How Life Events Affect My Music

Question from Stephen in Minnesota: 

How have big life events like getting married, having kids etc. affected your music? Your songs are always deeply personal and I feel like many of them have specific life events behind them. Have you seen certain events affect your songs more than others? 

Great question. You’re right that many of my songs have specific life events behind them. You’re also right that certain events affect my songs more than others. Here’s the reason…

The smaller life events are more observational…little epiphanies; whereas the bigger life events change who I am as a person and therefore me as a songwriter.  

For instance, songs from my first album like “Roads” or “Dragons” are about wrestling with self doubt and what I should do with my life. I wasn’t writing as a changed person, but rather from who I was at that point in my life. 

But songs like “Heidi,” about meeting my wife, and “Giving Tree,” about a child’s relationship to their parents — neither song would have been written had I not gotten married or become a father. Because those life events caused me to see the world differently. 

Is this making sense? 

The big events inspire songs that are more like remodeling my house or shoring up the foundation. The smaller events inspire songs that are more like putting on a fresh coat of paint or updating the appliances. 🙂