As a songwriter, one of the most fascinating things I find is listening to other artists talk about the stories behind their songs. It brings the songs and lyrics into a whole new light as well as giving you an insight into the writing process. Similarly, I love talking about songwriting as it’s a creative medium with a lot of nuance and so much to explore. As such, I wanted to give you an insight into each of my songs from my debut EP ‘From the Stars Above’. This post will cover ‘She Is’; the leading single from the EP, the rest of the tracks will be covered throughout the coming month.
‘She Is’ was the first song to be selected for my debut EP, immediately agreed upon by myself and my producer Chris. This was because it stood out as having a relatable topic but also had a memorable riff in the verse and a good hook for the chorus. The song itself was also the track written closest to the recording of the EP. When I composed it, I knew I wanted to create a simple memorable yet sorrowful love song, thinking along the lines of ‘You’re Beautiful’ (James Blunt) or ‘Between the Minds’ (Jack Savoretti). My favourite types of song are those with a tangible twist. Whether that be musically or lyrically. I highlight ‘You’re Beautiful’ because the line that makes that song for me is “I don’t know what to do ‘cause I’ll never be with you”. It takes the listener’s expectations and changes the meaning behind the words. Doing this gives the track more depth and something for the listener to think about.
With that in mind I came up with the verse’s riff, initially intending the song to lean more into the alternative genre. The lyrics then simply followed the melody in both the verse, and the chorus to a lesser extent. Then it came down to the all-important gear shifting line in the song - “She is wonderful but she’s not mine”. Not only does the line peak the listener’s interest but also gave me as a writer more places to take the story. Throughout the 6 months or so before recording it slowly became more of a soft rock track, similar in style to some of the very first artists who inspired me in the early 00’s. This is something I love when writing new songs, which is why I find it important to play every track live for a good month before committing to recording, as sometimes a track needs space to breathe to truly fill its potential. Through this I also found that by playing in many venues, to multiple audiences, it was popular and gaining a great response from crowds.
Working in the weeks before the studio time my producer Chris and I knew ‘She Is’ could be pushed further. Chris introduced dissonant chord variations at the end of the chorus so that the “she’s not mine” line could create even more of an impact and an extended outro section to capitalise on the memorability of the hook. We wrote harmonies (introducing a female vocal), a bridging solo for a lead guitar and streamlined the lyrics. While the core sections of the song remain mostly unchanged, we managed to improve upon the original to reach its full potential and it paid off.
‘She Is’ was played across many northern radio stations, including Durham On Air, Spark FM, Nova Radio, and Hive Radio. It was also included in Spotify playlists, highlighting new artists, such as the Northern Music Collective’s April 2022 edition. It proves that you can push a song even if it already works just by embellishing the best parts. Obviously, there is always a worry you can over work a song but as previously stated, if you give it enough breathing time the song will direct itself. You notice its flaws or bits that could be better. It might be like the process behind ‘She Is’, where it is a smooth exercise taking it to the next level or it may take a while. There are still some songs I’m working on that I wrote over 5 years ago that have capability but haven’t quite clicked yet. However, that to me is one of the most enjoyable aspects of songwriting and production which I hope is reflected in the songs
If you found this dissection of my song ‘She Is’ interesting let me know! You can message me on Instagram and Facebook (@samnixmusic) or through my contact page on the website.