A couple of years ago, my dad’s best friend asked me what I wanted to do when I was older. I told him that I wanted to write a song that changes the world.
I think I was still 11 at the time, and I don’t need anyone to tell me that that it’s a totally crazy dream for a kid to have but really, songs change the world all the time.
Some songs can change the world for millions of people, they can turn absolutely everything upside down. And some songs might change the world for just one person but that’s still magical. We all have songs that have been there at that perfect moment in our lives. That day when our heart filled or our heart broke. That day when we think our lives couldn’t be more perfect or more desperate. Those songs. I really, really want to write one of those.
I want to write a song that someone who I’ve never met sits there listening to, clinging on to words that I wrote, words that I took ages to write, words that I never thought I could get to rhyme and still be true. I want to write a song that someone thinks I wrote just for them. I know, I know, it’s a totally crazy dream for a kid to have.
I wrote my first song when I was 7 years old while I was playing on the swings in my grandparents’ yard. I’d just been crushed by a girl who I thought was my friend and I just couldn’t work out how to handle this huge storm that I was feeling inside so I wrote a song. And that is pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since.
Sometimes the words come first, other times I write lyrics to fit a melody and occasionally, like with that first song, it just all comes out at once. But every song I’ve written is like a musical photograph of how I felt exactly on that day. John Lennon used to say ‘tell the truth and make it rhyme’ – it’s the best advice I’ve ever heard about songwriting from the man that wrote the best songs so that’s what I always do.
I know most singer-songwriters don’t bring out their first full album aged 14 but I’m not planning to be like most singer-songwriters. I love these songs even though they were all so hard to write. There are times when I don’t want to sing them and there are times when I’ll sing them all day long. And every word in every song is the truth, just like John Lennon said, even if, more often than not, that truth made me cry as I wrote it.
These eleven songs capture exactly how I felt when the world started to come alive for me. I was told once that a kid should be writing happy songs about having fun and enjoying life. I told that guy that becoming a teenager was just not like that. You experience every emotion for the first time, your first love, then your first heartbreak. You have your first success, then you have to survive your first failure. You build your first dreams, then you see them shatter for the first time. It’s a time of huge highs and horrific lows and the only difference between me and most teenagers is that I’ve worked out how to write and sing about it.
So, that’s why I wanted to put these songs together. Saving them for a rainy day just doesn’t make sense. They are how I feel right now. These are my songs. This is my life. And this is My Time.