Writing Lyrics: Play a character

With Halloween just around the corner, it is a fun time to think about characters!

Sometimes lyrics can reflect our deepest most personal thoughts and experiences. While I love to draw from my own memories to construct a song, it is equally rewarding, and sometimes even more fun, to put myself in the mind of someone else! Whether a dear friend, an acquaintance, a certain stereotype, or a made up character, playing a role can make for a great song!

Actors go to great lengths to get into a character. Tom Cruise apparently dressed up as a Fed Ex delivery man to sneak through a crowd without getting noticed, just as an assassin would, in preparation for his role villain role in Collateral.  Actors might completely change their lifestyles and take on new hobbies for a short period of time while preparing for a difficult role.

For songwriting though, I say sitting quietly and thinking about the character you want to represent is more than enough. Perhaps with a glass of alcohol or some nice warm tea. Decide what and who your story is about.

Who: Depending on if they are strong or frail or troubled or content, etc, completely changes the perception of the experience. Think of someone, anyone, and channel the little nuances that make them so unique. Do they have a short temper? Unreasonable expectations? Unyielding patience?

What: Sit quietly and try to imagine something that you might not have exactly experienced before; a place, certain gains or losses, heartbreaks, historical events like the great depression or the infamous potato famine, a struggle with sexuality, a good day, a bad day, whatever you want to dive into.

Explore yourself! Then let the music and lyrics evolve 🙂

Right now I am imagining being on a beautiful island in Thailand, the song is very sunny!

koh samet

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