SAC Songwriting & Blogging Challenge: Week 6

LYRICS

A thousand miles
It’s gonna take a thousand miles
Before you see her childhood smile
Book the tickets now

Count the hours
Crossing off the days and count the hours
Till we get the chance to gather round
The first snow is falling down

‘cos the time we have together
Is never long enough
‘cos it’s crazy just how quickly we grow up
Get off the train, and baby

(Chorus)
Run to the ones who love you
Run to the ones who give you love
To the ones who love you
Run to the ones who lift you up
Don’t let it pass
It goes so fast

Queuing up all night
Vacation days, queuing up all night
It’s gonna be a noisy flight
Wouldn’t want it another way

‘cos the time we have together
Is never long enough
‘cos we don’t have forever to show our love
Get off the plane, and baby

(Chorus)

Run, run
To the ones, ones
You love, love

Run to the ones who love you
Run to the ones who give you love
To the ones who love you
Run to the ones who lift you up
And make it last
Make it last

—–

LYRICS

LYRICS
These are the ways I try to stop thinking of you.
Out on the town, I set my sights on someone new,
But the ones who catch my eye
Just remind me of you.

These are the ways I try to stop thinking of you.
Seven days a week, I go and meet someone new,
But every time I try,
I just compare her to you.

The truth and passion in my heart,
Brighter than the stars.
Can you see?

But you already have a partner,
Favourite friend and lover.
He’s not me.

(Chorus)
Oh, it’s so bittersweet.
Bittersweet.
Oh, it’s so bitter bitter
But oh so sweet!
And every time you speak,
Your eyes on me,
Oh it’s so bitter bitter
But oh so sweet!

I hear you talk about the man who’s in your life.
I hear your joy in making plans to be his wife.
Oh, I wanna be happy,
But you’re killing me softly.

So I spend my days and nights learning something new.
Studying kung fu, and stirring up a stew.
But everything I do,
Am I just trying to impress you?

(Chorus)

The way I feel
Would make you sing your vows!
The way I feel
Would make your mom and dad proud!

(Chorus)

Oh, it’s so bittersweet.
Bittersweet.
Oh, it’s so bitter bitter
But oh so sweet!
And every time you speak,
Your eyes on me,
Oh could you ever ever
Be with me?

—–

Bittersweet is indeed the way I feel at the end of this year’s SAC challenge! It’s been a real rollercoaster ride, and it’s been as impactful on my songwriting as it has been on my personal self.

I’ll talk about my holiday song first, « Run to the Ones ». I’ve never written one before, so this was a good opportunity to do so. I knew going in that I didn’t want it to be explicitly a Christmas song. The feeling I wanted to capture was: meeting up with an old friend or family member for the first time in months or years. The euphoria of running up to that special someone is what I wanted to capture in the chorus. In the verse and the prechorus, I wanted to give the setting for the special moment: the time and logistical hassles of planning and going on that annual trip, and why it’s worth it in the end. Life is short, and we might not have the chance to get everyone together again next year, so when the opportunity is still here, we gotta take it!

As for the Matt Dusk pitch « Bittersweet », I worked on the production with the goal of making it sound similar to Leona Lewis’ « Bleeding Love », because it seems like a good fit with what Matt is looking for, and also a good fit with my song. The songwriting process for « Bittersweet » was detailed in my post for Week 1.

So…let’s talk about the challenge overall! Looking back at Week 1 now definitely made me realize how much I’ve changed in six weeks, in terms of what I thought the challenge would be, and how it actually turned out. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I didn’t quite expect that it was as much inner personal work as it was songwriting work.

The things I felt particularly difficult were:

  • The sheer amount of posts in the Facebook group. Through the course of the challenge, I went from trying to respond to everyone’s input, to staying away from the group from around Week 4 or 5. I found the number of constant notifications too much for me to engage, to the point where it became a nuisance.
  • The process of the mentors selecting a given week’s best songs, and having an industry professional then select the very best song. This is perhaps more of a personal issue I have to deal with than an issue with how the challenge is set up, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who felt the stress of comparison and not measuring up. It was very hard not to think that my work wasn’t as good as the selected songs, and to not compare myself to others in trying to figure out what I missed or didn’t do right. And since I’m at a point in my life where I’m actively dealing with or removing things that breed comparison and unworthiness, this aspect nearly made me quit the SAC challenge. It certainly made it hard for me to find the motivation and focus to keeping writing for the challenge…though I’m so proud I did it!
  • This one is not so much a difficulty, but I did notice the lack of challenges that called for writing in any of the following styles: hip hop, R&B, soul, reggae, soca, dancehall.

The valuable things I take away from the challenge are:

  • Having to start and finish something important in a week. I want to try to keep to that schedule as much as possible!
  • Having to start and finish something important in less-than-ideal circumstances. That has been a good dose of reality!
  • Getting things done rather than getting stuck in endless tinkering loops, perfecting but not delivering on time.

If next year’s challenge is set up similarly to this one, centred around a busy Facebook group and selective feedback from industry pros, I’m not sure I have it in me to struggle with the vulnerability and the « measuring up » all over again.

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank Lily Cheng, Debra Alexander, James Linderman, and the SAC for this opportunity, as well as the music professionals who participated in this challenge. And to all the songwriters, I give you my brightest and warmest support, respect and admiration!

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