Saturday, 7 March 2015

Three Months Closer to Love 

© an original country song, 

music and lyrics by Shira Katz aka Shera Shakera

March 7, 2015, blog written by Shira Katz

THREE MONTHS TO LOVE  -  just listen & enjoy!

 My approach to SAC week #4 Songwriting Challenge 2015: Write an EDGY country song:

  1. Familiarize myself with the genre of country music. I don’t usually listen to a lot of country music, so this week is very challenging. I am familiar with the most popular country songs by Shania Twain, and I have heard about Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. I am less familiar with male country stars. So it was time for me to research the genre, read about the history of country music and force myself to listen to some popular country songs. Then I realized why I don’t care for a lot of the music, with some personal biases against misogynistic-sounding lyrics and the objectification of women. I had to open my mind and try to get beyond that, appreciating some good story lines. I also found a lot of patterns, in the commonality of rhythms, and noticed that some songs have really awesome guitar riffs. I heard the same themes countless times, about searching for love, drinking, driving a truck, and going to church.
  2. I decided that for this challenge, I will work alone, since I have collaborated in all the other challenges, and I also thought about trying to create a song at a faster tempo than usual, e.g. 120 bpm if possible.
  3. Brainstorm ideas…I started to read articles on and made a list of keywords and expressions that I could possibly use for songs for the target market of 20-something year-old men.
  4. I decided to try to find songs that I personally like, even if the words don’t mean much to me, at least in terms of sound, emotion and rhythm. I started to research country songs at 120 bpm, and I listened to them. I found a few gems.. I started to hum along. Then as soon as a song was finished, I would immediately grab a recorder, humming my own rhythm, making a modification on what I had just heard. Then I would re-hum the tune again, and it would sound even more different (kind of like playing the game of “broken telephone” with myself, where I keep changing and modifying what I initially heard) and at the same time, I would try to insert any words that would come to mind. I did this with a few songs, using them as a frame of reference.
  5. Finally, I found a song that hits the target market, and I thought this could be a good tune to use as a blueprint for creating a new song. I chose Keith Urban’s “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” for inspiration. I listened to the song only once, then started to hum something that sounded quite different. I hummed it even more differently a second time and started to insert some words that followed a new rhythm. Then I checked out the chords for his song, but when I tried them out, my own tune was very different, so I made my own chord sequence to match my new tune.
  6. I had to think of a story line…but this one came from somewhere deep within me. I love songs about time, so I started to sing something about love coming closer in three months, and then I thought about a story line of having three months to live on the road before he sees girlfriend, and she also has to wait for three months. Meanwhile, I added the spiritual element of country music, with ideas of carrying someone in your thoughts, such as in a sip of a drink, on your shoulder, in views of mountains and clouds, and incorporated those ideas into my song. I thought of a city woman on the move and a country man on the move, both trusting and holding each other in their hearts, waiting for three months to see each other. The chorus would be the climax of emotion, representing the time one comes knocking on the other’s door with true love. So the words fell into place. I made a classic love song with a country tune. To make it “edgy”, I added the word “sexy”, which is not used that often in country music.
  7. I looked at some photos of country roads on the Internet for imagery and inspiration.
  8. I followed a lyric structure as a blueprint to guide the structure of my own song. I created the music with a keyboard, and took notes on the chord progressions. I recorded my song, even though my lyrics were not yet complete!
  9. I started to work with my ideas and hum and insert words to my keyboard music, according to my story line, until finally I was more or less happy with my results, although there is room for improvement in the final verse. Well, let’s just say my time ran out, as we are working with a deadline, so I had to finish the song, even if I feel if given another seven days, I would probably tweak it even more, and try to get a male to sing it.
  10. I am not quite sure if it is sounding at 120 bpm, I am not quite sure how to measure the bpm, but at least this time I found a way to use the graphic equalizer on the .mp3 to make my voice blend better with the keyboard background.
  11. I am proud to say, it’s the first time I have built a very melodic full piece of music with the keyboards (an improvement from last year, where I did not use other songs as blueprints for structure), so using a blueprint to guide the structure of my song was extremely useful and I am very grateful to James Linderman for his excellent suggestions. I was finally putting into practice all the ideas I have learned about in the last year, with courses in songwriting, guitar and classical music, and also trying to incorporate the helpful suggestions of James Linderman and Debra Alexander, my mentors for the SAC challenge 2015.
  12. I know that country music is ideal for strings and guitar, but given the time limitations, I decided to challenge myself to make a song on the keyboards, since I am stronger on keyboards than guitar.

Below are the details for this week’s challenge:

Challenge week 4
Ron Irving has written songs that have been recorded by over 100 artists such as Anne Murray, Michael Buble, Jennifer Rush, Asian stars Jacky Cheung and MINK, One More Girl, Lisa Brokop, Terri Clark, Lee Greenwood and many others with awards for Song of the Year from both SOCAN and the CMPA.  
Write an EDGY Country Pop Song
Target:  Male artist, early 20s. No mention of marriage or kids.  No references to “partying at the lake”, “trucks and tailgates” and no “bro country” vibe.
Method:  If you have been collaborating for the previous 3 challenges, change it up and write this one by yourself.  If you have been writing alone for the most of the past 3 challenges, write this one with a co-writer or two.
Tempo:  Stretch yourself by writing opposite of your comfort zone.  If you usually stay with up-tempo tracks – chill out and write a ballad.  If you usually write ballads, set the tempo for at least 120 on this one.
Debra Alexander’s advice: listen to the following songs:
1. “The number one Billboard Country Track for this week—Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna” —it starts with a Marvin Gaye percussion, updated Motown groove.
2. “Florida Georgia Line  “This Is How We Roll” —the obligatory WHOA OH OH of pop, plus a rap section and extremely rhythmic lyrics.

3. “For a more singer-songwriter style, listen to Kacey Musgraves “Follow Your Arrow.”
“I think these songs might be considered “edgy” either because of their subject matter or because of the fusion of musical styles they exhibit, or both. My advice for this challenge would be to take what it is YOU do best, and try to blend that with some country elements (throw a banjo on it?) into a new and hopefully “edgy” song.”

 – Debra Alexander

Three Months Closer To Love © by Shira Katz March 5, 2015

 (Intro) : mmm uh –huh love uh –huh

Time passes by each mile of road
Fired up my car, wheels turnin’ my toes’
Toastin’ my heart, in my heart
You love the country, 'cause the night stars are pretty
You carry me on your shoulders
wherever you go, in your heart

‘Cause it’s three months to live, you know we’ve got it
Three months to live, you know you want it
Well three months to live, 'cause love will find our door
oh-Wo-oh wo-hoo
Three months older, and love will come closer
Three months older 'cause love comes closer
It’s three months older and our love is here to stay
Oh –wo-oh wo-hoo

Time pushes mountains behind the back road
Fired up my car, wind’s your whispering soul
You’re in my heart, in my heart.
You love the music 'cause it sounds so sexy
When you and I pray, dance together
In our hearts, in our hearts.

instrumental : mmm uh –huh oh love uh –huh (2x)
Three months to live


From Montreal to New York you’ll have a good time
I can feel your steps, hold out your shoe.
We love to rest and drink, time is ours today
I feel you drink me, in every sip that waits
in your heart.


Uh huh love , when love comes closer in three months
Uh huh