Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lily - Composer & Lyricist

by Shawna Lee, staff member

Lily, who is almost 13 and has been attending The Clearwater School since she was five years old, has been passionate about music for a long time. (Her other great passion is chickens!) Her dad, Matt (a staff member at Clearwater), is a musician and songwriter. For a few years she was an enthusiastic part of the Clearwater Singers, the small choir at school, but her interest in group singing has waned and this year she decided not to be part of the choir.

Now, Lily is working on solo singing and composing songs. She has written musical phrases before, but this year she began writing songs in earnest. "The tune often comes first," says Lily, although with her latest song, "the tune and words came together." She often works out emotions she's feeling in her lyrics. She played around with a tune for months, but the song with the working title, "When I Walk" really came together in the late summer when she felt sad and frustrated, missing her dad who was on a week-long trip.

Lily is working with Matt to make "When I Walk" and another song, "Whispers", better. Just this week she decided to change a line in the verse of "Whispers" to make it more original and more compatible with the guitar accompaniment. "It's a lot better now." She often seeks me out to get my feedback on her latest tune or modification. I love seeing her passion, process and creative joy, as well as her commitment to reworking her songs to make them better and better.

Singer-songwriter and Grammy winner Taylor Swift is a major inspiration for Lily right now. Lily knows Swift's songs backwards and forwards and she's learned a lot about what she likes and how to construct songs from her exhaustive listening. For instance, Lily likes Swift's use of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus song structure. For a while, "bridges made me feel stuck," Lily said. "But I kept trying out different things until I figured them out." She likes bridges because "they make songs longer and more interesting. I don't like short songs."

There are samples of three of Lily's songs on the video in this post. The first one, Lily abandoned because she just didn't like how it was working. The second one is about her love of rain and the third is "When I Walk". Her next goal is to finish and polish five songs and make an album--something she plans to do in the next few months. I know I'm looking forward to hearing the early incarnations of her next songs and watching what she does with them.

1 comment:

Earth To Liz... a river of living said...

Keep it up Lily, can't wait to see you perform!