The Musical Muse

by Lynn Stevenson

How do songs get written?  Where do the ideas come from?  How does the process begin?

Missy Burgess

Missy Burgess, photo by Kate Morgan

Ottawa singer/songwriter Missy Burgess wrote “Prayer for Haiti”after the terrible earthquake devastated that already impoverished country.  “Like millions of others, I was deeply moved by the horrific suffering and sorrow,” says Missy.  “Writing a song was my only way of expressing my feelings and offering some comfort – thus “Prayer for Haiti” came to be.”  You can check it out on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5vE74bHfE (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=XP5vE74bHfE)

Emotion can definitely drive the creation of a great song.  But the process is more than feelings – and fabulous riffs rarely fall from the sky. Song-writing is hard work – demanding discipline, determination, and of course, talent.

Often ideas come from within – from personal experiences – or as with Missy’s recent song – from empathy for others.  But sometimes inspiration can come completely from outside and the results can be both wonderful and unexpected.

Newfoundland singer/songwriter Rick Hayes who currently lives in Ottawa, wrote what he says is one of his best songs after participating in a recent “Song-A-Long” event.  Rick’s song, “Take me Home” is about his home on The Rock and the fact that he would want to be back there when he passes on. “It is not something I would have chosen to write about,” says Rick.  “Really it’s kind of morbid – but the process forced me to think about things I might not have or didn’t want to; the result is a great song that I am really proud of and love to play.”

The 18th annual Song-A-Long is designed to challenge songwriters and generate just that kind of unexpected magic.  Participants are given a choice of four themes and a deadline to come up with a new original song – and perform it!  The event is organized by Writers’ Bloc and presented by the Spirit of Rasputin’s.  Performance dates are Wednesday April 7 or Thursday April 8, starting at 7:00 pm. at the Elmdale House Tavern at 1084 Wellington Street.

Says organizer Tony Turner, “I’ve been involved in Song-A-Long for many years.  I am happy to give my time to it.  The event is a terrific opportunity for veteran performers and new artists alike to explore ideas and collaborate in a very creative and supportive environment.  I encourage anyone interested song-writing to check it out.”

This year’s themes are: “Lucky”, “I Wonder”, “Ghosts”, and “The Trouble With”.  Over 30 performers have already signed up – but no one is turned away.  Interested?   For more info contact:  Tony Turner/ 613-798-0365 tony@tonyturner.ca (tony null@null tonyturner NULL.ca) or Greg Kelly/ 613-680-6163 gregoryk100@rogers.com (gregoryk100 null@null rogers NULL.com)

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  1. Pingback: Spirit of Rasputin's » Blog Archive » 18th Annual Great Canadian Song A LongWednesday and Thursday April 7 & 8 -

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