Guest Editor Lindsay Ell Explains Her Love Of Songwriting In March/April American Songwriter Magazine

I knew I wanted to be a songwriter when I was 10 years old.  To me, music was an outlet I could always lean into. Fast forward 20 years, and thankfully I still feel the same way.  I believe that songwriting is arguably one of the best (and coolest, although I may be a bit biased) ways of tapping into and processing our emotions – especially in times of great unrest.  So much is going on, and it’s a lot for anyone to handle.  The creative process of songwriting offers healing both to the writer and listener. As songwriters we have a responsibility to help pave these emotional pathways for the rest of the planet. 

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One of the most amazing things about songwriting though, is that it has no rules. The minute you say there are rules, someone will go and break them, prove you wrong, and have a lot of success with the very thing that you said wouldn’t work. As a little girl I started listening to country music, but then got heavy into rock, blues and pop in my teens. Comparing my favorite songs of differing genres was an incredible learning experience, because they all boiled down to one thing – they were simply great songs. 

Strip away the reverb on a slide guitar line in a Kip Moore song, or mute the room noise on the hi hat in a blackbear song… and you get the same thing – a great song.  It comes down to the catchiest melody matched with inspiring lyrics, set to an infectious rhythm, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good 3.5 min to stand on.  

It takes a great song to go the distance. I still listen to lots of different kinds of music. I think to a certain extent everyone does. In a day and age when we no longer find most of our music by tuning into a radio station, we’re discovering brand new artists from playlists and algorithmic rotations on the various digital services. Because of this, genre lines are starting to matter less and less, and the quality of songs is starting to matter more and more. It’s going to keep coming down to the fact that the great songs will win. Of course, bigger artists have preferential placement on certain platforms, but I would like to believe that a great song always wins in the long run.  

Enjoy the issue you are about to read, and may I remind you to continue writing your heart out. The world needs the inspiration, and we will always need more great songs.  

Much love, 

Lindsay [Ell]

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

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