Inspiration Resources

Songwriting Tips for Inspiration: Find Real Stories on StoryCorps.com

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This is SUCH a cool project.

StoryCorps is an organization that has collected over 50,000 interviews and narratives, as told by the Americans who lived them. Every single story has been burned to a disc, and is preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

There are some extraordinary stories in here. Tales from war heroes, people who lived through the civil rights movement, immigrants from other countries. So many people have lived such fascinating lives, and they’re sharing it all on StoryCorps.

The greater plan for StoryCorp is to keep a record of our culture and history:

StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.

At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations. (from the StoryCorp website)

So beautiful!

How you can use StoryCorps to inspire your next song:

Check out storycorps.org/listen/ and start listening to some stories! You’ll find amazing, real-life tales to tell through your songs. And all of them are filterable by theme, location, and popularity, making it easier to find the type of story you’re looking for.

Find someone that you feel like you know. Find someone that you have nothing in common with. Find someone older, younger, wiser, and listen to their story.

Take notes. Bullet points. Quotes.

You will come out with some incredible ideas to write from.

I was trying to write a song just this morning about my family’s experiences living through hurricane Katrina. The song didn’t quite come, but my mind was still focused on the storm. With the momentum of curiosity, I started looking through StoryCorps to hear more accounts of those who lived through the storm.

Here are two of my absolute favorites (only a couple minutes long each), in light of the 10 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina:

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  • http://rttlingcage.blogspot.com/ TBL

    I had no idea something like this existed. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Spencer

      Ain’t it cool? <3