Note from the editor

Songwriters are artists!

When I was younger I was frequently urged to keep my mouth shut when what I had to say was not conformative with what society expected of me. But every now and then, a girl has got to say what she has to say. Today I am a girl that has to raise her voice for what she believes deserves some attention.

As a songwriter, there is something that bugs me about the way we label various players in the music industry.

One of the biggest bummers to me is the distinction between “artists” and “songwriters”.

When I first heard about people referring to performers as artists I went along with it! Nothing wrong with it. The problem arises when we call songwriters not that.

Songwriters instead are deemped  to be almost irrelevant in the artistic arena. I do not understand how this sort of “mis-labeling” happened in the first place. Songwriting is the art of creating a song from scratch. Performing is the art of interpreting a song. In no other artform do we only credit the interpreters as artists.

So before I get a bit more to the core of the issue, here´s is an official suggestion for a new terminology:

Why don´t we call singers “singers” and songwriters “songwriters”. If a person does both, “singer/songwriter” is the way to refer to them.

Likewise we could refer to the same people as:

“Recording artist” and “Songwriting artist” or if they are one and the same person: “recording/songwriting artist” is the way to go.

It is a bit more complex. So the other option would be to stop calling the performers artists. Now how would that feel?

I think you get the point. Why does this whole terminology bug me so much?

I believe that a big part of being an artist is in the recogniton of the artistry. We do not necessarily all make the big money and if we are wise, we do not place our value in outward rewards at all, but we are human beings and as such we are imperfect and long for a bit of recognition. We want to contribute to society and be seen. Degrading our art is not helpful! In fact, being a singer/songwriter myself I will say that I believe the song material is at the core of my overall artistry.

I compare the way we perceive music with us meeting someone new. You might be drawn in by someone´s appearance, how they speak, how they move, how they dress etc.,  but ultimately, you will want to listen to what that person has to say, what they do, who they are. You want to get to know them. That´s what it is like to move from “hearing a melody” that´s beautifully sung to “listening to the lyrics” that are being sung.

Likewise in music, the way we perform and present our songs is important for that attraction of audiences, but what ultimately matters is the “what”. What are our songs about? What are we expressing through them? What is it that we offer for our audience to bond with?

To me, bands and musicians that failed to deliver the message of a song were never a thing. I think I´ve always loved singers who were also songwriters the most. Or at least I wanted to feel that the singers were fully invested in “what” they sang about.

In a way, the root of the art really lies in the “what” we express. We often aren´t aware of how important that part is. The “how” we deliver/express is what we end up seeing and recognizing. It´s probably why people started referring to singers as artists, as they were presented with the performance. Likewise we look at paintings and don´t scratch beneath the surface all too often. Not questioning what lies hidden beneath what the eyes can see. However, it is about time to raise awareness for that big hidden part of art – the deeper meaning that inspired it all.

This desire for change also led to a most recent podcast project by me and my friend Samantha Gunney. We created the “The Pen and the Voice” Podcast to tell the “whole” story of what an artist life (in music and beyond) looks like. We want to raise awareness and strenghten artists in their journey and by artists we mean the people that work behind the scenes as well!

In any case: Dear songwriting friends, let us start re-claiming our artistry! We are artists! No debating about that!



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