I already talked about my aspirations with music with Top of the Bucket List: Pick up some Instruments but today I want to go a little deeper. I want to talk about the music I love and finding out how to create again. How do you go back to an old love?
Today’s post was once again suggested by the lovely @rockyreasons. Don’t let her get all the shine, follow her on IG and Twitter and submit a post suggestion on my Reader’s Choice Submission Tab.
The first step is always the hardest. Deciding on what you want to do. I have spent time with instruments, rapping, singing, and even tried my hands a producing for a while. So, I had to decide at where I want to start. What message do I want to send?
My old music name used to be Kid Adonis. I adopted it because I wrote nothing but love songs and poems for years. I was asked, “Who do you think you are? Adonis?” and after a while, I said “Yes”. It worked for years as it was catchy, easy to remember, and I could find meaning in love, life, and resurrection from the Adonis tale. However, the older I’ve gotten, the more I stay away from the necessity of being a Kid or Adonis forever.
As Kid Adonis, my music was a reflection of my name: playful, polished, love-drenched, and moody. I looked at rapping as my catharsis and a hobby to pour myself into. I still wish for it to be that, but now I want something more.
For a few months I changed my name to Mic Infinite. I was determined to do more spiritual writing and playing on my middle name Michael. I would write something that would last longer than me. I would write for the infinite, but I personally derailed by disconnecting spiritually after a bad breakup.
Now, when I think of what message I want to send, I don’t even want to think about a moniker or concepts. I want to start with the music first. I plan to spend the majority of the summer learning the keyboard and creating compositions from that.
I used to write music using topics or moods that I wanted to match. I would gather 30 beats and listen to an entire CD (what’s that?) of them back to back until the inspiration hit me. Now, I want to find a mood and quantify it. A good way to get inspiration is to listen to other artists. Immerse yourself into music and build on their energy and muses for your own art.
Get comfortable. I typically will clean my room, sit in a corner, and vibe out for a few hours. I used to always have some sour patch kids and a could Gatorade on site for creative purposes. I have some friends that work best under the influence. I have some friends that work best after a workout. I work best either early morning or late night.
Every person’s setup is different. I tend to write only on a specific type of paper with a specific pen because it’s comfortable. I really love black felt-tipped pens on stark white printer paper or spiral notebooks. Overall, get to your happy place.
While closing my eyes, I check on myself. I explore how I’m feeling, what emotions lie dormant, and even how my body is reacting to the air on my skin. I let myself exist until I connect to something new.
If the inspiration doesn’t come, don’t force it, but typically, I set aside a huge block of time to give myself time to loosen up and be free. Inspiration often won’t come if you rush it too much. Take your time.
Eventually, a tune or note will arise and I slowly will build on that feeling. I would hum and sing something that I don’t know what it is until it becomes more concrete in my mind. Once I have a tune, I continue to shape and fill out the sounds in my head from there. I would cycle through instruments until I found one that connects best with the mood I am creating.
Lyrics come after you have a foundation. Where does the music guide you? How does it make you feel? What emotion can you transfer to the listener? How can you express that emotion in a creative way? My goal is to always connect with the listener. It may not be an experience everyone has felt, but the emotion is what everyone recognizes. Tap into the emotion of pain, joy, frustration, and sadness. Because not to linger too long in the negative emotions unless you have someone to bring you out later.
I start off with choruses and hooks. Then I build the verse off of the concept in the hook. Sometimes I create small writing challenges where all my metaphors are related through puns, sound, imagery, or scheme. Sometimes I create stories through interesting perspectives. What do I want to say and did I say it well?
I have a lot of unfinished music or not fully realized concepts left on the cutting room floor. Keep failed songs and ideas, there can be some hidden gems there. Then, once you finish, listen to it a couple of times. Edit with scissors. Not every word or syllable is needed to get the message across. In music, we often get too wordy when brevity is king. Simple is better.
Afterward, Let other people hear it or keep it to yourself, either is fine. But, never let any critique deter you from writing again, even yourself. Music is a reflection of your soul, it may not be expressed in the best way, but it is always valid. The is no such thing as a bad song, just not fully realized yet. Embrace you songs like your soul, in the rawest and truest form of who you are. It’s beautiful.
How do you get into your creative zone? Any particular quirks of preparation like my sour patch kids and Gatorade? Any methods that have helped you connect to your zone? Let me know in the comments below.