by Lynn Stevenson
How do songs get written? Where do the ideas come from? How does the process begin?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (tony null@null tonyturner NULL.ca) or Greg Kelly/ 613-680-6163 email@example.com (gregoryk100 null@null rogers NULL.com)