Have you ever heard a song so good that you didn’t just admire the writer, but also envied the fact that they came up with it?
Hey, it’s not that uncommon. Sure, we artists are collaborative, but we can also be pretty competitive! Who wouldn’t want all the glory and accolades that come along with writing a truly unforgettable song!?
In our most recent episode of the Soundfly podcast, Themes and Variation, Carter and Mahea are joined by pop artist, multi-instrumentalist and session musician, Sulene van der Walt to discuss the theme “Songs I Wish I’d Written” — it gets… gushy!
This time around, the discussion is anchored by selections from the catalogs of Andy Shauf, Rufus Wainwright, and Irving Berlin. Said selections cover topics like social anxiety, youthful infatuation, and nostalgic longing, you know, the “fun stuff.”
And now, listen to the full Episode 49 of Themes and Variation right here:
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Episode 49 Highlights
1. Carter on the potency of Andy Shauf’s writing.
Carter: “I have heard demos from stuff that ended up on ‘Neon Skyline’ and the demos that he does are literally just voice and guitar. Every one of his songs… there’s versions of them everywhere of just him singing and playing guitar. As a songwriter, when you can have a song that’s so fully produced and beautifully done like that, but it also hits super hard at its most stripped down, you’ve got something really special there.”
2. Sulene on how Rufus Wainwright stopped her in her tracks.
Sulene: “It says so much in so few words, which I also really appreciate. And I don’t know, I feel like I’m totally there in the scene. And the first time I heard it was this last October. I was walking to get coffee. I was in Portland, Oregon doing a writing trip I was just playing through the album and I was just immediately like stopped dead in my tracks, listened to the lyrics. One of those moments, you know? Where you’re like, ‘I can’t let the song just go in one ear and out the other. This is amazing.'”
3. Mahea on the lyrical depth a beloved Christmas carol hides in plain sight.
Mahea: “I think there are two… there’s a lot of things that are hard to write about, but I think it’s hard to write a song about war that sounds sincere and it’s hard to write a song about the holidays that sounds sincere. And when he combined those two things, what he really did is he wrote a song that encapsulates peace and that’s incredible.”
Join the Conversation
One of our favorite things about our podcast is the fact that the conversation around each theme is so much bigger than the episode itself. We’d love to hear which songs you would have chosen for this episode! Share them with us on Twitter or, if you’re a Soundfly subscriber, in the #podcast channel on Slack.
Plus, with every new episode of Themes and Variation, we launch a new Spotify playlist that includes the songs mentioned in this episode and more. Here’s this episode’s Spotify playlist!
We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a (bass) line at [email protected]!