About a year ago, a Music / Film professor (a tv/film professional) of mine told my class a story at the end of the semester, and it has really stuck with me and inspired me since. I’m going to share it and hopefully it can help or inspire some of you other musicians out there. I’m paraphrasing here:
When in his 20’s, my professor used to gig in a city that was over a mountain from where he lived. He only drove over it at night, and never got to see what lay on either side. He just drove night after night, into the darkness, oblivious to what the view was from atop the mountain.
One night, on his ride back across the top, there ended up being a thunderstorm. Lightning, in random, struck all around him throughout his drive, and for the first time in his life, he was able to see miles and miles of land around him-but only for milliseconds at a time. It was wild to him, seeing the vast views that he had never gotten to appreciate before, having been surrounded by the night all this time.
He wrapped up the story with this: Songwriting, in many ways, is like driving over that mountain at night. The song is out there. You just can’t see it yet. Those lightning bolts are bursts of inspiration (which I’m sure we are all familiar with) where we play a chord, or even a single note, hear a certain guitar tone, or feel a certain punch from a kick drum, and for just MILLISECONDS, the entire song flashes to us in our heads. He said that becoming a good composer / songwriter is about learning to hold on to those flashes for longer, and turn them into the song you heard in your head for just that brief moment. The more you stick to your initial inspiration and finish your songs, the easier it will become for you to follow through with your lightning bolts in the future.
This story really struck me. I had been searching for a way to understand my writing process for years. Those seemingly intangible “flashes” I got became much less intimidating, and I was able to comprehend them on a much better scale - as if now, I simply had to reach out and grab the flash in order to keep it. It was as though someone turned on the lights in my brain. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this story has helped me immensely.
Audio Jungle, as well as its remarkable community, continue to inspire me and help me grow as a writer, as a mix engineer, as a businessman, and as a person. I am forever grateful for this outlet for all my lightning bolts and flashes.
Your turn! Any anecdotes, advice, or musical (mis)adventures you wish to share that could keep us all informed or inspired?
-Will @ Elevate Audio