Empty

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written even the first line of a song lyric. As always, at this time of the year, that puts me in a bit of a panic. Well, I have written down a line now and again, only to delete it immediately, because I’ve felt what I’ve written has been too much like the old me. I prefer not to write at all, rather than to go back to something I don’t feel works anymore.

 
The feeling I get when I haven’t managed to write one single new lyric for months is a big feeling of emptiness mixed together with feelings of fear and failure. Today these feelings had become so hard to live with that I decided to force myself to write a new lyric. Forcing something down on paper is not an approach I recommend, but I did have a few ideas that had been lingering for a while. I felt I wanted to write a lyric called Empty, because of how I felt, even if the Empty in the lyric was a different one to the one, I carry around with me when I’ve got writer’s block.

 
I won’t explain my lyric, because if I must explain it, I have failed already. All I will say is that I sort of glued together three different song ideas into one and used a few metaphors that had been hanging around for a while and in that way, I managed to get a finished lyric. Well as finished as a lyric ever is.

 
As I said, todays effort is called “Empty”. Whether it has taken me forward, backwards or nowhere what so ever as a lyric writer isn’t mine to say, but the lyric does have a beginning, the story is moving forward and it does have a conclusion of a sort so, so far so good. I have to say I would like to hear it put to music.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Empty
Can I ask you a question?
Said a lady on the train.
Sure, I answered, nothing to lose
can’t promise no gain.

I’m writing a love song, but
I’ve forgotten how it feels.
When my heart is beating faster
and I feel weak at my knees.

Chorus
Instead I’m empty, just empty, like a closedown mall at night.
Empty, just empty, like the word from a drunk, high as a kite.
Empty, just empty, like a beach on a freezing winter’s day.
Empty, just empty, like a phone call, when there is nothing left to say.

I’m not sure I can help you,
I told the lady on the train.
We’re sort of in the same boat,
and my life is very plain.

I did know that feeling, but
then something just went wrong.
After that I told myself
to stay single and be strong.

Bridge
I want to feel the flutter of a thousand butterflies.
I want to be so happy, I don’t care if I’m told lies.
I want to be unable to work or eat or think.
I want to feel so much in love, I might forget that I hate pink.

Chorus
Instead I’m empty, just empty, like a closedown mall at night.
Empty, just empty, like the word from a drunk, high as a kite.
Empty, just empty, like a beach on an ice-cold winter’s day.
Empty, just empty, like a phone call, when there is nothing left to say.
©Åsa Sandberg 2019

A Million Dreams is all it’s gonna Take

Sometimes it’s a good thing to be interrupted. Yesterday was such a day. I had written half of my blog when I had to stop and after that I never got back to it. Today I realise how lucky that was, because yesterday I was on the brink of giving up and what I had written before having to take a break, was anything but fun.

 
Yes, I do despair because I can’t see any doors, windows or even a small crack of light anywhere that could be the one thing to bring my lyrics closer to anyone that will see some sort of potential in them and give me a chance. Yes, I do despair when people who have promised to do things, never fulfil their promises and do not even bother to communicate the reason why this is. I really don’t understand that kind of behaviour.

 

Equally I cannot understand that people don’t answer a simple question like; “Do you compose music to other people’s lyrics?” I asked that precise question recently of someone born in the same neck of the woods as I am, but I was totally ignored. Actually, It made me feel quite stupid. It felt like I was punching way above my weight and should know better than thinking that someone with this person’s skill should ever need to bother with someone like me.

 
Add to that the horrors about the competition that I have recently realised was nothing but a family business, filled with people who are now busy buying villas in exotic environments and building a life in warm and sunny places from money they’ve stolen from people’s dreams. Still, what I find even worse is that there seem to be so many individuals that, even after knowing this about the competition, are willing to continue to fund this family’s life of leisure. They continue to send in their songs and lyrics “for the fun of it”. That really makes me angry. Because while that is going on, there is no way of stopping this scam.

 
Anyway, putting all of that aside, I woke with a much brighter outlook on the world this morning and was very pleased that what I had written yesterday will never be published in this forum. Since Friday is a day when I don’t need to go out to work, I started my day by watching “The Greatest Showman” yet again. I absolutely love that film and can’t get enough of the songs.

 
One especially stuck with me this morning, because it really describes me and how I am as a person.

 
“Cause every night I lie in bed.
The brightest colours fill my head.
A million dreams are keeping me awake.
I think of what the world could be.
A vision of the one I see.
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take.
A million dreams for the world
I’m gonna make.”

 
I’ve always been a dreamer. It’s the best and the worst part of me at the same time. It was the part of me that helped me keep my sanity as a child, but it has also been the part of me that has made me crash and burn so many times, when one dream or another has either materialised, or has been so close that I could almost touch it, only for it to be taken away from me again. Those times being a dreamer is very hard, because it means that I crash and burn to a point from where I almost can’t find the strength to stand up, dust myself down, and start all over again.

 
What I thought of when hearing this song this morning was that I’ve been dreaming for over fifty years now and I’ve been dreaming a lot, so I can’t be far away from my million dreams. Therefore, I can’t stop now, because if I do all my accumulated dreams will roll over to the random person that is next in line for having their dreams realised, but who dared to dream for a bit longer than I did.

 
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take!

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!

Åsa

 

 

In with the new

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

An eye opening “out with the old…”

Is it still ok to wish people a happy new year? I suppose it is, since it’s still January, so “Happy New Year” everybody!

 
It has been three months, almost to the day, since I published a new blog about lyric writing. This is mainly because my life seems to be compartmentalised depending on the season, and the last quarter of the year is always put aside for my seasonal baking business. Then, when I have dug myself out of the last batch of biscuit dough, Christmas is upon us and after that I fall in to my yearly reoccurring January blues for a while. It normally takes until the last week in January before I feel capable of anything creative again.

 
Another reason for my silence has been that I have been running out of steam when it comes to keeping a positive attitude to my lyric writing. Yes, I still love writing, and I feel I’m progressing, but I find it difficult to see viable ways to get from a “happy” amateur writer, to someone who’s lyrics will be wanted by composers and singers. I just don’t know which way to turn to find a way to show the commercial music world that I exist.

 

This problem has become even more severe since I once and for all have closed the door on the competition that I have taken part in for five years now, and who, I felt, was a good barometer of where I was at with my writing. This year there have been too many strange things gong on within and around that particular competition for me to be able to take the competition seriously anymore on a professional level and as a sincere opportunity.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I collected two more semi-final places for my lyrics from them this year, which takes my tally up to 19 over the last five years. One was what they call a “Borderline finalist” and “seriously considered for the final”, but I really don’t care.
So, what is it that feels so dodgy then?

 
Well, I sent in two versions of one of my lyrics, because I made a mistake in my first attempt and sent in an earlier version than I had planned. There wasn’t much difference between the versions. Only one line had changed with three words. The first version was sent in early enough to be judged in the first session and got a place in the semis with seven points. The amended version was sent in on the last day of the whole competition and when the results finally arrived, I saw that it had been given five points and was nowhere near the semis. There were only three words difference between the versions and personally I felt the change has made the text better. I was very puzzled over this big difference of opinion, since the judges hadn’t changed. That is until a pattern started to emerge when I compared notes with other competitors. Then it started to show that most entries going in on the day of the deadline had been given a score of five points. The most plausible explanation was that no judge had ever looked at those entries.
After the results were announced there has also been other unexplained occurrences. The winners haven’t been sent any prizes yet or even been told what they should be. When one winner asked about this on the competitions FB-forum page, the thread was deleted instead of answered.

 
The winner in the jazz and blues category is still to be announced, two months after the rest of the results have been sorted. This year when entering this specific competition, the entries were automatically put in to various other competitions too with “grand” names. Well, one of the additional competitions cost an extra £3 if we wanted to enter, but they made it sound like a bargain. The only thing is that however many times someone have asked for names on judges, prizes etc in these extra competitions there has been no real answers.

 
The sad truth is starting to become clear. It looks like it is the same people that has invented these additional “opportunities” to make the opportunity look more attractive to take part in, in the first place. There is no “small print”, rules and regulations to be found anywhere, not one single judge is named and the home pages and FB pages for these competitions look very dead. I just checked the FB page for one of them and the last status is from September on a page that all in all has five updates. Still, this is the forum we as competitors have been asked to follow for updates. It’s all a big joke really, and there won’t ever again be any more entries from me into this particular place.
Am I angry? No. In many ways believing in this competition and the hope of some day become really successful in it has been willing me on and made me want to become a better writer. That in itself has been worth the money I have poured into the competition. I also truly believe that this competition started out with good intentions, but that greed finally has taken over. They used to have an awards gala every year where the winners got their prizes. There used to be a CD made with the winning songs. There used to be a “Grand Award Winner” that used to get a day in the studio with a famous producer etc. These prizes have little by little disappeared, to the point that the winners this year haven’t even been contacted by the competition organisers after the results were announced. And, as I said earlier, no prizes have been sent out.

 

But no, I’m not angry. Just disillusioned once more, and I won’t bother printing out my certificates this year, because my semi-finalist placements aren’t worth the ink I would waste. It is a competition that plays on people’s hopes and vanity but with no clout at al out in the real world, and the titles they award have the same value as monopoly money. So, for me this year has started with a really eye-opening “out with the old”.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

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

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

Growing and changing

This morning I have been looking through lyrics I’ve written this year, to pick out a few extra to send to various competitions. By doing so I realised something which made me feel a mixture of both happiness and sadness. I have moved on! When reading through some of the lyrics that I wrote in the beginning of this year, I didn’t recognise myself in that way of writing anymore.

What I personally feel has happened, is that I have grown and therefore what I write as a lyric writer has changed. I have taken a couple of significant steps forward and because of this I see no point entering earlier lyrics anymore. I don’t think the lyrics I looked through would make the cut for the semis in any competition and, even more important; they don’t represent me anymore. Realising this, I might as well count this moment as ground zero for my lyric writing. From now on I will draw a line under what has been and start afresh from the level I’m writing from today.

Whether or not I am right in what I’m sensing, will hopefully be confirmed or rejected very soon. One of the lyrics I’ve written since I took one of these steps forward is still waiting to come back from the judges at the UK Songwriting Contest (UKSC) Most “half term results” were presented last Wednesday, except for some “Lyrics Only” entries that also were taking part in the “Lyricist of the year” competition. These was said to take a “few” days longer because they were having to be seen by two different panels of judges.
Eight days on and I’m still waiting, but UKSC has put a message on the dashboard where the result will appear. The message reads; “If your result has not appeared above yet do not worry, some Lyrics Only entries are delayed slightly because of our arrangement with The Lyricist of The Year Awards. It will appear soon. If anything, this might be a good sign.”

The second lyric I’ve written, where the writing process itself, and my style of writing, made me feel I had reached a new level of development is sitting at an evaluator in the US at the moment. Hopefully the evaluator will notice the same thing that I feel, but even if they don’t, I can’t really do anything anymore anyway with my old lyrics. Personally I feel both me, and also time, has passed them by.

There is a slight difference in how I feel about my lyrics if I go back to the first couple of years of writing. In some of them I can still see a glimmer of hope. With some adjustments and a few word changes, I may still be able to revive some of them.

Just the other day I did make adjustments to one of my very early lyrics that for some reason always makes me smile, because I feel it describes today’s world fairly accurately in an ironic sort of way. It didn’t make the cut for the semis in its original state in 2015 but was awarded a commended entry. If I feel I want to spend money on a wild card this season, I might just give this one a second chance with its adjustments, because the subject matter is even more topical today than it was three years ago. The lyrics are called “Me, myself and I”, and I will share them with you today, maybe this can be a bridge between the old and the new as I hopefully continue to grow and change as a lyric writer.

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Me, myself and I
I don’t know when people,
became obsolete.
We all were replaced by
a service elite.

The service in question,
ain’t bought from no shelf.
We all have it in us
it wears the name “Self”.

it’s all about “Self” now,
who could ask for more?
To think of another,
can be such a bore!

From now, all that matters,
is me, myself and I.
A self-contained unit,
from birth ‘til we die.

Chorus
So, me, myself and I
will have to wave goodbye.
We can’t waste time on you,
since we’re a single crew.
Don’t tell us how you feel,
it isn’t a big deal!
What doesn’t involve us,
can’t make us give a toss.

Bridge
Self-service, self-centred,
and selfies galore.
Woohoo
Self-service, self-centred,
and selfies galore.

Don’t think that I’m selfish,
I share all day long.
My thoughts and my pictures,
point out what is wrong.

The world can be stressful,
for me and my lot.
But we got us covered,
when all goes to pot.

Chorus
So, me, myself and I
will have to wave goodbye.
We can’t waste time on you,
since we’re a single crew.
Don’t tell us how you feel,
It isn’t a big deal!
What doesn’t involve us,
can’t make us give a toss.
©2015/2018 Åsa Sandberg

Waiting for answers

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

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

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

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

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Got to let this woman be strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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