Songwriting Inspiration from Taylor Swift and from Within


Taylor Swift at the 2019 VMA Awards.

Emma Winton, Reporter

Ever since I was eight-years-old, Taylor Swift has been a huge part of my life. Her lyrics are so raw and real, they really make listeners feel something, whether they can relate or not. All I can think about when I listen to her is how I want to create that emotion in people through my words and music. Her songs and her style at such a young age inspired me to start creating my own music.

As a child, I watched her Fearless documentary religiously. I was obsessed with the parts of her talking about songwriting, and I loved the videos of her performing original songs as a 13-year-old. It made me want to write every day, just like she did. At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

My cousins and I formed a band when we were all in elementary school. We would write songs every time we got together, produce them on GarageBand, and then create music videos to go along with them. We still have the binder full of song lyrics. I’m not gonna lie, they were not our best work. Three young girls who have never been in relationships trying to write about being heartbroken didn’t exactly produce magic. In fact, here’s an example of one of our songs:

Partial translation of this photo:

(this is the chorus)

“Do you see the tears in my eyes? / Don’t you see me crying? / You broke my heart, you chewed me up, and spit me out. / Now I have a broken heart.”

I know, genius lyrics, right?

This is slightly embarrassing to put out in the world, but a little humility in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As time went on, we started writing about things we actually knew about, like being lonely and experiencing anxiety. We haven’t written anything together in at least a year, which has led to me writing my own music.

Writing songs is almost therapeutic for me, in the sense that it lets me release everything I’ve been feeling, and put it into something creative. There are times when I write a new song each day, and times when I start writing a song, then don’t finish it for a month. It truly depends on how inspired I’ve been feeling and how motivated I am to get it done.

One of the most satisfying things in songwriting is when the song just writes itself. There are a few times when this has happened for me. I’d sit down with my laptop in front of me, and lyrics would naturally start pouring out of my fingertips. However, there are some challenges that come with that too. Sometimes, I’ll write a whole song, then go back to read it later and realize it sucked and I didn’t love how it was flowing altogether. This may sound dramatic, but these moments make me question continuing with songwriting. However, usually the next day I’ll wake up with a whole new idea, and the process will start over again.

For a few months now I’ve been writing and rewriting songs over and over, just trying to get them to sound perfect. I’ve also been searching for free ways to get my music on streaming platforms like Spotify. One of my goals is to try to release an album or EP by the end of 2021.

Songwriting has been a huge part of my life for almost eight years now, and even if I don’t consistently continue with it forever, I hope it’s still something I can hold on to as I grow older.