On Songwriting: Finding Your Unique Voice

Finding your unique songwriting voice is really just a continuation of the stuff you’re already doing, but simply editing it down and changing its form. 

If you’re having trouble finding your unique songwriting voice, imagine your brain as being a giant rain barrel. The top is open. Everything you take in—experiences, reading, watching TV, whatever—is input that comes from a raincloud. The water is stored in the barrel. 

Now imagine you have a bunch of spouts all over this barrel. These spouts represent your output. One spout is an email you wrote yesterday. Another spout is a text you sent to a friend. Another is a picture you took. A journal entry. 

Your unique job as a songwriter is to identify all the spouts on your barrel that act as your natural outputs. These are the “you” everybody already knows. The kinds of photos you take, you take them for a reason. The kinds of emails and texts you write, you have a way you do that—things you always say or a style you have. Opinions you speak up about.

Use the barrel and spouts metaphor as a guide to finding your authentic songwriting style. There’s no need to go out looking for it because it’s already in you.