As a Recording Artist, one of the questions I get maybe the most often from people is “do you write your own songs?” I love that question, because I get to tell them yes. If my career ever came to a place where I wasn’t doing the lead writing with my songs, it would be a lot harder to put my name next to those tracks. Now, just like all things that are done at the higher levels in any industry, I absolutely have done cowrites with big time songwriters in the hopes of learning from them, but ultimately, when I release a song under my name, I am telling my story.
I think that Artists write for a variety of reasons. Some write because they want to express every element of their emotional life, and others write because they want to portray their life in a very specific way, often in a way that is not accurate. There is nothing wrong with either styles of writing in my opinion. Those decisions of how you write simply determine what kind of Artist you will be, and what kind of connection will you have with your fans. Will you be untouchable for them, never revealing the deeper parts of your humanity, or will you strip the shit back, and let them see you for who you are? Once again, I see nothing wrong with either approach, it is simply a choice.
For me, I write for primarily two reasons. The first is to deal with my heart. I would say that nearly half of my songs are direct entries from my “journal” of life, giving you a window into something I am either feeling at the very moment of the writing or into something that previously happened. The second reason I write is to convey someone else’s story, usually a friends or someone I respect or love. These songs tend to have more of a narrative built around them, drawing you a picture of what I want you to see about the situation.
Whatever mode I’m in while writing, whether strictly a literal situation in my life or a story about another’s, I always include elements of myself. I do this in fairly unique (maybe just weird) ways to be honest. I have a few songs where I wrote a story about how a girl broke my heart, but essentially flipped it so that in the song a girl is getting her heart broken in the same way I got mine broken. This is a way for me to process something I went through but then flip it so that someone else can relate to it apart from me.
Songwriting is therapeutic for me, and it is my love language. It is how I say I love you whether you know I am writing about you or not. My last release was a song called “Brother,” which is my bleeding anthem written to my younger brother. This song has no facade to it, it is literally a letter written to my brother that I put into song form. When I perform this song, it is all the more real then because it is about one of the most important people in my life.
Writing in a vulnerable way is not always easy as an Artist, if I’m being honest. While for the listener, songs that are “real” help because then you feel included into the Artist’s life, for the Artist it can be horrifying. It is like you are ripping a page out of your journal from some of life’s darkest moments and then putting it up on FaceBook for the world to see, judge, and determine if it’s a story worth telling. That is not easy to do. I commend all the Artists, whether known or unknown, who are willingly putting themselves out there in the form of their art. It is beautiful, and it is worth the pain.
The core behind sharing my life in song is quite simple, to bring hope. I have learned that unfortunately, life is not always easy. There are times when life tries to take you into pits of depression, anxiety, fear, or other dark emotions. For me, to write about the times in my life that have been deep struggles is to provide a place of hope for someone else. It is to say, “you are not alone, no matter how dark it feels.” I know that in my own life it was listening to songs that spoke to struggle that gave me strength in those hellish moments. As an Artist, I will always strive to let you all into that reality, the reality that life is beautiful, but sometimes it hurts. The reality that as humans we’re all the same, no matter what we believe. There is hope and there is life for us all, no matter how dark your demons are. Whoever you are, thank you for reading, don’t give up.