On the 17,682nd day of my time on this planet, I discovered what I want to do with the rest of it. I want to be a songwriter.
Now, it’s pretty fortunate that I already am one, but I’m also a lot of other things. So for those who still like to see a bit of specialization in people, I would have to say that the one role I would like to continue playing more than any of the others is to be a songwriter.
On January 1st 2020, around mid-morning, I decided to see if I could play “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, the song made famous by Def Leppard in the Eighties and played by the band at the New Year’s Eve party I attended the night previous. My performance of it has potential, but while playing around with it, I realized that, since it was the first day of the Gregorian New Year, my time would be better spent writing my own song, rather than learning someone else’s.
Since I’ve been previously advised that I have a good voice for Am, that’s where I started. Part of me wanted to create a song that I could match up with my cover of “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease, so I started with that rhythm. I knew I couldn’t stay in that same chord progression so I went to G, and I played that for a little while. Then I went to D, and eventually back to a Am. I felt my way through the chords and started listening for the melody. Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na.
Then I thought, what other chords sound good with Am? So I played an F, and then a C, went back to my G, and stuck in the Am. Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na.
Once I found my groove, I recorded three verses and choruses of the chord progressions and melody of “Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na.” I listened to it on my ear buds as I rode my bike and performed errands for the day, just kind of soaking in the sense of the song through the music.
As far as what the song was going to be about, I played around with a few ideas, but eventually decided that I needed a muse. Recently, I met a woman at the poetry night I host every Monday at Elixir Tea House on Hillview, and decided to ask her for help. I texted her, “I’m writing a song, but haven’t got any lyrics yet. Could you be a good muse and give me an idea of what it’s about?”
Seventeen minutes later, she texted back, “Finding beauty in the brokenness, living in the moment or the journey.” A few minutes later, she followed it up with, “Vulnerability.”
Fortunately, I have a good friend who is letting me use his house as practice space while he is out of town, which affords me the solitude I need to create. It’s also fortunate that his backyard is a tropical garden and quite inspiring, so I started walking the path through the trees and thinking about the words I would need to craft such a message. A couple hours later I had a finished song… well, I thought it was finished.
After running through it a few times, I recorded myself singing it so that I could listen to it and start memorizing all of the 483 words that comprise the lyrics. The song has no repeating lyrical chorus other than the word “broken” preceded by two “feel”s and a “be”. In the last chorus, I noticed that extended the “be” just a little bit, and liked the sound of it. Six days later, while I was playing it, I had a second thought about the “vulnerability” my muse requested and started extending the “feel”s and the “be”, eventually letting the vulnerability come by depleting my lungs of air to more fully illustrate the notion of being “broken”.
After playing this song in public for the first time at the Tamiami Tap open mic night (considering that my poetry night feels private, even with a dozen people), I’ve already had another performer tell me they’d like to perform it. As much as I love playing it myself, for there is nothing that is ever as joyful for me than writing a good song, my goal for it is to get other artists to perform it and contribute to it as well. My hope is that artists will download the following MP3 of the song and either add tracks of their own instruments or record their own versions of the song.
While I do still intend to seek out opportunities to play other songs, perform The Cowboy Cabaret and my Will Rogers Revived show, write more poems and author more books, act on stages and screens, develop a balanced financial flow through ABC2 Economics, and work toward the sovereignty of the Autonomous Nation of Stevetopia, I feel that my highest goal right now as a career is to get people to listen to and perform this song, and write and perform more of them myself.
I will be starting a Patreon account soon if you would like to support me in this endeavor. If you sign up for my newsletter up to the left, you’ll be sure to know when it launches, PLUS you’ll get a FREE eleven minute guided meditation to help you align your chakras!
Please share this with your artists and other friends, and if you want to contribute to this song or produce your own rendition, please post your music in the comments below.
Enjoy the song.
(Right click and hit “Save Audio As” to download)
VERSE 1 (chord progression Am-G-D-Am)
Making your way in the world today is like a dead man’s journey on his way to the grave
You want to master yourself but you just feel like a slave
Every decision feels like a mistake
Your rights are all wrong whatever choice you make
All you feel is broken when all you want is a break
You try your best to do the best you can
But it’s been an uphill battle since the fall of Man
And you wish you could only understand the plan
you got to feel your way through your emotion
But you’re bobbing around in a big old ocean
And though you wish you were fixed, you just feel like you’re broken
CHORUS 1 (chord progression F-C-G-Am)
You either run with the devil or ride on the wind
You get knocked down and then you rise again
You’re either playing to lose or you’re paying to win
Wherever you stop is where you begin
(chord progression F-C-G-D-Am)
Every single moment you live, it has been stolen
You can’t control it
When you feel broken
VERSE 2 (chord progression Am-G-D-Am)
The world that we’re in can be so strange
Normalcy has become so quaint
And the only thing that stays the same is change
We go back and forth from red to blue
And the game is played through the power of you
Doing all we can, there’s nothing we can do
The reality is that the American dream
Has been turned into a Ponzi scheme
and you’ve got no place in the regime of self-esteem
You feel broken cuz the game is fixed
And all your needs have been eclipsed
Sucked right down into the deep abyss
CHORUS 2 (chord progression F-C-G-Am)
When whatever it is becomes what it ain’t
Nobody wants to hear your complaints
To the sinner’s go the spoils and the crumbs to the saints
You can’t make a move because of your constraints
(chord progression F-C-G-D-Am)
It seems like somebody somewhere has got to be joking
The fates have spoken
It all feels broken
VERSE 3 (chord progression Am-G-D-Am)
The Buddha says we’re all here to suffer
Every sister and brother and father and mother
And that’s enough to make us all pause and wonder
I’ve never paid a dime for any breath I’ve breathed
But I’m grateful for all that I’ve received
And there’s a lot of little things that have been known to please me
Though it’s hard to move when I feel fatigued
The world is still full of a lot of intrigue
And if I’m still here there’s more that I can achieve
In the power of life, you have to have faith
And know that you’re not a mistake
And even something broken can create
CHORUS 3 (chord progression F-C-G-Am)
Your scars mean you have tougher skin
Broken bones get stronger when they mend
We all get a little better when we start again
And cast out darkness by letting light in
(chord progression F-C-G-D-Am)
It may feel like it’s just a little token
But you’ve been chosen
To be broken