Songwriting is my therapy. It is the only thing that can calm me during my emotional storms. The minor chords draw my negativity away from my mind and into the music, and the major chords can lift my spirits in a way that any amount of talking cannot.
I write songs in a very sporadic and highly emotional way. There is no formula; no 'secret ingredient', it just happens and I have no idea how. As I write form such personal experiences and emotional states, I often find that a song will begin to formulate when I least expect it. My natural instinct when I am feeling a strong sense of emotion, good or bad, is to sit down at my gorgeous piano and just sing. I pick a key and almost sing/talk what I'm thinking/feeling and pretty soon I stumble over a melody that makes my ears prick up and a lyric that sums up my whole situation-this usually becomes the hook! I then focus on those two things and I begin to write the song.
It can take me hours of just aimlessly playing in different keys and singing random phrases and words to get to the point of writing the actual song! I actually find that at the beginning of the songwriting process, it's the pouring out of different words and melodies that is the healing part of the process, and not the eventual part-structuring and completing the song itself. To me that part is an intense burst of creativity and I almost go on 'auto-pilot', not really aware of what I am doing or feeling.
There is nothing like the buzz you get the first time you play a finished song from the beginning to the end. I get a real sense of accomplishment and a strong sense of relief. Whatever I have written about has now been sorted in my head; lifted off my heavy mind and placed into another world. I find it extraordinary that the song now exists and a few hours ago it hadn't. The song now has a place in my heart and will always play a part in my history. The fact I am able to revisit and remember such intimate and personal moments in my life every time I perform a song is a blessing but sometimes a curse.
To be such an open book as a songwriter and a person in general I find that I am much more vulnerable and exposed. I am simply putting my weaknesses, loves, dreams and fears all in one place for anyone hear. It worries me sometimes that I expose so much of these inner worries and secrets that one day someone could turn around a use all my own words against me, I am almost giving people a list of how to take me down, but the positive to that is...it's just another situation to write about!