So what makes someone want to establish a page for the sole purpose of exhibiting their amateur attempts at songwriting? Usually, these endeavours were created in the privacy of my bedroom, bathroom, car and head space for an audience of one. Sure, I’ve shown my loved ones and family before, hesitantly looking for the ideal moment to either embarrass myself or garner an approval perhaps earnt through appreciation, or courtesy. Hell, I’ve even tried on numerous occasions to wrangle my very talented sister into lending her voice to my work, but a college student is a rare beast to hold down for more than a few minutes. There have been some successful collaborations between the two of us, but I was relatively new to the art and attempts could be called uneven on a good day. So to say that I’ve never felt any external satisfaction from my hobby wouldn’t be entirely true, but it certainly is few and far between. More than likely the combination of my personality and skill will keep this as a true statement, but I don’t normally do anything for people’s approval anyway.
Right off the bat it should be made known that as a musician I would classify myself as fairly average. I’ve been playing piano for most of my life at a basic level, really just making it up as I go! I’m more proficient at guitar which became my most enjoyable hobby from the minute I picked it up, and have been known to try my hand at as many instruments as I can get my hands on. My one glaring weakness is my lack of ability to sing, which also happens to be one of the more important aspects of showcasing songwriting! It’s not like I can’t hold a note or get close to the required melody, I don’t think I’m completely tone-deaf. I just have zero confidence, no range or dynamics, and like most people, hate the sound of my voice on playback. These personal gripes don’t stop me from enjoying sitting down with a guitar and notebook though, and trying to mine the random strains of melody and stories rattling around in my head.
I’ve always been the kind of kid that tended towards introspection and daydreaming. Most are, but being slightly socially awkward does also seem to develop an affinity for trying to pick apart people’s motives and innermost thoughts. Do I fit in here and what do all these strangers think of me? What does this situation require and am I adequate to meet it? I also try to please everyone and hate the notion of being known as a jerk. Deep down I love the art of debate and am not particularly great at losing, but I do the utmost to control myself in the face of confrontation sometimes to the extent where I don’t try or give up in a whimper. I basically isolated myself in the face of all these perceived obstacles, illusory or otherwise. I was the most comfortable reading anything I could get my hands on, or playing guitar for hours on end. This provided me with a talent for self-examination, and with the knowledge that music could help express these feelings and thoughts, an outlet.
Over the course and life of my postings on this site I will delve more into the findings of these examinations, both personal and the world around me (hopefully not to the extent where they are too off-putting!) through snippets of lyrics and sound recordings. As I’ve matured my songwriting has certainly changed in both style and content. You are less likely to hear about my rantings on why the world sucks, why I especially suck, and why you (yes you there, behind the screen) may suck (not really). I’ve always been an idealist, looking for the best in people and situations and hoping that we’ll treat each other fairly and with respect, and have “peace on earth” to quote George Harrison. However, I’m also equal parts realist (like the aforementioned Mr. Harrison)
and realise that we always fail in some respect, and that the only way we can mend those failures is to learn from them and to not be consumed by the emotions attached. So, as I’ve aged, my songwriting has become somewhat of a cathartic process that at the same time brings me great joy, and a sense of completeness. I’m not trying anymore to throw down the gauntlet with a blitzkrieg of accusations and solutions to my problems and yours (although I can slip into preachiness), I best enjoy trying to get a handle on what is, and what has come before so as to learn and improve. I feel that my outlook on life has come such a long way in the past few years, and in many ways I am so thankful to my discovery of songwriting, and to music and literature in general.
My opening question is a bit of a red herring in so far as that this page hasn’t really been created in the spirit of exhibitionism. I’d love for people to hopefully find enjoyment or something tangible in my songs, and I have just enough of an ego to gather pride from that occurrence. Or fall into a downward spiral if they are scoffed at or scorned. What I am really looking for (apart from bringing the process full circle) is collaboration and community. My chief desire is to develop this page as a band room of sorts. I have always loved playing and jamming with others, there is a kind of magic that develops when people are working together for a common cause. Whether it’s creating a symphony at the Royal Albert Hall, or banging out ‘Seven Nation Army’ with a crappy old bass and drum kit, I love the shivers that swell up the spine when I hear or can contribute to the end product. Sadly on my part I’ll never play the Royal Albert Hall, but I can bash the living daylights out of that bass riff! I actually get jealous at a gig or festival, in that I feel like I’m missing out on this amazing alchemy that’s happening in front of my eyes. Couple this desire of musical contribution with a sense of community that I think we all feel on some level and you get the beating heart of this little project.
So if you see or hear anything that takes your fancy, or if you have any thoughts or criticisms then please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment. Better still, I would love to hear your take on the material, or any lyrical or musical suggestions that you may have. If you’ve got an awesome musical piece that works well with my lyrics (or vice versa), or a guitar riff, drum beat or triangle tone that amplifies and advances the sounds then I would be super excited to check it out. Nothing is really off-limits (as long as it relates in some form), and any genre can be moulded into the mix. In a way, genre seems to be going the way of the dinosaur and I’m comfortable listening to absolutely anything as long as it is stimulating. It’s probably delusional and egotistical of me to think that this page is going to ever get more than four viewers, but I would also love to hear about any projects that you may have in the works and help in any way I can, whether it’s a mention or recommendation, or a change of chord or lyric change. Community is really the name of the game, and I will do my best to develop that if I ever get the chance to do so!
Thank you so much for your readership and for getting to the end of this post! At this stage I am looking to post a few things in the next couple of days, and I hope that they will be fairly regular. I very much look forward to hearing from any of you out there, and discovering what sparks your passion for music and how you harness it. Please don’t be scared to introduce yourself, and if you are wondering, my name is Chris!