When I used to write a lot of songs, it was almost always when commuting to the office I used to work in, in Edinburgh.
Yesterday I had a meeting to go to in another office and, as I waited for the bus, I started humming a song (by someone else); my old practice of changing the words and changing the tune kicked in and, by the end of the bus trip, I had about three verses. I didn’t have a notebook so I put them into Evernote on my phone. The bus journey over, I started walking to the office and another verse flew by. This time I sang it quietly into my phone, cunningly disguised as a phone call. On my way home, the rather clumsy hook line suddenly morphed, in a ‘why not?’ moment, into a simple statement.
Later in the evening I had a little time and recorded a rough track in Cubase, but by that time its appeal was waning and I was beginning to think ‘this isn’t much good after all’. I went to bed less than ecstatic about the song but glad about the experience.
When I woke up there it was again, and I liked it after all. Occasionally during the day, for example, washing the dishes, I tried to remember it, found phrases that fitted better or rhymed better, and tried them out. Come this evening I decided to write it down, making more adjustments as I went. The chord sequence I heard in my head was no longer the same as I’d recorded, so I snatched 15m between Plague going out and Madame coming in to dump everything I’d previously recorded and whack down a new acoustic track and vocal. Which I’ve now sent to a couple of trusted friends for comment.
I’d thought I wasn’t going to have that experience again. I thought from now on it would be instrumentals, or recording stuff the backlog of unrecorded songs, but there you go – just when I least expected it, the Muse drops by.
It’s enough to make me consider working in the office one or two days a week till I have a CD’s worth!
Free to download - Stories My Killer Told Me: Five surreal story-songs from my Edinburgh Fringe show.
- I Am Not The One For You
- The Ever Open Door
- New Eyes
- A Forest Trail in Autumn
- The Portobello Slam
Just let me send you an occasional email!