The story from earlier this week of the baby blue jay… has turned into a hit song! Click to watch the video.
Earlier this week I wrote a post about finding a baby blue jay at my front door. It was so weird… and exciting… finding him outside my front door one day, and then finding him outside the door again the next day!
The second night, which was Sunday, I was sitting in my office, telling a friend online the story… and I picked up my ukulele. I just started strumming it… and singing… little birdie knocking on my door…
Two days later I had a complete song. I had recorded videos and songs of it and written out the lyrics.
As I listened to the video, though, I had a nagging feeling… like I had heard the song before. I realized that the other song was one from my childhood called “Tennessee Birdwalk.” It doesn’t have a cheep-cheep; but it has a chirp-chirp. It’s in a different chord, but the chord progression sounds kind of the same–at least for me.
Jeff Goin’s book “Real Artists Don’t Starve” talks about stealing. Artists don’t just pull everything from their bahookie; they meld together pieces of different things that they know, and then add new elements to it and pound it into a different shape, and then give it back to the world. This is something all artists do in one way or another; and it’s not bad. It’s normal.
I’ve struggled in the past with writing a song, and then thinking to myself “well that sounds just like this other song,” and then I feel frustrated and guilty. Then I stop writing songs. Jeff’s book has taught me through various examples that when something sounds like something else, that’s okay. That’s normal. That is going to happen.
I played the song for my husband. He loved it. I played it for friends. They said they loved it too. Then on Saturday I played it at my local coffee shop, where people sit around in a circle, pick songs, call out the chords, and then start to play. So I told the story behind Birdie, and then I played it.
Not only did everyone clap and cheer and smile when I was done… but when it was time for me to leave, and I was walking out the door, several people started saying, “Cheep cheep.”
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thanks, guys. 🙂