writer’s room By Audrey ASSAd One look at Anthem Lights and you see a slick, good- looking boy band riding high on the waves of pop success. One listen, and you hear some of the tightest harmonies wrapped around some of the most mission-minded, eternally-focused hearts of any group you may come across. All Liberty University alum and current students (let’s hear it for on-line learning!), this group has the makings of an been consistently revealing all sorts of funny little domestic habits of mine, such as my remarkably non-green method of using paper towels instead of sponges to clean the pots and pans). In one of our most recent conversations he asked me why I feel the need to explain each song at a concert in so much detail (why I wrote it, how I was feeling when I wrote it, what the song is trying to say, and what I ate for lunch and how it affected my mood while writing the get the picture). He pointed out that part of the beauty of a great song is what others are able to bring to it from their own experience and with their own imaginations—and that by my copious explanation of a song, I may narrow down the meaning of it so much that fewer people are able to feel like a part of it. I’ve thought about it ever since we talked, and have come to a realization; when I do that, I’m forgetting to be the audience. If a song is a discovery in the first place, then I should just let it be exactly what it is—the diamond in the rough that I first stumbled on—and let others come around me and see it too. The shared experience of discovery through art and music is one of the most beautiful gifts of life. Concerts wouldn’t be very exhilarating for the artist or the listener if only one or two people attended. The communal aspects of art are part of what make it so wonderful—discovery, from the moment the song is written to the moments that it is shared with others. If my songs need explaining all the time to everyone, then I am probably not a very empathetic songwriter. And I think the best music is precisely that—empathetic and deeply human. Thanks to my husband and Paul Simon, I am inspired to let the music speak for itself—to honestly discover and freely share what I find—and to be the audience. anthem lights Anthem Lights (Provident) thoughts on insPiration — Part three: Discovery m u s ic ia n s c o r n er “...I’m interested in what I find, as opposed to what I’m planting. I like to be the audience too.” —Paul Simon A lovely and talented friend lent me, with her usual grace and generosity, a book called Songwriters on Songwriting. The short bit I have already read is thought-provoking and inspirational—even validating. I’m having quite a few “you think that too??!!” moments, as it turns out. And so my reading from the last few days is providing ample fodder for this third installment of a four-column series on Inspiration. The book afforded this quote (above) from Paul Simon; in it he says something I’ve felt before, but never articulated quite so succinctly—that art is, at least in one sense, discovery. Some songs are the result of hours of focused crafting, my hands on the wheel, slowly forming the clay of my ideas. But others—and these, I’m convinced, are usually the special ones—just appear, as though already written and waiting in a mysterious holding room in the ether for some unsuspecting artist like me to stumble on. “Winter Snow,” one of my songs, was like that. I didn’t set out that day to write it, really. I had no specific topic in mind. It just sort of happened upon me. Or, I should say, I happened upon it. Creatives of all kinds would probably agree that we’re all “the audience” no matter who we are. But with the role of ‘artist’ comes an unspoken expectation from some—the expectation that artists have answers, and that they, with clarity and wisdom beyond their years, can define exactly what they believe about everything and reflect it in their songs. Meanwhile, someone as well-seasoned and experienced as Paul Simon is saying what most artists feel—that art is discovery, not dogma. I got married just over one month ago, and my beloved new husband William has been challenging me on more fronts than merely what direction the toilet paper faces on the holder. (Although I have to admit, married life has story behind the song industry superstar. Watch as they introduce themselves to you with the stories behind their first two singles, “Can’t Shut Up” (CHR) and “I Wanna Know You Like That” (AC). click here to listen to both songs Free! 50 CCM 50 CCM