…And For Every Story There is a Song
More and more I’ve been pulling my former theatrical pursuits into my blog posts. Music was my first creative love and driving force. As a young, awkward, socially shy child, music had been my escape. I came into my own through music and musical expression. I know many writers create playlists for inspiration by project and then listen to that music while weaving their stories. I cannot. Music, REALLY good music, pulls me in and becomes a distraction from my own work. I’ve gotten past my college days where I used to analyze the structure, choral progression, etc. Now it’s the lure of the story within the song that takes me to another place, just like a really good book.
I’m a musical snob. This does not mean I have the best musical taste; it just means I know what I like. Whether that comes from years of training or just what my ear likes to hear, I’m not sure. For me, there are three key components a song must possess in perfect balance to hold me captive.
1) A great story
2) Appropriate musical accompaniment, tempo
3) Commanding Vocal Expression
A song that has saturated (and hopefully won’t OVER saturate) the airwaves is Bruno Mars’, WHEN I WAS YOUR MAN. For me, this is an example of a perfect blend of vocal musical expression and storytelling.
The song itself, the lyrics, tell a story of love lost and lesson learned. The sparse musical accompaniment sets the stage, tells the listener the singer is prepared to bare his soul. Then comes THE VOICE. The voice reveals the emotion. Bruno is so connected to this material that the first time I heard the song, I felt as if I’d just walked in on a private moment, needed to excuse myself, give him the time he needed to grieve. The heart of the song, for this listener, is when he’s talking about hearing her name or haunted by the past…IT ALL JUST SOUNDS LIKE….OOO….OOO….OOO….OOO. And that is it, right there, the moment when he can’t even form a word to express his anguish. Goosebumps appeared on my flesh. I connected with the song and knew I’d never let go, knew I’d eventually get around to writing this blog post in-between edit deadlines. The song reminded me, like a touchstone, of my history in artistic expression.
As a singer/actor I was taught the song, the desire to sing, came when the character could no longer communicate in mere words. The moment called for something much greater. OOO….OOO….OOO….OOO. THAT is what I strive for in my writing; the moment when the reader becomes swept away alongside characters whom are standing on an empty stage, sparse accompaniment, baring their souls, telling their story.
With so many mediums of creativity and artistic expression, there are a million reasons why writers write, why painters paint, etc. For me, when I stopped singing professionally, I turned to another medium. Because when the music stopped OOO….OOO….OOO….OOO still lived inside and needed a creative outlet.
I’m curious to hear from my fellow writers and artistic friends. What forms of creative expression inspire you to write, act, paint, sing? I also wonder, among my friends in other circles, what forms of artistic expression lurks within in need of a voice? What mediums of creativity speak to your soul and inspire you?