Here’s a can of worms I choose to open today (and this is personal opinion of course)…
I reckon that we are coming to the point where everything in western contemporary music has been done before, so why are songwriters so concerned with trying to sound totally 100% original to the point where it becomes an excuse to not write/finish a song (read on for an example of this thinking)?
Look at the music industry at the moment. There are genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres all trying to find some elusive niche in the music business and therefore some originality in the music as a whole.
Now, while there are lots and lots of interesting stuff being released all the time, what makes the music interesting are the different layers, production values, dynamics and textures on offer to the listener.
I mean, two unrelated genres colliding together to form a piece of music doesn’t necessarily make the song a totally 100% original idea. Does it?
All I’m trying to point out here is that the chances of doing something completely new and never heard before are very, very, very small so don’t waste your creative energy worrying about it (if however, you do come up with something completely original, I will be the first one to congratulate you).
Always remember that even though a song may not be totally original in its sound, it’s uniqueness does come from you, the songwriter and you alone.
Always remember… You are the uniqueness and therefore, the originality behind every song you write.
Some time ago I remember a friend of mine played to me a first draft of a song he just written. It was a really, really good effort and in my enjoyment of it, I unconsciously started singing another song over the top of it because it sounded familiar.
He stopped what he was doing and then got very upset with me for singing the other song over the top of his work. He then mentioned that he was going to throw the song away and abandon any attempts to finish it.
“I am never, ever going to write a song that has never been heard before” he lamented, to which I replied, “Does it really matter? What matters is that you wrote it, not anyone else.”
He thought about it a little more and decided to finish the song. Once he started working on his song again his whole perspective shifted to the point that the song took a whole new life.
It’s amazing that the smallest of changes of thinking can make the biggest of differences to an outcome.
Once you realise that it’s you that makes your song unique then you’ll finally get off of the “my song must be totally original to really matter” trip that stops so many of us songwriters from writing.
I mean, that excuse is right up there with “my songs must be perfect” and that old favourite, “I have nothing to write about.” All this thinking does is stops you, from doing what you absolutely love… Writing songs.
Do you believe that there are uncharted elements of originality that contemporary western music has not uncovered yet or, does my statement that everything has been done before ring true for you? Let me know what you think as I reckon this would be a great discussion topic 🙂
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting