When I Was Young

Episode #192: When I Was Young  (Song starts at 4:52  )

When I Was Young is song #554, composed in 2010. I remember it was a fun piece to write.

Lyrically, as the title suggests, it’s an older me, looking back at my youth. It’s a reflective lyric. It’s about hanging on to the childhood optimism, the magic that can be found in life.

I strive to hang on to those sorts of feelings. I think because I’m so involved in the arts, it’s kept me awake, alive, optimistic and passionate about life.

The music came together quickly. The words (which came first) dictated the rhythmical aspect of each vocal phrase, to a degree.

I float a vocal melody above the improvised chords and each section leads naturally into the next. It’s like opening a series of presents.

It’s an incredibly enjoyable thing to do, composing. Actually, that doesn’t cut it. It’s a total joy.

I chose to compose quite ‘up’ music to go with these lyrics. I’ve got a tendency to do that reasonably often. I think it comes from my history of being a live performer. The quieter songs have their place, for sure. But there’s nothing quite like having some more up songs up your sleeve when you’re under the pump on the gig.

Speaking of gigs, on this episode, I take you back in time when I was cutting my teeth on my first gigs, playing piano in restaurants. I was learning so much by creating arrangements in the moment. I was playing songs by great song writers. I had books of sheet music: Great Songs of the 70s and the Beatles complete. They got me through, to begin with.

Back when I was growing up on a small Pacific island like New Zealand, the music coming from the USA and England was ‘the business’. That’s what everyone listened to. It took courage and a lot of self belief to have a go at songwriting. Great NZ songwriters like Neil and Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn showed us we could –  thanks so much to those wonderful artists.

I’m so pleased I did have a go at song writing, and I’m pleased I haven’t stopped.

I have 5 albums nearing completion at the moment and I have another 20 new songs waiting to be written into my song books.

If you’re thinking about getting into songwriting, I say: go for it! And when you start, don’t stop.

This podcast is about rediscovering older songs and finding out where they came from, how they came to be – the composition process. I’m not going to presume to be able to tell you how to write a song, but I’m endeavouring to describe and demonstrate the way I do it.

it’s fun sitting at my piano each week. The moment the mic is ready and I hit record, I go into performance mode. The podcasting is something I’m really enjoying.

The initial songwriting often happens in a burst of activity for me. They seem to come through very quickly for me. So when I feel the urge, I put everything aside for a moment and see what comes through.

Once the songs are written, I open my songbooks, and perform a few, maybe on a rainy day, when the mood strikes me. Often I randomly pick songs that seems to fit together. I get lost in the performance and 2 hours later I’ve come up with a song list for a couple of new albums. And this:

I’d constantly edit and arrange the songs. Just like those days of arranging in the moment as I performed on those restaurants all those years ago. It really was a great training ground in so many ways..

Join me now as I take you though some of my processes again this week – And I talk about whatever else comes to mind along the way. It all a bit of fun. It’s a creative way to share a creative process.

Picture me on an intimate stage. You’re my audience – thank you!  Here we go…

The lyrics for this song (plus paintings and more music) are on my blog www.petepascoe.Wordpress.com. (perhaps open another window and read them as I sing the song).