How many songs do I have to write to have a new record?

I've started gathering, sorting, grouping, cutting, chopping, ditching, adding, completing, and compiling songs that are going to be on my upcoming cd. At first I thought I had about 30 songs to go through and choose from but I eventually found another folder I'd forgotten about on my computer with another 20 songs. So here I've sat in my living room deciding which ones should be heard? Which ones say what I think needs to be said? Which ones say it best? Sometimes it can be difficult looking at all of these little pieces of my heart in song and cutting but I know that there are songs that are just for me. Songs and words that I needed to put onto paper in order to better process the things I am learning. I have made a plan to help myself not get overly attached to a bad song I've written. I know there is no benefit to recording a song that only has meaning to me. To help with this I've devised the plan to write about whatever it is I'm thinking about, or learning, multiple times. For instance, on my last record I wrote a song called "More Than Hands." This song is deeply personal to me because it was written after a very tragic time in my life. My heart had never been so heavy or burdened and I knew that the song that represented this time in my life would need to be just right. So I wrote and wrote. I think I ended up writing 10 songs that no one will hear before finally stumbling upon this one. I remember having the lyrics and idea for it come to me on a plane (this is always the worst time to have a song idea come because I can't grab my guitar and get it worked out and my husband gives me a weird look and says "Are you humming?" oops!). After the plane ride I then had a 2 hour drive to my hotel. By the time I got to the hotel I quickly grabbed my guitar and told my husband "gotta go in the other room for a while!" The song poured out. I had it written beginning to end in probably 20 minutes. I sat there with tears in my eyes and smiling because I knew, this was the one. This was the best representation of what I wanted people to hear when I talked about this tragedy that happened in my life. I have learned that I'm not the only one who repeatedly writes out of the same experiences. When I read in the Psalms I see how David does the same thing. His son Absolom conspired against him and David had to flee his own city to save his life. It was while he wandered in the wilderness with his people that he wrote many psalms from this trial, Psalm 3, 4, 11, 26 and 23. Although all of them are beautiful cries from His heart, it is Psalm 23 that has touched people throughout history in a huge way. Thank goodness he didn't stop at just writing Psalm 3 or 4. I'm thankful that he kept sitting down and singing again. Capturing what the Lord was saying so that we could know that "The Lord is our shepherd [and we] shall not want...." I am encouraged by this thought and know that as I go through my songs, I don't have to feel pressure. If I don't have the songs yet, I can keep on writing till I get it just right. I am attaching the lyrics to More Than Hands below since I wrote about it above. Also you can go to my music page and listen as well.

More Than Hands Sarah MacIntosh

These are more than hands My feet have been called out The message in my heart I’ll live and breathe, and shout

These are more than words Our praise is not our own The melody we know We love to sing Your song

We are His people We are His nation We are the voice Of this generation

Holy Holy Lord God almighty is He We know who you are!

This is more than life We’re bought we’re restored You died our souls to save Your Spirit found it’s home

You’re the Name above all Names You’re the High and lifted up You’re the King above all Kings You’re the reason we cry out! Adoni! Emmanuel! Jehovah-Rapha! Elohim! El-Shaddai! El-Olam! Standing shouting we will sing!

Holy Holy Lord God almighty is He We know who you are! Worthy worthy You reign in Majesty We know who you are!


Posted on February 5, 2010 and filed under Anything and Everything, Stories Behind Songs.