¿Donde esta Santa Claus?

24 12 2013

I love you, Guster.

More scraps of words

28 04 2013

The last one of these three is terrible. I think I wrote it when I was a teenager, about trying to guess a fictional guy’s sexual orientation and not knowing. Anyway, it`s bad. So, voila.

Be still, hummingbird heart


Luckily, he’s not too smart
otherwise he’s bash your head


Wake up from a dream, grinning
me and the boy I’d love to date
(Wish could get into those positions we were in)
‘Cause it’s (the) bottom of the ninth inning
and up to bat is Jake.
Catching on the other team is Jake…

Re-writing songs

1 04 2013

I don’t like it.

Maybe it’s just my process of doing it, but I don’t like it.  I should probably say, more specifically, that I’m not a fan of re-writing lyrics.  In general, lyrics have never been my strong suit.  Today, as I was forced to re-write lyrics for my final portfolio for the class, I found it extremely difficult and not very pleasant.  I wonder if I should say that in the little blurb I have to write about my revision process.

I think part of it is the coercion (perhaps that’s too strong a word to use here) to write songs and then re-write them.  I’ve always thought that good songs will naturally come to you, and many songwriters will agree with that statement.  It makes sense, then, that if you’re forced to re-write a song, it probably won’t be very good.  Ugh.

I’m happy to re-write a creative non-fiction piece, or my TV pilot, or even a fiction piece I’m not very attached to.  But re-writing lyrics in a form that can be very (too?) structured, is enough to make me spend an entire day thinking of rhymes for “spot”.  Which is not a good thing, if that wasn’t clear.

Writing about you

5 02 2013

I realized this a while back, but I write a lot of sad things, and rarely do I ever write something positive.  For example, I haven’t written a song about any of my friends who I’ve known since high school (with the exception of one, but it was because she was going through some difficult stuff that I wanted to write and dedicate a song to/for her), but I’ve written a song about people who haven’t even been in my life (“Tag”).  I’m looking over my creative non-fiction material because I think that’s my strongest genre of writing, and almost all of it is sad, melancholic stuff.

The moral of the story: if you want me to write about you, break my heart.  Make me sad.  Anger me.  Treat me like shit.  And you’ll live on in my work.

Writing like Fiona Apple

14 01 2013

I’m in the process of writing a song (lyrics so far) like Fiona Apple, particularly like “Left Alone”, on Idler Wheel.  I feel weird about it because it’s not like anything I’ve written before, and the fact that I haven’t written a song in so long is a bit of a daunting task.  At the same time, I want to show my classmates that I’m actually a deep songwriter.  It goes back to my older songs, and how I wonder how I ever wrote them when I can’t even churn out a song now.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck.

Back into it

11 01 2013

I’m taking a Lyrics Creative Writing class this semester.  It’s been about a year and a half since I last wrote a song, and before that, probably about another year or so.  I’ve been writing instrumentals, but writing songs, I’ve found, is getting harder and harder to do, especially when there are easier outlets to express how I feel (ie. autobiography).  I’m forcing myself to get back into it though, and I’ve been improvising at the piano to try and find something cool, but, as usual, I’m so picky about melodies and themes, which I think is a good thing, but at the same time, well, not good.

Sometimes, I think back to my best songs (“Almost Here”, “Empty”, “Goodbye Spain”) and I wonder, “How did I write that??”  They’re such good songs and yet I can’t even come up with decent lyrics and melodies these days.  I know I’ve realized that I’m probably a better composer than a lyricist, but dammit, I wanna do both again.

Maybe my golden age has come and gone. 😦

Guitar songs

13 09 2012

If I played guitar and if I were more inspired to write, I would write a song about playing guitar, something like this:

Sometimes I wonder where you are,
drinking down whiskey, playing guitar


Denying songs to Glee

6 02 2011

So Glee.

I don’t even have to tell you (or at least I shouldn’t have to) what the deal is with that show.  Lots of singing and dancing to songs.  And you may or may not have read how despite the large catalogue of music co-creator Ryan Murphy has had access to so far, he hasn’t gotten a “yes” from everyone.  A few months ago, he was upset that Coldplay and Bryan Adams had denied them access to their songs (both of whom, to my understanding, have changed their minds).

But just as everything seemed to be going smoothly again, I read another article last month about Murphy, who was once again pissed off — this time at Kings of Leon.  While it doesn’t seemed particularly hurtful that the band would deny Murphy the use of their songs, he seemed to take it personally, saying something along the lines of how kids and teens not only across the country but the entire world, really, would watch Glee and be inspired by Kings of Leon’s music, that perhaps it would make them pick up the guitar or start singing or to join a musical program at school.  He also called them some not-so-nice name which was censored on the article page, though the possibilities aren’t that many.

Murphy has repeatedly stressed the importance of arts education, something I strongly believe in.  It’s hard and disheartening to read about cut after cut of arts and music funding, particularly for high schools, where the opportunities for young people to become interested in so many things should be available.

In response to Murphy’s  comments, the band said he shouldn’t take it personally, that they reguarly deny TV shows and movies use of their songs, that it’s just a thing they do.  Meh.

The comments at the bottom of the page which mainly spoke about how Murphy should really calm down and learn that “you can’t always get what you want”.

And now we’ve finally reached the point of this blog entry!

While I do think Mr. Murphy may have crossed the professional line at calling them names, I completely agree with everything else he’s said.  I think he finds it hard that anyone would turn such a great and special opportunity down — an opportunity for the following:

1) Get your song covered and performed on an extremely popular show.  What’s wrong with publicity?
2) This would then lead to [really large number I can’t even estimate] of people downloading the song, buying it, finding it on youtube, watching it, etc.  More publicity!
3)  Reading up on the band, and gaining more fans.
4)  They pay you to use your song!!!!

What’s wrong with that?  It’s a win-win situation, as far as I’m concerned, and probably for Murphy as well.  And then there’s the most important part: arts education.  Think about the impact the show in general has on kids and teens.  How frickin’ cool is music?  The magic of Glee is that so many different people watch it, despite the fact that it is set in an American high school.  It has a much broader appeal than, say, High School Musical; it’s more mature (mostly), and it addresses, at times, some serious topics.  The show has the potential to really change people, to inspire people.

By letting Murphy and the other creators of the show use their songs, I see it as giving back to the world.  I think about how all these musicians first learned how to play their instruments, to sing — wouldn’t you want youth around the world to also be inspired?  To express themselves through music?  Sure, it’s not giving back in the traditional sense (ie.  giving a crap load of money to a high school/charity) but it’s the least musicians can do.

That’s why denying songs to Glee is like a punch in the face for Murphy.  He probably translates the refusal as, “No, we don’t want to inspire kids” rather than “No, we don’t want to license our song for you to use.”  And in that sense, it is personal.

Of course, I’m only speculating about the show’s real impact on influencing kids on arts education.  I haven’t done any research to find out what, if any, changes have been made to high school music programs or if more kids have been signing up for music lessons.  I certainly appreciate Murphy’s passionate message through his show.

Now if only musicians saw it the same way.

10 Defining Moments of My Life (so far) — #7: Music

6 05 2010

7.  I had managed to snag my friend to come along with me to this coffee shop in Burnaby I had never been to.  I phoned earlier to ask about signup times and was told that it started at 8:00.  We both got there at around 7:30, in awe of the small setting and the music equipment on stage.  My friend saw this chalkboard of times and told me to sign up for a time.  I wrote my name down for 8:20, the first act after the host played at 8:00.  The waiting and anticipation was incredibly hard to handle.  My friend was extremely nervous, for both of us, as we didn’t know what would happen.  Finally, when my time rolled around, I was called to the stage.  Because the café already had a piano there, and most people that performed were guitarists, the host asked me, “Are you doing spoken word?” to which I shook my head and pointed to the wooden piano.  After I played my 20 minutes, I received positive comments by a few audience members and I was filled with such humility and I genuinely felt like a real musician, despite always being told from my family that I sucked at everything.

Defining Moments of My Life (so far) — #6: Creativity

1 05 2010

6.  A few months after leaving high school and all those losers behind, I began to work on composing songs.  What started out as a bunch of words slowly turned into a thought-out piece of music, and after many, many, many versions and scribbles of one verse, I finally played the entire thing out and was proud that I had completed my first song (that I actually considered a song.  I started writing songs back in Grade 10.)