From Where the Song Comes

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As a prolific songwriter, I have been asked dozens of times by fellow musicians and non-musicians the same thought-provoking question: Where do your songs come from? What a fascinating question, huh? The most interesting part of that inquiry is that I cannot pinpoint exactly where my songs come from. But I do think it is worth thinking about. I’ll share my thoughts with you.

Very often, I am inspired to write a song after hearing another song. I’ve heard it said that the musician’s greatest muse is often someone else’s music. I can attest to this. It would be impossible to list the countless times favorite songs of mine inspired me to create something in the same mood or vibe. It could be an entire tune, a specific phrase, or even one particular note that puts me in the songwriting mood.

It seems to me that most of my songs come from a place of necessary creative expression. There are times when I absolutely must stop what I am doing to hammer out a melody, write down some lyrics, or fiddle around with some chords. It is very much like an itch that needs to be scratched, lest I go a little bit loopy. These attacks of creativity and expression seem random, but I am guessing that there is some sort of trigger that fuels them.

Every now and then I experience emotions so strong that they stir my creative juices. It might be a moment of extreme pride in my children, or a painful feeling of loss for someone who has passed, or an overwhelming sense of adoration and appreciation for a cherished lover or friend. The more I think about it, the more I realize that these emotional moments are most often the source of my songs.

If you are a songwriter, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Where do your songs come from?

One Comment on “From Where the Song Comes

  1. Wonderful post, Eileen. It’s been my experience to be inspired to write lyric on cocktail napkins, odd pieces of scrap paper, even sticky notes and then I can never part with it because it’s as if the paper holds some magic and is able to resurrect the original inspiration. Most of the time I will write lyric and music at the same time, based on learning a new riff or cord or, as you experience, a strong emotion… even a newspaper article. I most often find it’s as if the song has a life of it’s own and only needs me to make it ‘visible’ and ‘audible’.

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