Gavin Degraw, Stephen Merritt, Ben Kweller, and the new hip-hop singer-songwritersBy Don • Category: Songwriting News
Gavin Degraw says, in this interview at Gibson.com to “be aware of your surroundings, because everything is a potential subject to write about and everything is a potential detail to include. So, be aware, because inspiration is everywhere”
Stephen Merritt on songwriting: “Most of my music is vague enough so that it can be my personal experience and someone else’s. It’s only when it gets to the pronouns and proper names that the character starts to emerge. When I’m writing a song, I don’t think of myself as creating a particular character, I don’t come up with demographic character traits most of the time. But “My Husband’s Pied-Ã -terre” – the title came first and the rhymes led me along to the setting in an insane asylum so we don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”
Ben Kweller on writing in different genres: “Sometimes, you can’t really control what the hell kind of song comes down from outer space to you. For me, it might be a rock song or a piano ballad or a country song, and on my earlier records, I’d just put the entire strange collection of songs together. There was this constant process of jumping from one genre to the next.”
The new hip-hop troubadors: “Something is changing in the rarefied world of the sensitive singer-songwriter, those tremulous bards who strum acoustic guitars and wax poetic about their deepest feelings. Listen closely and you will hear influences creeping in from a genre of music not particularly celebrated for sensitivity or melodiousness. Urban beats and the hyperactive lyrical flow of rap are blending with the introspective balladry and loaded emotions of strumming troubadours. Among a new wave of singer-songwriters, Eminem and Jay-Z are as likely to be cited as an influence as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.