Thanks to my Patrons on Patreon, I keep writing new music every month, once in awhile I come up with a video concept simple enough for me to do in a few hours. This new track "Through The Darkness" happened and the video was shot in my studio on my iphone.
Going STRONG! Finally made time for a long overdue BLOG! As I've been working on making this "song a day" a habit; I must admit that it can be challenging. Besides the obvious, the songs need to be produced, mixed and mastered which sometimes can take longer than expected. (lyric/vocal tracks)
Here are a few things I've discovered on my journey so far that I'd like to share. ( and really, it applies to anything you do)
-Do it everyday! Just do it.
-Give yourself a specific time and time frame. (2pm-4pm) If it's on your to do list, there's no panic or the "I don't have time" excuse. NO interruptions.
Why am I doing this? Speaking for myself I do it to:
-Get better and faster at my craft
-Treat it as a job
-Structure, discipline and self-motivation
-Up my production and writing skills
-Build my catalog
-Train myself to write wherever, whatever, without having to wait on inspiration.
Inspiration is everywhere. Once you start, once in the zone and amazed what comes out.
During my 31 Songs in 31 Days challenge, I was writing full songs with lyrics and vocals. I gave myself two hours. The goal was to write a complete song, start to finish. I didn't think too much about a specific genre, I let myself write whatever I wanted which was very liberating and fun. Now that I have the 31 songs, as I finish them one by one (production) I'll find them a home, some will be on my album, while others will go straight to a library.
For Instrumentals. I think of it as making compilation CD's for music libraries. Specific themes and genres. Either Holiday (Halloween, Christmas) or Drama, or EDM tracks. This way, the end of the month I have 30 tracks to submit. It just makes sense and it helps to focus.
-learn and experiment
It's easy to go to the same Virtual Instruments, (I do it all the time) while it is extremely helpful to have a go to Instrument if you need to write fast for a specific request, force yourself to use just one instrument for example, write the entire piece in Massive, next day just use FM8 or Omnisphere and so on. The point is, we do want to expand and learn our instruments. Most of us have a ton of toys we hardly ever use or don't even know how to use.
-Learn the genre you're in (or a new genre you're interested in)
-Stick out while still fitting in, be different from the rest
If you do library tracks, go to the high end libraries sites and listen to the genres you do, compare where you stand out yet still fit in. Same goes for songwriting, listen to the new releases on Itunes,
As an Artists we do want to sound unique, different and fresh but we still want to know what's going on out there and stay current. Obviously, if you do vocal tracks for libraries, you do want to be able to make sound-alike tracks, you need to know what that artist sounds like. And it can inspire you to make it your own.
#6 KEEP ORGANIZED
-Find a system that works for you
-Register your songs with PRO
-Create Song Inventory to keep track
As you keep writing more and more music, it can get pretty overwhelming. I make folders for each month. (Sept. 2014) Inside that folder each song gets their own folder , I name the songs "Sept.1st, Sept. 2nd and so on" I also have a MIXES folder inside main folder where all the mixes go from all 30 songs; this way I don't have to go to each individual song folder if I need a track. Make wav and mp3 files. Vocal and Instrumental tracks.
Metadata, so important to have all the info about the song, like bpm, name, genre, artist info, description etc. It will make submissions way easier if you have it all in one place rather than having to listen to each track way after you worked on them.
Have a track inventory of all tracks, where the tracks are, (what libraries) non-exclusive or exclusive. (That just seems a blog all by itself) It can get overwhelming quickly.
#6 HAVE FUN & STAY FLEXIBLE
While it seems like a lot of work and requires lot's discipline, we are doing it because we love it. We do it because we want to work our creative muscle. Not every song has to be the most amazing thing you've ever written. It's not about that, it's about putting it out to the universe that you are living your purpose, so your subconscious mind knows that this is what you are meant to do. It's so that your catalog grows, as well as you as an artist, composer. singer/songwriter. We only get better by doing.
There might be a day or two where you don't write, it happened to me a few times, I wanted to beat myself up but decided to just acknowledge that life happens, things come up and throw you off balance a bit. You go off track, you get back on. Write two the next day, make up for it. Laugh it off.
Read reviews, interviews, articles that catch your interest, use it as inspiration for lyrics and themes.
While I personally love writing alone, especially instrumentals, I LOVE collaborating, it's expanding, fun and magical with the right person. Together you'll come up with things you would've never done alone. It's easy to get stuck doing what you always do. Collaborators are great teachers and often become great friends and inspiration. Find collaborators that will care about the song as much as you do and help shop the song as well. There's power in a TEAM! No one succeeds doing everything alone.
The more you write, the more creative you'll get. The more you hit the gym , the firmer your body gets, the stronger you become. And your CONFIDENT grows. Confidence is very attractive! Successful people love confident people. Do not confuse that with arrogance or cockiness. Stay humble and keep living your purpose!!!
July's Mission "31 Songs in 31 Days" ACCOMPLISHED!!!!
It was fun, challenging and mind expanding. I wanted to prove to myself, that I can focus two hours a day on writing a song start to finish with lyrics, without feeling "Writers Block". It was not about the full production but the fact that if I was to walk into a studio tomorrow to record an album, walk into a writing session or have a library request, I now have 31 songs to choose from. It was about being creative, in the moment and trusting that I can do it. About collaborating, enjoying teamwork and effort. Growing and expanding as a writer. Thank you to those who were part of it. This is just the beginning ;)
So what's next? AUGUST MISSION!
Step 1: I will finish one song a week for 31 weeks, (every single song from 31SI31D challenge). I plan on pulling a collaborator in for every song because 1) it will be faster and 2) another persons skill and talent will make it even better and after all, it's about making a good song GREAT. Knowing that people may flake, get busy...collaborator or not, one song a week to be released every Monday on soundcloud as well as some video clips.
Step 2: I'll write one song a day but this time, instrumentals only, no longer than 3 minutes. Since I don't have to record vocals and write lyrics, I can do the full production in three hours easily, keeping the track focused, clean and simple.
Ready to bust ass for what I want! Willing to put in the work, even if it means getting up a little earlier. Think for many of us the challenge is to be productive rather than busy! I know this will not be easy but I know it's do-able and I'm super excited. PS: I'll let you know how happy or cranky I will be in a few days!
Let's get this party started! Happy August!
So many ways to write. So many ideas all around. Day 28. Still on fire. A little resistance creeped in around the 18th, which is interesting, cause it was my Birthday and I thought for sure I'm gonna kick ass. I guess I made it my priority to thank everyone on Facebook instead for the many Birthday wishes. I ended up singing my idea on my phone on my way to dinner.
My major breakthough has been lyrics. I decided that every song has to have lyrics. I usually take a pretty long time to write lyrics, especially if it's for my personal project. Yet, under pressure, knowing I only have a certain amount of time, and I need to complete them, I do. While the first draft is most likely not the final, what matters is to get creative, keep "throwing up" what comes out, brainstorm, let your train of though run it's route. Make up or enhance a story and run with it. To just let it flow and not over think or over analyze.
Getting up, taking a break is most definitely working for me. I purposely don't try to find the right words while on break time. Instead, I make calls, play with the dog, completely switch off. I than return to the track with a fresh mind, and usually everything falls into place. (for the first draft at least)
Not only does it become easier, it's fun and exciting each and every day to just explore without the pressure of having to sound like something or someone or fit into a genre. Of course I want the songs to be great, find a home for them, ideally in film/tv or on someones album but writing just for the sake of perfecting the craft and fun takes the pressure away and get's you in the place you want to be. The "zone". One of my favorite quotes "Nothing Happens Till Something Moves". [Einstein] Let your guard down stuff starts to move. And let's be honest, a song is hardly ever done in one sitting. It's all in the re-write.
I've collaborated with a few people for far, not as many as I had hoped but the ones involved are super talented and fun. One person gave me a metal track and my first thought was "so not inspired, so not what I do" than I just muted everything except the drum and bass and did my thing (apologizing in advance to my collaborator, lol ) Thankfully he was open minded enough and took the leash off.
I started out as a solo writer and still love writing on my own, however, collaboration takes a project to another level. It's a challenge and a test. Do you listen to your ego or what's best for the song? Obviously, the song always wins.
You're so much more vulnerable when collaborating. Sharing a half finished track or a raw, out of tune vocal idea with someone can be uncomfortable for many of us, it's like showing up naked to their party. Trust is essential.
Although I did consider sharing some of the songs, I just listened to a bunch of them and they do sound kinda shitty for the most part, as the focus was not to fully produce but write fully structured song a day instead of just a hook or a few lines.
Plus, I don't want to spoil the fun that's coming in August, so bare with me until I reveal the next step!
Day 13. Yesterday was a real challenge. Between teaching, eating, getting my workout in and running some errands, it suddenly was 11pm; in panic I stared at the screen, pulled up the track, looked at the time and all I heard was a little voice saying..."you're not gonna make it today. There goes your 31songs in 31days".
I threw some first instinct vocal ideas on it, kept listening to the music, looking at the time and slightly freaking out again. Thankfully, it was a collaboration, I just needed vocals and lyrics. Hahaha, JUST...the voice kept saying "You're running out of time, don't have a clue what you're singing about" and for a second I wanted to accept the fact that I didn't make it, telling myself I could write two tomorrow. I did NOT listen to that voice.
I took a deep breath and started to tap into my subconscious mind, allowing myself to JUST BE and DO what FEELS right instead of thinking if it's good or bad or what time it is.(as long as I stick with the 2 hour time frame)
Melodies are easy for me. I can do 10 songs a day if I had to. (I really can) But WORDS is a different story. The trap you fall into when writing lyrics by yourself is that you tend to keep re-using some of your favorite words. Listen to some albums and you'll notice that many artists do this. Not all but many.
I decided to NOT worry about it and just write. Over-thinking, over-analyzing leads to writers block.
Once you let it go, think about the scene, the theme or title, the words start flowing. Are they final? Most likely not, writing is all about re-writing. What's important is MOMENTUM!
I must say I was truly amazed with myself. I was tired, frustrated and slightly panicking. I claimed writers block for such a long time while finishing my album ARC OF A DREAM. Looking back, I call it bullshit. Subconsciously I was stalling completion in fear of disapproval, failure or maybe just pure fear of completion?
As songwriters who take their career serious, we have to learn to write, start to finish, than re-write, start to finish and let it go! And repeat! Things are always way simpler than they seem. Life is good. Feeling accomplished! Cheers!
PS: Soundbites are coming next! Stay tuned! xoxo
It's been pretty fun so far.The biggest challenge has been to not write about the same old things and to use different approaches, let's say, one song starts with a vocal melody, another get's inspired by a drumbeat, guitar riff or synth sound. Yesterday was my first Collaboration on this project, felt good to only come up with lyrics and melody. I did feel a little resistance at first but once I let go of the "inner judge" allowing myself to just dive in, it became effortless.
I don't always have a concept when I write, some writers do. I usually let the music take me, picking a theme has been another one of my challenges. The beauty in writing is, it doesn't matter how you start the journey, as long as you end up with a completed song that resonates with you. A song that captures a feeling, a vibe, a mood. And of course if I was writing for a specific project, a music library, I'd have more of an outline and theme, most likely writing a sound alike. What's fun about this project is that I can write whatever I want without having to fit a format. It's fun to express myself any way I want, goofy, serious, off beat. No RULES! Of course in the back of my mind I am thinking about where that track could be placed and ultimately, I want to find those 31 babies a good home but as of right now. All I need to do is give birth to another creation. ;)
I've been pretty good as far as only spending a couple of hours on writing, not all in one sitting, I work for 30 min, get the idea down, take a quick walk with the dog or do my workout than come back with a clear head and fresh perspective. It's working really well.
The frustrating part is that I can hear some of the songs fully produced and want to do it right than and there (yes, I've spend several hours on a couple of songs I felt strongly about). I have to remember to just WRITE the song first, start to finish, THAN focus on production, although in some cases tweaking the sounds along the way is extremely inspiring, as long as I don't get caught up in "tweaking" that sound forever.
What I did notice is that I am more creative, ideas keep popping up consistently, I've recorded some ideas right after writing a track or while waiting for a student. The fossett is open and little symphonies keeps flowing, effortlessly. Day Seven accomplished. (Just realized, I spent so much time on this Blog it's already day Eight, hahaha.
Starting tomorrow, I will post snippets of the tracks, I don't know if it would be a good idea to post the entire songs. (copyright, quality and time wise)
My goal is to do at least 10 Collabs on this project.
Stay tuned the fun is just about to start!