Julie Mahendran

Week 1- Songwriting/Blogging challenge 2015

This week: Getting inspiration from Jimmy Webb- and how I managed to avoid writing anything.

Well, the latter is true- I spent some time at the keyboard, did my research by giving all the songs Matt mentioned a good listen, brainstormed song ideas, and in the end have not yet written one verse or chorus. I do have an idea for a song that I will play around with later tonight, but in the interest of getting my blog out on time I am starting here.

The song idea came to me last night as I was listening to the amazing Jimmy Webb at Hugh's Room- now that guy could give a serious masterclass in songwriting. He has written songs for all the best voices in the world, from Glen Campbell to Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. His performance was a lot of storytelling interspersed with some of his lovely tunes, just him at the piano. He mentioned a quote that he attributed to Joni Mitchell, which I think has some truth to it. I am paraphrasing, but the gist was that before the popularity of the singer/songwriter you had amazing voices singing amazing songs- because everyone was a specialist, either a singer or a songwriter but not both. Once the singer/songwriter came on the scene, you basically got okay voices singing okay songs.

Now I don't know if Joni put herself in this camp, but either way I can relate. I would call myself a singer first and a songwriter second. I started writing songs because I wanted to sing songs with which I had a more personal connection, and also because I didn't want to just cover songs that every other amazing singer had already sung. But if I had someone writing amazing songs for me, I think that would be heavenly.

Anyway, one of the songs Jimmy sang last night- which I hadn't heard before- was a song called The Worst That Could Happen- and there's a lyric about a woman who "needs to be married" and taken care of by a man. Well, we don't hear too much of that nowadays. I certainly don't think of myself as that kind of woman- but is that something a man needs to feel in a relationship, i.e. playing the role of the protector and provider? An interesting question, and one that I will explore as a possible song idea this week.

That's all for now- over and out!

J

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