Buffy here - I just want to give a short introduction. I've asked Regan Aarons to do a guest post because she is an amazing up and coming singer/song-writer. She is listed on Triple J's Unearthed, an initiative to discover the best Australian new music. So, don't believe her when she becomes super modest!
The relationship and differences between novel writing and song writing is fascinating. I've had to split it into two parts because there is so much great stuff in there, so stay tuned for the next half!
Sitting down to write this post, I thought I knew what I wanted to share with you – I wanted to talk about my musical idols, my sources of inspiration and the process of partnering rhetoric and rhythm that leads to the creation of a song. But for the sake of honesty I have an admission to make– I’m really nervous about the whole thing.
I’m just another person that loves music. I have minimal performing experience, no credentials, and yet I’m meant to provide you guys with some minute glimpse into the world of song writing. What credibility do I have in doing that? But then I also have to wonder, who really needs such credibility? Music need not follow logic, or reason or rule. There is no single formula or equation to produce a song. The focus is instead on breaking down barriers that allow freedom of expression – think of the process as being a wonderfully cheap, self-medicated alternative to group therapy.
As ridiculous as this may sound, the fact of the matter is that I’ve never actually discussed my relationship with music with anyone at length. I find it difficult to convey how intimate an experience it is for me to write a song, to adequately describe the effect that the construction of my own little melody has on me. I can’t put it down to a single word or sentence – hence why my song writing creed is simply “When you know, you know.” You just continue to ride that feeling as far as it wants to take you. I know I can turn a phrase or two once in a while (if I may say so myself) but the ability to emphasise the profound effect that creating music has on me, as a person, always appears to lie beyond the bounds of my lyrical aptitude.
Though I don’t have an extensive list of original compositions that I would be comfortable enough to play in front of an audience, my most recent piece of material, ‘Ode to Honesty’ , is the one of which I am most proud, and also best illustrates my connection to music. What I believed would become another failed attempt at a much more personal style of song writing eventually turned into a scrutinising examination of my own insecurities and fears about who I am as an individual, how I am perceived by the wider world, and how I perceive myself. It was never intended for anyone’s ears but mine, as a method for coping with a variety of issues that were, and in some cases, still are present in my life.
In recent months, I’ve taken to using our garage as a practice/writing space. Detached from the house, it’s a little more private than my bedroom where my family can still hear me practicing, and I was surprised how much difference it made as I was able to get off my chest the random little thoughts that I wasn’t particularly keen on anyone hearing me sing aloud. I found the soft chord structure and picking pattern that I settled on was incredibly simple, but that this simplicity moved me. I don’t like to overcomplicate things, and this had a genuinely poignant mood about it, without being dramatic or overstated.
I put my success in completing the lyrics of ‘Ode to Honesty’ down to the fact that this time around I was writing with a clearer sense of purpose than I ever had in the past. I knew exactly what my problems were, and I didn’t like the thought that my hang-ups about problems I was facing had the potential to become problematic for the people round me as well. I wanted to take a really honest approach to the lyrics, and so that became the theme for the song.
(Don't forget to see Part 2!)