What It’s Like to Produce a Song- A Dream and Writing Lyrics

how to make a song

I’m working on a top-secret song right now with Freya. She’s a music producer and sound engineer, and we’re working together as a music production team.  We’re planning on releasing quite a few new songs together this year from the Legacy Code Saga soundtrack and from her debut electronica album.

So I thought it would be fun to share what it’s like to write a song from start to finish. And this particular song had an interesting start: I dreamt it.

how to make a song

Step One: Dream up a Song. Literally.

That’s never happened to me before. I’d finished a book in a series I was reading and loving. The next morning, I had a dream. I was singing the words “Rain falls down — Can’t hear a sound” over and over, trying to get the melody right.  And I was singing in a style I don’t normally use, too.

My three-year-old woke me up, and after turning on some cartoons, I immediately ran to my laptop to record all the parts I heard in my dream: the lyrics, the melody, a secondary melody line, vocal “oohs”, three different drum sections, and a bass line.

It was exciting, but kind of crazy. I recorded everything in Sound Recorder by either humming it, singing it, or banging out the beat on my laptop.  Then I mashed it together in one awful Audacity project. It sounded horrendous, but luckily for me, Freya can hear potential. ; )

Writing the Lyrics

I knew the song was inspired by the books I’d been reading, but the dream lyrics made no sense at all. But they felt right, so I kept them.

I normally don’t dream songs. I usually write lyrics while listening to music that fits the mood I’m going for. It was time to write the rest of top-secret song’s lyrics, so I hunted around on my Spotify account for a song to listen to.  It had to give me the emotions I’d had in that dream, and it needed to have the same vibe as the song I’d heard in my dream.

In the end, I chose to listen to Journey by Phaeleh as I wrote. (Note: the song we ended up creating sounds nothing like the song I wrote to, but then, they never do.)

The next night, I stayed up late after my husband and daughter went to bed. I always have to set up my “space” when I’m writing lyrics. I turned off all the lights in my living room, put on the christmas tree lights (yes, in January) and listened to that song on my headphones. I scribbled out my stream-of-consciousness words on sheets of paper, filling up several.

When I create things, I feel like I’m dipping into the collective unconsciousness–the collective muse.  I imagine all artists, writers, musicians…all of us…tapping into that river when we’re in the act of creation. So I went there and looked for whatever stream this song, this story, came from. Once I ran out of words, I typed everything into a text file and began to organize it into a song.

These are the lyrics I came up with (after some revisions):

Verse 1:
Rain falls down–
don’t hear a sound
Lost in your memories,
Please don’t forget.

Pre-chorus:
So far away
I feel you anyway (anyway, anyway)
No matter what
I won’t give up on you (give up on you)

Chorus:
You were the one
I could count on
Stood by my side
and pulled me through

They say you’re lost
and can’t be found
I won’t give up —
I won’t give up on you

Verse 2:
Senses gone
This living death
Mouth to mouth
You gave me breath
I won’t forget

(Pre-chorus)
(Chorus)

Bridge:
Hard to navigate
Without you
Can’t see straight

But I know
It’s in the stars
We belong together
Can’t keep us apart.

(Pre-chorus)
(Chorus)

Do you want to know the craziest part of all of this? A few days after I finished the lyrics, I started the next book in that book series. The biggest part of the opening chapter? RAIN.  My lyrics had been dead on all the while. Thank you muse. 

During the next few days, I had to figure out the melody line. I had some of it from the dream, but nowhere near what I needed. Here’s what I did next. (Creating a Song Part Two.)

What did you think?

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