I realize that at times this blog goes far beyond just songwriting but I guess I can’t help it. 🙂 I also promise though, that everything we are discussing here is connected to and/or relevant to being a songwriter and performer. I am hoping these blog entries can appeal to all types of creative people. Going back to our ships now, what is identity? What does that mean really? Why is it important for us to know who we are as artists and in general?
Fans will connect to people they feel similar to them, or who have similar beliefs, stand for the same principles, etc. Knowing who you are can strengthen you as a artist, and as a person as well, because when you are clear on your identity, then you will be living your life with more direction, and ultimately, more purpose.
How can we get a clearer sense of who we are?
Do our actions tell us who we are?
Does where we are from tell us who we are?
Does our childhood or past tell us who we are?
Do the things we believe and our morals tell us who we are?
Or, I don’t know, could it be a combo of all these things? 🙂
Sometimes it is easy to get lost as an artist. It is hard to be clear about what we are doing, if we are not clear about WHY we are doing things? I am speaking of direction. Two things can help us on our quest to finding more direction in our lives, and those are IDENTITY AND INTENTION. Knowing who you are and why you are doing what you do.
What if you are having difficulty getting clear about your identity and intention?
Where is home anyway? Some of us, especially, those who are bi-cultural, or lead very transient childhoods, will have trouble even knowing were home is. To me, home is a place where you either grew up, or a place where loved ones and people you care about reside. Home is a place where you can take a step back, and surround yourself either with people you love, or with a lot of me time to relax and hangout with yourself.
If you can, take a few days off of work:
What did you choose to do with your days?
Were you bored?
Is it very clear to you what you love to do in your free time?
If not, perhaps a bit more digging might be a good way to go.
Take a look at the artists you love:
What artists do YOU love? What are their morals, and what do you they stand for? Can you tell what THEIR intention and identity is? What does it say about you that you love these artists? Is there a trend or pattern in the artists you love? Perhaps you can learn about what you love based on the fact that you like them and what they stand for.
Let your songwriting give you more insight into who you are:
From my experience, a songwriter can learn a lot about who they are by taking a look at the type of material they are creating and the type of songs they are writing. I personally have learned a lot about myself through my song writing.
what are these lyrics coming out of me?
why do I feel this way?
what do I notice or learn about myself while I songwrite?
which topics do I seem to write about the most?
Our songs can tell us a great deal about ourselves that we may not have been aware of before.
I would like to expand a bit more on that:
Coursera is an incredible website with tons of free (yes, free!) classes for you to choose from taught by wonderful teachers from accredited universities including Berklee and Vanderbilt University in Nashville. You have the option of paying $49 per class if you wish to get a certificate stating you took the class but that is entirely up to you.
Stephen Webber teaches an incredible Berklee School of Music class on Coursera which talks all about identity, intention and also vision. He discusses how IDENTITY, VISION and INTENTION are also themes that come up in the pre-production process of recording an album, or even a single track and the important of being clear on these three topics.
Here is an excerpt from his class:
“Let’s talk about a recording artist’s identity, vision, and intention.
Identity, who are you? Having a strong identity makes you a more compelling artist.
Vision, what is your mission? What are you trying to express? A strong vision provides direction to the entire project.
And then, your intention, how? How are you going to get this done? A good intention gets it done with purpose.
A well defined vision makes it easier to create compelling art. It makes it easier to find and connect with an audience. It makes it more likely that you’ll be written about, that you’ll be blogged about, that you’ll get reviews in magazines and newspapers.”
The above pic seen on the streets of NYC. In order to fulfill our wisdom, we must know what our vision is.
I highly recommend taking a further look Stephen Webber’s “The Art Of Production” class on Coursera. Stephen Webber will have you pondering some of these questions with great intensity:
What type of things do you believe in?
What is your purpose for creating your music? Why do you want to write music and share it with others?
Who are you? What kind of person do you consider yourself to be?
Who are you as an artist? What is your intention as an artist?
Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts in response to these challenging questions!
Always a big thank you for reading,