Mostly I’m a Scottish Dad & Partner, I do digital things, make films, take photos and write stuff … occasionally, when I can, I do songs.
I’ve been playing the uke since 2011-12ish, but I had been playing the guitar averagely for years …. and years. I got into uke songwriting via a competition on the Omega Music Facebook page. In 2013 they ran a uke song writing competition on the theme of “Summer”, I wrote a song, it was the first one I had ever written, recorded it and it came second in the competition and I was hooked. So I set myself an aim of trying to write 10 songs that I was sort of happy with … not there yet.
Generally I prefer darker songs, so its bit of a battle working against the innate tweeness of a uke. Singer/Songwriters I like include: Iron and Wine, Kathryn Joseph, Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, Beck, but I also like Chic, Slaves, and a bunch of other stuff including electronica … Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin.
Use a mobile phone and record stuff quickly, the number of times I’ve thought of a tune or lyric that I liked and I think I will easily remember …. and I don’t.
Record things because you might end up using them in a different song.
It is a good idea to record your song to share on youtube and a like because I find it forces you to hone them. But if you are doing a recording of a song to share … really learn it well.
Try and push yourself to try different things, different strums, patterns, ukes, different ways of singing things.
I work on song lyrics while walking, I turn over phrases again and again in my head.
It can be good to work to a brief, a theme or a deadline. That’s why I think competitions are good. It can be very hard starting from nothing. Deadlines force me to do things, a brief stops my mind wondering off and getting over whelmed by that feeling of “what will this song be about then”.
Write stuff down, phrases, words, lines, you might use them later … you might not, that’s okay.
Don’t be too precious about your songs, don’t be afraid to really chop them up.