So let’s keep the words & music flowing… this time Andy shares some insight into the cross over between poetry & lyrics and talks about what participants will come away with from his workshop.
Is the lyric writing process similar to the way you write poetry? Do the two ever converge?
The little black book can contain both poems and fragments of songs. For me, poems distil one moment or feeling into as compact a form as possible, whereas (interestingly) my songs contain more of a journey within their longer yet more restricted form.
I do love the lack of restrictions in poems and I find myself not rhyming, having irregular line and stanza lengths, knowing this particular piece of writing will be a poem not a song. Sometimes a line in a poem kicks off a song, though not usually the other way around.
Poems can be born in a minute, and generally are captured on the page and stay that way. After publication they are set on the page, even in performance.
Most songs change from show to show, even when recorded. In many cases, interpretation is shared by musicians, there are layers which printed words can’t reach, whereas I always hear my poems as one voice. This isn’t to denigrate poems – sometimes the solo voice is what you want to hear. With a lot of great lyrics, the production gets in the way.
As I say, the opposite of what you’re thinking is probably true.
What do you hope participants will come away with at the end of the day?
The workshop will be great for anyone who’s got ideas for songs but needs inspired to finish them, or if you have written songs but need feedback from me and your fellow students to take them further (I am always amazed at how quickly songs can take shape and be finessed or finished in a day). Even if you just come with a list of song titles, you’ll come out with a whole lot more.
For those with ideas for songs, it’ll be like having a co-writer or someone working with them to encourage and enable. For those who have songs already, it’s a little bit like getting the kind of one-to-one attention which a record producer gives. This system of working on your songs with a sympathetic, experienced professional before recording them is a tried and tested method. Whoever your favourite songwriter is, chance are that he or she will have worked with a producer on the songs before recording them.
Advice on structure, lyrics, possibilities for instrumentation and arrangement will be a priority. I also spend some time discussing performance.
It’s very important at all levels of the music world to be able put across your song – whether it be at a concert venue, or simply to friends in a room. You’ll find that some simple advice goes a long way. I’ve played hundreds of gigs all over the world and co-written and been produced by the most marvelous people. I like sharing some of this out.
And that’s how I hope it’ll go – friends in a room, sharing. You’ll leave with the songs in good shape for performance, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to start – and, who knows, maybe finish – new ones.
For an extra treat this time around, here’s a listen to a new poem / song from Andy: In LA I Dream of Books
And here’s those songwriting workshop details again:
Words & Music with Andy White
Where: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane 4101
When: Saturday 21 April 2012
Time: 12pm – 6pm
Cost: $75 / $65 (concession)
To book your place email Sarah Gory: firstname.lastname@example.org