The More Personal, the More Powerful

by Mike Rush
(Escondido, CA)

I was reading about songwriting and came across a book regarding songwriting. In it, they mentioned drawing from your own experience, so that is not too hard to do. Everyone has a breakup song in them if they are at least 20 years old, likely younger!

Anyway, instead of trying to create some esoteric/ethereal song 'out there'. I decided to just tap my own experience. I had used a line I had heard from someone years ago and added a another line to make it "catchy." At that point it was general.

In addition, another song writer had mentioned the evolution of the process of creation. He had stated that sometimes it comes with a guitar riff, a chord progression or a series of notes that get built on. Sometimes it's a melody running around in your head that doesn't have any music to it yet.

In this case it was a melody that had been sticking around in my mind for some time. Another friend had said not to worry about the creations that you can't remember-the good ones you will remember (kind of like a good song!). It was catchy, but only had two lines, no music and no direction. I wrote it down & kept an open mind. Somehow, the guitar chords came perfectly over Thanksgiving. That was quite fitting.

Looking back on my own experience, I came up with 14 lines of verse/chorus to connect the general to the specific over the next couple of months, but it all came in two days. I had just planted the seed, so to speak, in my mind to complete it because it was driving me crazy.

Anyway, I worked on it to sync the music and the lyrics over the next couple of months & it came together. I recorded several versions and had one to present to the limited public. I did and most that listened to it loved it & i did get some structural feedback! The biggest critic was singing along as he played the song, so there you are.

The lyrics were/are deeply personal from my own experience and could be construed as hard to really talk about, yet the ironic thing is that the opposite ended up actually being true. It adds more passion and listeners seek passion and groove in music, if nothing else.

People relate to deeply personal experiences because we are all human. The thing you fear the most actually touches the most people. So, the more deeply personal the experience is and put into lyrics, the more relate able it is perhaps. At the very least you put more passion into it and that comes across as you perform it. It can all be summed up by saying, "Follow your heart."


Mike Rush

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