Why do we write songs?


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When I first started uploading music on SoundCloud I told the world (via my bio) that I wrote music to make sense of things. To some extent, this is still the case, but recently i've been considering other reasons why scribbling in notepads might be a natural part of my life.

People get incredibly passionate and oftentimes uptight about music. Perhaps this is because words are powerful. Art in general has the power and capability to melt hearts, spread joy and change lives. Why would anyone waste that opportunity? Of course, I believe there is a place for party tracks and meaningless lyrics. Songs can make memories, too. However stupid they are.

I suppose then, that songs are a way for some musicians to leave their mark on the world. Although a morbid thought, our songs will far outlast us — especially in the age of streaming services! There are so many things that can be learnt from the words of the past. How far the world, and society, has developed, and what we could do well to remember. Just look at how many people flock back to the YouTube comments section on John Lennon's "Imagine" video when terrible things happen in the world. Songs are pieces of our life that we can pass on to our children, if we ever have any. Or that random guy, three generations from now, who happens to be browsing through Spotify on his hologram and stumbles across your song about Brexit. It's quite beautiful in a way. After all, what's the point in being on this earth if you don't do anything to make your tiny corner of it a little bit more pleasant?

I've definitely been writing more songs about the state of society lately. I'm just finishing a new EP about the concept of peace through the eyes of a 22-year-old slightly naive yet hopeful young woman from Derby. It's me, if you haven't guessed already. When i'm feeling good about myself, I write about everyone else. When i'm not feeling quite so good, I write about myself. 

When upset, angry or frustrated, I look forward to getting my guitar out or opening a logic project. I know that after a long session of songwriting with the curtains closed, I will feel much better. I've learnt over time that there aren't many people who want to sit listening to me talking about my complicated thoughts for three hours (understandably), but luckily my notepad and Logic Pro X don't mind. 

Last month, I began a lengthy clear-out of the very room I am sitting in typing this blog post. You've probably seen how messy it is in my cover videos on Facebook. It's half full of the past and half full of the present. As you can imagine, it's the past I want to get rid of. During the 'chucking things out' process I have encountered quite a few notepads filled with lyrics about hating myself and wanting to die. I found these so difficult to read and dispose of that for a while I was scared of songwriting. What if I wrote something about how I was feeling that would make me just as upset in five years' time? I guess you can't win them all. Some songs on my SoundCloud bring back unpleasant memories of nights spent crying, but some are still relevant and make me feel empowered. I leave the difficult songs up because they helped me at the time, and they might help someone else in the same position as I was. Maybe as time goes on, i'll even distance myself from the lyrics and learn to love them again. Some bands don't play songs for 20 years because they can't deal with them, but they end up wheeling them out during a reunion tour.

You may have noticed that this post doesn't exactly have a coherent structure or an ultimate point. Once again, it's just the musings of emzae. I guess I could conclude that my four main reasons for songwriting are to heal, to understand, to express and to share. What are yours?