365 Sparks: The Songs of Daveit Ferris

Daveit FerrisSongwriter Daveit Ferris has taken on the challenge of writing, performing, and recording a song a day for a year. He calls his project 365 Sparks. While he’s not the only brave or crazy artist to undertake the Everest of songwriting, he’s the best and most consistently good I’ve ever come across. Every song I’ve heard has its own quirky, emotional, fun, dark, sweet, thoughtful, or just-plain-catchy appeal.

I’ve had to write fast in my life – I once had a  three-year gig that required me to write three to four songs a week for a TV series. But I got paid for it and I didn’t have to perform it and record it myself, so I feel like a loafer compared to this guy.  In any case, I can’t help asking: How does anyone do this? WHY does anyone do this? And what happens after the first 100 or so days?

Instead of just wondering, I decided to ask. And he answered. How he found the time to answer, I don’t know. He’s got songs to write. In case you want to listen while you read, he posts his songs on 365sparks.com  and Soundcloud.

1. What did you set out to do with your 365 Sparks project?

Daveit: My goal with 365 Sparks was to try and do something extraordinary that would truly test my skills as a songwriter, musician and producer; in that order. The project itself was inspired by a near-death experience that I went through in October 2013 that made me realise I could have left this earth with hard drives full of hundreds of half-finished projects (songs, poetry books, albums, novel ideas, scripts etc.). I decided on that hospital bed that my next project was going to be A) Grand and B) Completed.

2. Where do your song ideas come from?

Daveit: Songwriting is probably the only passion I have in this life and it’s been that way since I discovered the art when I was around 15/16. I only know how to play instruments because I realised this was essential in my pursuit of writing my own music.  Continue reading “365 Sparks: The Songs of Daveit Ferris”

Song Ideas: Use TV Scenes

If you find yourself looking for new song ideas and inspiration, here’s a tip that works! Watch television. I know it might sound crazy but many TV scenes are built around common emotional situations the audience can relate to. That’s just what you want for your song.

Just about any drama series will provide you with plenty of good scenes. Look for emotional interaction between two characters. Watch the scene and note the dialogue – you might even write down a few lines to get your song started.

Comedy series are not as easy to use as drama but they will work. If you choose a sitcom, check out the last 5 to 10 minutes of the show when any conflicts or problems are wrapped up and there’s often a heartfelt moment between characters.

Soaps operas, yes, good old-fashioned afternoon soaps, are a good source if you can manage to watch. (There aren’t many left.) They’re slow moving and nothing much happens but that’s because everyone is busy emoting all over the place. There’s enough emotional confrontation, regret, tearful forgiveness, and joyful reunions  to fill a couple hundred songs!

Action series are fun to watch but chase scenes and shootouts won’t give you much to work with. Like comedy series, the emotion is usually in the last  few scenes.

News shows: News shows are filled with emotionally intense drama that just happens to be real. Talk shows and interviews can also be a source. There’s a great story behind the song “I Drive Your Truck.” One of the writers saw an interview on a news show and was inspired to write the song.

Use my article How to Write a Song in 10 Steps to complete any of the following ideas.

SHOW: Classic Perry Mason TV series
Theme: Be Strong
Concept: You have the strength to meet the challenge. Those who love you will help.

  • “I know things look tough.”
  • “You’re carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders.”
  •  “Let me help you.”

Continue reading “Song Ideas: Use TV Scenes”