In this series, I ask other songwriters about their quest for inspiration and how they tackle the day-to-day tasks of writing quality, engaging songs. Behind every good song is a hard-worker. I want to know how songwriters work and how they fill their well so it never goes dry.
AL LEWIS is a Welsh singer-songwriter living in Tooting, South London. Writing music in both Welsh & English, Al composes modern folk songs reminiscent of classic 70s songwriters. He’s received several well-deserved accolades in Wales (ahem a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize), airplay on BBC Radio 1, 2 & 6 Music, and has just opened for Jools Holland at the Royal Albert Hall. Tomorrow night (December 5th), I am opening for Al at Music from the Market – a quarterly acoustic show series curated by Al & Theresa Heath in the historic Tooting Market. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Read on to learn more about Al’s songwriting process.
1. What is your typical work day?
2. What tools do you use to keep you organized and productive?
3. Do you have any habits, exercises or activities that jumpstart your creativity?
I tend to just play some guitar for a few minutes – maybe some Ryan Adams or Paul Simon songs – to get me in the mood!
4. Are there any specific (or favorite) books, films, lectures, etc. that have impacted your creative process?
Just recently I’ve been researching Dylan Thomas’ work as I’ve written a song based on one of his short-stories. That has been a fascinating experience as I’ve always written personal lyrics in the past and so to step into someone else’s shoes was a new and exciting way for me to write. (The song Al is referring to is his Christmas single, out Dec 16th!)
5. Where do you find inspiration for songs? How do you catalog it?
6. How do you combat writer’s block?
7. Who is your songwriting hero?
I have many – Bob Dylan / James Taylor / Carole King / Bruce Springsteen / Neil Young / Nick Drake / Joni Mitchell / John Martyn / Ryan Adams / Tom Waits / Damien Rice I could go on…
8. Do you have any advice to offer a new songwriter?