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I Am Not John Mayer

I am not John Mayer. Or Carole King. And I’m CERTAINLY no Joni Mitchell. What is the quality that these musicians all share, you ask? They write amazing music! Now you’re probably wondering why I’m pointing out this obvious fact of life. Hold your horses, I’ll tell you. *drum roll please* I made it my summer goal to write a song.



Why would I do this to myself?!?? Okay I’ll tell you why (the reason is not particularly thrilling, so don’t get your hopes up). I recently formed a funk/pop/soul trio with two of my friends at school. All three of us sing and Matt also plays piano. Matt and Carly, the other member of our group, are both songwriters, and I simply just want to pull my weight and put my voice, literally and figuratively, into our tunes.

Although I’ve been singing my entire life, I’ve only ever made one attempt at writing a song. Picture 12 year old Jamie, glasses and braces, just got dumped by her first boyfriend. I think the lyrics to the chorus went something like this:

Why would he do this to me? I’m so sad.

We dated for five weeks, my heart hurts bad.

Or something along those lines…. I definitely did not get any poetic genes, although I really thought that I did. I remember entering poetry competitions all throughout my elementary and middle school career. I also remember not winning a single one of those contests. Around 7th grade was when I realized that math was my true calling.

So now I’m sitting on my couch and I’m striving to be able to write words that are personal to me, yet that also resonate with other people. For example, how do I articulate my emotions about my current crush on a guy? Burt Bacharach already has me beat with

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?

Just like me, they long to be close to you.

-“Close to You,” Bacharach

Or how do I write a message to the ~haters~ that is as straight to the point as “Shake It Off” by my girl T Swift? (Say what you will about Taylor, but there is nothing more therapeutic than blasting that song in your car and singing at the top of your lungs)

And how do I create the perfect melody that people will be humming for days on end? A (potentially annoying) trait of mine is that I can get seriously hooked to songs and artists. More specifically, when I hear a song or album that I love, I will listen to it on repeat for about two weeks until I come across my new obsession. I add my own harmonies and riffs until it gets exhausted. For example, my latest infatuation is Kyle Riabko’s 2005 album titled Before I Speak. I’m telling you right now, do yourself a favor and go listen to this album. Riabko combines clever, poignant lyrics with moving melodies that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. If you don’t know who Kyle Riabko is, I may have just changed your life with my recommendation.

So now here we are. June is coming to a close, and I have don’t have as much as an idea as to what I’d like to write about. But please have faith, because I believe that by the time August rolls around, I will have composed a song that will have you singing along and feeling like the lyrics are about your life too. And while I am fully aware that I will not reach Carole King status (Tapestry, am I right???), I know that she will (*hypothetically*) be proud of my future accomplishment!

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