I’ve finally booked some time away next week to do two things: rest, and write some music.
About bloomin’ time!! … So I’ve been thinking about creativity this past week, and just wanted to share ONE thing I know killed it for me many times in the past.
What I love about being creative is that there are no rules.. This isn’t a blog about the right or wrong way to ‘do’ creativity. True creativity is free and limitless.. But with anything that is free in this world, there are always things to try to blind, gag and suppress it’s freedom.
Last year (far too long ago) I went away, like I am next week. Generally, for me, I feel I have to go away and give myself a good chunk of time to write, as my output can be pretty poor when squashed in the middle of a busy, daily routine. Not a rule. Not for everyone – but works well for me. That time, some of Speak, Brother’s best and most passionate songs (so far) were born. Each song I wrote, tells a story I care deeply about. But my time away certainly didn’t start off like that.
I remember sitting down, at this beautiful house on a hill in the Cotwolds, listening to music I love, lyrics that move me, beautiful stories of love, self sacrifice and hope.
You’d think I’d be beaming with inspiration.. For a short time I was. But that inspiration shortly turned into something toxic. A poison that quickly choked every ounce of creativity, passion and honesty out of my very being until it was empty. I now see the effects of this poison everywhere, in every genre of music, in all levels of popularity and all over YouTube and the radio.
It’s called ‘Imitation‘.
I just wanted to write music that sounded like the music I liked listening to. Sounds innocent enough? But with that mind-set, I stopped anything NEW happening. I wanted what they had. I just subconsciously regurgitated their stories and melodies until I was left with a song that sounded ok, but felt wrong. It reaked of a souless, counterfeit, fake, bogus, stinky smell that lingered around the whole thing. There was no ‘me’ in any of it.
I set out to write a song, for the sake of getting a song to sell, forgetting the purpose of it. I guess, If you think about it, anything creative has a purpose of some sort. And if a purpose of a song, is simply to be bought, no matter what it’s about, it will come across pretty shallow and lifeless, and will most likely be a rip off of something. There’s probably an argument for the effect of the commercialization of music and the difference between a hobby and a job. But money should be no reason to sacrifice authenticity. You see it all the time, the bigger the world makes an organisation, artist or whatever, the more distant and fake it seems. That’s probably why I think the local music scene is always important. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked……
On that long weekend last year, I ended up writing a song about a girl (someone I know and love) who continually devalued herself, giving herself away to any lad that gave her attention. Another about my passed grandparents and their lives together.
With whatever creative thing you do, painting, poetry, music, writing, cooking, designing etc:
Use your own stories, struggles, successes, revelations, pains, hopes and no one else’s. Let your songs, stories, poems etc come from you for true creativity to flow. That’s when the good stuff comes out.
Of course it’s good to have inspiration, but let inspiration be just inspiration, and let the essence of the song be from you.
This article was originally published on the Speak Brother blog in March 2014
See our review of Speak, Brother’s new EP here.