Every song’s a mixture of truth and fiction. White notes rubbing black notes, creating friction …
Of all of the different aspects of music the one closest to my heart is the writing. For me, writing is not simply about expression — it’s about craft and design. Attention to detail is much more important to me than originality, or even honesty. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t matter if what I’m writing about actually happened, or whether I make it up. For me, what is key is that a song must be good. And it must be sincere. As I write I am trying to create something that will move the listener through my choices of melody and wordplay, and at the same time I’m aiming to understand myself and the world around me a little better.
Cole Porter is one songwriter (of very many!) whose work I admire and try to learn from. In both his words and his music he showed an enormous range of wit and creativity but I don’t think, for instance, that he was greatly concerned if the things he was writing actually reflected his own life or not. Perhaps this was because Porter knew from the very start that he wouldn’t be singing his own songs: he wrote music for others to bring to life, and even though I perform my music myself, my greatest desire has always been to have others sing my songs.
Could that be you?