Embracing Your Musical Oddities
Let’s face it…some of the greatest music ever made was created by people who are considered as atypical or arose out of bizarre actions and practices!
From songwriters who get inspiration for new lyrics from unusual events and activities to those who have strange styles or sounds arising from physical or mental quirks, there are tons of examples available.
If you’re a songwriter who takes your craft seriously and is constantly examining your approach to creativity and different ways you can express yourself, you might be onto something special. Don’t be afraid of traveling the road of what would generally be considered out of the norm. You never know when you might flip a switch that could very well be the key to your future success, but only if you embrace it.
The point is don’t be afraid to go outside the box, even once in a while. Here’s why…
Lots of great music has been created as a result of people embracing their creative quirks and trying stuff considered out-of-the-ordinary.
Sometimes these atypical tendencies are initially considered a curse or as personality features that need to be discarded or suppressed. Others on the outside looking in might see them the same or view them as a blessing. Whatever the case, creative genius often comes hand in hand with some amount of oddity. This fact has played itself out in history and across numerous disciplines, including sports, art, and science to name a few.
From Van Gogh to Mozart, there is always a little (or a lot of) kink in the personalities and creative actions of artists that have left many scratching their heads. The Beatles employed unconventional recording techniques back in their heyday (Paul McCartney chomped on some greens for a recording of "Vegetables" by the Beach Boys, for example); the Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am is known for wielding seemingly nonsensical lyrics in their dance hits (what does "beats so big I'll be steppin' on Leprechauns" even mean?); and Queen scored with unorthodox songwriting techniques (most notably with the construction of "Bohemian Rhapsody" which has no chorus but was a massive hit).
With that said, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you realize your own songwriting and personality traits often lead to, well, rather unusual affinities. You see, some of the most famous creators of good music were either very weird in behavior, or the things they wrote about, or both. If anything you’re in good company.
Here are a few examples:
- David Bowie
As a songwriter, David Bowie was considered to be right up there with the best in the business. But it wasn’t just his ability to write about topics that appeared to be 'left of field' of what others were writing about or his knack of selecting topics that others would shy away from (space travel, for instance), he was also quite innovative. His critically acclaimed album, The Next Day
, was a project that borrowed from an unusual technique – the cut-up method – to derive lyrics that tugged at the imagination. The technique involved literally slicing up a written line of text into pieces of one or two words and then rearranging them to create a completely new sentence or phrase. Of course, the method wasn’t invented by Bowie, but his willingness to try it meant he was able to create something fresh and different from other works he created before.
- Lady Gaga
Call her the ‘Fame Monster’ if you like but Gaga ranks right up there with some of the most bizarre singers and songwriters of our time. Who can forget her meat-themed dress, head-turning outfits, often dark lyrics, and controversial utterances? But she’s a well-loved and extremely talented songwriter and performer who has left an indelible mark on the music business so far. As it relates to her songwriting prowess and process, Lady Gaga has said in interviews that she has penned some of her songs at the piano rather than with a notebook and pen, as well as getting comfortable for songwriting inspiration when doing house chores or just 'jamming in her undies.'
- Prince (or the Artist Formerly Known as…)
This late pop icon and “Purple Rain” singer blazed a trail that only few in the modern music era can match. But he was considered a rather strange one, judging by his controversial career moves and habits. Prince kept everyone curious by declining to do interviews for much if his sparkling career, changed his name in such a way that people weren’t sure what to call him, wore pieces that defied fashion (although he was a fashion icon), and displayed other behavior from time to time that had people questioning whether there were a few bolts loose in his upstairs. When it came on to his songwriting talent, his works also reek of his ability to break some of the unwritten songwriting rules, like not following accepted song structures. In a number of his songs, for example, the verses and chorus are written with the same melody but are made distinct by the change of energy he puts into each part. “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry” are among the songs where this technique is employed. Not to be forgotten is his use of symbolism in song titles and lyrics, with “I Would Die 4 U” being a prime example.
The list of out-of-the-ordinary acts can go on and on, but by now you would have realized that whatever atypical creativity quirk you might have could turn out to be useful. Expressing yourself the best way you know how could be what helps you to stand out from among other songwriters.
Don’t hold back on letting your wild side out (at least, not as long as it is legal). In addition to possibly creating the kind of music that could get you recognized, this could be the way your fan base gets started; just as how there are bizarre songwriters and artists, there are also bizarre fans who have ears for that kind of stuff.
So, do you have weird inspirations for writing music or little rituals that relax you and put you in the mood? Maybe your muse is a stuffed toy from your childhood that calms your mind, or maybe you find that sleeping on a particular side of the bed helps the lyrics to flow. Whatever it is, it could be your very own creative genius that is looking for a way to come out. Work with it.