When Songs Leave the Nest
I am a songwriter. I wrote my first song when I was 10 or so. Of course, it wasn't any good, but that's not the point. That song was the beginning of a new way of expressing myself. A number of years later (too many to mention), I am still writing songs, despite a 12-year gap that made me wonder if my songwriting was a fluke. When I was writing these songs, I never stopped to think what the end result would be. I assumed I would perform and record them, and that was pretty much it. So when a Second Life musician friend came to me and asked if he could play one of my songs in his set, I said no. I never really thought about what it would mean for someone else to play my music -- my thinking didn't go that far. I had to revisit what my goals were for myself in regards to my music. My dream has always been about performing, recording and writing. And what happens if I let go of one of my songs? I don't mean give it away, but what would happen if I lent it to someone else, for them to put their own stamp on it? I wasn't prepared for that. The word mine kept popping into my head. After I thought about it a bit, and talked to other songwriters, I decided to say yes. The person who asked is a musician whose talent and skill I respect, and I could imagine that his version of the song would sound really good. It was a strange feeling to hear one of my songs sung by someone else, but also interesting to hear another interpretation, especially since it was a great rendition.
The upside of letting other people play my songs is the possible broader audience and wider exposure it might garner for my music. It is also very flattering to have written songs that resonate with other musicians and songwriters. Other musicians have asked to play some of my other songs, and I am still a wee bit tentative. I do draw the line on songs I myself have not yet recorded or released. Even if Elvis himself, or anyone topping the charts asked, I would have to say no. Maybe it's selfish, but I want to be the one that gets the first shot at it. The songs I write are like children to me -- little pieces of me that I unveil and scatter into the world. They develop and grow in my heart, and I become attached to them, making it ever so hard to let go.