Finding your identity as a songwriter is not a very difficult thing, but for some can be a challenge. The easiest way to find out what kind of songwriter you are is to look at what you listen to. Look at your music collection. Who are your favorite artists? And why are they your favorite artists? What is it about them you admire as a songwriter, and enjoy as a music fan? These are questions that, when answered, can lead you to the types of songs you might like to write. Why are these things important to determining your place in songwriting? Because if you naturally enjoy these specific artists and their songs, then you can be assured that you aren’t faking it. If you lean toward a specific genre, its because you are truly a fan of that genre. The point is, you have to be true to yourself at all points in life, not just in songwriting. If you are true to yourself, you will be a successful songwriter.
The problem with hindering ourselves to finding that identity is when we try to copycat other artists. When we try to duplicate a song’s vibe or lyrics, or melody, we aren’t being true to ourselves. We’re not only cheating anyone who might hear that song, but cheating ourselves of being an individual. Its important for us to find our own voice in our lyrics, and to find our own sound in our music. Look at the top performers in the world. They are unique and unlike any other artist. They are trend setters because they were true to themselves. Songwriters aspire to be like them in a way because they have been true to themselves, and true to their songwriting. When I listen to my albums, I can honestly say I hear a unique sound. It doesn’t mean that I’m as good as U2 or Adele, but at the very least, I am true to my own self in everything I write and record. It is a great feeling to hear your songs and not be able to compare them to anyone else.
A lot of times, songwriters have trouble opening up and allowing the world to see a deep part of themselves through songwriting. They may have issues in their personal life that won’t allow them to be completely truthful in their songwriting. You can hear it in their writing lyrics and in their similarities to other artists. That is when people stop listening. When you aren’t unique, when you aren’t trying to be anything else but a copy of another songwriter.
So, first, being true to yourself, and second, play and write all the time. If you don’t play and write constantly, you won’t find your own voice. It can’t come out unless you give it a place to go. Play your instrument. Sing with your voice. Be strong in your voice when you sing. Push your vocals so that your true voice will be heard. As you play you will discover the things you like playing that you didn’t know you liked. As you sing, you will discover the tone of your voice that you didn’t know existed. Wake up making music, go to sleep thinking about making music, be true to who you are as a person, and you will find out how successful you can become as a songwriter.