The art of songwriting is a lifelong process which gets harder to perfect the older one gets. Firstly, in my mind, it is extremely difficult to keep ideas fresh. Secondly, being careful not to repeat oneself can also be challenging. I think If a song speaks a certain truth about a life incident that affected you deeply, and provides a strong theme into other areas of your life, then at least you have something tangible to work with, and you can be sure it will resonate a truth.

I will talk about a simple ballad, ‘Paper Rose’, which is from my latest album, ‘Natalia’, to show how the song idea process generally works for me.

Crepe-Paper-Rose-Med

Paper Rose

Can you tell her that you love her with a paper rose
a love that lasts forever never withers so
I found one in a book from many years ago
from a sailor to his lover when he went to war
the words had never faded and the love was bold
and the brightly coloured petals fill my soul

When the trials of life come knocking on your door to test your faith
you can wash away your troubles in the springtime rain
then the dawn was clear like crystal with an unexpected face
an image of my true love here to seal its fate

In my heart there flows a river
rolling on its own
and bending its way unto the deep blue sea
though many call it restless
others call it free
It depends on how you look at life
from deep within

And once I was a broken heart
who reached at night for falling stars
to drink upon that cup of hope
for a love that never withers like that paper rose

In my heart there flows a river
rolling on its own
and bending its way unto the deep blue sea
though many call it restless
others call it free
It depends on how you look at life
from deep within

I was at a dear musician friend’s wedding a few years back, and all the four groomsmen wore paper roses pinned to their jackets. The roses just symbolised longevity, these flowers weren’t going to die, where something like a fresh carnation would have to be binned the next day. The memory of the day could even be used as a bookmark which is preserved with age, and the love it symbolises would never fade.

I, as the writer, am aspiring to this desire of eternal love, but because I have been a drifter, I have never been able to take hold of it. Whenever love has come close, it has been unattainable as in the line, “And once I was a broken heart, who reached at night for falling stars”. The conventional being tells me I’ve been restless, but polar opposites tell me that I’ve been free, but still searching for that unrequited love found in a ‘Paper Rose’.

Musically, we are what we eat and I see George Harrison as the muse behind the music. Simple, but meaningful chords as in, ‘Here comes the sun’. The opening offbeat and repeated phrase pattern of a bar and a half, creates a tension and release which maybe gives the song a slightly different edge. I still love playing it every night!

And that’s pretty much how it all came about. Something that caught my eye at a wedding, resonated with a personal feeling inside of me, and got my imagination creating a scene there and then. It’s about being mindful, keeping your eyes open, and letting your imagination make stories out of those everyday things. Inspiration is everywhere.