The Stories Behind the Songs: How it All Began

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Writing MusicI began singing at the age of three. My first musical influence? Why, Walt Disney, of course. When I first heard the voice of Ariel, in The Little Mermaid, I was hooked. Then my sister introduced me to the soulful vocal stylings of Mariah Carey and Celine Dion (my first concert – age 15 – no I’m not ashamed to admit that.) I started playing piano at a young age; I took lessons for a few years, but was primarily self-taught. As I grew into my high school and college years, I sang in choirs, in the shower, in the car, in the bedroom. I did a really good job of trying to sound like everyone else I listened to, but had yet to figure out exactly who I was, musically. All my friends encouraged me to write my own music in order to foster this self-discovery, but one thing had always held me back: fear. I feared my music just wouldn’t be deemed “good” enough.

In January of 2009 I decided that fear was no longer going to hold me back. Enrolled in a English graduate course, I became inspired for the first time to write music. The course required a final project that would showcase all that we had learned over the semester in a way that “was meaningful and would benefit us professionally.” Basically, the professor didn’t want us to turn in another paper for the sake of turning in another paper. He wanted whatever we turned in to mean something more than “getting the grade.” The class was centered on issues related to education, politics and social consciousness. The students discussed topics like racism, classism, sexism, and the definition of “The American Dream.” After the first few classes, I knew I would have enough inspiration by the end of the semester to write at least four songs and turn them in. So I did.

I’ll never forget how I felt after I had finished the first song. It’s unlike any other feeling of accomplishment you can imagine. I didn’t care if it was “good” by anyone else’s standards – I had fallen in love with songwriting. I had to write more.

The four songs I turned in at the end of that semester were inspired by class discussion; they were a collection of critical commentary on present-day political and social issues. But once the semester ended, I wrote a few more songs, inspired by events in my own life. I started to realize that I had a gift for telling stories through music. I’m still in the process of “coming into my own” as a musician (which may turn out to be a lifelong process), and whether or not the music is “good” by industry standards doesn’t really matter. What matters is the story behind every song. As a lover of words and a lover of music, I started a custom songwriting service to help bring your story to life.

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