I’m going to be completely honest with you. Are you ready? Okay, here goes. I am a horrible songwriter.
I’m sure that there are plenty of real “songwriters” out there that really do sit down with the intention of writing a song and they succeed in doing so. I am not one of those people.
When God first started giving me songs to write down, I did not understand that about myself at the time. I really thought I wrote it. “Wow! I’m really something! Look how gifted I am!”
Even in the early, early stages of songwriting, God was trying to get a message across to me. I remember it was shortly after “Speak to Me” and an older man who also wrote songs shared his songwriting philosophy with me. I will never forget what he said, because it greatly impacted and forever changed the way I looked at songwriting.
He likened it to being a pizza delivery person. God makes the song and you deliver it. It’s that simple.
I like to expound on this a little more to give an even more meaningful and profound picture, because as I’ve thought about those simple words from that man over the years, the picture has become even clearer to me.
In most pizza places, the delivery guy is not the one who made your pizza. Yes, I realize there are exceptions to this, but stay with me. The delivery guy’s responsibility is to ensure that the pizza is delivered to the recipient as hot, as intact, with as much integrity as possible. They bring it to your door and even though they did not make that pizza, that is the face you associate with the pizza. You even thank them AND give them a tip! How crazy is that?! All they did was bring it to you. I mean, yeah, that was really hard! Who slaved over that pizza by the sweat of their brow, rolling the dough out, flinging the dough up in the air, making it as ordered in a hot kitchen, singeing the hair on their arms putting your pizza in and out of the oven, baking it to perfection. (You would think I have an obsession with pizza upon reading this wouldn’t you?) Who created that pizza? The delivery guy?
Okay, now apply this to songwriting. (I understand this will not apply to all songwriters, but it truly does to me and that’s why I’m sharing it.) Who creates the songs? Who writes them, really?
See, I have learned to see songwriting as being a delivery person. I’m delivering something that God created to His Body, keeping it as intact and true in its integrity as possible. But I end up being the face people see or the name people read in association with the song. Okay, so it says “Words and Music by Adriel Hong” and it’s copyrighted because we live in a world where not doing that is not a good idea. I end up getting the “thanks”, so to speak.
To wrap up my songwriting philosophy – for me, not for everyone, but for me, because I’m sharing about myself here – it is that I am simply a delivery person for the Lord, writing down the songs as He gives them to me, almost like a dictation sometimes, delivering them as true to what they were originally intended to be as I am able. When someone asks, “You write songs?”, I like to say, “Well, I write them down.” This is just the proper perspective for myself and I like to set things straight with people I meet, just so that they have the proper perspective, too. Besides, it helps my feet stay on the ground and keeps my heart humble. Otherwise… well, I’d rather not think about otherwise.
Which leads me back to my confession earlier: I am a horrible songwriter. And here’s another confession I have to make. There have been a few times (and probably more than that), when I have forgotten this philosophy that keeps me grounded. I’ve had this thought that I am actually the “songwriter” (or “pizza-maker”, if you will), and I have sat down, with the deliberate intention of writing a song. Well, guess what? I either ended up with nothing (can you believe it?) or it was so pathetic, it was embarrassing. So, I’m really not kidding when I say I’m a horrible songwriter. Trust me when I tell you that you really want God to be writing the songs, not me! =)