Both my partner and I suck at surprises. We always intend to surprise each other quite often but before the actual date of that surprise, we just happen to give it away. No intentions but it always seems to work like that. Two days ago, Fransi came to me saying “What are you doing this Friday after work”, to which I have said nothing. He said “Perfect! I have just the right thing for you” Sorta killed me there since, as much as I love surprises, I always crave for what it really is.
Yesterday, he and I was excited for this surprise and then he uttered “I feel the Earth move” on our whatsapp and I got it right away that we were going to be seeing the musical about the songwriting guru Carole King called “Beautiful”. Yes, the surprise was ruined but I was excited because I love her work and as a songwriter, I would’ve liked to see that musical.
It was at The Star, next to the casino, a venue I have never seen any musicals at. The musical itself was really plain and simple. There was no tragic dramatic part. There were parts where things got a bit sad but it was not a trauma, nor something that was dwelled upon. But, me, being me, I cried at one of the parts.
When Carole King character sat down and wrote “Will you love me tomorrow” and sang it with her husband, I cried. I don’t know what it was. It was not supposed to be a sad scene or anything like that but I began to tear up.
Call me soft but it was that moment where I realized that I did not take my ‘songwriting’ career seriously. I have been a recording artist back in my country. Not a successful one financially but I was known. I have had five albums. Inspired by the songwriters, who worked on my first album, I wrote my first song to the tune of Ace Of Base’s “Lucky Love” for my first album. My manager loved it and the songwriters encouraged me, with no changes to the lyrics at all. So, I guess I started off as a lyricist.
For my second, third and forth album, the number of songs I wrote for myself accumulated in numbers. I started becoming a melody writer as well and not depend on other songs for tunes, which is illegal anyways. For my fifth album, I wrote and composed all the songs, lyrics and melody. Not only that, I became noticed as a songwriter.
In between my third and forth albums, I worked on an album with one of my close friends, Kyar Pauk, who is the lead singer of a punk rock band, Big Bag. That album never got out because I was busy studying and half way through, I moved out to Australia for my study. What happened was Kyar Pauk started to use my songs for his album and with his big fan following, I started to gain more respect and appreciation from his fan base. It’s also awesome how Kyar Pauk, not only gave me credits, but started to write on his social media about my collaboration with him.
My songwriting is like a game of roulette. There would be times when 4 out of 5 songs would be so awesome but there would be times where I would just have to accept that the songs I wrote would not work. As a songwriter, I guess you gotta grow a thick skin to rejections. I mean, it’s only fair that the artist wants to sing the songs they are comfortable with. It’s like Rihanna not wanting to work on the song Sia wrote for her “Cheap Thrills”
I started writing songs for big names in the music industry like Thiri Swe, Khin Bhone, Rebecca Win and Thein Linn. For some reason, I attract more female singers with my songwriting. There are also songs that I have worked on last year that has not been released yet. The name of the artists, I cannot reveal, since it’s up to them to release them at their will.
This year, I went through a writer’s block. Carole King never had it actually. (judging from the musical) It was not a big thing at first since I had so much things to focus with starting a new life in Sydney. It got a bit worse when I found myself a man and pretty much, I stopped giving time to songwriting. I have people waiting for my songs but I just didn’t really look into it.
That was the main reason I cried watching Carole King’s Will You Love Me Tomorrow part. Fransi has always been supportive with my songwriting. He loves my modesty but he has always questioned the reason behind me giving up on certain things. I guess sometimes I just need a push. He has given me a lot of push but I just never sat down to give time to stringing the 12 notes of a piano to form a song, that might be acceptable.
To be honest, I lack contacts here as well. Songwriting is like writing. You have to be ‘found’. I was found in Myanmar and I have shyed away from it. After watching Carole King tonight, I just thought I should give it one more go. I mean, this is something I breathe and I could just do at any time. I JUST HAVE TO GIVE TIME.
The musical, itself, was very nice. I never knew Carole wrote ‘Take good care of my baby”. I knew she did the “Loco motion”. And it was also nice to hear “You’ve got a friend” or “It’s too late”, being performed as one of the scenes of the musical.
I don’t think I had a writer’s block, nor lost my mojo. The offer is there in Myanmar and my friend, who’s working behind “The Voice” in Myanmar has shown interest to work together in the future to write songs for the show’s contestants. I guess the year 2018 will be a year where I visit this part of my life again. To write songs again. To tell stories through tunes and words. To share my thoughts of both fantasy and reality with those who can relate.