In with the new

Since last week’s blog there has been some new, even more disturbing discoveries about the competition that has turned out to be nothing but a scam, but I won’t spend anymore time pondering over that. I’ll just wish that good, old “Mr. Karma” catches up with the individual in charge of the scam, sooner rather than later.

 
From now on I will concentrate on the new instead. A very nice and somewhat unexpected thing happened a couple of weeks back, when a song I wrote together with Fredrik Holm (www.2b-intune.com) a few of years ago won an “Honorable mention +” in SongDoor’s yearly competition. The plus stands for “deserving special recognition”. The SongDoor competition receives tens of thousands of entries from all over the world and the Country category, in which our song was entered, is one of the largest. Five finalists were chosen, one entry got an honorable mention ++ which means that the song was seriously considered for the final. Then there was one other entry ahead of us, but to land in eight place in such a big category is something I feel very proud about. Specially since this competition is the real deal. To enter their competition is very economical and they are very clear about what you can win, and you actually get the prizes and a fair amount of exposure to the media and the music industry.

 
It is the same company that I send my lyrics to for evaluation and they have always done everything they can to help me develop. They have sent me things I haven’t even asked for and they are always so happy to help me with any questions I might have. The response is always instant as long as my question arrives during working hours in their time zone.

 
The last couple of days I’ve been fiddling with something new to help my lyrics to get noticed. Well, new is a big lie. I was working with video a very long time before I ever wrote one single song lyric, but this side of my working life has been dormant for many years now. It has just been sitting there waiting for the right time and a reason to come alive again. Getting this honorable mention gave me the push to do something more with our song and since I want to help my lyrics along in any way I can, a lyric video felt like a good option. I have to say I really enjoyed being back at the editing table. Writing will always be my first love but editing and creating film is a very close second. Therefore, it is an amazing feeling when these days you can produce good quality products without being a millionaire. Especially since my videos, (yes, I’m planning to do many more) focus on the lyrics, so I can do them on a shoestring budget. The one I’m going to show you today didn’t cost me anything but my time to produce.

 
Working with video again has also reminded me about the fact that no knowledge and nothing we learn to do is ever wasted. If we are so interested in something that we take time to learn all we can about the subject, there is always a reason why we want that knowledge. It may not be obvious immediately and, I have asked myself many times why I keep training and learning stuff when nothing seems to come of it in a useful way. Getting back to editing a video this week, realizing that the knowledge is still there and that the love for the craft is still there too, has been absolutely wonderful. Especially since I now have a useful reason to dust off that knowledge and use it in a practical way again.

 
Before I go, I also want to mention that the Grand Award winner of SongDoor 2018 was Simon Finn, with whom I wrote the song “Before” a couple of years back. Simon is a very deserving winner and if you haven’t listened to his music yet, please do so on https://soundcloud.com/simonfinnsongwriter
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Waiting for answers

Today is a day when I’m waiting for some news. While I’m waiting I can still hope the news will be good, but at the same time I don’t want to raise my hopes too high. There’re two places I potentially could get some answers from very soon. One is from the half way results at UKSC. I’m still waiting to hear the fate of one of my lyrics there and is should be with me at any time now. The judging panel at UKSC is waiting for some information from the Lyricist of the year Award before making the announcement. Hopefully it won’t be long.

 
I have also sent in a brand-new song lyric for evaluation to the people at SongDoor in America. I sent it in as a spur of a moment thing yesterday and was told the evaluation should be with me before the end of the week. The reason I sent it in for an evaluation is, that personally, I felt these new lyrics showed that I have grown some within my craft from my last “real” lyric, to this one. Somehow, I don’t count lyrics I write as an exercise as “real” lyrics, so it’s been a while since I’ve written from scratch with the purpose of presenting my finished work to professionals, whether they are judges or evaluators.

 
In some ways, while writing these new lyrics, I felt it was the first time I was able to write in a way that actually felt like a song lyric. It was more varied in both tempo and language than my previous lyrics have been, and I couldn’t help feeling that my favourite exercise (which is to write new lyrics to old songs) are starting to pay off. Getting more use to writing to the flow of a melody instead of to a certain tempo in my head seem to have got me out of the narrow cage in which I was writing and where the options were very few.

 
I’ve decided to share these new lyrics with you, so you can decide for yourself whether there has been some progress. Hopefully I can give you some news very soon about what the professionals think too.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Got to let this woman be strong

You’ve been moving
in my circles for a while.
Oh yes, I’ve noticed,
you’ve got a certain style.

You’ve been asking
all about me; yes, I’ve heard.
You want to know me?
This complicated bird?

Chorus
You can buy me a coffee.
You can cook me a meal.
You can sing me a song
that tells me how you feel.
But this girl’s been to hell and back.
The journey made her strong.
If you can’t cope with that,
then we won’t last long.
You’ve got to let this woman be strong!

Bridge
You got to be secure enough
to love the strength in me.
If you’re the controlling kind,
we’ll never share a key.

Chorus
You can buy me a coffee.
You can cook me a meal.
You can sing me a song
that tells me how you feel.
But this girl’s been to hell and back.
The journey made her strong.
If you can’t cope with that,
then we won’t last long.
You’ve got to let this woman be strong!

I’m no pick-nick,
there are calmer ways to live.
But if you’re certain,
this girl got lots to give.

Chorus
You can buy me a coffee
You can cook me a meal.
You can sing me a song
that tells me how you feel.
But this girl’s been to hell and back.
The journey made her strong.
If you can’t cope with that,
then we won’t last long.
You’ve got to let this woman be strong!
©2018 Åsa Sandberg

Destiny Calling

Spring and early summer mean different song and lyric competitions are again opening their doors to a new season. You’ve heard me talk about competitions many times on this page, sometimes in a positive way for the phenomenon and sometimes against it. Still, there is no getting away from the fact that as an unsigned lyric writer, competitions are a good way of finding out where your material stands in the greater scheme of things. It is also one way of telling the outskirts of the music world, that you exist.

 
I hadn’t planned to take part in any competitions this year, because I was tired of repeating a similar kind of half-success year after year, or sometimes even failing in doing so. I haven’t always been strong enough to face the fact that my lyrical skills are at a standstill. Then I remembered some wise words I had read somewhere. “Only a fool repeats the same behaviour pattern time and time again and expects a different result.” It may not be the exact saying, but near enough. After taking a long, hard look at myself in the mirror, I had to accept that I was looking at one of those fools. I’d never really tried to change my way of writing since starting on this journey. I had obviously changed what I wrote about, and I had written in different tempos, but I had never, ever taken in and accepted how much graft it takes to get a really good end product. Instead I had winged it and hung up my whole future in this business on that one ounce of talent that lives inside me.

 
I have one explanation for some of this, which is not an excuse. Quite often lyrics just appears inside me. They are ready, word by word and all I need to do is jot them down. I have no idea where they come from, they just appear. Because of this, I’ve been almost afraid to “mess” with them. I’ve been thinking that whatever they are, good or bad, it must be meant for them to stay just as they arrived. It has taken until this year, before I’ve been able to shake off this fear. Now I’ve started to look at these lyrics as a blue print, a frame or a skeleton. They are a platform on which to build with whatever I now learn from people that have been successful lyric writers for years and are willing to share their experiences.

 
There won’t be enough time for me to get a lot of new and hopefully strong material for this season of competitions, but I have already entered one into http://www.songwritingcontest.co.uk/ and http://www.lyricistoftheyear.com/. This year you can enter your songs and lyrics to more than one competition simultaneously, without it costing you anymore, which is brilliant. Take a look at this new website https://submitmysong.com/ to learn more if you are thinking about entering competitions.

 
In one of last week’s blogs, “Keep it simple”, I have already shown you parts of the song lyric I now have entered into the competitions. Again, it’s not mine to judge whether the finished product is good or bad, but I have attempted to adapt a few things in the lyric from what I have learned during the last few months;

 
– It talks about one specific experience
– I give my story a start, middle and an end
– I’ve tried to put enough meat on the bones of my story, so that the listener can feel and engage with the excitement the young woman is feeling on this particular day
– I write about that one single day, but also allow the listener to imagine how the future for these two will turn out
– I’ve added a bridge to expand what I wanted to say with these lyrics.

 

Whether I have succeeded in my attempts remains to be seen, but I feel I have started a new learning curve. To keep my promise from last week, I will leave you with my newest lyric and competition entry, “Destiny calling”.

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Destiny Calling
Verse 1
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.

Verse 2
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.

Chorus
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!…

 
Verse 3
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.

Chorus

 
Bridge
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!

 

Chorus

©2018 Åsa Sandberg