Christmas lyrics

I know, I know. It is only October and I have just mentioned the C-word. I will have made a lot of people shout out in disgust by doing so, but it can’t be helped. I have many reasons to start planning and thinking of Christmas in October. First of all, I have a small, seasonal home baking business where I bake Nordic biscuits which I sell in boxes containing 56 biscuits and cookies of seven different kinds. I need to start to bake these (I will need more than 3000) next week. This is something I’ve done for almost a decade now and when I start to bake I also start play all my Christmas CDs. I’m convinced my biscuits taste better if they are accompanied by Christmas music while in the oven.

 
A second reason for me to think about Christmas well in advance, is that I have got family and close friends in Finland and I need to plan and prepare my parcels for them well in advance, so they reach their destination in time for the big day. So, as you can see, my head has to get into Christmas mode about now to avoid unnecessary stress.

 
I am a big fan of Christmas music, and I think I am so very lucky to have been brought up with Christmas songs that have both Swedish and English lyrics. A lot of Swedish Christmas songs have been translated from English, but there are also plenty of original Christmas songs written in Swedish. I have been collecting Christmas music on both LP and CD for as long as I can remember, and I am always on the lookout for more unusual Christmas songs or unusual arrangements of the more well-known songs. My dream or should I say, one of my goals as a lyric writer is to write enough brand-new song lyrics on the theme of Christmas, to make up a Christmas CD. It’s not an easy task, because most things to do with Christmas has been said and described so many times before in such beautiful ways, that it will be very hard to find a unique spin on the theme. So far, I have only managed one Christmas song lyric and it was written in 2013, which was my first year as a lyric writer. I gave the lyrics the name; “The modern way”. It reached the semi-finals in UK Songwriting Contest in 2015. Again, it was a lyric that divided the jury in England and America. In Great American Song Contest, they didn’t like that I had named my song “The Modern Way” and then never used the title in any kind of hook or Chorus. I can totally see their point and today this lyric is sitting I in a file on my computer that says, “Needs working on”. So far, I haven’t found a good solution for a change, even if I wouldn’t write like this anymore. Maybe I will leave this particular lyric to stand proud as the semi-finalist it is and concentrate on a new seasonal lyric instead. I will leave you with my first ever Christmas lyric, so you can judge for yourself, if you feel like it.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 
The modern way 
I planned to write a brand-new song,
which painted Christmas well.
It was to have a take so new,
that you could really tell.

I wasn’t gonna write one word,
describing starry eyes.
But circling around the core
was ending up in lies.

Chorus
Christmas
A multitude of joy for over 2000 years.
Christmas
A time when inner peace is overcoming our fears.
Christmas
A good excuse to make a lonely stranger a friend.
Christmas
A gift of love to carry through and keep until the end.

Bridge
Santa, toys and sparkling trees, abundance all around.
Our modern way to celebrate the love that once was found,
inside that tiny stable, one quiet starry night.
A love that’s kept us going, brought peace to every fight.

The world is very different now,
from what it was before.
We celebrate in modern ways
not better, but much more.
We eat and drink and buy and sell,
for months before “The Day”.
As long as we remember why,
who’ll judge the modern way?

Chorus
Christmas
A multitude of joy for over 2000 years.
Christmas
A time when inner peace is overcoming our fears.
Christmas
A good excuse to make a lonely stranger a friend.
Christmas
A gift of love to carry through and keep until the end.
Åsa Sandberg©2013

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Finally, the best evaluation ever!

You know those times when you want to stop yourself, because you don’t want to become disappointed yet again, but still you can’t help thinking that you are on to something good?

 
Well, this was me with my latest lyrics. Deep down inside I knew that all I had learned so far this year came together in these lyrics. Everything I have been able to figure out by learning to listen and act on advice from people that know what they are talking about, plus forcing myself to write, write and then write some more. Also at times when there hasn’t been one ounce of inspiration anywhere near me, all of a sudden made the pieces fall into place and FINALLY I took a big step forward on my personal lyric writing journey.

 
To find out if what my instinct was telling me was right, I sent the lyrics for evaluation to a company called SongDoor. I’ve used them many times before and trust them to be harsh but fair. So far when I’ve used them, I’ve had one good evaluation back, a couple of okay ones, and quite a few where my work has been seriously trashed. To suddenly get an excellent evaluation back felt better than any words could describe. This is the summary I was given as part of their evaluation;
“We heard “Broadway” or “West End” all over these lyrics. We could all imagine some woman alone on a stage, in the spotlight, just singing her heart out, like in “Waitress” or something similar. Great imagery and a delightful cadence to the lyrics. Not a lot to criticize here, very well done. We’d love to hear the accompanying music. These are well-written words with serious commercial potential.”

 
Obviously, it all has to be put into perspective. In the end it’s only one single evaluation, but after working hard and trying my best for a very long time without feeling I’m getting anywhere, I’m going to enjoy this for a while. The same lyrics have now been sent to three different competitions, and in a couple of months it will be sent to a fourth one. I do hope this is the lyric that will unite the judges on both side of the Atlantic. Sooner or later, if I manage to write a good enough lyric, I should be able to get positive feedback from both America and the UK. I will have to wait and see if it could possibly be this one.

 
For those of you that missed the blog post where I shared the lyrics in question, I will give you a second chance. The lyrics are called “Got to let this woman be strong” and according to the evaluators at SongDoor; “the girl finally did good!”

 
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 me 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 me 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 me 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

At peace with the journey

Two days ago, I entered into the UK Sonwriting contest one additional lyric and one song where I have collaborated with a composer, making the tally to the first part of the competition three new lyrics and two song collaborations.

 
I mentioned this on UKSCs Facebook page and another competitor that I “talked” to quite a lot last year via the same FB page, asked me how I had been doing since last years results and if my musical dreams had come true? When answering, I got very surprised over what I said, but it is in a happy way. This is what I said: “I feel I am on the right track when it comes to my lyric writing and I’m at peace with the journey!

 
I’m at peace with the journey! How incredible is that! I think I will allow myself a pat on the back for being able to say that and mean it!

 
I suppose you could ask me if I suddenly have lost all my aspirations? If what I want for myself in this creative job has faded? No, is the answer to both those questions. I still burn for the day when I once again get a result I personally can look at as a successful one,. I still want to be able to earn money from writing lyrics, but what I have learned is that those dreams won’t be handed to me on a silver plate from the outside. At least not until I have done the legwork and completed my inside journey and, in all honesty, can say that I have done everything in my power to become as good a writer as I can be.
The reason I’m at peace with my journey is that I am working on becoming better as often and as much as possible. I know I have a few miles to go yet, but I have also travelled a few miles already and done a lot of learning lately. If my efforts so far are rewarded with good marks in the competitions this year, I will be very happy, but the best thing is that I have no expectations what so ever.

 
I think I got a bit spoilt in 2015 when I scooped home 8 semi-final places from UKSC. I thought lyric writing was easy, and the next two years I expected the results to mirror my debut year, especially since I did exactly the same thing. Well, so much is wrong with my last two statements. Firstly; -lyric writing is not easy. Not if I want to aim for good lyrics. Secondly; – I did exactly the same thing! How arrogant and ignorant was that? I never bothered to learn anything new. I thought that I, out of the blue had got the perfect formula for lyric writing and kept hammering down lyric after lyric out of the same old mould. Thank goodness I’ve had some sense knocked into me since then.

 
Another thing has also happened since the UKSC competition 2015. The judges have raised the bar. If I were to enter the lyrics I entered in 2015 again this year, I can’t see many of them making the semis. This doesn’t take anything away from either my lyrics or the 2015 competition. I played in a playing field where all were judged by the same standards, on which ever level the standard was that year, and among those entries mine were thought of as good enough to get awarded 8 semi final places. My mistake the following years was that the competition moved on to new heights and I didn’t.

 
Still, I hadn’t realised that I was feeling as good as I was about where I’m at with my writing, until I was asked the question. I’m sure, a year from now, my goal will be on a higher level, if I can continue to see and feel development, but for now it is all good!
I am obviously very curious about how my entries to this first part of the UKSC will be received, and I can’t wait to find out within the next week or so, but it is a wonderful feeling not to have any expectations what so ever. It gives me a great feeling of harmony from where I can continue my journey.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Self-acceptance

Today I’m doing something I probably will never do again, but I’m doing it because of the realisation that what I’m talking about will most likely make an enormous difference to the way I write song lyrics from now on. So, what is it I’m going to do? Well, I’m going to share a blog post here from a different blog I’m writing, called “Overweight thoughts” to put into my blog about lyric writing.

 
In this blog post called “Mirror, mirror on the wall” I share a very powerful moment and a realisation I had at work yesterday and I’m sharing it with you, here because I know I’m far from the only one struggling with issues like this. I also know that everything in our lives is connected. If I am at peace with myself, I will write better song-lyrics, even if I may choose to write sad lyrics. I’ll let you read the parts of the blog I have cut out as relevant to my song-writing and get back to you at the end.

 

I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t hated mirrors with all of my heart. I have avoided looking into them as much as I’ve been able to, because I have been so appalled with the image facing me. It has made me cringe, look away and feel sick. Facing myself in the mirror or on a photo has actually been the worst thing someone could force me to do.

 
Even those few years in the early 1990’s when I was slimmer than I had ever been, I had the same problems with photos and mirrors, which means that not all of this horror has to do with weight. It’s more to do with not recognising the person in my reflection or in a photo as me. As the person I know I am meant to be both inside and out.

 
In 1990 when I lost weight successfully for the first time, I thought getting rid of excess weight and looking “normal” would solve all my problems and with that done, I would settle into the routines people do in their mid-twenties (or did back then) with steady jobs, a house and sooner or later a family. The horror I felt when I realised that however slim I was, I still was as insecure, I still had the same difficulties “socialising” with small talk, I still hated to go out to night clubs, etc. All these thigs made me a loner. A loner that felt like the piece of a jigsaw that had landed in the wrong box and didn’t belong to the picture. It was this feeling which got me started down a road where most things in my life would become very much worse before they finally became better.

 
I’ve now realised that back in 1990, I didn’t like my mirror image, because I didn’t recognise what was inside my physical frame as the real me. Me; -the person I was meant to be according to my soul, was hidden behind so many insecurities and horrors from my life up to that point that, even if the frame may have been the one I feel most comfortable in, everything else was wrong. I have also realised that every attempt I’ve made since the 90’s to get back to my ideal weight have failed, because inside I wasn’t ready. In my mind I was still judging myself for absolutely every mistake I’ve ever made (and they are many). Sadly, I also have an excellent memory when it comes to remembering my own mistakes, and unfortunately also those of other’s. There was no way I could succeed in losing weight while I kept on punishing myself for everything I’d done wrong and harbouring negative thoughts towards other people in my life that weren’t perfect either.

 
This year has so far been full of miracles on many levels. Last week I told you that I have realised that I am now healed inside. I have suddenly been able to stop blaming myself for everything that goes wrong in this world and I have managed to let go of my self-judgement.

 
Well this morning, while cleaning the floor in the female locker room at the supermarket I now work in, I had the biggest miracle of them all. As always going in I looked down to avoid looking into the full mirror in the room. Then something inside me said; why don’t you take a look. So, I did. A bit hesitant, but I did. Then I got my miracle. I didn’t cringe, I didn’t feel sick and I didn’t look away! Instead I looked at me. And I felt a very deep happiness because I finally recognised myself in the mirror image. Just as I am supposed to be. Granted, I still have a good two stones (15kg) to lose before I am where I want to be with my physical weight, but the person looking back at me was definitely me. Both inside and out; warts and all. I am so happy I was alone in the locker room because this self-acceptance was so powerful that I could not hold back the tears. It’s taken me almost 52 years to get to a point in my life where I can look at myself in a mirror and say; “Hello! Nice to finally meet you! Well done for getting this far. Enjoy the rest of your life!”

 
No one who hasn’t felt that intense disgust when seeing oneself in the mirror, will ever really understand how big this moment was and what it has taken to get to where I am today, being able to write this down for all of you to read. All of you that haven’t had to experience that on your life’s journey, will just have to believe me when I say that it is one of the most extraordinary things that has happened in my life. I suppose it is called self-acceptance.

 

I think that if we don’t feel good enough or feel insecure as people, it is hard to reach our full potential as lyric writers. In my case I know that when I’m writing it has made me avoid some subjects. For instance, sometimes I just haven’t felt secure enough in myself as a person to share my honest emotions through a song lyric, even if I know the lyric would have benefited from my honesty.

 
Let’s hope that my newly found self-acceptance will allow me to write whatever I feel like writing from now on and lets also hope that you out there reading this, feeling the same way I have felt, and will be able to get to your point of self-acceptance very, very soon, because you are worth it!

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Desperate writer

As a lyric writer that doesn’t compose my own music, I find sometimes it can be difficult to step outside the box when writing. It is much easier to find variations to your subject matters if you have a melody to inspire your senses. One thing I have started to do as a way of practising my writing, is to write new lyrics to favourite songs of mine, or big hits that are constantly playing on the radio.

 
Last summer, if you were near a radio, it was impossible to avoid hearing “Despacito” with Justin Bieber. Being an avid YouTube visitor, I soon noticed that this particular song had inspired a lot of artist to write their own lyrics to the “Despacito” melody. I totally understand this, because it gives a real challenge to a lyric writer. In the end I couldn’t help myself. I had to give it a go and write my own lyric version to the melody. I decided to go down the self-irony route with my version, because I enjoy attempting humorous lyrics now and again. I named my version “Desperate writer” and this week I will give you the challenge to follow my lyrics to the melody of the link of “Despacito” which I wrote it to.

 
One other reason I find it a very good exercise to write new lyrics to very familiar songs, is that it trains me to accept change and makes it okay for me. I always form emotional attachments to favourite songs of mine and I wouldn’t like them changed for anything in the world. Writing a totally different set of lyrics to a song I have loved for decades, is training me in the art of letting go and this is a skill I really need to learn if I’m to remodel and improve my own creations especially the ones I’ve got special attachments to, without becoming an emotional wreck very time.

 
Now, lets see if you can follow my version of lyrics to the melody of “Despacito”. Good luck!

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Desperate Writer
(A different set of lyrics to the song Despacito)
It is my dream to get a break through
With time running out
I’m feeling desperate, yeah
I’m getting close to forcing
my words everywhere.

Oh, I am
becoming my worst enemy
needing to change identity.
Angry neighbours telling me to give up
writing and reciting.

I still got one good friend
who doesn’t throw me out.
Wonder for how long,
She will stay that devout.
A dozen lyrics in a week,
Can make the strongest start to shriek.
I need some new friends cause they don’t last long

Once, once I really thought that I could rule the world
These days I’d be happy if I got one third.
With population growing it works out the same so…
Oh yeah,
Why, why can’t no one see the brilliance in my pen?
Pearls are found among the blindest of our hens
I’m sure I’ve got lyrics that could make us millions

Desperate writer
Way back when I started I was an igniter
Now rejection’s turning me into a fighter
Every day my chances’ turning that much slighter.
Desperate writer
Socially I keep an image that looks brighter.
Than reality, that’s turning a lot tighter.
Need to turn this darkness into something lighter.

Where is Mr. Shakespeare’s spirit
when I really need him?
William Wordsworth could you send me
hints on how to turn a phrase grim?
(Need a hit, yes need a hit so badly)

Maybe I should stop and concentrate on different skill sets?
It has been suggested to me.
Just the thought drowns me in cold sweats.

You should have seen me when I started out.
I didn’t have one single doubt.
I knew what it was all about
I thought I carried massive clout
What I had to give would change the world forever
Bang-Bang
Everything from my pen was extremely clever
Bang-Bang
Since then I’ve learned others done what I do, only better
So far, so far, so far
not managed one small unique letter
You could say I’ve changed from being
ignorant go-getter,
to someone the world taught how to know better.

So shoot me, so shoot me,
Can’t give up all hope yet.
One day it will happen
It’s all set, it’s all set.

If I’m wrong, it won’t be
due to lack of trying.
One thing that could stop me,
is if I’m busy dying.

So shoot me, so shoot me,
Can’t give up all hope yet.
One day it will happen
It’s all set, it’s all set.

The universe’s a giver
and I plan to ask her;
to give me inspiration,
enough for me to get there!

Oh yeah!

 

Desperate writer
Way back when I started I was an igniter
Now rejection’s turning me into a fighter
Every day my chances’ turning that much slighter.
Desperate writer
Socially I keep an image that looks brighter.
Than reality that’s turning so much tighter.
Need to turn this darkness into something lighter.

Where is Mr. Shakespeare’s spirit
when I really need him?
William Wordsworth could you send me
hints on how to turn a phrase grim?
(Need a hit, yes need a hit so badly)

Maybe I should stop and concentrate on different skill sets?
It has been suggested to me.
Just the thought drowns me in cold sweats.

Desperate writer
Way back when I started I was an igniter
Now rejection’s turning me into a fighter
Every day my chances’ turning that much slighter.

So shoot me, so shoot me,
Can’t give up all hope yet.
One day it will happen
It’s all set, it’s all set.

 

William Wordsworth could you send me
hints on how to turn a phrase grim?
(Need a hit, yes need a hit so badly)

So shoot me, so shoot me,
Can’t give up all hope yet.
One day it will happen
It’s all set, it’s all set.

William Wordsworth could you send me
hints on how to turn a phrase grim?

Desperate writer…
Åsa Sandberg©2018

 

 

 

 

How to fight negativity

Believe it or not, but I was born with a very positive outlook on life. For a long time, I thought that telling people when something good had happened would make them just as happy. Oh, bless my little cotton socks, how naïve was I? Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I’m a persistent individual. It took a long time before I started to keep my good news to myself after having had my happy face slapped one time too many.

 
There are very few people that can take good news that doesn’t include themselves and be genuinely happy about someone else’s success. Sad but true. The little green-eyed monster called jealousy lives nearby for most of us.

 
I’ve noticed that sometimes all it takes to annoy someone is to look happy. I don’t even have to open my mouth. If I have a day where I can’t stop my inner happiness shining through my eyes; this can be enough to really frustrate someone. So, how can we fight negativity? Personally, I try to ignore it as much as possible and tell myself it isn’t my problem. A person that can’t stand happiness or be happy for someone else must live a very unhappy life, so the best thing is to leave them to stew in their bitterness and continue on with my own journey.

 
Sometimes this is easier said than done though. For instance, only yesterday I got a very acidic comment about something I’ve written. It was about my lyric writing. I had written about how learning my craft has help me improve my writing this year and the comment from this person said, among other things, that they had never tried to write what others might want to hear. In the end they said that they never have had any kind of success either, but they preferred that than writing to please others. Anyway, the whole thing was said in a way that made it clear that this person felt I had sacrificed my integrity to become successful.

 
For a moment that comment hurt a bit. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t sacrifice my integrity for anything in the world. Yes, I would love to write really successful lyrics, and yes, because of that I have taken various steps to get better. The one thing I wouldn’t do is to write a lyric that doesn’t have anything of my personality in it or that I’m not happy enough to put my signature under as an original lyric from me. In all fairness, if what I’ve been doing this year is to leave my integrity behind to write what I believe to be possible cash cows in rhyme, I’m really not doing a very good job, am I?

 
Any craft out there has got rules. The first thing we’ve got to do in order to get good at something is to learn these rules. It doesn’t’ matter how much talent we have. Without rules we will sooner or later hit a brick wall, where pure talent doesn’t give us the answers needed to get any further. Learning the basics and the theory behind the craft of our choice will help us climb those inevitable walls. They give us a solid foundation to fall back on, and after we become really comfortable among those rules, we can happily start to improvise.

 
If anything, I wish I had taken this truth to heart sooner, instead of spending years shuffling furniture around on a sinking ship, but better late then never. It’s just sad that someone has to take my efforts at getting better as selling out. I have put that hurt behind me now and moved on. Maybe the person writing that comment doesn’t believe in their abilities or are unwilling to put in the effort to improve. Whichever it is, it really isn’t my problem. I will continue my journey, because I know where I’m heading.

 
Sometimes the negativity from an unexpected source is so enormous and takes so much energy that we finally have to cut the ties, so not to drown in the acidic lava constantly floating our way. This happened to me with a close family member that I now haven’t seen or spoken to in five years. If I would have known how peaceful my life would become after that cut, I would have done it much earlier, but when it’s family you tend to hang on much longer than you would for anyone else.

 
Anyhow. I wrote a lyric about my relationship with this person called “I’m a Survivor”. Fredrik Holm composed a big band style melody for it and Tine Sylvest lent her voice to a demo for us. Have a listen if you feel like it.

 
Take care until next time and happy writing!
Åsa

 

I’m a survivor! 
Born the runt of the litter.
Never to be picked.
Heard it far too often,
for the wounds to get licked.
Aimed too high for my talent.
Just moderate at best.
Never had much substance.
To compete with the rest.

Chorus
Suppress me, depress me, as much as you want.
Pardon me, I will continue to reach for the front!
I’m a survivor!
I’m a survivor!
Yeah!
I’m a survivor!
Oh Yeah!
I’m a survivor!
It’s the last key on the chain that mostly opens the door.
I will keep my dreams alive and turn up for so much more!
I’m a survivor!
Yeah!
I’m a survivor!
Oh yeah!
I’m a Survivor!

Chose my own way of living,
just outside the norm.
It woke the green eyed monster,
in those stuck in a form.
Aiming high as a challenge,
all good fun to me.
The stars, a valid option.
Or the top of a tree!

Chorus

©2013 Åsa Sandberg

 

The perfect day

This morning the world welcomed me to another warm and beautiful summer’s day. Since I absolutely adore sunny and warm days, it isn’t a huge leap to feel the urge to put down on paper something lyrical about this glorious season. The only problem is, very many people have had the same thought and done it very well so how on earth do I go about writing a beautiful song about summer in a new way?

When having had lyrics evaluated, I’ve learned that originality and new ways of writing about an old, well known subject is something that gives the lyrics higher rating. Somehow fortunately, this is one area where I tend to do well. I never consciously set out to be different, but somehow my lyrics seem to end up a bit outside the box. Still, I can’t see how I could write a summer song in an original way.

Therefore, I have decided to give myself a challenge through a little exercise I use and while I’m at it I decided to share the process with you. I will write down a very typical four-line verse and then try to rewrite the same verse three times, to see if I can make it appear original in some shape or form.

OK, what do I want to say;

The perfect day
The seagulls woke me at 5 AM.
Not one cloud, could be seen in the sky.
The scent of the lilacs filled the air.
It was hazy, very warm and dry.

Well, I hadn’t prepared this. I am writing “live” so to speak, and I have now changed my mind. I don’t want to change the first verse at this moment in time, instead I will change the exercise and try and write a simple summer song about simple things. Therefore, I will now continue with verse two.

The kettle had boiled, I’d fed the cats,
I took my cup and a book outside.
The sound of the early morning train,
echoed softly down the street and died.

I will wait a while with the chorus and go straight to the next verse. But before I do I need to decide whether to stay in the small timeframe of this perfect morning or make the timeframe bigger to make room for a verse about the afternoon. My only reason for wanting to step into the afternoon is because I have a sentence about ice cream I really would like to finally use, but if I write about ice cream in a time frame only including breakfast, most people will find it strange and that is not the kind of “original” I’m after.
So, I took a five-minute break and while doing so the chorus decided to present itself in my mind. So here is the chorus;

Chorus
It was a perfect day!
Filled with wonders and sensations
of a special kind.
A perfect day!
One where nothing bad could reach me,
it was left behind.
A perfect day!
One to keep inside my memory
and easy to find.
It was a perfect day!

 

Thanks to letting the chorus talk about the day and not only the morning, I can now happily move on to the afternoon.

To cool off I took my dog swimming.
Met some strangers and talked for a while.
Then a friend turned up on the door step.
With fresh strawberries, cream and a smile.

Sometimes you don’t know what works before you try it out. My fancy sentence about ice-cram didn’t work at all, so now I can let that one go. I will give this perfect day an ending in a fourth verse and then we’ll see if it all works.

The warmth of the sun never left us.
The day I never wanted to end.
A cool glass of wine made it perfect.
A good day among pets and a friend.

I think I leave it there for now. I will ponder over the need of a bridge in the lyric at some point. This wasn’t my normal way to write a blog, but I went with the flow and showed you one of my methods when writing song lyrics. I assume it is safe to say it hardly ever goes as planned. I will collect all the pieces now to be able to look at it as a whole.

The perfect day
The seagulls woke me at 5 AM.
Not one cloud, could be seen in the sky.
The scent of the lilacs filled the air.
It was hazy, very warm and dry.

The kettle had boiled, I’d fed the cats,
I took my cup and a book outside.
The sound of the early morning train,
echoed softly down the street and died.

Chorus
It was a perfect day!
Filled with wonders and sensations
of a special kind.
A perfect day!
One where nothing bad could reach me,
it was left behind.
A perfect day!
One to keep inside my memory
and easy to find.
It was a perfect day!

To cool off I took my dog swimming.
Met some strangers and talked for a while.
Then a friend turned up on the door step.
With fresh strawberries, cream and a smile.

The warmth of the sun never left us.
The day I never wanted to end.
A cool glass of wine made it perfect.
A good day among pets and a friend.

Chorus
©2018 Åsa Sandberg

Well, the end result may not be original in any shape or form, but it was a good writing exercise on a day that has been the most beautiful day of the year so far.

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Change is the only constant

Throughout my writing career I’ve been very careful to confirm something by putting it in writing, if I don’t feel it is the absolute truth. I feel the written word is such a powerful energy that I only want to write what I know to be the truth. Nowadays, when writing lyrics, this has become a truth with some shades of grey, because since I have started to write for other people and follow their visions, my collaborator’s wishes becomes my first priority.

 
The other day, after having written my blog “Focus and Happiness”, one of my early lyrics popped up in my head. The lyric is called “Broken”. It is quite gruesome, even though it lifts to a more positive vibe in the last two verses. At the time when I wrote “Broken” I quite often used my own real experiences in my lyrics. I think there were many reasons for this. One was the fact that I was so used to putting only the truth down on paper, so that came with me into my lyrics. Another reason was the old familiar saying; “write what you know”; especially when starting out. A third reason was that I knew I couldn’t be the only one having lived through what I had, or who was walking around with these kinds of feelings. From all this, I thought that someone out there might feel comforted by hearing another person having had experiences reflecting their own.

 
When thinking of “Broken”, five years after writing the lyrics, I realised I couldn’t write those lyrics today. My life has moved on so much since then and the last thing I feel these days is broken. Becoming aware of this, I also realised my fear of change which had been one of my weaknesses in life, has subsided substantially. What someone scared of change does not realise is that change doesn’t have to be negative. The chance for a positive change is just as plausible since everything around us is neutral until we put our own interpretation onto the situation. I suppose I could go back to those broken feelings that feel so distant now, if someone I collaborate with would need something to paint hopelessness, but I am rather pleased that the music world rarely has the demand for sad thoughts on that level. The only reason I wish they would, is that I am sitting on the lyric “Broken” and, for once, I feel it actually deserves more than being hidden away in my personal dropbox.

 
One of my collaborators, Fredrik Holm, wrote a melody to “Broken”, which gives the song another curios angle. Fredrik’s main instrument is Bassoon, and he had never, ever heard a bassoon in any kind of popular music. He felt he wanted to rectify this in the melody of “Broken”, so he actually included a bassoon solo just before the bridge of the song.

 
This was at a time when we were first starting out writing songs, going with our instinct and feeling rules were there to be broken. A few years down the line we have learned that the right to break rules are earned by those who first learn and become good at following those same rules. If you don’t know the basics in both song writing and lyric writing and build your improvisations and “rule breaking” on those basics, very few people can understand what you are trying to say. The outcome is that the messages are too mixed up for the general public.

 
Fredrik and I made a CD, meant as a demo really, out of a dozen of our early songs. One newspaper critic was very positive and kind. It was one of those rare moments when you notice that someone really took their time to understand what we were trying to say and do. He said that all the twelve songs were like separate mini-musicals telling different life stories.

 
Our song “Broken” definitely has the drama of a musical number in it and yes, it also includes a bassoon solo.

 
If you feel like something different, have a listen. I have to admit I’ve got a soft spot for this one but I’m so grateful it doesn’t paint a correct picture of my life anymore.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Broken 

I’ve been fighting for survival
for many, many years.
Bullies, drink and violence
have broken all my gears.

Chorus
I’m broken!
Whichever way I turn,
I’m broken
I’m asked for more than I can give.
I’m broken!
No fuel inside to burn,
I’m broken
stop the demands and let me live!
Reversing is no option;
there’s nothing there to see.
But starting on the road ahead
takes more than what’s in me.

Chorus

Bridge
Burnout is the modern way of saying; I am lost.
We’re falling by the side lines because of every must.
The hunt for something better and bigger drives us on.
Each day we join the rat race, but all the joy has gone.
I would like to stop and listen
and smell a fresh cut lawn.
Sit out by the ocean
until the break of dawn.
I know life could be better
if I had time to look,
and find myself somewhere again;
claim back what life once took.

Chorus

©2013 Åsa Sandberg

 

Focus and happiness

Today I’m going to be a little philosophical with a happy under tone. I hope my story can help someone out there. Deep down what I’m writing today, on one level, is all about lyric writing. During 2018 my quality of life has increased with a great number of knots. For a few years I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, trying to find ways to increase my income, but because everything has been forced and not left to develop at its own speed and allowed to flow naturally; the only thing that happened, is that I have become more and more stressed.

 
This year I decided to take a step back and look at my life from a distance. I asked myself, what makes me happy? The first answer was; everything creative. Narrowing it down a bit, writing obviously landed in first place, then came graphic designing and just to throw in a curve ball baking got the bronze medal. (I do run a very small, seasonal home baking business, concentrating on Nordic biscuits and cakes).

 
I then started to figure out what more I can do with my writing outside my song-lyrics, suddenly blogs felt like the obvious choice. I have dabbled in blog writing before, but never with any real focus and determination. I wasn’t even sure whether or not I would be able to give what a blog demands, when starting the two I’m now writing, but something told me it was the right thing to do.

 
Since then I’ve been regularly tapping away on my keyboard and time has absolutely flown by, so it was only the other day, I finally paused and gave myself time to take a look at how my life has changed this year so far. How surprised I was when I saw the answer!

 
My blogs have given me back a desperately needed focus in my life. They have shown me how much I really can squeeze into a day if I work efficiently and work with the things I love and that makes me happy. A part of me is sad that I didn’t realise earlier what a profound part of me writing is, but I assume I wasn’t ready. Writing is my meditation. I go into my centre and write what comes to me. I forget everything around me. The peace I’ve been looking for, for years finally lives inside me. I used to believe only financial freedom could give me that peace and I threw myself into project after project that really wasn’t for me in order to try and gain that freedom. Am I rich now? Yes! Have I fixed my economy? No, not yet. I’m still on a very tight budget. But I’m closer than I’ve ever been. Why? Because I’m doing what I love, and I have found my inner peace.

 
The interesting thing is how many positive things are happening to me, thanks to focusing on doing what I love, and gaining my new found inner peace. The calm inside me has helped me to listen. It has helped me to take in information and support, and it has opened doors I never even knew I wanted to open. I’ve finally listened and therefore got the help I needed to get my lyric writing skills up a level or two. I have taken a diploma in blogging and I’m in the middle of a course in Advanced Social Media Marketing that is going to earn me a QCF level 5 degree here in England, or in the US an Associate’s Degree. The course has four modules and to begin with I had only planned to do the basic level, just to learn more about how to promote my lyric writing through the social media channels. To my utter surprise, I found the subject incredibly interesting, to the point where I am now setting up the social media marketing side for two different companies. Who knew? I also have a diploma in graphic design. Having worked with graphics since the day the possibility was born, I decided it could be a good idea to have it in black and white that I am capable doing so.

 
My days are very full now, but nothing feels like work. Not even my “real” work as a weekend kitchen assistant at a nursing home for people with dementia feels like work, because all the lovely service users make me happy.

 
So, I suppose the summary of what I’ve tried to tell you today, is do what makes you happy. Not many people are able to live on lyric writing alone. I still have a goal to get to a place where I could, but while I am waiting; I have at least changed my life around totally by focusing on things I love doing and doing them to the best of my ability. Through the inner peace this has given me, I am finally starting to reap the rewards. I wish this is, or will be, the reality for all you readers too. And in the very near future.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Finally a reason to celebrate!

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;

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.

Repeat 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!

Repeat Chorus

©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!

Åsa