This article is part of a series about my songwriting process in writing a song called “Every Love Song.” Part I is here.
Today, I worked about 5 hours on the lyrics. I threw out almost everything I’d had earlier except the chorus but kept many of the ideas. Having the song more arranged and tangible changed the way the lyrics flowed.
I started out by listening to the guitar parts I’d done yesterday. I listened, over and over. I turned off my critical brain and just sang along with whatever words came to mind. Most of it was silly but every once in a while, I got a line I liked. When I did, I would write it down and see if I could work another line next to it. Occasionally I’d look down at my lyric sheet and draw ideas from the earlier lyrics I’d written.
A Change Of Scenery
When I got as far as I could (the ideas were no longer flowing), I changed venues. I went down to Silver Cup Coffee with my lyric notebook in hand, grabbed a cup of cinnamon tea and went to work. I worked with both the ideas I’m come up with earlier in the day and the ideas from the days preceding.
Sometimes, I’d plug my ears so I could hear the melody and rhythm of the song over the music playing at the coffee shop.
Again, I worked it until it felt like is wasn’t productive any more and changed venues. Back to the apartment.
To The Bat Cave!
At the apartment, I decide to slap a quick lead vocal track down to see where I was. I plugged a mic in and hit record. I only re-recorded when I forgot a lyric or a melody. The object here was to get the current shape of the vocal down and listen to it in relation to the music — not to get a perfect vocal track.
The result is what you call a”scratch vocal.” It’s enough to tell how the song is supposed to go.
FYI, I didn’t even warm up my voice; it’s pretty raw. This kind of track is not usually released for public consumption, but here it is…
I listened through it a few times and found a few things I’d like to change lyrically. That’s for next time. At every step of the songwriting/recording process I find things I like and things I want to change. It’s a continuous molding of the song until you get something you’re happy (or happy enough) with. It could go on forever.
I’m starting to hear where the arrangement/production can be sweetened too, Can’t wait.
PS: I’m up to 8 sheets of paper on these lyrics and 12 1/2 hours into the song. Again, I feel pretty good about where I am, especially for the brief amount of time spent so far.
PPS: OK, I spent about another 1/2 hour singing along and getting ideas for harmony parts. 13 hours, so far. This part of the process involves a lot of creative juices and it’s fun!