I’m really not that type of songwriter who usually composes both the lyrics and the melody at the same time. As much as I can, it would be a whole lot better for me to work on my lyrics first. Why? I'd like to share a few things I've learned as a songwriter.
Try to compare “preaching” to “songwriting.” The preacher is the songwriter while the manuscript is the lyrics. So, how do we go about this? Well of course, the preacher ought to prepare his manuscript first. What is a manuscript? This is basically the whole message of the preacher. Therefore, he needs to prepare it really well. So here’s the thing. Will a preacher talk about something that has no truth? Will a preacher share fabricated stories about his experience with God? No. The preacher would hide himself behind the Cross and let God speak through him. So what’s my point? In songwriting, I strive to write something out of real experience, may it be mine or someone else's testimony. I wouldn't write fictions for the sake of it, even if the song may turn out to be great. I believe that the more personal your song is, the more honest it becomes.
In this life journey, people are always in search for truth and meaning. The songs we create are our testimonies. We share our testimonies because we want people to see God’s faithfulness in our lives, believing that they can experience Him too. We want them to understand that if He is able to change us, then He is able to change them too. Therefore, it’s important that they see real experience, real love, real pain, and real suffering in our songs. If they are able to see how God can mend all the heartaches we've had, they will be given hope. I want my listeners to realize that they’re not alone and that there’s someone out there who goes through the same trials like they do.
Aside from striving to put truth to my songs, my heart also aims to make them BIBLICAL. Whether or not I'm writing a Christian song, I want it to be biblical. I didn't put that much value into it when I started out as a songwriter. I recently produced an acoustic EP called, "Realizations," which summarizes a couple of my love stories. I made a big mistake by writing half of the album in a time when I was emotionally unstable. Though my songs were very personal, they didn't reflect God's design for love. Unconditional love. They were rather egocentric. I made a decision of scrubbing out more than half of the EP. It was tough but it was worth it. The Holy Spirit has led me to transform all that egoism and sullenness into something that would mirror Jesus Christ instead. But first, I had to start with my inner-being. For whatever is written on my heart, will also be written on paper. As much as I wanted to write things that are personal, being biblical is far more important. My vision is to create songs that can help heal a broken heart and help save a lost soul, while reflecting who God really is.
So that's me as a songwriter.
And as a finishing touch, I let God's grace and creativity flow in me (once again) as I create the melody. I believe we have our own styles in songwriting. But as Christian musicians, I pray that we’ll be able to use our talents to make God famous instead of ourselves. Just remember, we are saved for two great purposes: to worship and to witness.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
- Colossians 3:16-17 (ESV)