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Bill Monahan

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"You'll never get a tan when you're sitting in the shade"

Influences:

Gord Lightfoot, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Hank Williams

Favourite Singer/Songwriter:

Leonard Cohen

Contact Email:

bill@homebuttons.ca

Social Media:



Songs by Bill Monahan

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Region:

ON - Ontario

Level of Experience:

WORKING ON IT

Genre:

Country | Acoustic | Americana  | Pop

I Write:

By myself | With others

I prefer to write:

Lyrics | Melody

Songs Recorded:

Homemade Music

I am interested in:

Web Cowriting | Face to face Cowriting | Networking | Pitching Songs to Artists | Pitching Songs To Tv/Film/Etc.

Other Jobs:

Electronics technician

Biography:

I started writing songs when I started hearing songs, making up my own lyrics to amuse my family.
It became easier as time went by so I started writing songs for great voices I heard on the radio, trying to write something as good as the songs they already sang. When I sang them they didn’t sound like I wanted them to, with the good voices. I sang them for my family and friends. Later I sang them for other songwriters and a few folk fans at open stages. Nobody made much of a fuss but they didn’t run from the room.
Only once or twice, in those years of emotional somersaults growing up, I used song writing to try to express something inside me. It mattered more to me for the person who heard it to feel it expressed something inside them. And I wanted to create a blueprint for those great singers and arrangers you hear on the radio.
My experience in the music business is an embarrassment, best quickly passed over. Unsure of my own talents, I undertook to promote a series of other songwriters and I found myself in the sub-commercial levels of the music business, besieged by hopefuls who wanted my ear, and shunned by those whose ear I sought. Having so little success with other song writers, I didn’t see much potential for my own songs.
Discouraged, I took a long hiatus. I learned to speak Spanish, dance the meringue. There was a big cardboard box with all the songs I’d written or half written (except for the dozen or so that were in that guitar case that had been stolen). One day years later I’d moved to a small town where musicians set up shows under a picnic shelter beside the river and the audience brought their own camp chairs to listen. I bought a new guitar and dug out my box of songs. Some people did make a fuss about them this time.
So I started to write again, go out again to open mic nights, now populated by friendly beer drinkers and good musicians playing covers. Even beer drinkers liked my original songs. It occurred to me that maybe all these years I had missed something in these songs that could touch people.
I began to write again, and I realized that over the years I had honed a craft. These are the song writing rules I work by:
• I try to write songs that are fun to sing and not limited to my own vocal talents
• I want a song to take you away to a welcome escape, maybe make you see things differently
• I try to avoid gratuitous rhyme or anachronisms
• I like to flirt with cliché without actually committing it
• My favourite idiom is the vernacular and I search for phrases that have the impact of a line like “You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend”
• I steal as many ideas as I can and internalize them enough so hopefully they’re not derivative
• I work to maintain a consistent and authentic emotional landscape
• I try to make the song evolve, so that you end up somewhere different than where you started.
• I build rhythms with syllables and look for vowels that allow a great voice to soar.
• If I can make the listener think twice, or chuckle approvingly, I’m happy
• I’ve learned that simple is best
When I have written a song I become less interested in it and want to move on to the next one. I my ideal life I would find collaborators to work with, creative professionals who will not only inspire new ideas from me but will find my contributions an asset to their own careers
A song is its own reward, but dancing solo is only half way there.

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