~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

For Women Only

Kelly Clarkston, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks
American Idol Finale 2007
photos courtesy AP and Getty Images

With all of the excited buzz generated by where Taylor Hicks is ... Nashville, and who he has been collaborating with ... Pat McLaughlin and Tom Hambridge, I thought this article on the ABC's of songwriting an interesting topic for today's blog.
(keep reading for the significance of the photos I chose to use today)

An excerpt from:
The Song As A Script

Well, just as your favorite TV and movie stars do not write their own scripts, neither do a lot of singers write their own songs.

The major difference between actors and singers however is that most actors can change characters from film to film whereas successful singers rarely depart radically from the image they have chosen.

That presents the songwriter hurdles that require investigation before rushing into pitch mode.

Not only must the song/script be in keeping with the artist’s image but a few music business executives must be persuaded to gamble a million dollars on it.

It is a script for a performer to stand on stage and have a linear, lyrical conversation with his or her audience.

Our world of entertainment is always ultimately about “The Woman.”
With rare exceptions, it is men singing to women and women singing to women.
So, the mantra for the songwriter parallels that of the restaurateur.

When looking for a restaurant to invest in, there are three factors to consider: location, location, location.
Likewise, to be a songwriter, there are three things you should consider:
What’s in it for the woman?
What’s in it for the woman?
What’s in it for the woman?

So let's focus on their perception of your song.

Aside from the work being right for the artist, is it a potential hit?

Do you get the listener involved in the song quickly?
How quickly?
Well, try 60 seconds, including introduction.
I call it getting the listener to invest in your song.
In order to lure the listener in, it’s better that you speak to them, not about them.

However, if the song is using the first-person pronoun (you, me, I, etc.) and the central figure is too old, too young, not cool enough or just not the image that the artist, management or label wish to project, you might consider changing to the third-person pronoun (even though the odds are higher for your song not being #1).

That way, the artist can sing the song (about being homeless a drunk perhaps) without it reflecting personally on him or her.

Next, you must create an expectation and then fulfill that expectation.

Pull out some of your favorite songs and look at the titles – pretty average stuff, mostly words or phrases you use every day.

However, those titles are the fulfillment of the created expectation.
The genius is in the creation of the expectation.
Making something commonplace eye-catching – or in the case of the song, ear catching – is your job.

I don’t know how many of you have seen an uncut diamond, but they look remarkably unremarkable, rather boring in fact.
Only in the hands of someone who has absorbed the craft and mastered the skill of making the mundane sparkle does the seemingly dull come to life.

As you've finished this last paragraph, you have probably figured out why I led today's blog with the photos of Kelly Clarkston, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks from last year's AI Finale.
I believe they are the crowning jewels that have been unearthed by American Idol that will stand the test of time, and they positively sparkle!

I have been contemplating getting back up on my soap box for a while now, and it seems today's the day!

A blog is somewhere where you can share your thoughts and usually your readers visit because they share your interests.
My blog is obviously centered around multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician Taylor Hicks.

Unlike many (writers and bloggers) who spew their opinions across the net, I don't find it necessary to degrade another artist while showing my appreciation for the talents of Taylor Hicks.
If another artist's name happens to appear here, it will be because it relates to a blog topic in a positive way, and it will be complementary.

I know that snarkiness and titillation are what draw viewers, but I refuse to use those tactics and am quite content to remain a little fish in my own pond.
I have no desire to venture into deeper waters where the sharks swim.


I wonder where all the hateful, rude and sarcastic surfers swam before the advent of message boards, chat rooms and blogs?

Today's cup

"If one doesn't respect oneself,
one can have neither love nor respect for others."
~Ayn Rand~

Today's entry began with photos from the 2007 AI Finale and a fitting ending is Taylor's skillful and unique take on "A Day In The Life" from that night!

Now that's what I call sparkle!!


KarinP said...

Hey Bloom! I thought the ABC's of songwriting was quite an interesting read.

I have been fascinated lately by the recent speculations about who Taylor is writing songs with.

A buzz indeed and so much speculation as to what kind of music we can expect to hear on this new CD. One thing is for sure - we rarely really get to know much about the writer behind the music unless it is the performer himself.

I was reading the article about Tom Hambridge. No offense intended but I have not really heard of him or Pat before. I think it is sad that "we" the public may not take an avid interest in the songwriters but at least the artists certainly know where to go to find creative minds who will collaborate with them.

I have never considered myself to be a creative person and I find this songwriting process quite fascinating. I would love to be hidden in a corner of the room so that I could really see how the songs are born. I just happen to think that this is a remarkable talent that these gifted musicians possess. For me, it seems like it is quite an amazing process to go from word to word, note to note and end up with something that holds everyone's attention when they hear it. To be able to "touch" people's hearts and souls with words and music is very much a talent that I really envy.

My creative endeavours really only extend to re-painting the colour of the walls in a room and "feeling" how that changes the sense of a room. I boldly paint some Christmas houses every year so I guess my creativeness is restricted to colour and how it affects our perception and our moods.

The theory of "what's in it for the woman" is quite intriguing, Bloom and it makes sense. Taking the words and moulding a song that people will listen to is truly an "art"!

As for those sharks you mentioned - I have no idea where they resided prior to the Internet. I guess we probably would have known them as schoolyard bullies in the past. I think that society needs to respect that not everyone likes all of the same things but it does not make them less deserving of respect. I enjoy living in a world that has different genres of music. While some genres are not everyone's cup of tea, in the end, they are someone's cup of tea.

I am so anxious to get some little tidbits about Taylor's new songs. Whatever they are, I am certain that they will be well worth the wait!

Thanks, Bloom!

Bloom said...

When I think of songwriters I am reminded of Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs that make the whole world sing".
I remember the first time I saw him at a concert at the Meadowbrook Outdoor Pavillion here and being amazed to learn that he had written so many of the jingles and commerc1als that we were familiar with. I think it was in the late 70's and what a fun night it was!

I imagine the inspiration for songs comes much like the inspiration for anything creative.
One thought leads you to build a picture around it, and then frame it.

What I found interesting about the article was the suggestion that all songs whether sung by a man or a woman should be sung to women.
I'm curious whether this is fact or opinion.

My theory for the sharks is that they are so unhappy with themselves that they set out to to try to make others feel as miserable as they do.
It is always the bullies that get the most attention no matter what age they may be.
Some things never change.

All good things come to those who wait ... I'm waiting ... most times patiently .... it is going to be well worth the wait!!

KarinP said...

Since I am fresh from a Martina McBride concert with two great Canadian opening acts (Johnny Reid and Emerson Drive), I think I may have gained a better understanding of why the article said to write the song for the woman.

Could be as simple as women are much more emotional beings than men are and if you pull on their heartstrings, this will definitely make or break a song?

I am not suggesting that men aren't emotional but the majority really aren't able to communicate their deeply emotional thoughts. Some can very eloquently state their emotions through the written word though.

I listened to Martina McBride sing two very poignant songs last night. Anyone who knows me, knows my passion with respect to domestic violence and child abuse.

Martina sang Concrete Angel and she had the video playing on the big screen as she sang it. I found myself wiping the tears from my eyes. I was also very touched by listening to her sing Broken Wing.

The woman who was beside me was very teary as she watched Martina sing "In My Daughter's Eyes" and on the screen, there was a video of Martina's daughters. Now, this woman was with her husband and he reached over and held her hand as she listened to the song and experienced her very personal reaction to the words.

My thought at the time was even if that particular husband was only hearing that song for the first time, he will never forget the reaction his wife had to the song and the song will be in some corner of his mind.

Women are blessed with the ability to really feel compassion, empathy and are able to explain their emotions. Maybe that is what is meant by the expression "what's in it for the woman" because generally if there is something worthwhile in it for a woman, you can be sure she will pass along her thoughts to her loved ones and friends.

In the end, I think that we, the public, need to be more supportive and thankful for all of those wonderfully gifted souls who have the ability to touch the world with their words and their melodies.

When your heart and your ears are open, even if you are at your lowest point, music will lift you up and you will soar! This really gives me an appreciation for having the ability to hear the music.

Just a few more musings from the North, my friend!

Bloom said...

Karin I had to come back to this topic and comment on your thoughts after attending the concert.
It sounded like a fabulous concert to have been at and I really enjoyed the videos, especially "In My Daughter's Eyes", that one really hit home!

While all of your musings are thought provoking, something you said here struck me .. and it is related to what is occuring as a result of my M.A.W. video.

"Maybe that is what is meant by the expression "what's in it for the woman" because generally if there is something worthwhile in it for a woman, you can be sure she will pass along her thoughts to her loved ones and friends."

That is exactly what has been happening at You Tube ... my M.A.W. video has been leading viewers to my Taylor videos and
the best part is that those viewers are passing along the links for Taylor's videos to their friends!! woo hoo!!
The comments have been an absolute delight to read :-)

It's been a great way to introduce and reintroduce people to Taylor's music!!

Thanks for your musings from the North my friend!

KarinP said...

Bloom, your M.A.W. video was your best yet and it has touched so many people! I think it is so admirable that through this hiliarious video, you have reached out and "touched" people with Taylor's music! You have made some terrific new friends and have had a wonderful opportunity to witness the commaradie between some of the viewers and their friends!

One fan at a time, Bloom, and you are gathering new ones up every day! While you may never know what impact one of your videos has had on someone, rest assured that there has been an impact!

I am so proud of everything that you have accomplished!

Bloom said...

Aw geez Karin, MAW was a fluke ... who ever knew???

I was just trying to point out what an asset MAW has been in
leading people to my channel ... they are checking out not only the Taylor videos I have created, but also those I have favored!!!

And they are sharing with their friends ... that is the other point I was trying to make...

if there is something worthwhile in it for a woman, you can be sure she will pass along her thoughts to her loved ones and friends

Now they have arrived at your channel my friend, between MAW and your Buble videos it has been exciting seeing all of the new viewers interested in Taylor's music!!