Growing up, I thought I didn’t have a talent.
Some kids were athletes, some could draw… what could I do?
Was I given a gift?
Was I just going to be a girl who would become whatever her parents told her to be?
Songwriting was my gateway to this whole world of dreams.
Songwriting is where it began for me.
I didn’t only further a greater passion in songwriting, I got a greater passion for writing, photography, music, and so many other things.
But songwriting is where it started for me. It’s when I started to believe in myself, when I started to believe in dreams. And not the dreams that come to you when you’re asleep, actual dreams.
It started in 8th grade. I went to a private school, so there were only maybe 200 kids. There were 20 kids in each grade. So you could be “someone” in this school.
We were going to have a Thanksgiving program and our class didn’t start planning what we were going to do. The 5th graders played a certain song while doing arm movements. The 6th grade read poems… etc. And my teacher said something along the lines of… if anyone has an idea for what we could do, like acting out a story, reading poems, writing a song. When she said writing a song, I s.w.e.a.r. she looked at me, because I wrote a paper about songwriting. But I don’t think she read it. So I’m not actually sure she knew I could write a song. But my friends knew, they were the only people who knew I could write songs. They told me I should do it, I should write a song.
Aghh, my heart is all jumpy writing this story, it was such a outgoing thing for me to do, anyway lol.
So… I took a chance. I don’t know how I did it. It usually takes me a few days or weeks to completely finish a song. But, I guess I had a lot of inspiration and motivation to write a song. The funny thing is, I didn’t even plan on writing the song. That day, after I came home, I was just like “Yeah, I’ll do my homework, eat, sleep.” But I finished my homework early and I got my songbook and I thought “Why not?” So I got to it. I just started writing some words and I had a song! All in one night. It surprises me even now.
So I go to school the next day, with my songbook in my backpack (just in case I would have enough courage to tell my teacher). I told my friends that I wrote a song in the morning, before we went to class. They were so excited for me, they were urging me to tell the teacher. My teacher stood up from her desk, walked to the middle of the room and said “Did anyone think of ideas for the program?” I waited a few seconds. Silence. It felt like years, but it was only 5 seconds. It was like her peripheral vision was looking at me, maybe I’m was just seeing these things, but I swear I saw her look at me. I finally said “I wrote a song.”
Her face lit up. “You wrote a song! Rebecca wrote a song!” My friends were so happy for me. They helped me not die from everyone’s eye contact. The teacher then preceded to read it in front of the class. I didn’t exactly feel embarrassment, I felt proud of myself. But to have all the attention on you, for someone who doesn’t get much attention is very overwhelming. I even remember actually saying that when everyone was staring at me. Thank goodness, we weren’t in assigned seats during this time. Because if my friends weren’t there sitting next to me I might’ve just sunken into a pool of overwheming-ness (Yes I know it isn’t a word, but I don’t know a better word for this situation than overwhelming) because of all the attention.
Everyone was so sweet to me, well the female rationale of our class. The male rationale couldn’t care less. In fact, the guys didn’t even want to sing the song, only the girls wanted to. I didn’t mind though, I just liked the fact that I could share a part of myself with others.
So we sang the song at the thanksgiving program and people actually came up to me to say such nice things. Like “I loved your song.” “It’s so wonderful that you can write songs.” It made me feel butterflies, it made me feel worthy.
Then one thing my teacher said to me after the program changed my life for the better. I don’t remember her exact words, because I don’t have a great memory. But she said something along the line of… songwriting is a real talent, I could actually become somebody, go somewhere with it.
That was it. That was THE moment. The moment I KNEW what I wanted to be, what my dreams consisted of.
My parents always told me that they dreamed of me becoming a doctor, I would always accept it, it didn’t really bother me before that moment. I would tell my friends “Yeah I’m gonna be a doctor, maybe a pediatrician.” But I didn’t really want to be a doctor, I just believed that it was my only option, because it’s all my parents talked about.
But after that moment. After it, and my parents mentioned me being a doctor, I became opinionated. I didn’t want to be one anymore, or feel the need to be one anymore. I wanted to follow my dreams. That’s when I started learning more about myself, and not the person people pushed me to be.
So I finally had a dream.
All thanks to songwriting, I don’t only want to write songs, but I wanna sing. But this post’s about writing songs lol, I’ll write about singing another time.
There’s just something else about songwriting.
It’s not like writing at all.
Songwriting takes careful consideration, writing does too. But you have to make sure you’re telling a story in your song. And that the story is concise throughout the whole song.
And you have to make sure the right words fit into the melody, if you have a melody. Sometimes you have a melody, sometimes you don’t.
But nothing is more fun and exhilarating than thinking of the lyrics AND the melody. It’s just so …, it’s a feeling I can’t even begin to describe.
I love songwriting. It’s like I’m giving others a piece of myself, but in a vague way.
I’m putting all this emotion into a song, I’m being vulnerable. But it’s okay, because it’s my story, it’s my song.
I like to think of the songs I write as a journey.
Lately, I’ve been writing more songs that speak about my journeys in life. For example, one of my best friend’s moving away, my mom’s mental disorder, him, just so many things. I’ve started writing more song about my experience, about my years. It’s like my songs are like my diary now.
Back when I was 7-13 years old I would just write songs about boys, even though I didn’t even know what the hell I was writing lol. Now, it’s more personal. I write more songs about my walks of life and not irrelevant boys.
Songwriting is just my way to vent my feelings.
I didn’t know how to incorporate guitar with my lyric writing. I thought it would take years for me to do that, but last year I just came up with a guitar tune and some words and… I had a song, my first song with a melody that I created!
So nowadays, I just start a random guitar pattern, and if I’m lucky it’ll make sense with my lyrics.
Songwriting has become my passion, it has become my dream. I want to share it with the world, but only once I’m ready. I don’t think I’m ready quite yet, but I will be.
I can do it. Because, I believe in myself, and believing in me is all I need.
- On Purpose by Sabrina Carpenter