Centricity Blog

What inspires us to Write?

Posted February 23, 2010 by in Publishing, Songwriting

Hey! This is Conor- I head up our Publishing dept. here at Centricity.  I find it such a blessing to work with talented men and women of God who are using their gifts to tell stories woven through music about their faith,pain,hopes,joy, and fears.  We thought it would be neat for you to see  in their own words what inspires them and also what the process looks like.  This will be a two part post because we got such amazing response from our writers.

1.  What originally drives you in the songwriting process?

Seth Mosely(Me In Motion)-Personal experience is always the best inspiration to start with. It always ends up striking a much deeper chord emotionally than just going into a session and saying, “Lets write a song about ____” I believe that people relate better with things that you have personally gone through, or are dealing with. They listen to the story better if it’s your own.

Jason Germaine(downhere)-Starvation.  No, I’ve heard that every artist has a wip.  I think its out there in God world.  What would make someone invent a piano?  To be part of crafting something beautiful is like starting over.  Songwriting is the distant cousin of God making another flower.  It’s old, and always new.

James Tealy(Centricity Staff Writer)-I am a lyric guy so I am usually driven by a BIG IDEA. Songs come the easiest when we find a big hook that we know we are moving towards, a clear title and something inspiring that long to say to the world or sing to God.

Matt Papa-The idea that I could be shaping the theology of thousands of people.  Theology is, according to A.W. Tozer, the MOST IMPORTANT THING about a person….what they think about God.  And the thought that my song could possibly make people fall in love with Jesus more, paint a majestic picture of who He is, and cause people to WORSHIP Him, gets me more excited then probably anything else in this world.

2. When you have an idea for a song- do you write it down?  What is your process in organizing thoughts and ideas?

Matt Papa-I do a few things.  if i am at home, i immediately record all musical ideas on garageband.  If i’m out, I’ll just make a voice memo.  For lyrics, i have a journal that i take everywhere I go.

Jason Germaine-I have a book of ideas, then when the idea gets serious I use the back of old show posters to sus it out.   Then I type a lyric into the computer and print it off so I can read it to sing on a demo.

Seth Mosley-I record it in my iphone sometimes. The process is always different. Sometimes an idea starts with recording a loop or riff on logic pro (or garageband) and building from there. But no matter what, there has to be some type of hook that drives the whole ship, and gets it started, whether it’s a lyrical, melodic, or musical hook.

James Tealy-I use Evernote on my iPhone and laptop and keep a list of titles, ideas, and lines. Evernote automatically syncs to an online server so when I write on my phone it shows up on my computer and vice versa.

3. What does the creative process look like to you?  Do you work better in co-writing situations or alone?  Are you a melody first, lyric later? Or vice versa?
James Tealy-I definitely feel the greatest reward from co-writing, specifically from helping another artist creatively and succinctly say what they are longing to say. I can walk into a session feeling completely uninspired and be moved by an idea or melody someone else brings to the table. I enjoy the process the best when the melody inspires the shape of the lyric and the lyric inspires the melody. Works best for me when they are born as twins.
Seth Mosley-I really have discovered a love for co-writing in the past couple years. I always love coming into a co-write session with some great starts, maybe just a chorus, or a hook, or some melody, and then working it out together. I’m definetely  by nature a melody first guy.
Jason Germaine-I’m niether,  I look for the “big idea”  in the song which usually is a lyric but not always.  Then the melody and lyric come together.  The bulk of my writing work is trying to decide what it is I REALLY want to write about.
Matt Papa-I enjoy co-writes and working alone.  melody typically comes first for me, then I build a lyric on top of that.  but most of the time, when i create a “song” the melody and lyric begin happening at the same time.
So this is part 1 of this look into the creative process of some of our writers.  I hope you enjoy it- we always appreciate feedback and comments.  Thanks!
Conor

About The Author: Conor Farley

Conor Farley did not go to Belmont University, but works in the music business anyway. Go figure. After stints in promotion and marketing at Provident, he settled into an A&R there and later at Word, where he signed Leeland, Brandon Heath, and Meredith Andrews and worked on records by Third Day, Michael W. Smith, and Point Of Grace. He came to Centricity to head up its publishing operation, serving the company's artists by pitching songs and facilitating song writing. Conor's hobbies include mowing, surfing, applying the management lessons of The Office U.K.'s David Brent, and performing with the "Caren Seidle Seven," though he did not specify whether as a singer or a dancer. He is fond also of Nick Hornby books, a sign of his good taste and intelligence.

  1. Jon said

    It is great to hear how differently everyone approaches the same craft. Can’t wait to read more of these kinds of posts. I could relate with everyone in one aspect or another on the process of writing songs.

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