the years, and ended up splicing together old lyrics
with new ones. I also changed the order of the verses to make the story
more cohesive. I was really happy with the finished song even though
it took me 5 years to complete.
Whether it takes you 5 minutes or 5 years, remember to stick with it,
follow your gut and enjoy the process, because in the end you might end
up writing a great song.
Click Here to visit Scott Perrie’s Songwriters’ Profile.