Authenticity: A buzz word 🐝 or a necessity?
What does it mean to be “authentic” and what the heck does it have to do with songwriting?
You’ve probably heard this term a lot. (buzz, buzz)
I wanted to bring it up today because being authentic was cool before it was cool to be authentic. And it has TONS to do with being your best songwriter self.
So let’s take a look at why authenticity in songwriting MATTERS and how it can bring you more joy in your creative life.
What is authenticity really, tho?
My favorite definition of authenticity I’ve ever heard is this—I heard Jen Hatmaker say it on Bob Goff’s podcast:
It’s being able to show up as one integrated person, not a different version of yourself for every person at all times.
We may feel like we show different versions of ourselves to different people. We may feel a little bit like actors. It can be exhausting. It can feel really fake, even if you’re not a fake person. 🤮
But all those different “versions” of you?
They’re still parts of you.
Just the parts you choose to show at certain times, for certain people.
For them. Not for you.
See how you get cut out of the equation there? ✂️
That’s why it feels performative. 🎭 Like you’re putting a mask over certain parts of yourself for the benefit of others.
[Psst—Want to find your authentic songwriter’s voice? Song Club has a 7 day Journaling Challenge to help you find her. More details here!]
So how does this relate to songwriting?
Well… do you want to cut yourself out of your songs?
Do you want to write songs that only feel like they’re for the benefit of others?
Do you want to feel like you’re at the whim of whoever’s listening, giving feedback, always telling you that your voice needs to change in order to please them?
You deserve to be in your songwriting process.
So what about the listener? We still want to write songs that people want to hear, right?
If you want people to listen to your songs, then you’ve gotta include them in your process. We don’t want to leave them out entirely.
Listeners have to feel like they’re able to access a song: by seeing themselves in it, or not feeling like they’re being talked down to, or excluded from being able to relate to a song because it’s too vague or too detailed or any number of things that can block a listener from the piece.
BIG BUT. 🍑
That doesn’t mean that you need to cut yourself out of your songs.
You deserve to enjoy your songs just as much as your listeners do.
So what does authenticity look like in songwriting?
Let’s say you’re like, “OMG, different versions of myself, that’s totally me, I do that, I’m stopping today!”
So you start to walk through life with more intention to not hide parts of yourself. You decide to live integrated.
- It becomes easier for you to know what you want and need
- You see a clear path to what you want and need and go for it
- You don’t feel like you’re “performing” when you’re serving others
- When you do choose to serve others, it’s because you actually want to
Let’s re-write those points again for songwriting:
- It becomes easier for you to know what you want for your music
- You see a clear path to your songwriting goals and go for them
- You don’t feel like you have to write songs for others because you should
- When you want to write songs that heal/empower/serve others, it’s because you WANT TO 😍
I mean, doesn’t that sound like a dream?
Songwriting involves all of this: honesty, identity, and service, as well as the craft itself.
When we show up with authenticity in our writing and professional relationships: It can lead you down a path of joyful creation and meaningful opportunities for you and your music.
I hope this post has helped you to feel a little bit better about why you write, and how to feel like your best self every time you sit down to write a song. 💪