Morgan Foster: A Note About Songwriting
So I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most of us songwriters are a little crazy. It may not be that big of a secret to some, I realize, but I’ll let you in on a little bit of the method behind the madness, and then you’ll hopefully know that songwriters are just as afraid of you as you are of them. Or was that bees?
Anyway, I personally see songs not as something I just create out of nothing, but rather as spirits operating independently of me that are just looking for a way into the world, and some (hopefully a handful of decent ones) make their way out through me. Occasionally songs can be tricky little spirits, and sometimes when you try way too hard to give them life in this world, they get mangled, and end up being terrible (see “The Reason” by Hoobastank). Some of my songs that I end up liking the least are ones that I’ve slaved over, analyzing every word and phrase, and just beating it to a pulp. On the other hand, some (if not all) of my best songs have just fallen out of me in a night, solidifying my belief.
I once heard a story from the legendary Tom Waits from when he was recording an album, and he was writing a song while they were in the midst of recording, but he just couldn’t finish it. As they were getting close to finishing the recording process, he still hadn’t finished the song, so he recalls actually having a conversation with the song, telling it “look, if you want to be on this album, you better come out, otherwise, go bother someone else.” I’m not sure if the song did eventually enter the world through Waits or through someone else, but this conversation makes perfect sense to me, and probably reveals a little bit of insanity to everyone else.
So for this LSquare Music project, I don’t view it as me writing some songs about our community, or writing songs that our community can sing, but rather I’m positioning myself so that the strong and moving song spirits flying around our community have a way into this world. I just have to hope not to mangle any that come out.