We are looking for the next generation of young Queensland singer-songwriters to hone their skills with On Song!
With under two months to go before entries close, now is the time to pull out the guitar and get to it!
If you are still on the fence, don’t fret! We sat down with one of our 2017 winners, and Berklee College of Music student, Bo-Min Weon, to discuss her songwriting process, what makes a great song, and what tips she has for anyone who is thinking of applying. Check out the interview below and start writing!
“I like to think of songwriting as a tool that helps me digest the emotions I’m feeling in the moment.”
What does your songwriting process look like?
For me, my songwriting process always start off as small ideas. It could be a thought that pops into my head while I’m walking home, or something someone says that really resonates with me. Whatever it may be, I like to write it down anywhere (usually in my phone) so that I can refer to it anytime. Then, whenever I’m at the piano (or guitar), I’ll play some chords and begin singing over them to form a melody. I also like to record everything into Voice Memos to keep track of where I’m at. From there, I let the song take its course and continue fiddling around with the melodies and lyrics until I get to a point where I’m satisfied and happy with what I’ve written. With that being said, I don’t necessarily have a clean-cut process when it comes to writing songs. It’s always a little bit different every time, but it does tend to flow in this order.
Where do you take inspiration from?
I draw a lot of inspiration from everything around me. Sometimes I like writing songs in the perspective of a character in a movie that I’ve watched, or I like to imagine a scenario in my head and write a song about it. I also take inspiration from my emotions. Because songwriting is such a personal and emotional experience, I think it’s really important to be honest with ourselves and almost learn to savor every kind of emotion we experience as we go through life. I like to think of songwriting as a tool that helps me digest the emotions I’m feeling in the moment. In terms of other artists that I take inspiration from, it would definitely be Priscilla Ahn, Oohyo, Bruno Major, Corinne Bailey Rae and LambC to name a few.
“The more genuine they are with their lyrics and emotions, the more the song will really reach and touch their audiences!”
How do you get ‘unstuck’ when you have writer’s block?
I can confidently say that almost half of my songwriting process is taken up by writer’s block. Not knowing what to write can seem very daunting at first, but I feel like that’s because we oftentimes expect ourselves to write an amazing tune or lyric “just like that”. But just like everything, writing good lyrics and nice melodies takes time, dedication and practice. I think writer’s block is almost a fundamental phase that every songwriter will go through at one point or another. Whenever I’m stuck, I turn on the brakes and stop whatever I’m doing to just take a break from the song. Rather than trying to force my way through song, I let it marinate until I feel ready to face it again. When I’m going through writer’s block, it’s usually accompanied by a strong feeling of frustration which can have a direct negative impact on whatever I’m working on. So, I let everything cool down and come back to the song when I feel passionate about it again. Sometimes that can take one day, but other times it may take two weeks, or maybe even months. During this period, I like to work on different ideas and songs, listen to more music and allow myself to take a break from even thinking about the song.
What, in your opinion, is the secret to a great song?
I think the secret to a great song lies in how much the artist/songwriter truly feels the emotions they’re trying to convey. The more genuine they are with their lyrics and emotions, the more the song will really reach and touch their audiences!
“This process really impacted the goals I had as a musician because for the first time, I considered doing music seriously – not just as a hobby, but as a career.”
How was the On Song experience for you? How did it influence your musical ambitions?
The On Song experience was great because I was able to learn about music in a way that you don’t get to in a standard classroom setting. I was given the amazing opportunity to collaborate with someone who was actively working within the industry, and even got to perform with them. Being able to work on my original music with a professional was such a great experience for me, because it gave me the advice and tools I needed to boost my growth and confidence as a songwriter. Not only that, but I was able to perform in front of my school – an opportunity that doesn’t come very often. This process really impacted the goals I had as a musician because for the first time, I considered doing music seriously – not just as a hobby, but as a career. And now, I am studying at Berklee College of Music in order to continue on my journey as a musician.
“Don’t be afraid because you really have nothing to lose!”
What was it like working with Jack Carty?
Working with Jack was awesome. He was so helpful and understanding, and you could really feel the passion he has for music. He helped me through every step of the way. It honestly felt like I was writing and sharing songs with a friend. It’s great because I still keep in touch with him from time to time, so it feels really comforting to know I have such a great friend and mentor.
What is your advice for anyone considering applying for On Song?
Don’t be afraid because you really have nothing to lose! It can be intimidating (especially if you’ve never shared your music with anyone before), but it is such an amazing opportunity to get out there and learn.