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Finding Your Sound
July 31, 2018
Some people may know their sound immediately - to you one in a million, I truly envy you.
For me, like I mentioned in my first post, I started by writing about love and boys - even though I didn't know what I was talking about. All the songs were superficial. I started to develop my sound when I started to write from my own experiences & my own emotions. From there, it snowballed. I got a better understanding of myself and my music and what I wanted from it. Then again, we never stop growing, so I reevaluate my goals in music every so often - this includes my "sound".
To me, this is where the journey starts. I think that in order to know your music, you have to know yourself. Granted, this can sometimes be discovered through music - so it's a bit of a chicken-egg scenario. But for the most part, think about your personality. If you're a kind, compassionate person then your sound probably isn't Lily Allen - who is frankly rude in her songs (No hate, I absolutely love her!). Then again, if you're a "rolling stone" or a "lone wolf" then you probably don't want to be writing about heartbreak.
Try an exercise, answer these questions:
What colour am I?
If I was a season, which would I be?
How would my friends describe me in one sentence?
How would I describe myself?
If I was a song, which would I be?
What shoe am I; stilettos, ballet pumps, leather boots, converse…?
Am I a dress or jeans?
Make some questions like this up for yourself as well. Your answers don't have to be definitive, but they should help you get an idea.
Your music taste:
This is another obvious one to most. It makes sense that the music you like, is what your sound should be. Right?
I'm sure this is the case for some people - but don't take this as an open and closed case. Your personal music taste will of course give you an idea as to what your sound might be. Then again, a lot of people don't like only one kind of music - some like genres from all over the spectrum. So use this as a guidance, but don't just assume that your music taste and your sound are align.
Your original music:
This one is probably my biggest influencer. If I'm honest, I didn't really find my sound - it found me. After I had written loads of songs, I could tell there was a running theme throughout. This is usually the case with songwriters - so if you're struggling to find your identity within music, sometimes it's a good idea to get out of your own head and let the music decide for you.
There is a fallback to this, of course, that you can end up writing songs that are basically exactly the same. So you want to make sure you are challenging yourself and not get too comfortable writing what you know.
When you hear a song and decide "I want to do a cover of that", however you start to sing that song is an indication to your sound. If you find yourself slowing down the tempo or speeding it up, adding more trills or stripping it bare - these are all you making the song your own. Making it your own is making it your own sound.
This isn't so much a way to find your sound as it is a warning once you've found it. Don't get too comfortable. Push your boundaries - push out of your sound. Me? I'm a singer-songwriter, my sound is very acoustic and raw. But that doesn't mean I don't experiment - sometimes I'll try completely different chord progressions which change the entire nature of a song. I've tried writing jazz, country, pop, blues and pretty much any genre I feel like attempting. Just because it's not what you class as my "sound", doesn't mean you should disregard it entirely. At the end of the day, music is meant to be fun and for you - so play around and have a good time with your songwriting. Don't write just to fit your sound.