This story begins with the one thousandth time I’m playing “This is the air we breathe” and a simple question that actors ask all the time: what is my motivation? The point being, a good actor (and by that I mean not Keanu Reeves or Tom Cruise – as much as I enjoy their movies) can deliver the same set of words a thousand different ways with a thousand different nuances. What should inform those decisions? Luck? Or outside direction?
Musicians can do the same thing with a song. There is so much nuance in music, that if all we have is a chart, precisely what we want a song to “say” is still totally up in the air. That meaning, that motivation, can be filled in by the musician and sheer luck, or can be informed by something more deliberate.
All the inspiration I ever needed was a phone call from a producer. Cole Porter (1891 – 1964)
If we already decided we don’t want “throw away songs“, someone should be able to fill in those blanks and precisely describe why I’m doing this song and how it fits into the metanarrative of the service. That person is the producer (informed by the service planning process).
This past Sunday, my community did a “Hungry Service”. We were all asked to come to church hungry, having fasted for some indeterminate amount of time, even if it was just breakfast. (The beauty of this kind of thing is that we’re asking people to invest themselves in the service before they even arrive.)
Let me tell you, when you do “We are Hungry” or Crowder’s “Hungry”, when you really are actually hungry, you understand precisely why you are doing the song and it takes on a significant meaning. The longing becomes much more than theoretical and the metaphors are much more concrete.
Do you have any examples of where you didn’t know why you were doing a song, or even had conflicting ideas about it, or success stories?