I love writing a good storyline for a song. Even more so, I love singing it. But is it worth sacrificing your heartfelt lyrics and melody to a vocalist that suits the song better?
A few years ago that question would have been a no-brainer to answer. Hells no! Back then if I crafted lyrics, wrote a catchy melody then took the time to sing & record my vocals – I would have never even fathomed the idea of passing it along to someone else. Was that selfish of me? I mean, if I knew in my heart that a different singer would bring justice to the overall song, better than I could – did that make me an egotistical artist?
Hate to say it, but looking back at that behavior, I would say yes, I was definitely being selfish. The funny thing was, I wasn’t worried about not being credited for writing – of course I would have been. I was more concerned with the fact that another singer would be singing what I wrote. Hec, what if they fell short? Or even worse – what if they sang it BETTER than me!?!? Oh good grief, that got my head spinning, talk about an upheaval! There I was, pouring all of my emotions into my words – why on earth would I want to just give it all to someone else to sing?
I pretty much spent a good amount of years having that mentality.
Whatever I wrote, I made sure it came from my personal experiences; therefore I felt it would project well and would be relatable to others. But that pretty much came to a halt once I started being a bit more adventurous with my writing. I started writing about things that didn’t necessarily pertain to me at all – my lyrics weren’t so personal any longer, so I didn’t feel so attached to them. It’s weird but, it was kind of like singing other people’s lyrics – there is a disconnection for me. (Yes, I had/semi-have an aversion to singing lyrics I didn’t/don’t write. That’s a whole different blog though)
Early last year, someone reached out to me and presented me with a fantastic piece of music. I was stoked and was anxious to write & sing for it. After recording it, I remember sitting back and listening to it. I didn’t like it. Huh? I loved the music and the lyrics, but I didn’t like the way my voice sounded. Yeah, I could have easily shrugged it off, but it wouldn’t have been fair to my collaborator, although he thought my vocals fit well. I didn’t though, and I felt it would be an injustice to that beautiful piece of music to leave it as-is. So I told my collaborator how I felt, and to my surprise, he was cool with it. As a matter of fact, he told me that he was really impressed by my honesty, and the fact that I would step down from singing so that the song would reach its full potential. Was I a grown-up now?
Seriously though, it was one of those ‘holy shit’ moments when you feel like you’ve actually reached a new plateau. Since then, it’s been really easy for me to identify when a song I am working on could possibly benefit from another singer. And I am more than happy to reach out to them for the betterment of the song.