The New York Times has a new blog called Measure for Measure which seeks to delve into the creative process of songwriting. Andrew Bird, Rosanne Cash, Suzanne Vega and Darrell Brown are contributors.
The first post, "Words Will Tell", is written by one of my favs - Andrew Bird.
I’ve spent most of the last year inside a tour bus. I’ve spoken more words to journalists than I have to my friends and family. All of this has kept me from what I realize now is my job, and that’s to daydream. Now I bring my bike on tour and ride every day. Wandering in an unfamiliar town, the rhythm of walking or riding and a few hours to kill is nearly the perfect recipe for a new idea.
I’ve got 11 songs mostly written and several dozen distinct melodies. I never worry about the melodies drying up. Since I can remember, I’ve had melodies in my head. I chew my food to them.
Almost every breath contains some fragments of an escaping melody. If I shape my lips so as to whistle, my breath will take on a musical shape like sonic vapor. Words are much trickier. I would forgo words altogether if I didn’t love singing them so much. My choice of words and my voice betray so much and that’s what’s so terrifying and attractive about it.
Soldier On EP