Songwriting Update

I think it has been quite awhile since I provided an update to you regarding my songwriting. It is so much faster and cheaper for me to create and share poems that I focus much of my creative time writing poetry. I then occasionally compile and discuss with a songwriting collaborator the poems that I think are most likely to be worthwhile song projects.

Yesterday afternoon after the markets closed I shared the following with Kevin, my primary songwriting collaborator at this point.

“The First”
“A Life So True”
“If I Could”
“Last Dance”
“Silly, Silly Me”
“The Race”
“Greater Than Gold”

Kevin thought that while they were fine as poems, there wasn’t enough songwriting meat on “If I Could” and “Last Dance”. I agree.

He thought the other five all would be worthwhile songwriting projects. I was pleasantly surprised by how many he believes fall into that category. From what I’ve experienced so far, five out of seven is a very high ratio. He composes music and does songwriting and plays various instruments in a recording studio for a living. Relatively few can do that without starving these days, so his comments carry a lot of weight with me.

For those who are interested, these are our current thoughts/plans for the five:

“The First” It will be condensed into a first verse without mentioning our ages and probably without even using the word “kiss” (as it will be obvious to the listeners), then a second verse will discuss another first of the same couple (first baby?, first anniversary/house, etc.). I’ve got to come up with a chorus. The hook will probably stay “The First”.

“A Life So True” The title/hook will probably change and this will probably require a major re-write, the story may end up being verse 1 (V1) A gossip spreads false rumors, and V2 the rumors come back to bite the person in a harsh and possibly humorous way. Need a chorus.

“Silly, Silly Me” Major rewrite probably involving a father and son with V1 being the interaction between the two and V2 being the father using what he learned from his son.

“The Race” He loved my favorite lines:
“It’s going to be a race
As I stagger through the door
For my head to hit the pillow
Before my face hits the floor”
I plan to create a story as to why he became so exhausted, etc.

“Greater Than Gold” For a variety of reasons, the parent will be transformed into a father (sorry Diana–at least the stand-alone poem has a mother). For the song, the existing lines will be condensed into V1. V2 will most likely be along the lines of: Sometime later the harried father is running to catch a quick lunch on a work day, rushes by a woman who is obviously hungry or carries a sign indicating same, and then he flashes back as to how great he felt about what his daughter had done. He buys two lunches and hands one to the woman with a smile as he heads out the door.

As “Greater Than Gold” and “The First” are probably the furthest along based on how much of the original poems I can use, I will likely start with them as my next two songwriting projects.

I’ve also begun looking into taking a songwriting class with Steve Seskin. He wrote “Don’t Laugh At Me” and six other #1 hit songs. “Don’t Laugh At Me” is one of my favorites. It is being used in schools in many parts of the U.S. as a key part of anti-bullying campaigns.

I would love to some day have one or more of my songs used to make the world a better place. In fact, I’d rather have that than make a lot of money off of my songs or poetry. While I certainly wouldn’t mind having both, I already have a source of income doing what I love, so have no need or strong desire to make a bunch of money off of songwriting or poetry.

As long as I’m doing what I love and enjoying the adventure, that is reward enough for me.


About russtowne

I'm awed by the beauty of nature and the power of love and gratitude. Some of my favorite sensory experiences include waves crashing on rocky shores, waterways in ancient redwood and fern-filled forests, and rain. My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children.
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23 Responses to Songwriting Update

  1. Just bloody mavellous

  2. mimijk says:

    Thank you for including us in this process – it’s so interesting to read about and I love that you’re creating music!!

  3. Fascinating Russ. This is a world that I know NOTHING about, and as a writer myself, it’s really fun to learn about another branch of the discipline. I admire your ability to craft songs–I know it’s an art. Keep us posted! 🙂

  4. bulldog says:

    Fantastic and extremely interesting…

    • russtowne says:

      Wow! Music to my ears! It is good to know that you and others find such a post interesting. I often hesitate to create these kinds of “update” posts for fear of boring readers.

  5. no need for sorry Russ! All of this process is so amazing to me and I don’t know where you find the time! I wish you success and can’t wait to hear the results!

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your gracious reply, Diana. As for finding the time, it is easy to get out of balance or over-committed. I attempt to focus on doing what I love and to take things off the table as necessary to stay in balance. It’s great to take a “Like” off the table when I can put a “Love” item on it. (Example: More poetry and Songwriting and less television watching. I still enjoy occasionally watching movies on my TV but I try not to get hooked on any series.) I also attempt to not commit to things that are spread out over extended periods and involve a bunch of phone calls or meetings. For example, I prefer to help charities or volunteer organizations with things that can be done in a day or two or in an afternoon, rather than making a commitment for a 6-month timeframe. Thank you for your continued good wishes, my friend! I look forward to you hearing the results of my songwriting efforts too.


  6. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Can’t wait to hear them, Russ!

  7. utesmile says:

    Good of to to tell you how you do it, I always wondered how songwriters come up with it. It all sounds great. You are a very busy bee, as it looks. Good luck with doin ghtem and then showing us! Looking forward to it! 🙂

  8. It must be very rewarding to be able to see your poems become songs….Diane

  9. I love reading these updates…..and seeing your heart in your words. You already make the world a better place, you know? ♥

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