Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Sessions: Emily Smith on songwriting

Thoughts on songwriting from Scottish singer and songwriter Emily Smith

“When I first started out, I would write songs using kind of the template of a traditional song, a story that you might find recurring in traditional songs,” Smith says. “I’d write my own version, or I’d take the traditional lyrics and write new melodies, which I still do quite a lot. But as the years are passing by I guess the subjects are becoming a bit more contemporary.”

“Some times I can write a song in a night and it’ll be a complete song and I’m quite happy with it. Others are spread over months and months. I have a little book,” she said, “and If I have an idea I write it down in the book if I don’t have time to sit down and finish it, or sometimes I’ll just get an opening verse, and I’ll write that down. Usually I can remember the tune. Quite often I’ll get words and melody at the same time. I know everybody seems really different on that but with me it usually comes simultaneously.”

This is part of the series Saturday sessions, which focuses on ideas about learning, teaching and creating music. Please add your own tips about all that below, and stay tuned for ideas from saltwater music specialist Del Suggs, guitarist Matt Heaton, folk Grammy winner Tim O’Brien, and others.

you may also want to see
Emily Smith: Too Long Away
Saturday Sessions: Matt Heaton on playing for others
Music Road: best music, 2008

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