Song Interpretation 101: “Leaving for France”


Hey cafe goers!

I finally got a new song up!  Feels really great to have another creation out there :)

So, I thought I would write today about one important aspect of my songwriting process: song interpretation.  For me, this is all about genuinely telling the story behind the lyrics through very conscious decisions I make on how to deliver my vocal performance.

Originally, this post laid out the entire process for the making of “Leaving For France” from starting with the lyrics to recording the vocals.  But I really just want to focus on song interpretation here because I feel like it was the number one thing I had to work on for this song.

And there is just so much I want to say on this one topic!  In fact, I’m only going to get into the very first part of what this song interpretation exercise is all about.  More to come in a future post!

I’m also really interested in knowing what other people’s creative approaches are as well.  So stay tuned ’til the end for my question to you!

Song Interpretation

돌아온 피겨여왕 김연아

For every song I write, I work through a song interpretation exercise to take my songwriting from a more technical to artistic level.

I always think back to figure skating as an analogy.  You know how in figure skating the judges will give the skater two separate scores — a technical score and a program component score?  (I like to call the latter the artistic score).  Well, I view performing music in the same way.

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The Art of Collaboration

The first time I collaborated with someone on writing a song together was about a month and a half into my songwriting journey, just over a year ago.

It was such a nerve-wrecking idea that I would be adding my own creation to someone’s else’s creation in the hopes of making it bigger and better!

Well, I have to say that partnering up with Adam Boddy was just about the best introduction I could have asked for to the art of collaborating.  What makes an awesome collaboration partner?  Someone who is a good communicator and responsive (both in a timely sense and in giving you constructive feedback), as well as encouraging and honest.  It also helped that we both just happened to be on the same page about a lot of things!

It doesn’t always come that easy though.

Some of you have heard our song “For Simone” before but I’m putting it up now as I’m currently into a new collaboration and needing to find some inspiration somewhere!  Anywhere!

I guess it’s this way with anything in life — sometimes you have to work with people who maybe don’t do things the way you normally do.  And you’re given a challenging task and could use all the encouragement and feedback that you can get … but, instead, there is silence on the other end.  [Cue the cricket chirp].

Well, we can always learn something from the experience though and use it to better our half of being a collaborative partner.  Always a silver lining to everything!

Have you ever had a challenging collaboration that you worked your way through?

~ Cafe <3


I was just musing to myself about how I feel so uninspired by a lot of popular music today, including the same ol’ carbon copy music videos that go along with them.

And then I came across this song by Sia.

I’m totally floored.

I’m even more floored by 11-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler.  If your jaw hasn’t landed on the ground after watching this, you must tell me why not!!!

~ Cafe <3

Music Therapy

music notes head

To me, it’s a no-brainer that music has always had the power to help people heal.

There’s so many pent up thoughts and emotions in people’s heads these days.  So many things we don’t feel comfortable saying or expressing because we’re afraid of how others might see us.

Music — whether we’re taking it in or the ones letting it out — takes the place of having to say the words we often feel can’t justify our experiences anyway.

Taking it to another level, I’ve been learning about how music has even been used to treat certain diseases or disorders with its therapeutic benefits for people with Alzheimer’s, addiction, and depression.

For example, music therapy can apparently “increase motivation for treatment in patients with substance-abuse disorders, improve decision-making skills and help prevent relapse.”

How does music achieve this?  Well, this might be done through certain music exercises that strengthen the part of the brain involved in decision-making or, say, by participating in a drumming circle as an alternative to verbal therapy.

Songwriting is also a way to help people process certain feelings — as is probably a lot of other art forms.  Of course, I can really relate to this!  Even if the song isn’t about my life, getting to channel certain emotions through my songwriting and singing can really be cathartic.

Life often seems to be a journey to freeing ourselves from our own minds.  If music can help you to get there, why not lean on it? :)

So, how has music helped YOU to heal?

~ Cafe <3

I Will Rise Out of the Fire

In the dark corner of my life
I hide in my shell
Escaping the stabs of your blade
But they still penetrate
Keep cutting me down.

Try to run, you won’t let me run
Pull me back into hell
Drowning fast into emptiness
I can’t see myself
You’re cutting me down.

But hold on, it’s not over yet
I will rescue what’s left
This crumpled heap of dreams
Will be rebuilt, redeemed
The fearful whisper that was my voice
Will echo loudly through the noise.

I will rise out of the fire
You can burn down alone
I am free
I’m finally free.

~ Cafe <3