Writing with music

Usually when I have to work I like to do it in silence. I get too distracted by music when I’m writing an essay or any other assignment. But there’s something about writing with music on that works.

A song tells a story in its own right. Every song is a little story that conveys one mood. This is why it’s no surprise that I use these songs whenever I want to get into a certain mindset. Putting on the right music can really set the tone for your story. Just a word or feeling I get from the music can pop up ideas in my mind. Whenever you’re stuck I highly recommend you listen to music. As I said, I usually like to write and work without any noises but sometimes I just have to put on some tunes to get the words flowing.

For our story Intertwined, Amy and I have created lots of playlists for (main) characters. The playlists I make are usually really long, but do have songs categorized in the mood that the character is in. It’s funny to see that all of my lists seem to feature a certain type of music that I love.

This is the longest playlist I have made thus far. I’m pretty proud of it. Shogo is a playboy that steals the hearts of all girls. Almost literally, because he has the power to suck out someone’s life energy/soul. He tries to drown his lack of love with dating girls, but as the songs get darker he gets confronted with his own fears and dark actions more and more. Seeing as most people make playlists of like 12 songs this is insane, but I still feel like every song fits so well. Not to mention Shogo is a musicjunkie, so that also fits.

If I have to mention any band that inspired me it’s Paramore. Thanks to their music I’ve thought of some crazy plottwists for Intertwined. Do you know that zone you’re in when it’s just you and the song and then it starts becoming so much more? This is what I get with making these playlists and it’s amazing. If you’re a writer and a musiclover, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice hobby healthish obsession  maintaing this inspirational helpers. If you’re ever having a writersblock, try this! You won’t regret it.
I have made these playlists using my Spotify account, but of course you can also use regular old Windows Media Player or YouTube.

Do you put on music while you write? Can you concentrate better with or without music?

Maria Mena live @ 013 Tilburg 10-2-2014

Last year I went to see Maria Mena live. I loved it so much that I had to go to her concert again when she played at my hometown. It was so worth it. This time I actually got to meet her.

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I’m so bad at making pictures, but I want to get better. I actually love photography though no one could tell. I used the zoom feature on these, which apparentely ruins your quality. Would that be it? These are shot with my iPhone 4s btw. I figured if I wanna learn taking pictures it’s good to get down the basic with a phone camera or my old digital one. Bad idea? Also, I don’t have the money for a fancy one.

 

IMG_0175Anyway, back to Maria Mena. I only spoke two sentences to her. “I saw you at Eindhoven as well and you were great. You were really fantastic here as well.” Or something along the lines of that. The girls that spoke to me before her said it was their first concert and they had been listening to her for about five years and I wanted to say I listened to her longer than that, but I was doubting if that would have been mean towards the girls. Which wasn’t what I was going for. I just wanted to tell Maria she has been a big inspiration and that her lyrics helped me get through stuff in life, but it felt so stupid to say that. I regret not saying it though. I just imagined what it would be like to hear those words from someone myself and then I thought it was kinda creepy. It must be so weird to have fans.

Nevertheless Maria Mena was great. She’s a nice person and really took time for everyone. I wish I would’ve said more so we could have talked longer, but I really loved that she even takes time after EVERY concert to interact with her fans. Just look at her smile. You know someone’s great when they can still smile like that after 20 photos. She also walked up to a girl in a wheelchair which warms my heart, because one of my friends is disabled and sometimes we notice not everyone takes time for her. This photo and just speaking like 2 sentences to her was so worth my time.

 

Maria Mena live @ De Effenaar 27-11-2013

Great music is there when you need it. Songs can make you understand that you’re not alone in facing this. They help you get through situations and experiences. A good song tells a story, a great song may just tell the story you yourself weren’t able to put in words. For me, songs from Maria Mena do this.

I remember many moments feeling down and misunderstood and finding comfort and understanding in her songs. I remember long carrides to France where her music always accompanied me, I remember blasting her words through my headphones to overshadow the fights that happened downstairs. I remember thinking Maria, you have got to stop stealing the pages of my diary. “I feel like I’ve grown up with you Dutch fans”, Maria smiled at her concert on the 27th of November. No, I thought. I grew up with you.

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I’ve wanted to see Maria Mena live for a while now, but I’m horrible with keeping track of concerts and buying tickets on time. I was also a bit worried about not getting back home, because public transport can be horrible in my hometown. Two days ago it finally happened. I saw her live.

Maria started out with a blast. The dancing beats of her new album Weapon in Mind sounded great. They really made you want to move along and indulge in the experience that is Maria Mena. While I was nodding my head and slightly shaking my hips, Maria was dancing like there was no tomorrow. Girl, you can shake it! It’s amazing to see artists having a good time on stage and there was no doubt she was having a blast.

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Girl, you can move! Also my pictures suck. I need photography lessons and a better camera on my phone.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the dancing spirit. Her lyrics are still very profound and close to heart. As a writer you have to be honest to yourself and open up to your feelings. Writing is difficult, because there’s nowhere to hide behind your words anymore. It’s there, written right before your eyes. Maria Mena is honest like no other. Writing must be her therapy and she’s taking us all with her on this journey. In between songs she was very open. She told us how she sees the world now. How it took her a long time to realize it’s useless trying to be someone you’re not (in my own words).

She took me to me teenage insecurities with Just a Little Bit. No epic beats, no dancing. Just Maria singing the words I once believed. Then she and her band transcended to I Always Liked That, which is about how she views the world now. Finally realizing that it really is on the inside what counts. She told us we were through with thinking we had to be a little bit better,  stronger and wiser. I believed her.

Maria Mena was everything I could have hoped for. Her honest, well-written, lyrics (inspiring me to be a better writer) were accompanied by a voice that sounded just like it came from the record. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I can just imagine that she doesn’t need to do a thousand takes to make it sound like it does in the final product. During the concert it wasn’t like is she singing live or not? She was clearly singing live, but it still sounded like the record. Except for some old hits that she converted to her new dancy style, like a more upbeat version of Just Hold Me. This was a nice change from the arrangements I’m used to.

I have to say Maria and her band were at their best singing vulnerable slower songs like Habits. But it was wonderful to see a woman who has come so far on her personal journey. The dance beats show she feels more comfortable in her skin and they made me, being the shy person as I am, dance my butt off.

Thank you, Maria Mena for this experience. It was inspiring and liberating. Thank you for your personal ‘tips’: let yourself go by saying fuck you in a while, it’s really on the inside what counts and be free. See you next time!

To the people that were in the audience standing around me: sorry for singing along. I heard myself sing at one point and yeah… it wasn’t very good ;). I should really leave that to Maria.

I’ll finish this blogpost with a snippet of the song that she ended with as well. You Hurt the Ones You Love.