I am a songwriter, musician, producer and blogger from Australia

In an earlier blog post I introduced the concept of the “5 Pillars Of The Songwriting Process” which were as follows…

Pillar #1: The Songwriter
Pillar #2: The Foundation
Pillar #3: The Creation
Pillar #4: The Revision
Pillar #5: The Business

I’ve decided to create a blog post series that expands on each of the five pillars and attempts to really define what each pillar is about.

I believe that songwriting is a very personal journey but when it comes to creativity, there are some similarities in the process that can be quantified.

Below is the expansion of Pillar #2: The Foundation

Embarking on the journey of songwriting is akin to setting out on a voyage across uncharted musical waters. In this odyssey, the role of the second pillar, “The Foundation,” emerges as pivotal.

Just as a ship needs a sturdy base to weather storms and navigate the seas, a songwriter requires a strong foundation to foster creativity and bring their musical visions to life. This foundational pillar is not just a segment of the process; it is the bedrock upon which all creative endeavours in songwriting are built.

Understanding “The Foundation” requires us to delve deeper than mere physical space. It’s an intricate tapestry woven from the threads of environment, mindset, and the tools of the trade. It is where the ethereal whispers of inspiration find a tangible form, where the abstract becomes concrete.

A songwriter’s foundation is a sacred space – a crucible where fleeting thoughts and emotions are transmuted into lyrical gold. It’s a realm where the mundane meets the magical, a nexus between the inner world of the songwriter and the outer realm of musical expression.

My aim is to explore further the depths of “The Foundation” as the second pillar of the songwriting process, offering insights and guidance to help you build a nurturing environment for your songwriting journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned lyricist or a melody weaver at the dawn of your musical path, understanding and solidifying your foundation is key. It’s about creating a space that not only resonates with your creative spirit but also amplifies it, allowing every note to echo with the essence of your artistic soul.

Understanding “The Foundation”

The concept of “The Foundation” in the songwriting process transcends the traditional understanding of a physical workspace. It is an amalgamation of the tangible and intangible elements that coalesce to form the perfect breeding ground for musical creativity.

This foundation is not just about the walls that surround you or the instruments within your reach; it’s about creating an atmosphere that resonates with your innermost creative spirit. It’s the psychological and emotional state that you cultivate which allows your artistic flair to flourish.

This foundation is where your musical identity and artistic integrity find their true expression.

The Foundation is as much about the environment you create as it is about the mindset you foster. It’s an ecosystem that nurtures not just the birth of a song but its growth and maturation.

A well-established foundation provides a sense of security and freedom, a paradoxical blend that is essential for creativity. Security in having a familiar and comfortable space, and freedom in allowing your thoughts and creativity to roam unbounded.

The physical aspects of this foundation – be it a quiet corner in your home, a bustling café, or a professional studio – are mere vessels. What truly matters is how these spaces are imbued with your personal energy and how they reflect and enhance your creative process.

Understanding and developing you own foundation is in itself a journey of self-discovery. It’s about exploring what stimulates your creativity, what calms your mind, and what ignites the passion in your soul.

This pillar is not static; it evolves with you as you grow as a songwriter. It adapts to your changing needs, preferences, and experiences.

Therefore, taking the time to truly understand and invest in your foundation is not just about improving your songwriting; it’s about nurturing your creative self, ensuring that every melody and lyric you craft is imbued with the essence of who you are as an artist.

Creating a Conducive Environment

The creation of a conducive environment is a fundamental aspect of “The Foundation” in songwriting. This is an atmosphere that nurtures and invigorates the creative spirit. It is where inspiration breathes freely, where a songwriter’s inner world finds resonance in the outer surroundings.

The key is to create a space that not only accommodates your songwriting process but also inspires and propels it. Whether it’s the tranquility of a home studio, the dynamic energy of a bustling coffee shop, or the structured ambiance of a professional recording studio, the environment should be a reflection of what stimulates and comforts you as a creator.

In crafting this environment, consider the sensory elements that impact your creativity. Visual aesthetics like lighting and decor can set the mood and tone for your songwriting sessions.

Acoustic considerations, whether it’s the serene silence of a secluded space or the ambient sounds of nature or city life, can significantly influence your creative flow. The tactile aspect, such as the comfort of your seating and the accessibility of your instruments and tools, also plays a crucial role.

Remember, this environment is not just a backdrop; it is an active participant in your creative process, a catalyst that can spark and sustain your musical journey.

Moreover, this conducive environment should also extend to the mental and emotional realms. Cultivating a positive mindset and a resilient spirit is integral to your songwriting process.

It involves creating a mental space where ideas are welcomed and nurtured, where self-doubt and criticism are balanced with encouragement and self-compassion. Emotional well-being, achieved through practices like mindfulness or engaging in activities that rejuvenate your spirit, is equally crucial.

A conducive environment, therefore, is a holistic concept. It’s a symphony of the physical, mental, and emotional elements that together create a sanctuary for your songwriting—a place where your creative soul finds its voice and your music finds its wings.

Tools and Resources

In songwriting, “The Foundation” is significantly enhanced by the right set of tools and resources. These are the instruments of creation, the physical embodiments of your musical thoughts, and the allies in your journey of song crafting.

Choosing the right tools is not just a matter of preference but an essential part of shaping your creative process. This can range from traditional instruments like guitars and pianos to modern technology like digital audio workstations (DAWs), recording equipment, and software plugins.

The key is to have tools that not only align with your musical style but also inspire you to explore new territories in your songwriting.

However, the organization and accessibility of these tools play a pivotal role in maintaining a productive creative environment. A well-arranged workspace, where each tool is easily accessible, can significantly streamline the creative process.

This involves not just physical arrangement but also ensuring that your tools are in good working condition. Regular maintenance of instruments, updating software, and organizing files and recordings can save precious creative time and prevent frustrations that can stem from technical disruptions.

Beyond the tangible tools, resources also include educational materials, reference books, and online platforms for learning and collaboration. In an era where information is abundant, leveraging these resources can exponentially enhance your songwriting skills and knowledge.

Subscribing to online songwriting courses, joining songwriter communities, and attending workshops can provide invaluable insights and networking opportunities. Additionally, resources like lyric writing books, rhyming dictionaries, and music theory texts can be constant companions in refining your craft.

These tools and resources, when effectively utilized, become more than just accessories; they transform into extensions of your creative self, each adding a unique color to the palette of your songwriting process.

Time Management for Creativity

Mastering the art of time management is a critical component of “The Foundation” in songwriting. This isn’t about rigidly scheduling every minute of your day, but rather about creating a structure that allows creativity to flow naturally and effortlessly.

The key lies in balancing disciplined routine with the flexibility to embrace spontaneous moments of inspiration.

Designing a schedule that dedicates specific times for focused songwriting can help establish a rhythm, making creativity a regular part of your life. This structured approach ensures that songwriting doesn’t become an afterthought but a priority, nurtured consistently over time.

The unpredictable nature of creativity however, also demands flexibility on the part of the songwriter. Inspiration can strike at the most unexpected moments, and being open to these spontaneous bursts of creativity is absolutely crucial.

This might mean keeping a notebook or recording app handy to capture ideas as they come, regardless of the time of day. It also involves giving yourself the liberty to deviate from the set schedule when a wave of inspiration hits. This flexibility ensures that you don’t miss out on those magical, unscripted moments that often become the heart and soul of a song.

Balancing structure and spontaneity in time management also means recognizing the need for rest and rejuvenation. Creative burnout is a real challenge, and allowing time for relaxation and other interests is essential.

Engaging in activities outside of songwriting can refresh your mind and often lead to unexpected creative insights. Time management, in the context of songwriting, is thus a holistic practice.

It’s about carving out time for focused creativity while embracing the unpredictable nature of inspiration, all the while ensuring that you nourish your overall well-being to sustain your creative endeavors in the long run.

Personalising Your Foundation

The concept of personalizing your foundation in songwriting involves tailoring your creative environment, tools, and practices to align perfectly with your unique artistic identity. It’s about creating a space that not only functions efficiently but also resonates deeply with your personal style, preferences, and inspirations.

Every songwriter has their own distinct rhythm, themes, and processes, and your foundation should reflect and complement these aspects. This personal touch transforms your workspace from a mere physical location into a sanctuary that speaks to your heart, stimulates your mind, and encourages your artistic expression.

Personalization starts with understanding your individual needs and preferences. Are you inspired by the quiet solitude of nature, or do the bustling sounds of a city ignite your creativity? Do you prefer the tactile feel of pen on paper, or do you find a digital interface more conducive to your songwriting?

Reflecting on these questions can help you craft a space and choose tools that are not just functional but inspirational. It might involve decorating your workspace with objects that hold special meaning, choosing instruments that feel like an extension of your body, or using software that seamlessly fits into your creative workflow.

Personalizing your foundation is about making each element of your creative space a reflection of your inner world. It also extends to the intangible aspects of your foundation, such as the way you manage time and handle the ebb and flow of creativity.

Some songwriters might thrive on a strict routine, while others may require a more fluid approach. It’s about finding what works best for you and embracing it without comparing your process to others. This also means being adaptable and open to change, as your needs and preferences might evolve over time.

Remember, personalizing your foundation is not a one-time task but an ongoing journey of self-discovery and adaptation. It’s about continuously shaping and reshaping your environment, tools, and practices to keep them in harmony with your evolving artistic journey.

Overcoming Challenges In Establishing Your Foundation

Establishing “The Foundation” for your songwriting process is not without its challenges. These hurdles can range from practical constraints like limited space and budget to psychological barriers such as self-doubt or creative block.

Recognizing and addressing these challenges is a vital step in creating a conducive environment for your songwriting journey.

  1. Finding The Right Physical Space

For many, especially those living in cramped or busy environments, carving out a quiet, dedicated space for songwriting can be difficult.

This calls for some creativity – it might mean converting a small corner of a room into your creative nook, using noise-cancelling headphones to create a bubble of tranquility, or even finding inspiration in the very limitations of your space.

Remember, it’s not the size of the space that matters, but how you use it to fuel your creativity.

  1. Acquiring The Right Tools And Resources

Another significant challenge is the financial aspect of acquiring the right tools and resources. High-quality instruments and recording equipment can be expensive, but there are ways to circumvent these financial constraints.

Consider starting with basic, affordable equipment, or explore second-hand options. Remember, some of the greatest songs were born from simplicity. The value lies not in the cost of your tools but in the creativity they inspire.

  1. Encountering Self Doubt And Creative Blocks

Additionally, psychological barriers like self-doubt or creative block can impede the establishment of a solid foundation. It’s important to cultivate a positive mindset, where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities and creative blocks as temporary hurdles.

Techniques like setting small, achievable goals, seeking feedback from trusted peers, or even stepping away temporarily to gain fresh perspectives can be immensely helpful. The key is to keep a resilient spirit and remember that every artist faces these challenges at some point in their journey.

Integrating The Foundation With The Other Pillars

The integration of “The Foundation” with the other pillars of the songwriting process is crucial for a harmonious and productive creative journey. While the Foundation sets the stage for creativity, its true effectiveness is realized when it seamlessly interacts with and supports the other aspects of songwriting.

This integration is about creating a cohesive workflow that aligns the physical and mental aspects of “The Foundation” with the processes of inspiration, creation, revision, and understanding the business of songwriting.

For example, when considering the pillar of “Inspiration,” your foundation should be a space that not only allows for, but actively encourages the flow of new ideas.

This could mean having inspirational materials at hand, like books, music, or art, that stimulate your creativity. It could also involve setting up your space in a way that allows you to quickly capture ideas when they strike, whether through a handy notepad, a voice recorder, or an instrument within easy reach.

The physical and mental comfort of your foundation should serve as a catalyst for those sparks of inspiration.

Similarly, when it comes to the “Creation” and “Revision” phases (which we will expand and explore further in later posts), your foundation plays a pivotal role.

The layout of your workspace, the tools you choose, and the atmosphere you create can significantly impact the efficiency and quality of your songwriting and editing processes.

For instance, a well-organized space with easy access to instruments and recording equipment can streamline the transition from conceptualizing a song to bringing it to life. Likewise, a calm and comfortable environment can be conducive to the introspective and often meticulous process of revising your work.

Finally, in terms of understanding the “Business” aspect, the last pillar of the songwriting process, your foundation should also support your endeavours in navigating the music industry as a whole.

This might involve making time for researching the business side of music, understanding copyright laws, or networking with other artists and industry professionals.

It could also mean setting aside time in your schedule to focus on marketing your music, seeking collaborations, or exploring opportunities for your songs.

Integrating ‘The Foundation’ with the other pillars means recognizing that it is not an isolated aspect of your songwriting process but a fundamental part of a larger, interconnected system.

By ensuring that your foundation supports and enhances every other aspect of your songwriting, you pave the way for a more fulfilling and successful creative journey.

It has become much clearer now that by diving deeper into the meaning of “The Foundation” this pillar is not just a part of the creative journey – it is the bedrock upon which all other elements rest.

A strong, well-crafted foundation is essential for nurturing and sustaining your songwriting endeavours. It is where your creativity is born, nurtured, and blossomed into full-fledged musical expressions.

Remember, the foundation you build today sets the tone for your future as a songwriter. It’s a space that should evolve with you, reflecting your growth, experiences, and artistic shifts.

The journey of establishing and refining your foundation is as unique as your music. It requires patience, experimentation, and a deep understanding of your own creative needs and preferences. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned songwriter, continually investing in and evolving your foundation is key to a fulfilling and successful songwriting career.

This is not a static process but an ongoing journey of discovery and adaptation – one that requires your commitment and passion.

I invite you to reflect on your own foundation. How does it currently serve your songwriting process? What changes can you make to enhance your creativity?

Let me know your thoughts, experiences, and insights. I want to create a community of songwriters where we can learn from each other, inspire one another, and grow together.

Remember, every great song starts with a solid foundation. Let’s build ours to be as strong and vibrant as the music we create.

In an earlier blog post I introduced the concept of the “5 Pillars Of The Songwriting Process” which were as follows…

  • Pillar #1: The Songwriter
  • Pillar #2: The Foundation
  • Pillar #3: The Creation
  • Pillar #4: The Revision
  • Pillar #5: The Business

I’ve decided to create a blog post series that expands on each of the five pillars and attempts to really define what each pillar is about. 

I believe that songwriting is a very personal journey but when it comes to creativity, there are some similarities in the process that can be quantified. 

Below is the expansion of Pillar #1: The Songwriter

In this exploration of the songwriting process, we recognize it as a multifaceted journey comprising five pillars. Each pillar is crucial, but it all starts with the first and perhaps the most personal: The Songwriter

This first pillar isn’t just about the individual’s ability to craft words and melodies; it’s about a deeper understanding of how a songwriter’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being profoundly influences their creative output.

We’ll dive deep into the essence of the songwriter. We’ll explore how personal experiences, emotions, and the environment play a pivotal role in shaping the music that resonates with us. 

From the nuances of mental and emotional health to the impact of physical and spiritual wellness, we’ll uncover how these elements intertwine to form the foundation of every song that is written.

The Essence Of The Songwriter

At the heart of every song lies the essence of its creator – The Songwriter and every songwriter carries a unique universe within them, filled with stories, emotions, and experiences that are waiting to be expressed through song.

The essence of a songwriter is shaped by their life experiences. The joys, sorrows, triumphs, and defeats they encounter don’t just influence their worldview; they become the raw material for their art. 

Songs like Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” or Adele’s “Someone Like You” exemplify how personal experiences can be transformed into universal truths, resonating with listeners across the globe.

A songwriter’s emotional landscape plays a significant role. How a songwriter feels, what they think, and the way they perceive the world around them dramatically colours their creative output. Emotions, both positive and negative, can fuel the creative process, leading to songs that capture a spectrum of human experiences.

In essence, the songwriter is not just a creator of music but a storyteller who weaves their inner world into a tapestry of sound and lyrics. It is their authenticity, vulnerability, and willingness to share that makes their music relatable and powerful. 

As we delve deeper into understanding the songwriter and their role within the songwriting process itself, we begin to appreciate not just the songs they create but the human experiences that inspire them.

Mental And Emotional Health In Songwriting

Songwriting is not only an artistic endeavour but it also can be an emotional journey. The state of a songwriter’s mental health can greatly influence their creative output, dictating the tone, depth, and authenticity of their music.

When a songwriter is in a good mental space, their creativity can flourish. This positivity often leads to a flow of ideas, making the process of songwriting more fluid and enjoyable. On the flip side, struggles with mental health can also find a powerful outlet in songwriting. 

Many artists have channelled their struggles with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues into their music, creating deeply moving and relatable songs.

A fantastic example of this in action is “Hi Ren” by Ren.

Emotional health plays a similar role. Songwriting can be a cathartic process, allowing the artist to process and express complex emotions. This emotional honesty not only aids in the songwriter’s personal healing but also creates a deeper connection with the audience. 

Songs that stem from genuine emotions tend to resonate more, touching the hearts of listeners who may be experiencing similar feelings.

However, maintaining mental and emotional health is a continuous process. It’s important for songwriters to find healthy ways to manage stress, nurture their mental well-being, and stay emotionally balanced. This might include practices like mindfulness, therapy, or simply ensuring a supportive social network.

The mental and emotional health of a songwriter isn’t just a footnote in their creative journey; it’s a driving force that shapes the music they create and how they connect with their audience.

Physical Wellbeing And Creativity

A healthy body can significantly contribute to a healthy mind, thereby enhancing creativity. Physical health impacts energy levels, focus, and overall mood, all of which are crucial for a productive songwriting process.

Regular exercise, adequate rest, and a balanced diet are key components of physical well-being that can positively affect a songwriter’s creativity. 

Exercise, for instance, is not only beneficial for physical health but also stimulates brain activity, leading to improved cognitive function and potentially more innovative ideas. Adequate rest, including quality sleep, is vital for rejuvenation and maintaining a clear mind, crucial for creative thinking.

Moreover, the act of songwriting itself can be physically demanding, especially for those who play instruments or perform. Maintaining physical health ensures that a songwriter is able to handle these demands without undue strain.

Therefore, taking care of one’s physical health is as important as nurturing the mind and spirit for a songwriter. A healthy body supports a healthy mind, creating a conducive environment for creativity to thrive.

Spiritual Health And Artistic Expression

Spiritual health, though less tangible than mental or physical health, plays a significant role in a songwriter’s artistic expression. It encompasses a sense of connection, purpose, and inner peace, which can profoundly influence the creative process. 

For many songwriters, their spiritual beliefs or practices become a source of inspiration and guidance in their art. This spiritual dimension can manifest in various ways. 

For some, it might involve meditation, mindfulness practices, or connection with nature, which can provide a sense of calm and clarity. These practices can help songwriters tap into deeper levels of creativity, allowing them to create more profound and meaningful work.

For others, spirituality might be closely tied to their cultural or religious beliefs, influencing the themes and messages in their songs. This connection often brings a sense of purpose and authenticity to their work, enabling them to express their deepest values and convictions through music.

Nurturing spiritual health can enrich a songwriter’s creativity, providing them with a wellspring of inspiration and a deeper connection to their art. It’s about finding balance and harmony within, which in turn, reflects in the music they create.

The Songwriter’s Mindset

The mindset of a songwriter is a critical component of their creative process. It’s not just about having talent or technical skills; it’s about cultivating a mental state that fosters creativity, resilience, and openness to new ideas. A positive and growth-oriented mindset can significantly enhance a songwriter’s ability to create impactful music.

Key elements of a productive songwriter’s mindset include the following:

Curiosity and Exploration: Embracing curiosity leads to exploring new themes, sounds, and storytelling techniques, keeping the creative process fresh and dynamic.

Resilience and Perseverance: Songwriting can be filled with challenges and setbacks. Developing resilience helps in overcoming writer’s block, criticism, and other obstacles.

Openness to Feedback and Learning: A willingness to learn and adapt, whether from personal experiences or feedback from others, is crucial for growth and improvement.

Balance between Discipline and Spontaneity: While discipline is necessary for honing skills and maintaining productivity, spontaneity allows for capturing unexpected moments of inspiration.

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing one’s own emotions, as well as empathising with others, can greatly enhance the depth and relatability of songs.

By nurturing these aspects of their mindset, songwriters can not only enhance their creative output but also find greater satisfaction and joy in their artistic journey.

Creating a Conducive Environment

The overall environment in which a songwriter works can greatly influence their creative process. Creating a space that is conducive to creativity is about more than just physical comfort; it’s about setting up an atmosphere that inspires and nurtures the creative spirit.

Physical Space: Whether it’s a quiet home studio or a corner in a bustling cafe, the physical space should align with the songwriter’s personal style and creative needs. This might involve organised workspaces, inspirational objects, or specific tools and instruments.

Ambiance and Atmosphere: The ambiance of the space, including lighting, sound, and décor, can significantly impact creativity. Some may prefer a minimalist, distraction-free environment, while others thrive in a more vibrant and stimulating setting.

Technological Setup: In today’s digital age, having the right technology at hand – from recording equipment to music software – is crucial. This doesn’t mean the most expensive gear, but rather what best suits the songwriter’s workflow.

Mental and Emotional Environment: Creating a conducive environment also means fostering a positive mental and emotional space. This can involve practices like setting aside dedicated time for writing, minimising distractions, or establishing rituals that signal the start of a creative session.

A conducive environment for songwriting is a blend of the physical, technological, and psychological, tailored to the individual needs and preferences of the songwriter.

Overcoming Challenges

Songwriting, like any creative endeavour, is fraught with its share of challenges. Recognizing and developing strategies to overcome these obstacles is a vital part of the songwriter’s journey.

(Song) Writer’s Block: Perhaps the most common challenge, songwriter’s block can be tackled through various methods like taking breaks, seeking new sources of inspiration, or switching creative mediums temporarily.

Self-Doubt and Criticism: Building resilience against self-doubt and external criticism is crucial. This can involve cultivating a positive self-image, seeking constructive feedback, and learning to separate personal identity from one’s work.

Maintaining Consistency: Establishing a routine or set of habits can help maintain creative output, even during less inspired times.

Adapting to Change: The music industry and audience tastes are always evolving. Adaptability, both in style and approach to songwriting, is key to staying relevant and fresh.

Balancing Art and Life: Finding a balance between the demands of everyday life and the need to create is essential. This might mean setting boundaries, prioritising tasks, or even integrating life experiences into the creative process.

By facing these challenges head-on, songwriters not only enhance their skills and output but also grow personally and professionally.

So, in exploring the first pillar of the songwriting process, “The Songwriter,” we’ve delved into various aspects that shape a songwriter’s creative journey. 

From mental and emotional health to physical well-being, from cultivating the right mindset to creating a conducive environment, each element plays a significant role in the art of songwriting. 

Overcoming challenges along the way is part of this enriching process.

As you reflect on your own songwriting practices and well-being I want to ask you…

How do these insights resonate with your experiences? Are there aspects you hadn’t considered before? I encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences either in the comments below or let me know personally.

Let’s continue to learn from each other and grow as artists and individuals in this beautiful journey of songwriting.

In the short time that I’ve been in Yankalilla, there has been one thing that has quietly inspired me so much that I had to write about it.

You see, in my backyard stands an old and quite majestic gum tree that has seen a lot over the years. This is a tree that I see every morning and over time it has got me thinking about life, growth, and the challenges we all face.

Here are 12 refections that this tree, with its simple presence, has made me realise…

  1. Growth Over Time:

I certainly wasn’t born when this gum tree was just starting out, but over time, it’s grown taller and stronger, facing challenges but pushing through anyways.

We’re all a lot like that tree. We start with uncertainties, face obstacles, but with time, we learn and grow.

Our experiences shape us, just like the seasons shape the tree. Looking at this tree every day reminds me of our potential to grow and adapt, no matter where we start in life.

  1. Deep Roots:

The gum tree’s strength comes from its roots, which anchor it and draw itself food from the soil. Similarly, our roots (being our background, values, and experiences) give us stability and shape who we are.

These connections might not always be visible, but they influence our decisions and shape our perspectives.

Thinking about the tree’s roots makes me appreciate where I’ve come from and the (sometimes painful) lessons I’ve learned from my past.

  1. Seasonal Changes:

Like all plants, the gum tree changes with the seasons. It grows new leaves in spring, provides shade in summer, sheds in autumn, and stands resilient in winter. We experience similar phases in life, with periods of growth, challenges, change, and reflection.

Observing the tree’s seasonal cycle reminds me that life will always have its ups and downs, but each phase has its value and lessons.

  1. Scars and Imperfections:

The gum tree’s bark shows marks and scars from its past. These aren’t flaws but are evidence of its history and resilience. Similarly, our scars, whether physical or emotional, seen and unseen, tell stories of challenges faced and overcome.

Looking at the tree, I’m reminded that it’s okay to have imperfections. They’re all a part of our story and they ultimately make us who we are.

  1. Shelter and Nourishment:

The gum tree offers shade and a home for many animals. It’s a source of protection and sustenance. In our lives, we also seek and provide shelter in various ways, whether it’s emotional support from loved ones or guidance in tough times.

The tree’s role as a protector and provider reminds me of the importance of looking out for others and valuing the support we have and receive.

  1. Interconnectedness:

The gum tree doesn’t exist in isolation. It relies on its environment and, in turn, supports many forms of life. Similarly, we’re all connected in various ways, depending on others and making an impact on those around us.

The tree’s relationship with its surroundings highlights how our actions and decisions affect the larger community.

  1. Endurance:

The gum tree has been standing for many, many years, facing storms, droughts, and other challenges. It’s a testament to resilience and the ability to endure tough times. We all face challenges in life, but it’s about pushing through and coming out stronger.

The tree’s persistence reminds me that with determination, we can overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

  1. Life and Death:

The gum tree goes through cycles of growth and decline, representing the natural flow of life and death. We all experience beginnings and endings in our lives.

Although I have not been around my tree for long enough, I am aware that observing the tree’s cycles will make me think about the transient nature of life and the importance of valuing every moment.

  1. Silent Witness:

The gum tree has been around for a long time, quietly observing the world change around it. It’s seen many events unfold without making a sound. In our lives, there are times when we observe and reflect without speaking.

The tree’s quiet presence reminds me of the value of taking a step back, watching, and learning from our surroundings.

  1. Natural Beauty:

The gum tree, with its rough bark and wide branches, has a simple yet striking appearance. It doesn’t need to be perfect to be beautiful. Similarly, real beauty isn’t about perfection; it’s about being genuine and embracing our true selves.

The tree’s unpolished look reminds me that authenticity is more valuable than any idealised standard of beauty.

  1. Adaptation:

The gum tree adjusts to its environment, whether it’s facing drought or abundant rain. It finds ways to survive and thrive. We, too, face changes and challenges in life.

The tree’s ability to adapt reminds me of the importance of being flexible and adjusting to new situations, ensuring we make the best of whatever comes our way.

  1. Legacy:

The gum tree drops seeds that have the potential to grow into new trees. It’s a way of ensuring its impact lasts beyond its lifetime. Similarly, our actions and decisions leave an imprint on the world and the people around us.

This tree’s ongoing influence makes me think about the lasting impact we can have and the importance of the mark we leave behind.

For me, the gum tree in my backyard is more than just a tree. It’s a poignant symbol of life itself, from growth and change to endurance and legacy.

Personally, its presence has offered me valuable insights into navigating life’s complexities. It reminds me to stay grounded, adapt to challenges, and consider the impact I leave on the world.

I think we all can take a leaf (pardon the pun) out of the lessons that my gum tree can impart. What do you think?


Corey 🙂

In the four months since my last update on May 8th the following has taken place:

Old slab had been cleared and ground work prepared for new shed build

New shed built

New slab poured (as of yesterday September 6th, 2023)

Now the shed looks like this…

All that needs to happen now is for the new slab to cure (which should take about a week or two) and then for the next stage to happen – Wall linings and power.

I certainly breathed a sigh of relief when the new slab was poured. It was then I thought that  “shit is just becoming real, there’s no turning back now.” 

Everything is starting to come together albeit a little slower than I anticipated but I remember what a friend told me when I moved in… “Nothing happens quickly in Yankalilla.” 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m actually getting used to the slower pace down here. I’m loving it.

SongMachine is definitely one step closer to being a reality.


Corey 🙂

When I heard the news on the morning of Robert’s passing (August 21st) I didn’t believe it at first. I got a text message asking me to check it out so I went onto Facebook and the news was all over the platform.

My heart sank. I was gutted.

It was only the afternoon before I noticed that Rob posted a plethora of images on his Facebook account promoting the gigs of the day. He was selflessly promoting the industry that he loved, that sustained him for over three decades right up until the end.

That was the type of bloke Rob was.

I had the pleasure of working with him on BSide Magazine from its inception and even though there wasn’t much in the way of money that was made from it, the fact that I worked so closely with Rob was for me, payment enough.

He promoted the Adelaide music scene with the energy of the Energizer bunny, he was its patron saint, the glue that held it together and the champion that it sorely needed.

He always had a smile on his face and for most of the time had a ciggie in one hand and a beer in the other. He was the embodiment of the notion that “you only have one life to live so make the most of it.”

Rob sure gave life a damn good shove.

When it came to his writing Rob was without equal. No matter who he interviewed he was able to get the best out of them and no matter who you were in his presence, you felt like you were the most important person in the world. 

He could walk into a room, not say a word and be everyone’s mate by the end of night.

His “Bob’s Bits” column was legendary. He had a way of taking the everyday and the mundane and create something so interesting AND THEN relate it back to music in some way thanks to his Glenn A. Baker-esque musical brain.

On a personal note, in his Rip It Up days he was FunkStar and Orangutang’s greatest ally in the early 2000’s, he would always put up something on Facebook if he wasn’t able to come to any of my my gigs and (as a testament to our friendship) he was one of the first people to reach out to me when Mara died.

I’m sure everyone who has worked in the Adelaide music scene in any capacity would have at least one Bertie story to tell but I think that with Rob’s passing a huge part of the overall aesthetic and vibe of the Adelaide music scene (and the industry that surrounds it) has died with him.

I’d also like to think though that each and every one of us can take a leaf from Rob’s book and make a commitment to continue carry on building a better, more vibrant music scene in this town through lifting everyone up instead of tearing each other down.

That will be Rob’s legacy and it’s something that I will personally commit to.

Vale Robert “Bertie” Dunstan. Love ya work…



Let me start this post by stating that what I’m about to say is only my personal opinion based on my years of experience as a performing songwriter/musician.

I’ve noticed a real increase in conversations on social media regarding the whole Originals vs Covers vs Tribute acts and I felt that I needed to share a view that I’ve held for a while now which forms part of the whole narrative.

It’s not designed as a means to solve a problem or issue but merely as a conversation starter. Anyway, the rant starts below…


I want to share with you one of my pet peeves but by doing so I might just be opening up a can of worms but here goes…

There’s one thing that bothers me about how songwriters describe their music.

It’s when they describe their music as “original” music or themselves as an “original” artist either in a live performance context or, (to a lesser degree) in general conversation. 

Now, I understand where these songwriters are coming from, but let me explain why I think saying that your songs (or you as a songwriter/musician) are original may not be the best way to represent your work.

First of all, “original” isn’t a genre or type and when you describe you and/or your songs as such, you’re not really telling your audience anything about the style, sound, texture or vibe of what you do.

It’s a bit of a missed opportunity to really showcase what you and your music is all about. 

Now, this is what I’ve seen happen many times. A performer on stage introduces their next song as an “original” song and immediately the audience lose interest, turn off and tune out removing any vibe that was created.

It’s almost as if the audience upon hearing the word “original” just assumes that what they’re about to hear is going to be amateurish at best or a pile of shit at worst and you can feel the collective eyes rolling in the crowd when the word “original” is mentioned.

It seems that nowadays people generally don’t want to take risks with their leisure time. We want guarantees, we want instant gratification in the shortest space of time and when it comes to live music, we want to hear, see and experience something that is familiar to us.

Cover bands and tribute acts serve this need for familiarity very nicely indeed.

Unless they are at a music venue that specifically exists for “original” music, the expectation from the audience is that they’ll be recognising the music they’re listening to and because of this, the term “original” then becomes a divisive and alienating word to that audience.

People generally don’t appreciate being told that they are about to experience something that’s going to challenge them in an environment that doesn’t require the audience to be challenged. 

So, the next question is… What can we as songwriters do about this?

Well, in my time as a performing songwriter/musician who has played hundreds of gigs that are either 100% covers, 100% my songs or a hybrid mixture of covers and my songs, I’ve learned to never introduce myself as an original artist or my songs as original songs.

I just don’t say it… I continue playing as if nothing has happened. I play my music alongside the covers in my repertoire and just observe the audience’s reaction.

And guess what? 

When someone asks me during a break or at the end of the gig if any song I performed was one of my own, and I confirm that it was, their appreciation for me and my music actually increases and we start engaging in a meaningful conversation which is pretty awesome and what I reckon live music is all about. 

Touching, moving and inspiring your audience, one person at a time.

So, my fellow songwriters, here are a couple of tips that have worked for me and it’s my hope that they work for you too:

Firstly, when playing live, don’t introduce your song as an “original.” Instead, just share a little of what the song is about or alternatively, don’t say anything at all. Just get into it.

Secondly, when talking to people about your music and the gigs that you do, don’t say “I do originals” just mention the genres you write and perform in.

If you want to be a bit more general, say you perform a mix of your own songs and some covers and if you really must emphasise that you’re a songwriter, simply say that you’re a songwriter that’ll do the trick.


What are your thoughts on this? Have I opened up the can of worms? Do you agree or have a different perspective? I’d love to hear your insights and experiences, so feel free to let me know what they are.

And let’s not forget, almost all music is inspired by something or someone else, so can we truly claim our work is “original” in the strictest sense?


Corey 🙂

A process is defined as “… a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular goal.” As for a songwriting process, that goal is of course the completion of a song from start to finish.

Songs are what makes this music industry go round and the more that songwriters are encouraged, educated and most importantly, empowered about their own creative workflow, the better off this music business will be.

How you write your songs, from the initial spark of a songwriting idea to the final stroke of your pen, all comes down to how you work your creative process.

Now, there are as many variations to the songwriting process as there are songwriters in the world; however, I sincerely believe that all of this can be distilled into five pillars of a songwriting process.

How effective your songwriting is depends on how you handle these five pillars which create the foundation of your songwriting process.

Below is an outline of the five pillars…

  1. The Songwriter:

The first pillar of the songwriting process starts with the songwriter themselves.

Every song begins with an individual’s inspiration, motivation, and personal experiences therefore, maintaining a healthy state of mental, physical, and spiritual health is fundamental.

When the songwriter is healthy in mind, body and spirit, they are in a better position to translate their thoughts and feelings into lyrics and melody.

Moreover, the songwriter’s mindset and environment significantly impact the songwriting process. Their thoughts, moods, and the physical surroundings can all influence the style and substance of the song hence, finding an environment that nurtures creativity and aligns with the songwriter’s comfort is crucial for the successful genesis of a song.

  1. The Foundation:

The second pillar involves creating an environment and process that fosters creativity and inspiration.

It’s about building a structure that can accommodate the spontaneous nature of inspiration because songwriting often springs from moments of inspiration that can occur at any time, thus having a system that allows for these moments to be captured is vital.

This means setting up a workspace that encourages focus, equipping it with the necessary tools, and arranging your schedule to allow time for creativity.

Whether this means having a quiet home studio or working in bustling public spaces, the important thing is to build a foundation that aligns with your creative style and rhythm.

  1. The Creation:

The third pillar focuses on the process of transforming an initial idea into a song.

This can be an emotional experience as it involves pouring personal feelings, ideas, and narratives into a coherent structure of verses, choruses, and bridges. It’s about bringing something into existence from nothing.

Each songwriter’s creation process is unique. Some might start with a melody, some with a lyric, and others might begin with a chord progression or a rhythm.

This pillar encourages songwriters to explore different methods and to find a process that best resonates with them.

  1. The Revision:

The fourth pillar involves the revision and refinement of the song after it has been written.

This process is crucial to ensuring the song’s quality, and it involves scrutinising the song, editing out any unnecessary parts, and refining the lyrics and melodies.

The revision phase is also about knowing when to stop refining. A songwriter needs to recognise when their song has reached its full potential.

This pillar allows songwriters to engage with their inner critic in a positive way, refining their song without letting self-doubt hinder their creative process.

  1. The Business:

The fifth and final pillar concerns the business side of songwriting. After a song is finished, it’s important to think about its purpose.

Is the completed song for the songwriter to perform at gigs? Is it for another artist? Could it be licensed for use in film or advertising? Or, was it merely (and just as importantly) a therapeutic endeavour?

This pillar requires a strategic mindset, understanding that songwriting is not just an art but also a business. It requires an understanding of the music industry, copyrights, and song placements.

This doesn’t mean losing the love for the craft; rather, it’s about finding the best platform for your work to be heard and appreciated.

If you pay attention to and integrate these five pillars into your songwriting process you’ll find that you’ll be a more productive, efficient, creative and self aware songwriter.

What you’ll find is that you will finish more songs than you start and you’ll not be afraid of songwriters’ block, procrastination, the blank page or your inner critic.

In fact, they will all become your friends.

These five pillars are a work in progress and I intend to explore the many facets of these five pillars through created and curated content in future posts, so if you have any questions you want answered regarding your songwriting process or, you have your own experiences you want to share, please let me know.


Corey 🙂

As songwriters, we need to be eternally vigilant to any opportunity that might arise which enables us to replenish our repository of songwriting ideas.

When we talk about a songwriting process though, we generally talk about engaging in a set of activities that is separate to our lives in general. We live our lives and in between that we try to make the time to write songs then, we start living life again.

My question to you is… “Why limit your songwriting process only to activities where you have to make time? Why can’t you make your whole life become one continuous songwriting process?”

By doing this, you create a day-to-day life/songwriting ideas loop where one activity (songwriting) can exist within another (day-to-day life) at the same time

Think about it for a moment. When we make the most out of our lives, the experiences gained will make great songs but in turn, when we also write songs about what is happening around us it helps us make the most out of our lives.

Looking at our lives as one continuous and never-ending songwriting process forces us to pay closer attention to what we do in and with our lives and be more mindful it.

I have mentioned in another post the well worn Socrates quote…

“… an unexamined life is a life not worth living.”

There is no reason why you couldn’t find songwriting ideas through the activities that make up your everyday life which will in turn inspire you to find more songwriting ideas.

Imagine your life becoming one big songwriting ideas loop. That would be very cool indeed.

Of course, this concept would only really work if first of all, you’re able to internalise the habit of being vigilant to any songwriting opportunity that comes along and secondly, to have a means to record the songwriting idea as it happens if it cannot be worked on straight away.

At the end of the day, all of this is another way of enabling us to live more in the present. It’s all about being in the NOW, and with that in mind, I’ve now got a song to write.


Corey 🙂

“What is the meaning of life?” 

This is probably the oldest and most asked question that humanity is still trying to answer and while there is no global answer to this question, I do think it’s important for us all to attempt to find our own answers and then apply it over the top of our lives as we’re living it. 

Now, all I can do is offer my personal observations as to what I think the meaning of life is so, here goes…

Asking a question such as this assumes that the concept of what life is about is constant for everyone at the same time. It also assumes that life is something that happens directly to you and therefore your reactions to life determines what you do within it.

With that in mind, some people have come to the conclusion that our life paths are predetermined by a God, the universe, fate or some other external mechanism and the meaning of our lives are one of the same for all and are already laid out before us.

Apparently, all we need to do is find the path and then walk it, but my take on all this is that…

Life (in itself) has no meaning or purpose to it. Life is just… LIFE

There’s no agenda to life, life isn’t out to get you, there are no predetermined grand plans to your life whirring away in the background without you knowing it, no divine interventions and no hidden meanings. 

Life is a blank canvas and we are but the paint that is applied to it creating whatever we choose to create onto it. Life is merely the environment, the space that we as human beings inhabit within. 

Always remember, the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening whether we exist or not.

This doesn’t mean however, that we can’t find meaning and purpose to our lives, it just means that we need to internally define what that meaning and purpose is for ourselves (and only for ourselves) rather than us trying to find the meaning and purpose externally.

Therefore, there is no “THE meaning of life” but “A meaning of life” which is as unique and as individual as we all are. Meaning and purpose can be defined for ourselves through the continual process of knowing ourselves

Therefore, the meaning that we all seek then becomes the by-product of a greater knowledge of ourselves, not the other way around.

On a personal note, I have taken my own advice and applied these conclusions to my own existence and from doing this, a whole new perspective on where I fit in this thing called life has been developing for me. 

I’ll make sure that I share these new perspectives in later posts but what I’ve found is that finding my own meaning and purpose through self exploration will over time create a sense of peace and calm in myself which will slowly permeate into everything else that I do.

This meaning and purpose to life is of course a dynamic and fluid thing and can always change at any time but having the knowledge that I am in control of the paintbrush and it not being controlled by someone (or something) else gives me a greater sense of freedom to just… BE.

What do you think is the answer to the meaning of life? Does the very thought of it make your head hurt or, is it a question that you actively strive to find the answer for? 

Let me know what conclusions you come up with as it would make for a very interesting discussion in the future.


Corey 🙂

As a continuation of a previous post about me being a Secular Buddhist, I wanted to outline what meditation is and why it is so important to me.

So… Let’s address the first part of the question… “What is meditation about?”

Well, according to Wikipedia, meditation is defined as…

“… a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.”

Meditation is the means of stopping the never-ending chatter in my mind through being still, quiet and in the present moment.

For me, the desired result is a feeling of being more calm, relaxed and at peace with myself and the world around me.

The main point to realise with meditation is that you don’t get to your desired result straight away, you need to be patient with it. It takes a lot of consistent practise (the operative word being “consistent”) to achieve the desired result that you would be looking for.

However, there is a plus side to being patient and putting in the practise. The very act of practising meditation (whether you think you’re good at it or not) is just as important.

Giving meditation a go and integrating it in your life’s journey is its own reward.

Another great thing about meditation is that it can be practised by religious and non-religious people alike. This shows the versatile, and inclusive nature of meditation.

You see, meditation is for everyone and for an atheist like myself that is a good thing.

And now for the second part of the question… “Why is meditation so important to me?”

Well, right now, we live in a non-stop 24/7 world where no-one takes a break from it all and because of this, we have all become unwilling participants in a perpetual game of catch up to which there are no winners and no end in sight.

Meditation allows me to step off the treadmill and to take a break from the race. This encourages me to be a human “being” rather than a human “doing.” It allows me to be calmer, more relaxed, more at peace, less anxious and feel happier as a result of doing it.

We all need some time out every once in a while and meditation will give all of us that gift at any time that we choose to practise it.

With that in mind, imagine a world where everybody was calm, relaxed and at peace with themselves and with everyone else?

What kind of a world do you think we would we be living in? I don’t know about you, but it’s definitely a world I’d like to be living in

Anyways, if you’ve ever considered the possibility of meditation being a regular part of your daily life you should let me know so we can chat about it. I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter.

In the meantime, be still and enjoy the silence.


Corey 🙂