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Mahesh

Are singer-songwriters sad all the time?

28 posts in this topic

I recently started a Youtube Vlog series called Mahesh Music Diaries to simply express all the things that goes on in my day to day life as a singer songwriter. I thought it'd be a great thing for the humble audience I am fortunate to have back home. But also, it is a great exercise to see yourself from third person and be able to mould yourself into a better and wiser person. And also, it's fun!

 

 

Why do you always write sad songs?

 

This is one question that has been asked way too many times in my short career than I can remember. It seems fair that the first reaction to a singer-songwriter with mostly sad music is to think that he’s pretty much a sad sod with nothing else to talk about. But is it really accurate? I wanted to answer this question on my vlog and that’s what I wanted to share with you here today.

 

 

P.S I use profanity.

 

P.P.S It's meant to be a light-hearted and casual account of my every day life.

 

P.P.P.S If you subscribe, I'll show you India like you've never seen before.

 

Okay, I admit the last one was a sly attempt. Never mind ;)

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Nice. The crickets added atmosphere. 

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It's absolutely beautiful. Bangalore is one of the biggest IT hubs in the world. The traffic is intense throughout the day, we have record high temperatures for what was once proudly called The Garden City of India and the pollution, disgusting. So it was really a welcoming surprise when I found out about this forest reserve protected by the State. It's a wonderful detox opportunity especially when I live such an erratic life being a musician. I love it! 

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Posted (edited)

Actual songwriters are ... "fiction authors."  They look for scenarios that "lots of people can identify with," and try to write a melody and a lyric that "clicks."

 

In other words – "they try to write the musical accompaniment to someone else's life," and, "to do it for a living." :)

 

 

 

But, the fictions that they strive to produce are exactly that:  "fiction."

 

Edited by MikeRobinson

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Interesting video. The landscape reminds me of southern Georgia. 

 

I think to deny that we might get sad is to deny a reality of being human. Whether a person is classified as a "sad" person is, I guess, another issue. Some people hide their true insides so well we might assume they are never sad. Others don't attempt to hide how they feel. In that sense, these are the most real people. People hide what they perceive to be negative about themselves from others including sadness. 

 

In a very big way we are what we think. I have never seen anyone who thinks in a negative way accomplish anything. We need to have a positive trajectory to move ahead with our dreams. I think this is why people are afraid to sometimes be sad, or they want to move past the feeling as fast as possible. Sadness has a debilitating effect on progress.

I'm sure there are musicians who use music as a medicine to the soul either through expression of the sadness or as a way to move beyond it. So I think music is a kind of healer. It has a calming effect on me. 

 

Acceptance is sometimes a great way to move beyond sadness. Then it becomes easier to see how to work within the framework we were granted to work. 

 

I attend an HSP group ( Highly Sensitive Persons) . According to statistics 20% of the population is HSP. There are many types of HSP's though. Most musicians are HSP of some type. One of the things about being HSP is you pick up the vibes of the people around you. We can tend to absorb and carry others pain even without realizing it. This in turn can make us sad. We also sense a lot of our immediate environment in terms of sensory input. This can be overwhelming and take us into overload. This is probably why you needed to get away or liked getting away and enjoying some time to be by yourself and recharge.

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16 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

Actual songwriters are ... "fiction authors."  They look for scenarios that "lots of people can identify with," and try to write a melody and a lyric that "clicks."

 

In other words – "they try to write the musical accompaniment to someone else's life," and, "to do it for a living." :)

 

 

 

But, the fictions that they strive to produce are exactly that:  "fiction."

 

lol of "quotes" there Mike :D

 

Personally, I've not let the audience or my need to present something in a certain way "externally" define what I should write about. It's always been with me and myself in the room when I'm writing it. That's not just physically. lol

 

I believe musicians don't necessarily need to figure out what "lots of people can identify with" (unless they want to as a business strategy and make some money, whatever music pays at least lol) and should rather work on figuring out what they identify with themselves. The world is a small place and I'm sure there will always be some common grounds where people will relate. And that is a good seg way to what Tim is talking about.

 

A lot of people do not identify with sadness even when they deal with things associated with it all the time. Their minds keep avoiding it like it's a disease to even accept it and understand that it's a part of life. Which is something that really messes with people's heads. I know it did to me and lord knows I know people who do it to this day. I was talking about this on Jenn's topic regarding confidence. Acceptance is the greatest friend. You will never be able to get out of it unless you see where you stand. And that needs acceptance. 

 

Regarding your description about HSP, yup. That sounds like me alright lol 

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songs can be truthful, even autobiographical. They dont have to empathise at all.

 

I'm not so much sad. I'm more sort of crabby & miserable.

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2 hours ago, starise said:

Interesting video. The landscape reminds me of southern Georgia.

 

Man, ain't that the truth, Tim? My mom's whole side of the family comes from south Georgia. I visited countless times as a kid.  Lived there as a young man.

 

Mahesh, the video was really enjoyable. It made me think of either living in (or near) or visiting major cities in the northeast part of the continental US...

 

If you travel much in America, you can, over time, develop a sense that the country is split between that which is old, and that which is new.

 

Starting with the area around the original 13 colonies, the northeast has many cities which appear to be full of old stone buildings and organizational features (or are decidedly missing signs of modern organization) from 3, 4 or 500 years past. Cities like Detroit, who's fortunes have risen and fallen almost exclusively owing to the movement of money into and out of the city's coffers, have been almost totally abandoned recently, after a decline which has lasted longer than my 55 years of life. Other cities up north, like Cincinnati, look almost as if they have suffered through a war or two. There are whole sections of Cincinnati that look as if they have been abandoned for more than one lifetime.

 

On the other hand, many southerly cities in the US were destroyed, either partially or nearly completely, in the civil war of the late 1860's. Think about that... many southern cities don't have any major structures in them that are more than about 140 years old or so. And much of these cities are, of course, much, much newer than that. As a singular example of a southern city, Atlanta is so new and shiny it looks almost surreal.

 

Here's why I type all of this... if you drive through Detroit, and don't stop, it is easy to forget that people live there. A few hundreds thousand people (used to be well over 1 million), as it so happens. It is easy to look upon what you see and see only the ugly, blighted, or dirty and polluted side of a city, and not realize that it is still a place where humans live, and work, and conduct their lives. Yet, if you go down into Detroit, you will see where people are slowly beginning to reclaim their neighborhoods. One building, one yard or blighted park, or burnt out lot at a time. Detroit may never achieve the status of a major northeastern city it had 150, or 200 year ago, and almost certainly will not do so in my lifetime, but it is far from abandoned.

 

So, perhaps in a way that is similar to Bangalore, Detroit is a city of dual facades... one side not so pleasant to gaze upon, but the other far more attractive.

 

In any case, it does look a lot like Georgia.

 

 

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I've gone through a number of your videos and quite liked them. Btw, where in Bangalore is this place? I may just bookmark it :)

I don't know much about song writing... but I wonder if it's the sad incidents that first bring out the songwriter in a person and over time they write about different things - some personal and some fictional.

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Interesting topic. It sparked a few thoughts and an opinion or two hopping about wanting to get out :)

 

I certainly think much of what songwriters do is fictional, but often it is more a fictional narrative to a real circumstance or event. The balance changes from writer to writer and especially when they are a singer songwriter. That doesn't mean they don't use "appeal" as a filter on idea selection and development.

 

A fictional narrative to real events has been used by many modern singer songwriters from Adele to Alanis Morrisette, Amy Winehouse to Ed Sheeran, and many more besides. In many ways it is this ability to build a fictionalised narrative while keeping the intensity and authenticity of emotion that underpins many hits. Of course some writers are far more literal than others, and struggle to build any sort of fictional narrative without losing emotion, or indeed they fail to build a fictional narrative at all.

 

Professional, non-performing writers can write some wonderful songs, but often they stick to safer topics. Not all by any means. Perhaps it is more focus on a broad appeal fiction that is at fault? It creates an overal homogenised sameness to pop, rock or country... at least within each genre.

 

Conversely writers who write literal, personal only songs can often be so specific that their songs become hard to relate to. Or at least you can find yourself relating to some aspects and absolutely not relating to other aspects. In such cases writers are confusing the main reasons people relate to songs. True fans like to get to know their artists lives, they want to believe in that authenticity, that intensity, but they also want to understand their heroes suffer from similar issues in life, things they can relate to. That even when the star expresses their indulgence of wealthy excess, that it is something the listener can relate to. Something they would like to think they would do. What they don't want is an expression of the writer's life that they cannot relate to. Maybe a bit, but not to be dominated by it.

 

And that is the judgement writers have to develop. The ability to write things people want to hear, even when they don't know what they want to hear. The ability to be relatable and relevant. The ability not to be so consumed by our own ego in that we believe the world should want to understand us and our sad lives, when really they seek to use our songs to further understand their own, and to help them feel connected, understood, and fundamentally not alone.

 

They do of course look for more. Originality. Stimulation. Teasing. Satisfaction. A journey. But hey I can't cover it all in one post lol

 

On a bright note it does mean if you have a good grasp of blending authenticity and fiction, and a willingness to take topical risks balanced with an eye towards appeal... you really have an opportunity to stick out.

 

Cheers

 

John

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"In any case, it does look a lot like Georgia."

 

Rob I love your detailed observations. Yes there is a lot of variation even simply looking at the exterior of places in the US aside from all of the other deeper issues. You looked much deeper than that. Social, political, economic, historical. It's like you seen the whole pill there at once. It's like sometimes when I look at a tree I imagine the roots system and the sap flowing trough the trunk and little earth worms wriggling around the bottom and birds nesting in the branches. I might wonder how it looks in the morning .vs the evening shade. How will the tree look in 5 years? What about the bats at night? Are we crazy?

 

I like to hear from Mahesh because it gives me a glimpse into a place I've never been and probably will never visit. To see and hear his experiences as a young Indian man. It reminds me of the  walks I took while I lived in Georgia. Those walks really helped to clear my mind. Back then I didn't really know why I did it or why it seemed to help. 

 

John you write so deep I tend to loose you. I would have never though about fiction as it relates to this. I don't know how many songwriters set out to intentionally write fiction. I don't label anything i do. It's only afterwards I might try to give it a name or a meaning. I realize my approach might not be the norm. Seems like a textbook comparison, like something for a sociology class to dissect. That high intelligence is showing through. 

 

The act of analyzing how or what or who or why seems to take away from it for me. I don't want to think about it. Lazy? Maybe. I want to let it be what it is. Just me.I'm probably not deep enough for that discussion :) Fiction writers write fiction. Do they write fiction because it was inherent? Or did they one day set out to intentionally do it. I more respect the writer who wrote first and thought about what it was later.

 

 

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5 hours ago, starise said:

 

 

John you write so deep I tend to loose you. I would have never though about fiction as it relates to this. I don't know how many songwriters set out to intentionally write fiction. I don't label anything i do. It's only afterwards I might try to give it a name or a meaning. I realize my approach might not be the norm. Seems like a textbook comparison, like something for a sociology class to dissect. That high intelligence is showing through. 

 

The act of analyzing how or what or who or why seems to take away from it for me. I don't want to think about it. Lazy? Maybe. I want to let it be what it is. Just me.I'm probably not deep enough for that discussion :) Fiction writers write fiction. Do they write fiction because it was inherent? Or did they one day set out to intentionally do it. I more respect the writer who wrote first and thought about what it was later.

 

 

 

Of course people fictionalise... if only to spare people's feelings. Just because we create a parallel fictional story, doesn't mean it is unauthentic. In fact, there is a case for saying that writers can be liberated to be more honest when they fictionalise, precisely because they are not having to keep the peace by pulling a punch.

 

For example Joe is your brother. He has a gambling addiction. He looks like he might lose his house. His kids regularly go without food, and their clothes are shabby. It worries you the damage he is doing, but he will not take a telling. He isn't interested. He doesn't care.

 

Many would choose not to write about him or anything about it. They shy away. Few would choose to write it completely about Joe, especially using his name.

 

Writing a song about Joe being a deadbeat dad, with his addiction, how it makes you feel, his wife and kids feel, could cause a lot of upset. Still, it is something important. The feelings are important. 

 

You could start by writing "fiction by omission". So you omit the guys name, his kids name, the name of the town... but you know if he or his family ever hear this song they will know it was written about them. So you can either:

 

write it honestly, but not care how it affects them, and not care if it blows back on you

 

or

 

Pull your punches so that at least if they recognise themselves it is perhaps less devastating to be so observed

 

or

 

change it more.

 

so, to stay emotionally honest, and keep it about the pain of addiction, it becomes a story about a woman with a drink addiction, with one child instead of two. There are maybe some other changes too. The emotions are still honest. The worries. The selfishness. The pain. But now you feel while they might see themselves, at least they don't know it is about them. They may even suspect.... but most likely not.

 

What you have of course is a fictional narrative to spare blushes, to save you pulling punches. But you have written a very meaningful piece. It is honest in all the important ways.

 

I have written a mixture of songs. My friends and family know songs about my wife or myself are honest and open, though I tend to write first person without names. But songs about other people I tend to fictionalise, as much so they will not be embarrassed by them. On occasion I have told them when they inspired a song. Yet again I tend to write first person, putting myself in their fictional shoes.

 

Other times I see a story or situation that simply inspires a story. I put myself in those shoes and imagine a scenario. I overlay how I thinkI orothers around me would react and I try to keep it honest.

 

Is that less worthy because I thought about it?

 

We all analyse. Even up front. I just choose to acknowledge that I do so, and I view that as a strength. Each to their own. :)

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18 hours ago, john said:

Is that less worthy because I thought about it?

 

Less worthy? Far be it from me. But, less honest? Perhaps. And I mean so in the "not cagey or underhanded" sort of dishonest, but more the "join me in my fantasy" type of dishonesty. Where the delusion is equally shared by all. Including the story teller.

 

I have to use the word "story" because that's the word we use for news articles, which are not supposed to be "stories" at all.

 

Don't you worry now and then, with all that realigning of reality, that you will lose, or misplace the original truth of whatever situation you are converting to story form?

 

That was, in fact, a rhetorical question.

 

I dunno... I like fiction. Lots as it so happens. But a story is not what I'd want if a cop had to tell me my wife had been hurt or killed in a car accident. Painful or no, I would not wish to be spared. If my life needs editorializing, I'll handle the job internally.

 

Just saying.

 

 

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Quote

Are singer-songwriters sad all the time?

 

I guess the simple answer to that is "NO".

However, the accepted theory does seems to be that creative people are much more prone to depression, anxiety & other forms of mental illness.

So...based on what I've read, personal experience & what I've heard from people inside the industry, I'd have to say that we're sad more often than most.

  • Some years back, I was on the mailing lists of a few small & mid-level publishers. Two of them sent out regular newsletters, as well as issuing call-outs for specific projects. One of those newsletters, from a publisher in California, talked extensively about how commonplace depression was in the songwriting community at large. The open, casual way in which he discussed it, left me with the distinct impression that within the larger music industry, the link between the two was common knowledge.
  • I quickly Googled the topic & pasted in a variety of article links below. If you're interested, I'd suggest Googling it yourself. You'll get hundreds, if not thousands of pertinent links, articles & discussion boards.

https://consequenceofsound.net/2016/11/musicians-are-three-times-more-likely-to-suffer-from-depression-and-anxiety-study-finds/

 

http://pitchfork.com/news/69507-musicians-way-more-likely-to-be-depressed-and-anxious-study-shows/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/dec/17/musicians-depression

 

http://www.guitarworld.com/artist-news/new-study-musicians-three-times-more-likely-be-depressed-and-anxious/30133

 

http://creativesomething.net/post/55508909341/the-link-between-depression-and-creativity-and

 

http://aycnp.org/bipolar_disorder_and_music.php

 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/dec/17/musicians-depression

 

I recognized early on that musicians & writers were different. Not worse, not better, simply different!

If I'm being completely honest, that difference was a big part of what drew me in. For me, it was part of the mystique.

I've wanted to be many things in my life, but the one thing I've NEVER wanted to be was "just like everybody else".

As long as they aren't disruptive to my overall exisitence, I try to embrace my differences...always have. ;)

 

Tom

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On 5/19/2017 at 6:29 PM, john said:

Of course people fictionalise... if only to spare people's feelings. Just because we create a parallel fictional story, doesn't mean it is unauthentic. In fact, there is a case for saying that writers can be liberated to be more honest when they fictionalise, precisely because they are not having to keep the peace by pulling a punch.

 

For example Joe is your brother. He has a gambling addiction. He looks like he might lose his house. His kids regularly go without food, and their clothes are shabby. It worries you the damage he is doing, but he will not take a telling. He isn't interested. He doesn't care.

 

Many would choose not to write about him or anything about it. They shy away. Few would choose to write it completely about Joe, especially using his name.

 

Writing a song about Joe being a deadbeat dad, with his addiction, how it makes you feel, his wife and kids feel, could cause a lot of upset. Still, it is something important. The feelings are important. 

 

You could start by writing "fiction by omission". So you omit the guys name, his kids name, the name of the town... but you know if he or his family ever hear this song they will know it was written about them. So you can either:

 

write it honestly, but not care how it affects them, and not care if it blows back on you

 

or

 

Pull your punches so that at least if they recognise themselves it is perhaps less devastating to be so observed

 

or

 

change it more.

 

so, to stay emotionally honest, and keep it about the pain of addiction, it becomes a story about a woman with a drink addiction, with one child instead of two. There are maybe some other changes too. The emotions are still honest. The worries. The selfishness. The pain. But now you feel while they might see themselves, at least they don't know it is about them. They may even suspect.... but most likely not.

 

What you have of course is a fictional narrative to spare blushes, to save you pulling punches. But you have written a very meaningful piece. It is honest in all the important ways.

 

I have written a mixture of songs. My friends and family know songs about my wife or myself are honest and open, though I tend to write first person without names. But songs about other people I tend to fictionalise, as much so they will not be embarrassed by them. On occasion I have told them when they inspired a song. Yet again I tend to write first person, putting myself in their fictional shoes.

 

Other times I see a story or situation that simply inspires a story. I put myself in those shoes and imagine a scenario. I overlay how I thinkI orothers around me would react and I try to keep it honest.

 

Is that less worthy because I thought about it?

 

We all analyse. Even up front. I just choose to acknowledge that I do so, and I view that as a strength. Each to their own. :)

 

Hi John,

 

I see your point which was well made. I analyze and write fiction as well.I think it's the approach that's different. You might remember me asking some here how they get their ideas. Some said they simply start playing, some lay out a plan or a grid, some seem to use a little of both.

 

I can really only speak for myself since I'm sure others here have different approaches. I can't really allow myself to become too "left-brained" when making new music. I have attempted to create from that perspective and it almost always bombs. 

 

This statement might appear contradictory. I don't believe it is- I go into a creative endeavor "right-brained". I further develop it "left brained" The idea, the creative spark relies heavily on intuitive, feeling approaches.

 

I might write the very song you mentioned, only I doubt I would get too deep trying to grok the whole picture right away. The way my process has worked so far is much like a hot air balloon that the ballast must be thrown or it won't fly. One idea, one direction, one feeling focused. I might think I want to write a song about some injustice. I'll try to put that feeling into my hands and into an instrument. For me it has to be focused in the beginning with very little in the way of any technical approach. I might envison other parts added to it as one approach, but still I need to stay centered and focused. 

 

It's kinda funny, but I wrote a song not long ago about a hurt, an injustice. I was roughing some vocals to it and someone in my family heard it and took offense because they swore it was about an old flame. Actually became emotional. I didn't set out to write the song from that idea. I can't say I didn't unconsciously convey some of that past hurt. 

OTOH it would be tough for me as a man to write a song about how a guy had wronged me. It's much easier to see it from the mans perspective.

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15 hours ago, starise said:

 

We all analyse. Even up front. I just choose to acknowledge that I do so, and I view that as a strength. Each to their own. :)

 

I find myself wondering, friend John, how much of this line of thought, and especially this last statement, is just you riffing on a thought experiment, and how much of it is a literal relating of how you think or how you respond to situations in reality.

 

I say the following with much affection:

 

If the latter is the truth, I would soon, if you and I were closer friends, say, the live in the same town and hang out together as friends variety, to rely on you for many things, possibly. But a simple relating of required facts, such as in the scenario I earlier described, of needing someone to deliver very bad news to me, would never be one of them.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Rob Ash said:

 

 

 

I find myself wondering, friend John, how much of this line of thought, and especially this last statement, is just you riffing on a thought experiment, and how much of it is a literal relating of how you think or how you respond to situations in reality.

 

I say the following with much affection:

 

If the latter is the truth, I would soon, if you and I were closer friends, say, the live in the same town and hang out together as friends variety, to rely on you for many things, possibly. But a simple relating of required facts, such as in the scenario I earlier described, of needing someone to deliver very bad news to me, would never be one of them.

 

 

 

Some of my songs are just from my imagination, some are inspired by news, some are inspired by friends or acquaintances. Many are about my own experiences or Karen's. Is that unusual?

 

I don't know about you, but I have no problems with being honest in conversation. I can differentiate between writing a song, singing a song and talking. When I had to tell several friends about the death of another I did not do so through song. What do you think I would do with very bad news? Write a song about it? Breach a confidence? Because, on the odd occasions that I write about someone other than myself, I am inspired by events or characters?

 

My job as a writer is not simply to report on the world. I use my imagination. Something happens in my world, or on the news, and it makes me ask what if? Often several what ifs. Including, what if this happened to me? I don't wander around looking for tragedy to write about. Maybe it is different for ballad writers.

 

When you write, are you inspired by events and people?

 

My fiction by omission example is not how I work. That is a thought experiment on how I imagine some others write about real life. I would not be comfortable with that. That was why I said "You could..." If someone wants to tell their story, they can write about it. Nonetheless I can be inspired by others, people and events. Aren't others? It takes me down a line of thought. Nothing new in that.

 

Songs about me I tend to write completely truthfully, but usually at a level of abstraction that makes it easier for others to put themselves in the story. Hardly earth shattering.

 

I have known others who do write about others with loads of details. I just wouldn't do that. Perhaps if they said go for it, but then I am unlikely to say "Oh your dog's dead, I feel a song coming on. Do you mind?" Lol

 

Other than that I don't really see why you seem to be mixing writing a song with giving someone bad news.

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Very quickly on up front analysis... should I write that song or not? Analysis. 

 

On delivering bad news. "how should I say it? Just blurt it out?" Calls for analysis. Sometimes blurting just happens. Other time I think most people at least give a passing thought to how or where or when... if they can. "Come through here, sit yourself down...." intones that you gave some thought to the consequences of what you were about to say. It does not mean you are thinking "Hold on I have some lyrics coming through" lol

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I tend to be a listener and an observer.  I'm also very much affected by the mood of someone I care for or if I'm in a situation, I can sometimes in a group feel the vibe of what's going on without even a word--sometimes I just have to get out of there because it can truly affect my well-being and sometimes I could just hang out and observe indefinitely (well, not indefinitely, but longer than necessary.).  I say this because when I am listening or observing someone, my mind goes in a bazillion different directions with "what if's" or pulling together shreds of input or identifying or a memory it might trigger or a hope or dream or remedy or trying to figure out where they are going with something all in just a few moments with every emotion or communication they share.

 

I might use what I feel for them or within myself or what I see them feeling as fodder for imagery in a song, I might use a scenery as backdrop, I might use an experience of a walk or experience of the outdoors, its possible I might use the scenario, but unlikely, because to me, it seems a betrayal to someone to too nearly identify their situation after a confidence has been shared.  I might pull elements of something, but my imagination would kick in and derail into an entirely different thing using just some sensory experience or something rather than the personal situation.  As I said, my mind can go in a bazillion different directions with only a few sentences as stimulation (not always something useful), but one of those directions might split off into another direction that I can use for a song.  Its all very elusive how topics arrive.  They just do when they do or someone provides a "challenge", so I have to think of one.  

 

Do I write about personal experiences? Maybe...I'm a little to private to say, but if I did/do, those would be modified into something not quite my story, too.

Personally, I think writers who write about things they feel or are able to feel in behalf of others in the midst of feeling it are authentic.  I would hope it would come out in their writing.  I think broody moods are easier to write about because the descriptors are easier.  I think its healthy to "feel" those things and feel them deeply and express them somehow--writing them in a song can help others process through those emotions at times when they listen to something that they identify with and if they can't identify with the scenario, they usually CAN identify with the feelings.  

 

People want to know when they are feeling lost, that others have/do feel lost, when they feel confused, that others have/do feel confused, they don't want to be the odd one out and they want to feel understood.

I think broody songs can keep them from feeling alone in their experiences and helps them to process out their emotions.  Its not healthy to pretend they don't exist or to stuff them.  

 

I do think there has to be a hopeful note to end the song.  Hope is really what people long for in those experiences.  No one wants to be left feeling down.  I've noticed there is often a light air to the music that accompanies sad lyrics or lighter lyrics that might accompany more melancholic music.  I think the mix is good and makes it easier to listen to and prevents sadness overdose.

 

 

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22 hours ago, john said:

 

Other than that I don't really see why you seem to be mixing writing a song with giving someone bad news.

 

 

It didn't seem, in the first post you offered in this vein, that you were speaking only of song writing. I know what kind of site this is, too, so no need to go there. What you said initially sounded more like an over-arching philosophy. I actually knew that wasn't the case, and wrote in order to have you expound and explain.

 

What you are describing sounds like simple empathy to me, John. You try to feel what others may be feeling, and then translate that into verse and song.

 

No?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Pahchisme Plaid said:

I do think there has to be a hopeful note to end the song.  Hope is really what people long for in those experiences.  No one wants to be left feeling down.  I've noticed there is often a light air to the music that accompanies sad lyrics or lighter lyrics that might accompany more melancholic music.  I think the mix is good and makes it easier to listen to and prevents sadness overdose.

 

 

I really like this. I have heard so many songs that offer no hope. Leave you hanging. I can at times feel the sad emotions that aren't allowed to come to a head. The sadness seems to be expressed in the music and then left to simmer, never being resolved. Unresolved laments that can pull you in and hook you into that feeling. Part of me wants to help them somehow find resolve, part or me is frustrated at those feelings. In the end I'm simply a helpless listener, pulled into a vortex of overwhelming sadness.

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10 hours ago, Rob Ash said:

 

 

 

 

It didn't seem, in the first post you offered in this vein, that you were speaking only of song writing. I know what kind of site this is, too, so no need to go there. What you said initially sounded more like an over-arching philosophy. I actually knew that wasn't the case, and wrote in order to have you expound and explain.

 

What you are describing sounds like simple empathy to me, John. You try to feel what others may be feeling, and then translate that into verse and song.

 

No?

 

 

 

 

Perhaps a mix between feeling what others feel and how I imagine I would feel if the same thing happened to me, sometimes building on personal similar experiences, othertimes just asking myself what if, as an immersive experience. A depth of emotion rarely comes from passing thought. It is a complex and heady mix of emotional reactions to events and consequences. So it can take a quite a bit of thought as well as reactions.

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Posted (edited)

I feel lucky and that I have a very large sphere of people in my life...and I stay "in front" of news... :)

But or So or And...I internalize emotion (based on my own reaction) which ends up in my lyric writing. I often write in first person to project the feelings I've had to what moved me in some way.  But the emotion, that came about, may be written in whole and raw or in contrast or disbelief, scarcistic, or masked. But how i present the feeling happens as my thoughts go down. Almost always deeply personal......happy-sad-pissed,lost- found, lonely or over-whelmed., initimate or distance, opened or veiled. I try it. And it's real.

I might add...sometimes it works sometimes..not so much:) 

And I'm a happy peep :rolleyes: 

Peggy

Edited by Peggy
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As it happens, I struggle with both anxiety and depression... which is very strange for someone who is naturally optimistic, positive, and upbeat. It comes in waves and tides, occasionally floods, though sometimes it is just a puddle on a sunny day. I am also a carer for someone with bipolar type 2 and anxiety, and have been for 25 years. Music, and specifically song writing has long been my therapy, my vent, my friend. I don't tend to express my depressive side much, in conversation or in song, although I have written about depression a couple of times. I tried at least to make the songs thought provoking rather than a personal gripe.

 

Song writing is therapeutic because it allows me to transport myself, to shift my world perspective, to think about something other than my problems. That is why it is invaluable. I deliberately chose not to exercise my own demons in song because I do not want to be defined by an illness, any more than I want to be defined by problems with my back. They are part of me, but only part. I manage both using mindfulness meditation, something I first encounter 15 years ago as a method to cope with chronic pain. I soon applied it to anxiety and later depression.

 

Songwriters are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Yet it need not be their biggest influence. Yes, they do write about sadness a lot, but that is at least partly due to listeners. Listeners use music as therapy. They use it to help them through hard times. While they do use music to enjoy themselves, music their requirement from upbeat music is simpler.

 

The themes if upbeat songs more readily feel cheesy, over used, more one-dimensional... Sad songs allow for the exploration of a wider range of emotions, much more nuance. As such it. Is easier to write a sad song that feels pertinent, poignant and original. Even when the topic is well explored, if the emotion of the song is honest, authentic, unflinching.... it connects.

 

Song writing is largely about connection. Writers and listeners want to connect. They both want to feel understood. They want to feel connected even when isolated. They don't want to be alone. Listeners, particularly, want to find songs that express how they feel, what they want. They want songs to challenge them, and songs that represent them. Even when immersed in great sadness, they want to find hope. Often that hope is the knowledge of connection.

 

I think that is why so many songs are sad or about sadness. To write in a way that connects people, writers need to be insightful, to be thoughtful. Experience teaches us that being thoughtful, you are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. More likely to dwell on and wrestle with emotion. It serves us well when writing about.

 

I don't see myself as sad. It is part of me, not all of me. Rob mentioned empathetic song writing. Empathy is certainly an important aspect of song writing. Willingly or not, we are the world's therapists, not just our own.

 

 

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I can directly relate to most of this John. There are times when I feel sad/depressed and there's no reason for it that I can tell. I deal with it much like any other ailment. I rationalize it as a part of my make up . If my pet had died or if I had a relationship go south I can better rationalize it. 

 

I'm not sure songwriters and or musicians are more prone to it than others? Maybe. We express it in our music though.

 

If some personalities are like a sponge and soak up emitted feelings and emotions, then it becomes easier to see how and why this could be happening. For me some of this tends to have a latent effect. I might carry something around with me I didn't realize was tagging along. Aside from that having an ailment follow you around doesn't help either. I just seen a co worker go through a stroke. I can't imagine how he copes with that realization  day to day. His attitude is pretty good so far, or at least he makes it seem that way.

 

I have some lingering issues I tend to push to the back of my list because to deal with it head on wouldn't let me think about anything else. I take the bad news and deal with it in small bits and pieces. So all of this emotional "stuff" is rolling around inside of us. 

 

The world as we know it gives us plenty of sad things to write about. Most good drama has some kind of battle, with hardship, winners, loosers and struggle. Our situation probably relates to a thousand other similar situations in other individuals.

 

The most universal music as I see it is probably music with no words. It knows no language barriers. Doesn't need a language to convey an emotion or thought.. The universal always looses the concrete in favor of the abstract. This is usually done as a way to get people who would never be together in the same boat.  It takes imagination to find personal meaning in anything abstract. 

 

I favor songs that convey a reality. A song really isn't  fictional in the sense that it conveys a reality. I would say it's more of a representation of situations duplicated elsewhere. This representation can be owned by others. This is probably why fiction is so popular. Even though it isn't necessarily real, it conveys universal realities. Using those realities in a fictional setting has the effect of transporting the listener. Really good fiction can make a person identify with and feel as if they are that character in that setting.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Pahchisme Plaid said:

I tend to be a listener and an observer.  I'm also very much affected by the mood of someone I care for or if I'm in a situation, I can sometimes in a group feel the vibe of what's going on without even a word--sometimes I just have to get out of there because it can truly affect my well-being and sometimes I could just hang out and observe indefinitely (well, not indefinitely, but longer than necessary.).  I say this because when I am listening or observing someone, my mind goes in a bazillion different directions with "what if's" or pulling together shreds of input or identifying or a memory it might trigger or a hope or dream or remedy or trying to figure out where they are going with something all in just a few moments with every emotion or communication they share.

Yep- This has HSP written all over it. 

It's a good trait to have too. Imagine if we were in a place with bad vibes and didn't know it? To be clear, I think this goes beyond basic woman's intuition. Although my wife can tell if something is different about me 10 miles before I get home. This is less common in men.

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3 hours ago, starise said:

Yep- This has HSP written all over it. 

It's a good trait to have too. Imagine if we were in a place with bad vibes and didn't know it? To be clear, I think this goes beyond basic woman's intuition. Although my wife can tell if something is different about me 10 miles before I get home. This is less common in men.

I had to read a bit about HSP.  Yep.  I guess it fits and explains a few things.  I know its not simply a "women's" thing because I see it in my sons (and occasionally my daughter), but more in my sons--I've noticed if I am upset, they have difficulty with it, so I have to be aware and you know...breathe in if at all possible or escape to the bathroom, outside or somewhere to pull my act together, or distract myself with reading or gardening or something.  My youngest is also quite light-hearted and a bit of a comedian, so sometimes, he's just what I need for a good distraction :)

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Great songwriters have the same feelings as everyone else. They tend to have far more insight into themselves and others, and have excellent observation skills even if they are not consciously aware of it. They tend to be descriptive and to the point, and are able to introduce color and texture into their storylines. Great writers are able to use few words to get a point across. That's what I have observed through the years.

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