Great songwriters know how to open themselves up and reveal something intimate about who they are, and the lives they have lived, in their songs. The deeper a writer can dig down in expressing a feeling, emotion, memory, or story, the easier it is for the listener to connect with the song because, more often than not, they have had that same feeling or experience.
In The Songwriter In Me, master songwriter Donna Ulisee presents the art and craft of songwriting in a way that draws you into her life and her creative process in the same way that her songwriting draws you into her songs and music. She reveals intimate details about her family, her marriage, her life experiences and her friendships and explains how each have affected her songwriting. The book is as much a biography as it is a songwriting tutorial and in revealing her life story in conjunction with teaching you how she writes songs, the images and emotions in her songs become more powerful and you are provided with direct examples of how she crafts songs from their source.
In this book, Donna is able to effectively weave together stories from her life with songwriting techniques and songwriting examples in a way that makes this book very informative, interesting, and engaging. She starts out explaining a bit about her background and early family life and then proceeds to discuss songwriting techniques—the hook, songwriting style, use of imagery, use of syllables, rhyming, phrasing, meter, rewriting, cowriting, titling, and how these skills are used in writing a verse, chorus, bridge, or channel. She explains each of these techniques in the context of how she has used them to craft her songs. With the explanation of each technique, she provides an example or two of songs that she has written that employ the technique and she explains the stories behind the song examples, or her use of the technique.
In reading this book, you will almost feel as though you are writing along with her as the songs unfold. Her explanations give you the tools—and the confidence—to step out and try to do it yourself. Sometimes when you read an instruction book the technical detail is either overwhelming or presented in a dry and academic fashion. Not so with this book. This is an easy, informative and interesting read and instead of coming away feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, you will feel like “I can do this…I want to give this a try! I’m ready to write a song…This will be fun!” Thanks Donna for allowing us to take a look at your life as a songwriter by offering us not only “snapshots” of your creative process, but intimate details about your life and your songs.