I have two songs that are being reviewed by hi-profile recording artists. It’s very exciting and has been making me rethink my whole songwriting self image. There are reasons that I write songs, and reasons I write in the American Music Country/Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly genres. I love the music. This music tells my story. This music makes me feel as if I am still a part of the America in which I grew up. It also has a rhythm I understand deep within my bones. Also my songs are born from my own stories and experiences. I knew or know the people of whom I write.
One of my songs is currently being reviewed by a country singer, and that is kool. It’s an old timey Honky-Tonk song about Honky-Tonk life and Honky-Tonk people out in the low-down back-alley dives where Honky-Tonks exist. The song is fun, it’s based partly on my visits to those places in my early years, and on the stories I’ve heard from their denizens.
The other song is a “Pop” song. I wrote it a few years back for a song published who was working in cahoots this a talent developer to bring up a young woman who had a voice with a very limited vocal range. They said her sweet spot was around 5-7 notes. So I wrote this song about a little kid who had a crush on a guy, but who couldn’t tell him. Catchy, bouncy, fun and it moves. I can sing it and I will, but I do it a little more edgy (of course). I was asked to re-reference my submission with a female singer, and I did and re-sent it.
I’m eagerly waiting on both replies, as you can imagine, but I’m also doing some reconsidering in terms of me writing Pop songs. Why not write more Pop songs? Why not “sell out” for the buck? Why not make a living? This probably sounds just a little sophomoric to those of you who just write songs. I have been all caught up in the image of the “Outlaw” Country writer that for awhile I lost touch of what a songwriter actually does–THEY WRITE SONGS!
A compelling and supportive argument to my idea of allowing a myriad of genres to infiltrate my songwriting is that I am readying a song–another Pop song–that I wrote in the middle 1970s for a singer in Texas. My new notion is that songwriting in a tightly limited latitude of idea/style material is OK if I am just writing for myself and my own performances, but if I am writing outside of that self-imposed limitation, then I should explore all the avenues of possible acceptance. It’s called, Marketing. If I just write for myself, my marketing focuses on my performances. If I write for others, then my marketing must focus on trends, fashions, and the needs of others. Sounds kind of fun!