My Songwriting Journey
Over the years, when asked about songs I’ve written, I can’t help but notice that I tend to have a lot to say on the subject. I have spent a great deal of time studying songwriting and attempting to figure out what makes some songs work and others miss the mark. I’ve taken workshops, read books and listened to other songwriters for over two decades now and I’ve found the subject to be one which defies any final word or simple distillation into a single process to make it happen. Of course, there are your pop ‘formula’ songs and there are song structure conventions in place that have endured for over a century but none of this can make the craft obsolete. In my own pilgrimage to the altar of good songs, I have made a few observations, figured out a few tricks, and solved some difficult lyrical issues from which I have learned a great deal. It is with this in mind that I have decided to write this series of articles regarding the craft – or affliction – of songwriting.
There is no set outline here, so I have no idea how many follow-up articles I will actually write but, as I mentioned earlier, I seem to wax philosophic about it so I’m putting it all down here. I suppose I should disclose that I do not intend this to in any way represent the definitive work on the topic as there are a great number of good books already out there about the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of it. I’m also not concerning myself here with whether or not the reader is a beginner or a professional – these are simply my thoughts on the matter and not really intended for any single audience. I should also mention that the songs I am generally discussing would fall under the classic rock, folk-rock, singer-songwriter categories. Although I personally do not like catergorizing anything artistic, I wanted to state this in advance to limit the content and give the reader a sense of where I’m coming from. Although I like songs from almost every genre, including rap, jazz, punk, and country my comments are not generally intended for these genres – even though I’m sure there would be some crossover.
My purpose here is only to publish my observations of what has worked for me and might be helpful to you. I also welcome your comments and any observations you may have had regarding songwriting. This first article is serving as an introduction and explanation and the following articles will discuss various topics in detail. I will make use of various songs of mine – and those of other songwriters – to illustrate some of these points. So let’s just get into it.
About the author: Eric Colville is an award-winning songwriter who has released three CDs and has placed several songs songs on network television. He has performed at notable music events such as The 30A Music Festival in Destin Florida and the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville Texas. To receive two free downloads of his music, add your name and email to the box on the right.