A skill that is gaining more and more recognition and is often described as the heartbeat of music: Songwriting. It is through songwriting that music and lyrics come to life. It can be as simple as “Who run the world? Girls!” or as complex as“But it flew away from her reach, and bullets catching her teeth.” More often than not, songwriting is a skill that comes from within, and not necessarily something that can be taught. As such, many people clamour for that thing that makes people tick. Coldplay are one such band and their continued success over the years has everyone itching to know how they go about their songwriting process.
In an interview with Fuse, frontman Chris Martin spoke about songwriting and his comments give their fans insight into the creative making process that is the hits they are known worldwide by. He mentions that it comes from somewhere in him that he’s not able to explain. Many songwriters would agree with these sentiments. Songwriting is tapping into the very depths of one’s soul, drawing up all those thoughts and emotions skilfully and crafting them into pieces of art that millions around the world can relate to. It can thus be argued, that for this very reason, it is something that cannot be taught. As for the recording process, he mentions that it gets quite complicated. This brings to light the tricky, and sometimes blurry line, between the words on paper and making them come to life through sound. That balance can take 20, 30 and maybe even 80 takes, before the desired results are achieved. Clearly, songwriting is not for the fainthearted.
In an earlier interview with Will Champion, Martin states that “everyone has a voice and a story to tell about something.” This is undeniably true. The fact that every single human being has countless unique experiences on a daily basis, should, in theory, make the songwriting process easier. This may be easier said than done. However, looking at the band and their songs, one can see that songwriting is really about sharing what you know and experience with the world. It could be love, flowers, war, social injustices or candy floss. It’s all about feeling passionately about a cause or feeling and working on putting these emotions into words that are relatable to people all over.
There are countless examples of how tapping into one’s depths can translate into award-winning songs. “Clocks,” “Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” “Fix You,” just to name a few. Generally, unconventional and probably misplaced songs are the ones that resonate the best Coldplay’s audience.
The most important thing to note about songwriting can be summed up in Martin’s words to ‘follow your gut feeling.’ What one may have in mind may seem out of place or arbitrary, but at the end of the day, it may just perfectly encompass your feelings, emotions or thoughts. After all, isn’t songwriting about connecting with people through words?