Elmer Cañas Jr.

worship leader • songwriter • ministry consultant

SONGWRITING & The Risks You Have to Be Willing to Take

(Original Post January 2012)

I've been writing songs since I was a child. Some funny, some sad. The older I got I began writing for more of a target audience. In Middle School my target audience was girls; trying to make a great impression. FYI; it worked maybe 4 out 20 times. And who really knows what, "it worked" means when your in Middle School. Well anyways, as I figured out my focus and direction in life changed and so did the way I expressed myself. Life directs your expressions. But out of all of my ways of expressing my feelings, Songwriting is the one I love the most, yet fear to love the most.

See, as a songwriter you put your self out there. You read in the Holy Bible (Luke 6:45) that "out of the abundance of the heart, speaks the mouth." So pretty much a songwriter is welcoming his or her audience not just into the maze of the mind, but into the intimate place called, "The Heart." Just like a bad Middle School relationship, this can lead to some serious heart break. If what you intend to communicate is not clearly understood, if it doesn't quite paint the picture that you had in your mind, if it isn't relevant to others, then you run the Risk of it being a disaster.

True, that some write just for the need of expressing themselves, but then there are those that have a direct audience that they feel loyal to write for, a unique responsibility to take them through a melodic journey in song. Ballads or Romantic tunes are written with the intention of triggering thoughts of love and intimacy between specific individuals. Dance and pop tunes are written with the intent of getting you out of your seat and dancing all night. Praise and Worship songs are written to glorify God, yet through the structure of the song and it's lyrics, songwriters attempt to create a powerful and unique moment between the Creator and His creation.

My biggest fear is that I might put a song out that wasn't intended for me to release yet. Like a parent observing their own child growing up and slowly accepting the fact that one day they will go off to college or to work and have their own family; releasing them; songs are like children to the songwriter. Through the joys and trials of life we take in the emotions and give birth to new songs through creative writing. And one day when the song is released the songwriter faces the fear of it becoming oblivious, of it being re-recorded and expressed in a completely different manner. Even the critic of those that experience the songs can cause great grief to one if it doesn't connect with your target audience, you feel like an epic failure. Now there are individuals in the business that can just pop out babies, I mean songs out and let them go and not care. Those people are making a lot of $$$. And in their defense, even if the song makes an artist millions of dollars, i guarantee you that it's not one of songwriters favorite songs. Their favorite and best songs might just be tucked away in a journal at home, they hum the melodies in their head and say I will never let you go, and when I do, it has to be to the right person (artist) and expressed as I desire it to be expressed.

We're not a needy bunch, but simply careful of not letting go to quickly!

© 2017 ELMER CAÑAS JR. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.