Music was my first love. Before I started writing, I learned my creative and skills through the music industry. Yes, I’ve performed on stage and produced, remixed and done the DJ gigs too and my heart has always been with music and its creators since I was young enough to remember. My memories are built on the foundations of music – I can tell you about any month of my life, by recalling the music I was listening to at the time.
I was always moved by lyrics. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother singing songs to me – songs that had stories – such as “The Seagull’s name was Nelson”, “Grocer Jack” and “The Folk Singer”. I think this subconsciously had an effect on me. As much as I was drawn by the music initially, it would be the lyrics that often touched my soul. The beauty in music was the pretty girl and the lyrics became the personality, or true identity. My love affair with music was polygynous to the extreme.
It is only as a result of writing however, that I have become able to understand the literal genius of some of those songwriters. This morning I have been listening to “The Edge of the Deep Green Sea” by The Cure. The song explores the darker side of a successful band, constantly touring, and the search for fulfilment through the adoration of fans. The singer, Robert Smith, refers to ‘her’ and ‘you’ in singular, while meaning ‘any’ girl. For her, there is the precious intimacy of being with her idol. For him it’s just another girl. He wants to love with the same passion, he wants his words to mean something and the occasion to last forever, but he knows it won’t. Tomorrow there will be another girl – different name, same old game, love in vain and miles away from home again.
I used to listen to Marillion through my youth. The songwriter and lead singer at the time, Fish, became an inspiration. It was the first time that I looked beyond the story in the song and searched for the metaphor. Again, it was a subconscious thing. Just as a book is different for every reader, so can a song be. I saw Marillion live in 1984 and it was only through Fish’s introductions to the songs, I realised what I was doing. By the time the album “Clutching at Straws” came out in 1987 I felt I understood Fish more than any character I had ever read about. He was real but he wasn’t real. He was a character I understood, he became part of me.
I never realised until I started writing what it all meant. I hated English Literature at school and still struggle now. I enjoy the books that I can relate to, or that touch my imagination in ways I can jump in to the character’s world, whether they are simple stories or have more literal depth. There is something special about using words and melodies to such an extent that they can touch your soul.
I may be still new to this craft, but I am inspired beyond measure.