Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rediscovering Song Writing And Suzanne Vega

I have always liked the songs of Suzanne Vega but that was a long, long time ago when I still had the luxury of listening to my favorite CDs. One of her songs which really made an indelible mark in my subconscious is "Luka". My interpretation of the song is of an abused child or an abused woman. What would you conclude with this lyrics..."they only hit until you cry, after that you don't ask why; you dont' argue anymore.."

I lost my Luka CD but then the song remained. Several years forward. I was reading the New York Times earlier when I saw Suzanne Vega's column "Measure for Measure--How To Write A Song And Other Mysteries". I did not know until now that aside from being the voice behind her songs, she was also the writer and the composer. And I was right, the inspiration behind the song is a neighbor, a boy who was not really abused but was queer or just different from the other kids.

I found a commonality between Suzanne and me, knowing that she composed her own songs and that she is now a columnist of the NYT. I used to compose songs while in College and even became one of the 10 finalists in the Awitenista. However, Suzanne wrote the melody first then the lyrics. My method was different. I write the lyrics and the words first to go with the melody then a friend who knows how to get the chords will do the rest. But like me, she also did not know how to read chords.

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