I haven’t written any song for the past year. I took six months off from my contract consulting work in September of 2013 and outside of traveling (to Japan and Canada) I wrote songs. Songs (lyrics and melodies) come so easy to me. Hand me a pen and let me be in the zone and within 15 minutes, I have a full song (I have the same knack for poetry). During that hiatus, I wrote a ton of songs (I had written songs many years back while living in Canada and a few 3-4 years ago but since then, I had shelved my songwriting pen). During the period of hiatus, I also started putting notes and chords to my songs and learned a bit more about that skill (even though I have a long way to go). But two things happened towards early January 2014 that stopped me from continuing writing songs…
I already played the piano/keyboard (no formal training, picked it up by watching my older siblings get lessons) and most of my songs did lend themselves well to that instrument. But as I was writing more songs, I realized that a few of my songs were screaming to be played on a guitar. So the first thing that happened was that early last year, I started taking guitar lessons and improving my skill in guitar playing (a skill I never had). That required quite a bit of focus and time. It took me a year to get to the point of no longer thinking of finger positions, looking at the neck while playing a song and cursing the barre chords (even though I still do all of those a bit!)
The second thing was that I started my contract work again and between that, learning to play the guitar and other family obligations, I felt like I had no time to write. YES, many of you musicians are going to say: “No, no, no! You always have to find time to write!” but my being centered came first and I had to prioritize.
Having gotten a bit better on the guitar, I’m now focused on getting two of my songs (one on guitar and one on keyboard) polished enough so that I can share them with friends, family and supporters. And to be honest, part of me is eager to be done with these two so that I can get the rest of the songs out of their paper jail and bring them to life. Part of that polishing is putting focus on the vocals. Since two weeks ago when I started doing this, I’m seeing a huge change. I never had problems with my chest or head voice (and my range has relatively clean falsetto as well). But sometimes I felt that my mid-range wasn’t producing a clean timbre. Now that I’m aware and focused on the passaggios, I’m able to sail much smoother through the rough passages. I still haven’t reached the shore but there is clear vocal sailing ahead!