Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Songwriters and the Patience of Job

Patience...patience...patience!!!  That is what I keep telling myself I need as a songwriter but I unfortunately was born with the patience of a 3 year old waiting to open presents on Christmas morning!!

One thing I've come to learn about the music business:  The wheels turn slower than the Congress trying to pass a bipartisan bill!!!

Ok...that's enough of that :)  But, my thoughts for today turn to how much patience a songwriter has to have: 

The first thing is that there is no time frame to finish writing a song.  I've written songs that have taken me 15 minutes and others taken me 15 years to finalize everything. It is hard to have patience as "a song will tend to finish it's own time". If you rush a song "just to finish it", it will be compromised in some way, shape or form. It still may be a good song, but probably could have been better. Sometimes the best thing you can do is give the song a "rest". Put it away for a while and come back to it fresh at another time...Patience!!

The second time you need patience is when you are "vetting" your new song to gauge how strong of a song you might have. The urge is to pitch a song IMMEDIATELY after you put the pen down...crank out a demo and send away. The better way is to play the song for a while and get the kinks out...get it comfortable...many times phrasing will change somewhat and be more natural, sometimes you can drop a few "ands", "ifs" "buts" etc after singing for a while. Then after you play it for many of your trusted friends, you then can make a determination how strong the song really is. This period of "vetting" is valuable to make sure your "product" is as high quality as you can get it and you aren't sending out songs that are just "good" and not "great"

The third time a songwriter needs patience is after they have contacted the artist/band and they are ok to send a few songs and load up 2-3 mp3's and send them on their journey to be considered for recording. This is hard, as you never know exactly when an artist or band will be going through and listening to new material, they may not know exactly when they will be in the studio next, will they even listen to your songs??? Either way artists/musicians are not known for their communication skills in getting back to songwriters overall.  There are some artists that are VERY good at communicating with songwriters and believe me...THAT IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!!! :) But I've come to know that the norm is unless the artist is actually considering your song you won't hear a word back about the fate of the songs you've pitched. I'm not complaining or throwing is just a reality in this business and if you can't live with that maybe another vocation is in order LOLOL!   :)

OK...on to number four.  The fourth time you need patience is when an artist/band puts a song "on hold".  "HOLDS" are funny things and are up for grabs as to how to handle them. How long do you hold a song for an artist?? How solid is the "hold"?? Anyway...a "hold" can tie up a song for a period from a few days to a few months to a year or more depending on what you agree to with that artist. Again, you may or may not hear a word about your song.  I've had songs "on hold" for months only to contact the band and find out their new album was recorded two months ago and my "hold" didn't make it. In the guessed must have PATIENCE to wait it out per your agreement.

Number five is when the artist finally says..."YES...we want to cut your song!!!!"  Woohoo...all is right with the world and the planets have aligned!!!  Or have they??? I've had too many songs get recorded and then after the recording the song just didn't turn out as great as planned and ends up on the "cutting room floor"...recorded BUT not on the album. It happens and is just one of the hazards of songwriting. If you write songs long enough it will happen to you. No one to blame...some songs just don't work out and I always appreciate the band/artist giving it a shot!!  One thing to remember:  VINYL IS FINAL!!! Until I can hold that CD in my hand or download it off iTunes etc it is NOT...I repeat NOT final!! 

The last "patience" required is a fun one and full of anticipation...that is the time between when you find out the song will make the album and the time you actually hear the final version of your song that will be on the project!!! This is a nervous time as you have an idea of how the song will sound in your head...but...very seldom does the final recording mirror that song in your head. Sometimes it is close...other times you aren't sure but the final version can grow on your over time. You may not care for the treatment of your song, especially if the artist has changed your lyrics, melody, chord structure, timing....all or some of these!!!  Sometimes the changes are actually great...but...others make you cringe. And of course the best case scenario...the artist has HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK and you are blown away by how great your song sounds.  This is what we write songs for!!!! :) The planets have aligned and all is right with the musical world!!!  :)  

Anyway, for someone like me, I understand that patience is a virtue...but it is a virtue I have very little of...but that being said, I'm getting better :)  But have a long way to go!!! Just be patient with me!! LOLOL

Just some thoughts for today.  Remember:  Write more...whine less!!!

Write on!!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment