The Ramifications of Writing a Song a Week
2014 has so far been incredibly brain busy for me.
I’ve been accepted into a year-long song a week project that has been keeping me up most nights.
It’s called Real Women Real Songs II, and I’ll write more about it once I’m deeper into the year.
I admit that I write very few new songs a year for my solo work. Somewhere along the lines of about three new songs that I care to play out.
In years that I am in an original band, I’ll write a lot quicker since there is more input and pressure.
The first two weeks of this project were tough and the pressure was on. There are very strict deadlines.
The point of a project like this is to produce quantity leading to quality. It doesn’t matter if you write the song in 7 days or in 20 minutes. It goes up live.
Everyone has their own strange process of writing, and I can’t ever predict where mine will end up but some elements of my style seem to persist. I basically write music and lyrics at the same time at the very beginning.
I’m not one to start with a title, though I’ve been told that not having a title first is the “amateur” way. I don’t care as long as I write something.
I do start with an idea. In the song a week project we are given word prompts so that helps some level of focus. I also find myself singing hooks fairly often, so I tape them on my phone and get back to them later to figure out a chord structure.
I actually do research. As a knowledge seeker, I’ve always done this. If my idea has to do with video games, I look up how they originated, interesting words, YouTube game simulations. I’ll think about the games I loved and hated playing. I’ll read about computers. I love looking up quotes related to my idea. From the new information I’ll start picking my favorite words and creating rhyme lists.
At this point, I usually have a partial chord progression as well. I try not to get attached until I really love it. But I also video my progressions so I don’t forget the voicings, possible tuning changes, and capo position if any.
Now that I’m split between the idea and information and the progressions, I can work on them separately in a sense. If I’m stuck with progressions, I’ll start referring to theory aside from my ears, and check out chords wheels, and substitutions. If I’m sick of hearing the same sound, I may switch to another instrument regardless of my playing ability.
I hate the concentration of making it all fit together, but I’m on week four and it’s happening more quickly.
I don’t have a song yet that I’m willing to play out, but there is something in every song that I do like. Since they are basically structured, a rewrite may not be out of the question. My goal is to have a few songs I’m willing to keep. And with 52 songs a year, there has to be something that works out. I hope.
Here is the opening video for Real Women Real Songs whose founder is Cary Cooper.
More soon! Lots more!
Dorit is a rock singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Middle Eastern Dancer. She has performed internationally on concert stages, TV, film, and theatre, and has inspired many students to find to their own expression through music and dance. Dorit’s current goal is to self produce her album and complete an acoustic guitar she hand built as a teenager at the Bronx High School of Science. Her influences include Led Zeppelin, Middle Eastern music, Latin music and old school hip hop -- anything with great rhythm. Find out more about Dorit here>>