Get around your “quality filters” and bring your original song into the world -says Anders Ørsager of Basix.
Like a steam train under pressure waiting to start, many of us have an urge to get that song out of our soul.
Sometimes, though, instead of writing our songs, we talk about writing them: the lyrics, feelings and emotions we want to achieve.
Then there are issues with how we want to arrange it (“I’m in a acoustic/electronic/improvising phase”), the mood of the song and maybe even how you want the cover of your EP to look like (clothes, hair etc.)
Our poor song soon needs to solve the Middle East crisis, save the whales, tackle climate change and be a number 1 hit on the charts – all at the same time.
All of these things are important, but more talking and less doing just causes that steam pressure to build up.
A Different Approach to Songwriting
Dianne Warren (she’s a MONSTER at songwriting – check her out!) startled me with an insight about songwriting.
She considers songwriting like a day job.
It’s something you do, because you have to do it.
And here’s her most important statement: “you can’t write a song if you don’t try!”
It’s actually as simple as that!
Of course there are several reasons why this advice does not answer all our songwriting struggles.
My biggest struggle is that my “quality filter” doesn’t allow me to write the obvious and most immediate songs.
Very early in the process I start thinking it’s too simple, has been heard before, not interesting enough, __________ (insert your own thoughts here).
How to Get Around the Filter
The way I get around this when I write songs – like for a new album with Basix – is that I decide to write 6 songs a week.
The rules are:
1) I’m only allowed to spend 1 hour on each song
2) The goal is to write a song – not a good song.
3) If I don’t have enough lyrics I have to repeat something.
4) If I can’t find chords for a bridge part, then there is no bridge.
5) I have to make a recording of the song within this first hour.
Many of these 1 hour songs have ended up becoming a part of our repertoire and featured on our albums!
Anders’ Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Emily-Sophie – “Impossible” (Cover)
Wow what a nice voice – love the lightness in the sound. I also really like the setting as it gives me a feeling of live recording with me in the audience. There are some areas in the voice (midrange and top range) that really work well for you, but spend some time on projecting your lower range. There are a lot of different techniques that can help, but I would suggest 2 things that could make it better quite fast.: (i) put the song in a higher key since it seems that you have more “head room” and (ii) use the softness in your lower range and go much closer to the microphone.
Federico Borluzzi – “The Answer” (Original)
I love the way you “live-produce” your voice through the song. The way you use your breathiness give me a feel that there is a lot at stake. The challenge with “producing” in this way is that it makes the lyrics a little “blurry”. I really want to hear what you so obviously want to tell me, but I can’t. Also, improve the tuning on your guitar. I love the cine-filter that darkens the edges of the screen but do consider less visual information in your visual presentation so that I can focus on you and your words.
Gage Smith – “Lullaby” by Nickelback (Cover)
Gage, your voice has a very smooth and intense vibe that fits the song well. When I’m teaching, it’s obvious to me that there are 2 kinds of singers: one that focuses on the lyrics and one that focuses on the sound of the voice. Because each type wants to express emotion and touch the listener they have equal value, but one makes the lyrics transport the emotion and the other makes the sound do the same. The danger with putting the focus in the sound is that there is a risk that the words turn into just “sounds” without their own emotional content. I hear this when you use the word “lullaby” and sometimes on the last words in the fast phrases. Finally, I’d love to see more of your face and eyes – they are also very important elements in your total expression (you are much more than a good voice).
With a grand total of 7 international CARA awards, including “Best European Album” and “Best Holiday Album” the Danish vocal pop group Basix have proven themselves to be among the very best of a cappella groups worldwide.
Follow the group on www.basix.dk or Facebook