I Write This Song

By: Lacey Steele Email
By: Lacey Steele Email

When you turn on the radio, you may not think about where the songs come from.

A lot goes into writing each song, from the lyrics to the music.

We met up with Allan Hall who's been with Curb Records for 12 years as a member of the contemporary gospel group Selah.

He's also put out solo c.d.'s through Curb.

Now he's looking at breaking into songwriting, so i got to watch the process of one of his first co-writes.

It wouldn't be right to hear any song without first seeing where it came from.

The songs an artist sings can come from anywhere: their own work, other songwriters, or by re-making older songs.

"Selah does a lot of hymns," said Hall. "We all grew up on hymns, so that's a pretty easy way to get into the hymn books and look for ones that just really move us, just move us to the core because we think that that'll really speak to people."

But many artists do enjoy writing their own songs, so for Hall and a few songwriting friends, the idea process begins.

"I've always admired great songwriters because it's like they truly are pouring just pieces of their heart and their life experiences into these beautiful little three or four minute little sections that can really pierce all of us and just really touch all of our hearts," said Hall.

Once it's finished and ready to record, the musicians "chart" the music, which is a system of using numbers to represent different chords.

After a song's been charted, it's time to lay down the piano track and sing the vocals.

Behind the scenes, Jason Kyle Saetveit, engineer and producer for Selah, fine tunes each part of the song after several versions of it are recorded.

"He sang four passes, so we're going to go through and just kind of pick the best parts, and if there are any missed words or anything we'll just not use those," said Saetveit. "So here's listening to the first verse."

"I love seeing something go from in your mind to a physical manifestion that someone can slide into their CD player and hopefully feel what the writer was feeling when they wrote it," said Hall.

And after many hours of work, they have a finished product.

If they decided not to use this song, it would now be ready to be pitched to other artists, but Hall says he plans on using the song in this story called "On Your Cross," on his next solo album due out next year.


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