“All I need is one hit song
That will prove all my critics wrong
They say I can’t write and can’t really sing
But in my world that don’t mean a thing…”
–From “One Hit Song” (a work in progress) lyrics by Barbara Meyers ©2012
Did I happen to mention that in addition to writing contemporary romance and womens’ fiction and fantasy, and Dr. Seuss-like poetry, I also write song lyrics? No? Then you’re in for a treat.
My career as a lyricist (so far) is only slightly less lucrative than my fiction/poetry writing career, but I figure all I need is one hit song and I’ll have it made in the shade.
There are a couple of obstacles I’ll have to overcome, but they’re minor.
First of all, I can’t sing, so I’ll never make it as a singer/songwriter. Nor do I play music. Years of having guitar lessons shoved down my throat long after I’d lost interest killed my enthusiasm for that particular endeavor. Even though in my head I hear most of what I write as country, my primary songwriting partner is a folk/inspirational singer/songwriter. I prefer Top 40/pop music and classic rock. Neither of us listens to country music on a regular basis. As I said, minor obstacles.
There’s a local bar which hosts an open mic night for singers and songwriters and we show up there on Wednesday nights to try out our stuff. I’m amazed at the talent (and sometimes at the lack of talent) displayed on stage, which led me to think about how ours is one small town with a place like this. There are talented people everywhere singing their hearts out at some tiny local venue whose voices will never be heard by more than a few hundred people because they either can’t or don’t want to go any further. This inspired a song I call “Guitar in a Bar.” Basically about how someone’s singing in their local bar, but none of the patrons are listening to them because they’re too busy drinking, eating and having a good time with their friends. “Folks talk over the song I worked the hardest on…” It’s mostly about how we let life circumstances get in the way of our dreams. “I sing mostly country even though I’ve got the blues/I can still make it big if I keep paying my dues…”
Where do ideas for lyrics come from? Beats me. I wrote “Bad For Me” about a relationship break-up between a manipulative liar who takes advantage of a lover’s generosity. “I didn’t see her coming but she sure saw me…her kind is good for the body, but bad for the soul…I was good for her, but she was bad for me…” I had almost reached home after a bike ride one day, when the idea and most of the lyrics for that one appeared in my head. I didn’t have my mini-recorder with me at the time, which I should never leave home without. I raced home to get to a computer before I forgot them. Race upstairs. Husband using desktop computer. Arghh! Stomp up more stairs to laptop, wait for it to fire up. “C’mon, c’mon!” Lyrics can be wispy and elusive and perfect in my head, but if I don’t write them down or record them immediately, oops, they’re gone.
Walking in to work on a cold morning without a jacket elicited comments about whether or not I was cold and why was I dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt? I don’t work outside, I thought, and besides, I’ve got my hot flashes to keep me warm. There’s a song called “Hot Flash.” “Don’t need no man or fake hormone, I’ve got a hot flash to keep me warm.”
The potential hits just keep on coming…into my brain and on to the page. Soon out of the mouth of a top country artist playing on a radio station near you.
Visit me at http://www.barbmeyers.com
Follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers or @AJTillock (or both)