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Write Out Loud
By Danny McBride - 03/20/2002 - 03:57 PM EST

Write Out Loud
By Danny McBride © 2002

Did you ever feel like bursting out in song? Well maybe not actually bursting- -that would be ugly- -sounds like spontaneous combustion- -but rather singing out loud. Sometimes the impulse just comes over us, whether we are musical or not. Of course, itís better if we are musical, but plenty of people do it every day, even though theyíre not. Maybe youíve been near someone in the market when this happens. Sometimes you wish that they actually had burst. Or maybe you live with someone who is prone to this. Or maybe you live with someone who is just prone.

People enjoy music and songs OUT LOUD. Yes, I know, headphones- -walkman, etc. But mostly out loud. Thatís why Iím urging you to Write Out Loud. Sing it, play it, whatever, but do it out loud.

Many of us labor over lyrics, lovingly, longingly, laboriously- -is that enough alliteration?- -only to find the words donít quite fit in our mouths when we go to sing them. Lugubriously? Lusciously, lasciviously? Lous-i-ly!!

Whether you write words or lyrics- -or both- -HA!! Gotcha!! - -or music, do it out loud. If you play when you write, perhaps guitar or keyboard- -do it out loud. Now this may mean a bit of a deviation from your current style, but writing out loud, unless youíre Beethoven, is the best way to get song syllables to come out with a perfect feel and for the music to match the words, or verse vice-ah!!

Sometimes when you are doing this you will run into a dead end where all of a sudden you are out of words but not out of melody. Keep going . Doo Be Doo Be Doo or whatever your way through to the end of the phrase. Then youíll know exactly how many syllables fit comfortably, and you can fill in the blanks later. Same with melody. Got too many words? Chant them anyway and a workable complete melody will come. Try it. Youíll see.

Now I know Iíve talked about this before, but it bears mentioning again. Okay- -maybe not bare- -you wear what you like- -but it deserves mentioning again. When driving or going anywhere away from your usual "songwriterís environment"- -music room- -bedroom- -heck, bathroom- -always a nice echo in there- -take a small recording device. I have a couple of cassette recorders- -standard and mini- -just in case the mood strikes. Or in case a song comes into your head. Be ready when the lightning strikes. Or in case you get an idea.

If youíre just sitting around doing your daily songwriterís workout, do it out loud. Draw the blinds. Close the windows (unless youíre fortunate enough to be out in the country somewhere). And then turn yourself into the performer of your dreams, singing your own songs at the top of your lungs, or wherever your lungs feel best, maybe not on top, but only in the middle.

As you experience this heightened euphoria of you in your own show starring YOU, you can start to work in those precious new ideas you were shelving at the back of your mind. Iím telling you this works. Prove me wrong. Try it.

You have to be able to let go enough to have the moment take hold of you and see what flows. Youíll be amazed.

Itís best to do this away from others, as butterfly nets may appear, as well as ill-fitting extra-long-sleeved jackets, but so what? You are in a creating trance-like state. Be in the moment. Entertain yourself. If you can do that, then you can entertain the rest of us.

When you get a hook or a solid verse or fragment, play back the tape and write down what you did. Maybe only the words and a couple of chord notations. If you only write lyrics, never mind that part. If you only write music and need a lyricist, work your melodies out loud, but if possible, get the words first from your lyricist and set them to your music. Thatís what Elton and Bernie do. Bernie sends the completed lyric and then Elton works it around until itís a hit. They have it down to a science. Theyíve done it for over thirty years. Your results may vary. Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited.

Remember that the songs you are writing are going to be sung out loud (you hope!). And the best way to have them sound their best is to write them out loud. And when you succeed at this you are going to celebrate.

Right out loud.


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