I’m in the semis!

The “mid-term” results from UK songwriting Contest (UKSC) are now starting to drip through. I have had the judge’s decision on three out of my five entries into the first session. My lyric called “Destiny Calling” which was given the best evaluation I’ve ever had from SongDoor, did not get through to the semis. That didn’t surprise me, because so far, the judges at UKSC and the evaluation team at SongDoor have always been sitting on opposite sides of the fence. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Instead it is almost comforting that this difference of opinion continues.

 
My collaboration together with Fredrik Holm; – the song “Alone” in the jazz and blues category, didn’t go any further either. Well it will, just like “Destiny calling”, be considered for the lower prices, which are “Special mention award”, “Higher commended award”, or “Commended award”, but however nice that is, anything below a semi-final place really means that the entry has come to the end of the line in this year’s competition.

 
The third entry of mine that already has been seen by the judges is the lyrics to “Alone” that I entered into the “Lyric only” category and I am very pleased to announce that it has been given a place in the semi-finals and still lives on in the competition. The strange thing is that it wasn’t the version of the lyrics I was going to enter. I made a rooky mistake with both the song version and the lyric version of “Alone” and entered an earlier one where I still hadn’t made my final correction. Since I’m in the semis with this version I suppose I could leave it, but I also know that my final version is flowing much better, so I will enter both the song and the lyrics again for the autumn session. If I don’t I will always wonder “what if”.

 
I’m still waiting for the results of a “Lyrics only” entry I’ve called “Sad to waste it” and a song collaboration, again with Fredrik Holm as the composer, entered in the “Open category” called “Mad World”. I did enter an earlier version of “Mad World” in the “Lyrics only” category in 2015 and it was given a semi-final place. Since then I have refurbished the chorus and changed the verses a bit and added a bridge. I will enter the new version of the lyrics into the competition before the deadline on 30 September, but I thought I’d wait and see what happens to the song first. The song is a bit different, so I’m pleased that UKSC have an open category these days. It gives songs that fall between the standard categories a chance.

 
I will share “Mad World” with you, both the lyrics and the demo of the song, while I’m waiting for the results. Hopefully it will inspire some of you, who are still sitting on the fence about entering your lyrics or music into the competition, to actually enter. Writing lyrics can be a lonely thing to try and make a living out of, so finding places to talk to other, likeminded people can help to keep the motivation going. Competitions are one of those places where you can do just that, and you may also be lucky enough to find collaborators, if you, like me, don’t write music or if you are a musician that prefer not to write your own lyrics.

 

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!

 

Åsa

 

Mad world
I’m scared of being sued
and sick of getting screwed.
The world is going mad
and everybody’s blinking rude!

Chorus
Mad world, Bad world,
most of all a Sad world!
Where can I get off?
Rough world, Tough world
Through and through a Bluff world.
When can I get off?

I wonder why I’m here
when all I sense is fear.
I hate to feel alone
but know the cost of getting near.

Repeat Chorus

Bridge
I know that I’m moaning.
So, what! Don’t we all.
It’s my way of coping,
fight back when I fall.
Repeat Chorus

I’m tired and I’m worn,
regret that I was born.
I need a new way out,
‘cause deep inside I feel so torn.

REPEAT CHORUS x2
©2014/2018 Åsa Sandberg

 

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Imagine

Imagine the world without the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. It isn’t easy however hard I try.

 
I have gone back to my favourite website at the moment, www.songfacts.com and found that “Imagine” is the number one lyrics of today’s top 10. I will share the song facts about this wonderful song with you. One fact that I found amusing, since this particular fact makes me realise I wasn’t totally off the mark doubting the English grammar of that sentence when I heard the song as a teenager back in Finland. This is the fact; “According to Yoko Ono, who controls the rights to John Lennon’s music, the most frequent request she gets comes from musicians who want to record this song but change the “No religion, too” lyrics – a request she has always denied.”

 
A good thing to keep in the back of my mind if any critics or judges tells me off for not being grammatically correct!

 
Enjoy the song facts!
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

 

Lennon was asking us to imagine a place where things that divide people (religion, possessions, etc.) did not exist. He felt that would be a much better place.

 
This song is a strong political message that is sugar-coated in a beautiful melody. Lennon realized that the softer approach would bring the song to a wider audience, who hopefully would listen to his message.

 
Lennon took the sole songwriter credit on this track, but later said that his wife, Yoko Ono, should have been credited as well, as he got the initial idea from her book Grapefruit, which is a book of instructions with things like “Imagine the sky crying…” or “Imagine you’re a cloud.”

 

“I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution,” he told the BBC. “If it had been Bowie, I would have put Lennon-Bowie… I just put ‘Lennon’ because she’s just the wife and you don’t put her name on, right?”

 

On June 14, 2017, the National Music Publishers’ Association announced that Yoko would finally be added as a songwriter for “Imagine.” This took place at a ceremony where Yoko was given the Centennial (song of the century) award for her contribution, which was followed by a Patti Smith performance of the song.

 
Some people have wondered if Lennon included a message in the video for this song as well. In the video, Lennon is dressed as a cowboy and Yoko Ono is dressed as an Indian squaw. This could be a kind of message about all cultures getting along.

Suggestion credit:
Adam – Dewsbury, England, for above 2

 
Lennon wrote this on a brown Steinway upright piano. In 2000, George Michael paid over $2 million for the piano that Lennon wrote this on, and then returned it to the Beatles museum in Liverpool. John’s piano has since been “on tour” to various world locations promoting peace.

 
Churlish listeners had a problem with the “no possessions” line, finding Lennon hypocritical since he was so well-off. Yoko Ono addressed this in a 1998 interview with Uncut, where she stated regarding her husband’s intentions: “He sincerely wished that there would be a time when all of us could feel happy without getting too obsessive about material goods.”

 
A sidewalk mosaic spells out the word “Imagine” in a section of Central Park dedicated to Lennon. The area is called “Strawberry Fields,” and is located across from Lennon’s apartment where he was shot.

 
This was not released as a single in the UK until 1975, when it hit #6. Shortly after Lennon’s death in 1980, it was re-released in the UK and hit #1. It was replaced at #1 by Lennon’s “Woman,” marking the first time an artist replaced himself on top of the UK charts since The Beatles followed “She Loves You” with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
This is credited to The Plastic Ono Band, the name Lennon used for some of his recordings after leaving The Beatles. Ringo Starr played drums on this and Klaus Voorman played bass.

 
On September 21, 2001, Neil Young performed this on a benefit telethon for the victims of the terrorist attacks on America. Almost 60 million people watched the special in the US.

 
At a 2001 tribute special to Lennon, Yolanda Adams sang this with Billy Preston on organ. Preston played keyboards on some Beatles songs, including “Get Back.”
Oasis used the piano intro on their 1996 song “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”

 
In 2002, this came in #2 in a poll by Guinness World Records as Britain’s favorite single of all time. It lost to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

 
This has been covered by many bands, including Our Lady Peace, and a vastly toned-down version by A Perfect Circle. Jack Johnson recorded it for the 2007 compilation Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
Suggestion credit:
Jeffrey – Victoria, Canada

 
This song plays a role in the movie Forrest Gump. Gump (played by Tom Hanks) appears on a talk show with Lennon, talking about a place where there are “no possessions” and “no religion.” It’s implied that Gump gave Lennon the idea for this song.

 
Some speculate that this song contains backwards messages. With a keen ear and large imagination, you can barely make out the words “people war beside me” when reversing the line “Imagine all the people.”
Suggestion credit:
Spencer – Los Angeles, CA

 
On September 13, 1980 Elton John did a free concert in New York’s Central Park, ending it with this song. This performance was three months before Lennon’s untimely death; before playing the song Elton said, “This is for a dear friend of mine who doesn’t live too far from here, so let’s sing it loud enough for him to hear it” (Lennon lived only a few blocks from that part of Central Park). The flamboyant Elton performed the song wearing a Donald Duck outfit.
Suggestion credit:
Chris – Philly, PA

 
Lennon said this song is “virtually the Communist Manifesto.” That’s usually the last we see of the quote, but Lennon added: “even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement.”
Suggestion credit:
Adam – Mechanicsburg, PA

 
This song returned to the Hot 100 three times in the late 2000s, thanks to cover versions by Jack Johnson (#90, 2007), David Archuleta (#36, 2008) and The Glee Cast (#67, 2009).
The jazz musician Herbie Hancock recorded this as the centrepiece to his Imagine Project. His version features Jeff Beck, P!nk, Seal, India.Arie, Konono N°1 and Oumou Sangaré.

 
According to Yoko Ono, who controls the rights to John Lennon’s music, the most frequent request she gets comes from musicians who want to record this song but change the “No religion, too” lyrics – a request she has always denied.

 

 

So, does this mean you can record any song, but you need special permission to alter the lyrics? Essentially, yes. Alex Holz at the music licensing and royalty service provider Limelight explained to us: “Artists can be afforded ‘some’ leeway in adapting a track to your band’s style (so long as you don’t alter the fundamental character of the work), though lyric changes/alterations typically require direct permission from the publisher as a derivative work. Every songwriter/publisher/song is unique and requirements vary.”
This was the last song played on WABC before they switched from a Top 40 format to talk radio. Based in New York City, WABC was for decades the top AM radio station in the country. They debated long and hard to decide which song should be their farewell.
Suggestion credit:
Rob – Minneapolis, MN

 
A moving rendition of this song took place in Paris on November 14, 2015 at the Bataclan theater, where 89 people were killed by gunmen in terrorist attacks the previous night. The German pianist Davide Martello brought his grand piano to the theater, and played the song while crowds mourned outside the venue.

 

 

Over the next few days, Martello brought the piano to every location in Paris where the attacks took place, performing the song in tribute.

 
When Nike used the Beatles song “Revolution” in 1987 TV commercials, Yoko Ono joined the surviving band members in suing the company. In the court proceedings, it was revealed that Yoko appeared in a Japanese TV commercial for a telephone company where “Imagine” plays. According to court documents, she authorized use of the song and was paid about $400,000. The “Revolution” case unified the Beatles in their opposition to having songs used in commercials, especially since they didn’t control the rights – Capitol Records and Michael Jackson did.

 
At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, four singers from that country performed the song, with each taking a verse. The singers represented a range of genres, including K-pop, with Ahn Ji-young of the duo Bolbbalgan4 performing along with Ha Hyun-woo of the rock band Guckkasten, Jeon In-Kwon of the rock band Deulgukhwa, and the solo artist Lee Eun-mi.

 

 

The theme of the ceremony was “Peace in Motion,” with a message of unity as athletes from North and South Korea entered under one flag.

 
Ben & Jerry’s, makers of “Cherry Garcia” and “Phish Food,” named an ice cream flavor after Lennon’s hit song in 2007. Retired since 2013, “Imagine Whirled Peace” was a caramel ice cream mixed with toffee cookie pieces and chocolate peace signs.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

The core of life

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about looking forward to writing the lyrics to Peace Anthem number three out of three that I have written together with Fredrik Holm. Well, “Free at Last” is now ready, it was a lovely process writing it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

 
I don’t know how many of you who are that familiar with Paddington Bear in general, and the latest Paddington film in particular, but in that film Mr Brown, the father of the family where Paddington lives, says something like this, “Paddington always looks for the good in people, and in some strange way, he always manages to find it.” Somehow, I must have channelled my inner “Paddington bear” while writing the peace anthem, because there were times when I thought my words were too naïve and too simple. So much so, that at one point I thought about starting again from scratch with a new theme. When trying to do that I got nothing. Not one single new idea or word came to me. The shop of creative ideas and thoughts inside me was totally closed. I believe this is because I KNEW that however naïve and simple my words appeared on paper, they were the right ones.

 
I think simplicity might have been the right way forward for my lyrics to the peace anthem, if I wanted to reach the core of what life should be about. Mankind has become too wrapped up in the “game” of life. How often do we hear that we must learn to “play the game” if we want to get somewhere in life? I don’t know how many layers out from the core of life, or levels up in the game of life, or whatever metaphor you want to use, we as a species have stepped away from this core, but what I do feel is that this “game” has got us so wrapped up in getting to this “somewhere”, that we are dangerously close to totally forgetting what life really should be about. The simple things, the joy, the beauty around us, the kindness, the giving instead of the taking etc. Maybe the best way to get heard over or through the noise of this game is to strip back the layers and use simple words in a more basic way. People have started to think of the word basic as something bad, something without the most recent upgrade and therefore something that isn’t reaching the full potential of what is out there. Out where? Where does it end?

 
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we once more, instead of looking towards what “out there” has to offer, started to look in towards the core? Maybe then, we would remember what life truly is about and see that the core of life has already given us all we need, so no upgrades are needed. Basic covers it all in abundance.

 
I hope you forgive my philosophical journey in today’s blog. Maybe my thoughts are just me trying to defend a lyric where I allowed myself to write with my inner child on the front seat, or maybe I have a point. Who knows?

 
Well, no point delaying the moment anymore. These are the lyrics of peace anthem number three, by Fredrik Holm and myself. “Free at last”. I am also sharing the file with the melody played on piano which I got from Fredrik in order to write the lyrics. Without the melody, the lyrics may seem a bit strange, since there are no rhymes to grab hold of.

 
If anyone is curious about what we are going to do with our Peace Anthems now, when the suite is complete, I can tell you that we are going to make a booklet and offer them to choirs all over the world. In my opinion, there can’t be too many ripples of peace spreading around our world today.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!

Åsa

 

Free at last
Dawn is here.
Darkness’s fading.
It’s a time of
hope and peace.

All is good and
we are free at last.
Earth’s rejoicing,
filled with harmony.

Every living soul,
hands and paws and fish and birds.
Building a home,
fit for us all.

All is good and
we are free at last.
All is good and
we are free at last.

Flowers, trees and grass,
whisper, as they move
in the wind;
thank you, thank you!

Earth’s been hurting.
Mankind closed their hearts,
when greed took over
from the path laid out for us all.

But…
All is good and
we are free at last.
Earth’s rejoicing,
filled with harmony.

Every living soul,
hands and paws and fish and birds.
Building a home,
fit for us all.

We’re free to start again!

©2018 Åsa Sandberg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zco3ah89nr3rzoe/Peace%20anthem%203.mp3?dl=0

Pure joy

In my opinion, one of the biggest gifts I can be given in this world is when I hear a new song for the very first time and I realise it’s got absolutely everything I need from a song to make it a favourite. It becomes one of those pearls to put in to my private jewellery box of brilliant songs.

These gifts are quite rare these days, which is why they are so special when they appear. For those of you that have seen or heard about the Graham Norton Show, a talk show on BBC, Roger Daltrey (The Who) was one of the guests last week and he preformed his new single “As long as I have you” on the show. The performance totally absorbed me from the word go when I saw it last night. The band was out of this world, Roger’s voice is amazing, even more so considering he is not a sprig chicken anymore.  Maybe the lyrics didn’t reach any NEW poetic depts, but they were amazingly perfect, and they stuck immediately.

I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think I dreamt in the tempo of the song last night. If so, it must have been happy dreams, because it is a happy song. What I’m certain of is that the song was the first thing on my mind when I woke up and I just had to put it on immediately. I am still totally absorbed by the song and it has been playing on repeat a lot of the morning.

Thinking back, the last time a song hit me this hard was when I heard Adel’s “Rolling in The Deep” for the first time back in 2011. Then I actually started to cry of joy when hearing it for the very first time, because in my opinion it was THAT good, and it is still a very bright shining pearl in that jewellery box of mine.

I sometimes wonder if I’m normal or very, very abnormal when it comes to how I react to music, or what music makes me do. A really good song with certain elements built into it can totally take over my life for a while. One example happened in 1987, when it comes to doing silly things. This was way before the time of smart phones or computers for personal use. Instead it was during the days of MTV and thanks to that the golden days of music videos. Back then I was studying to become a Pre-school teacher and had rented a flat 3 km from the university. One evening I saw the video of the Bee Gees “You Win Again” for the first time on my parents old black and white telly that I had borrowed so that I had a telly in my flat. Again, this was a song I absolutely adored, and I soon figured out at what times the video was playing on a certain MTV show. One of those times was around midday, and for a while I cycled the 3 km home every day around 12 noon, just so I could listen to the song. Granted, it was around lunch time, with a fairly long break from lessons, and I wasn’t that keen on my studies anyway; still, it was quite extreme!  However, it was something I just had to do. There was some kind of hidden life force in the music that I needed to absorb the same way some people need to absorb various vitamins to feel better and more alive.

It is only while writing this that I, to my utter surprise, have notice that my three music examples are very closely related. Especially when it comes to the tempo and the drums.

As a new blogger, when it comes to blogging in a more serious and regular way, I try to follow hints and tips on how to be more successful. One of the things I have learned is that adding a lot of links to various pages in a blog, actually detracts readers, rather than pull them towards your site. I’ve also learned that it is very rare that someone actually click on the links recommended. 

Anyhow, since I am writing about lyric writing and music it is very hard not to link to various songs I am writing about. Therefore, I am going to include links to the three songs I’ve been talking about today as an example to show how similar the drums and the tempo are in the three songs. I’m putting these at the end of the blog.

Music is magical, and it can do magical things to the listener. Having realised the similarities in the drum beat in three personal favourites of mine through the decades, I’m starting to wonder if that precise beat possibly is emulating the beat and tempo of my soul’s unique life force? Who knows?

Take care until next time and happy writing!

Åsa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmotaD4kILY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2QKLemuiik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xviuC-0FwQ0

 

What keeps me going?

I’m one of those people that often question what I’m doing. In a way I feel that is a good thing, as long as my doubts don’t stop me from continuing on my chosen path. I suppose a lot of people reading this blog could question my authority concerning my subject matter, but I have been clear from the start that I write from a learner’s point of view. I’m a lyric writer with an L-plate if you like. (An L-plate is what people get in England when taking their driving licence. A red one before passing the test and for some time after passing the test it is a green one, to show everyone else that they are new behind the wheel.) Having had some moderate success and acknowledgement in competitions, I assume my L-plate is green, but I am a long way from being able to throw it away.

There is no arguing that it is the feedback that is my drug as a writer.  This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but it is the truth. It started all the way back during my first years in school, when my first ever essay was read by the teacher in front of the class. Since I was a bullied child and quite invisible in most situations, it was an enormous feeling of joy and a big buzz to be recognised for something; especially for something that was born from my imagination. Somehow it was all me. And for once, something that was all me got chosen as an example of something really good. Even more amazing was the fact that my essays continued to get read all the way through school. It became my thing, and it probably inflated my ego in this area a bit too much.

After finishing school there was a void where that recognition of my writing had been living and looking back, I can see why I was always walking around with a feeling of a mixture of restlessness and depression. I was totally lost without a platform where what I wrote could bee seen. Nothing else mattered. At least not anywhere near as much.

I suppose I’ve been lucky in the way that I’ve always found one platform or another for my writing and managed to get my words seen. Thanks to that I have been given the feedback I’ve needed. The stakes for being seen have been raised though. Since social media entered our lives the noise is so loud, the pace is so fast and the time anything we do is given to make an impact before it is swallowed by something else, is getting smaller and smaller. 7.6 billion people are fighting for their particular high when it comes to recognition in just the same way as I need to get my high for my creative words. We may all physically be living on planet earth, but most of us spend a very big part of our lives stumbling around in cyber space from one app to another in a hunt for a “thumbs up” or a smiley, to help us feel alive.

Personally, getting a lot of likes on Facebook or Instagram for some sort of comment or picture doesn’t do anything for me. OK, it’s nice, but I can happily live without it. It is much, much harder when a song lyric I have posted for my friends of Facebook to see gets more or less ignored. Then I feel totally abandoned, the restlessness comes over me again and I start craving a sugar rush to numb the emptiness inside my soul.

Unfortunately, I have now moved on to heavier drugs to get a real high from my writing. It’s going to take a final place in a competition, a win or getting signed, to get that same rush as the semi-final places gave me a few years ago. While I feel there is a slight possibility for any of those to happen, I will keep going, since I really need that high. Until then I must make do with some smaller, but hopefully more frequent highs, from a like or two for my lyrics on Facebook.

As by chance, I wrote a song together with Fredrik Holm a few years back that talks about being lonely in the social network world. Coincidently I called it “Lonely”.

I will leave you with that song of ours. The singer, once again, is Tine Sylvest.

Take care until next time and happy writing!

Åsa

 

Lonely

Queuing up on Sunday

at a Supermarket chain.

The modern place for worship

that stops you go insane.

 

You buy a clever gadget

to get the rush you need.

And silence every symptom

of a soul that bleeds.

 

Chorus

Lonely in a social network world.

You Facebook, Chat and Twitter,

exes to last baby sitter.

Lonely in a social network world.

Lonely in a social network world.

 

Back home and all is quiet.

You go online to keep

the emptiness inside you,

from breaking down and weep.

 

Chorus

 

Bridge

The cyber cloud makes you forget

how warm a smile can be.

When given by a friend you love

and very rarely see.

A tweet is fun, a chat is quick

but eye to eye means more.

Take time to reconnect to life

and talk, just like before.

 

Chorus

©Åsa Sandberg 2013