I have been walking on cloud nine since Saturday. It isn’t such a big thing in the greater scheme of things, but for me it feels like a major shift in a very positive direction. I sent the lyrics I’ve been telling you the progress of during the last couple of weeks, for evaluation and got the results on Saturday. I was quite nervous opening the file because this specific place is really tough in their constructive criticism. In fairness I like that approach. It suits my mentality, even though I can feel distraught for a while if what I get back is really bad, especially when I have felt my work was ok. Also, I always remember that this is only one opinion, and that others look at my work in a different way. Still, it is a place I’ve come to respect for their honesty and the way they explain why they think something is bad or, in this case good.
For those of you that didn’t see the lyrics I’m talking about, here they are again;
It was the 16th of June -91
The day when destiny knocked on my door.
The Crystal ball in my gut warned for clouds,
my need to meet you meant so, so much more.
I wore a mint coloured top and worn jeans.
I grabbed my camera, note pad and pen.
The breeze felt warm, in my highlighted hair.
I was so happy that day, way back then.
You were tall, dark and handsome.
It was love at first sight.
You were twice as old as me.
Could be wrong but felt so right!
I felt destiny calling,
when I met you that night.
Yes, it was destiny calling that night!…
I drove home knowing everything had changed.
Still alone in the car, but not in my heart.
A signed record by my side, promised more,
a new life, bigger views, a fresh start.
When destiny’s calling
Don’t say no, go with the flow.
It’s your soul’s way of saying;
Here’s a truth you need to know.
When destiny’s calling, don’t say no!
©2018 Åsa Sandberg
This is how they are scoring each lyric: Each item is assessed on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being a strong “no,” 5 being average and 10 being “absolutely yes!” (Note that a score of 10 is reserved for true excellence and is rarely given.)
To my utter amazement I was given five nines for my work. These were the items judged in my lyrics that reached that height;
– The theme/idea is fresh and unique, even if it’s a take on an old theme (“love lost”).
– There is a story arc: a beginning, a middle and a resolution/end
– There is good imagery that the listener can envision.
– The various song parts are cohesive and consistent with the theme.
– Overall, these are well-written lyrics with viable commercial potential.
Some of the general comments also made my day. “The imagery is palpable, so hard to get that across.” And “There’s a good story here, with an opening, an arc and a resolution. The mysterious setup (why did you grab a camera, notepad and pen?) that evolves into a “fan-love” ending is a great lyrical progression. Really delightful.
The reason I’m getting into such detail with the evaluation is because my blog is about development as a lyric writer and I’ve promised to share both the good and the bad. This week I have something really good to share and for you out there who maybe have not yet used any evaluation services I hope this can give you an idea of what they are looking for in a lyric.
One thing I have lately been working hard at lately, is to find my own way of saying things in my lyrics, so I was very happy with the eight points I got for this part of the evaluation; “The word/phrase choices are original, interesting and avoid clichés.”
Talking about that, the one thing the evaluator commented on in a less positive way, was my choice of title, “Destiny Calling”, since it is a phrase that is and has been used a lot. That’s ok by me. I will stick to my guns here, since I’m told my theme and idea is fresh and unique, despite my choice of title.
With this evaluation behind me, it will be interesting to see how the juries of the various competitions will look at my lyrics. Exciting times!
I’m going to end with a piece of good advice to any lyric writer out there who is serious about their work and want to move forward; have your lyrics professionally evaluated! The comments you get really make you see your work from a different angle and even though you should always keep your own personality and style, having strangers reading your words will help you to pinpoint what you need to work on to get yourself to that next level.
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!