Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Perspective: Creative Greatness

What does it really take to be a great songwriter?  Not just a good one, but a GREAT one.  I don't think the answer is the same for every songwriter.  Each of us has our own unique sounds and lyrical ideas, so it would be impossible for all of us to share the same idea of "greatness".  And let me be clear about the term "greatness".  I'm not looking at this through a "I wanna be gloriously famous and in the lime light for all of eternity" lens.  Greatness is not always seen by the public eye.
For me, being a great songwriter means looking through the eyes of someone else.  It means empathizing with what they might be feeling in their circumstances.  If it's pain, trying to understand it, crafting those emotions in to lyrics.  If it's joy, grabbing on to that, forming it in to a melody.

Much of the time we can become locked in to our own life experiences.  We forget that there is an entire world of creative inspiration right in front of us just waiting to be tapped in to.  So plug in!  Create a story line in your head, maybe even write it out, and then try to transfer it in to a song.  Use your creative muscles to break out of your usual box and try something different.

Here is a song I wrote back in 2009.  While the song sounds as though I'm singing from my own perspective, I actually wrote it with a dear friend in mind.  They were in the midst of a battle with their self image and the truth of who God created them to be.  I walked with them as a support beam, but it was hard to see them experiencing so much pain.  I imagined myself in their shoes, and composed this song.  Fast forward to today and I've found that this song rings truer now in my own heart than when I originally wrote it.