Anonymous asked: My daughter is 13 and she just started writing her own songs. Do you have any advice for her?

it means a lot that youd consider me a good source for this question so thanks for the ask. i’m going to explain the way i write and which ways i think are the best in general but obviously this is only a narrow view of songwriting i’ve not been doing it long (although i do have a lot of experience.) 

my first piece of advice would be to listen to lots and lots of music. maybe genres that make you uncomfortable or that you just dont like. all sorts of weird stuff. try and absorb as much as possible because if you listen to one genre or artist too much your writing will stagnate and become boring.

second: melody first, words afterwards. this has always been my general rule unless i am writing folk or something that is very wordy where the main focus is the lyrics. there’s nothing wrong with coming up with a line or two as a starting point and constructing the song around that, but generally coming up with the tune without the restriction of the words is your best bet for writing inventive melodies because you write independently of preconceived structures. its a much healthier approach to songwriting to allow the tune to inform the words, rather than the other way around. 

write every day especially if you are just starting. even if you throw everything you write away and think its utter crap, keep writing. eventually you’ll hit on your own flow. i keep (ie use in sets, finish the song etc.) maybe 20% of everything i write, but songwriting is an exercise in logic as well as creativity and it helps to use those muscles just like with any other past stime. if you cant already, eventually you’ll be able to sit down and write how you want. 

finally, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your influences on your sleeve. david bowie once called himself a ‘tasteful thief. the real knack to art in this day and age is knowing what to steal and how to incorporate all these different elements in to something cohesive, thats whats fun. when i write i dont even worry about people going “well youve clearly got that idea from here”. i’ll just say “so what?”.

i hope this helps sorry if its a little jumbled i wrote this super quickly. i would have spent a little more time on this and done something a little piffier but im a little busy atm. any questions (from anybody) i’d be happy to answer them. 

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No one wants to be the person who is made fun of for caring too much about something, who treats in earnest a situation that everyone else considers absurd. Even in personal relationships, feeling too heavily invested while simultaneously understanding that the other person couldn’t be more detached is one of the most profound feelings of embarrassment we can experience. Because it isn’t simply the embarrassment of making a mistake or a poor choice, it’s a shame over the kind of human being you are and how you see the world around you. To be shamed for your sincerity is to be reminded that you are dependent on something which is not dependent on you — that you are, once again, vulnerable. I Will Always Care Too Much (via fawun)

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