I’ve been entering the SongDoor International songwriting contest on and off for the last few years. Like many emerging songwriters, when I first entered the competition, I thought my songs were hits, only to come to the sobering and humbling conclusion – after professional evaluation and feedback – that my songs really weren’t all that good. But last year, after taking a hiatus from songwriting for over a year, I decided to return to writing, but taking a much more humble approach, and also decided to go back to my roots: Contemporary Christian. But in deciding to going back to writing Christian music, I made a conscious decision to write in styles that departed from what you’d normally hear on Christian radio; for instance, reggae.
But I also wanted to make sure that my songs weren’t full of my own hubris, so I worked with a couple of different producers to evaluate my songs. That made a world of difference, and the way I approach music writing has been completely transformed; not really from the standpoint of “fitting in,” but writing music that has a good structure and good hook and while it may not be universally appealing, just plain makes sense.
For this year’s SongDoor International contest, I was invited to participate because one of the producers that I work with works there. Though she doesn’t do the judging, she encouraged me to enter a couple of songs. So I did, and I made the finals! I find out the results tomorrow, but to make the finals is real affirming that my choice to return to my roots was the right one. I really don’t care if I win the contest. It would be nice, but more important to me is the recognition that my music has appeal in a context that’s completely different from a church service. Here’s a link to the finalist list.