When I grow up, I want to be…

Quagga - 'When I Grow Up, I Want To Be' sleeve

Quagga - 'When I Grow Up, I Want To Be' sleeve

As a boy learning about the world and trying to figure out my place in it, many of the other boys around me were fascinated by things like cars, soldiers or footballers. I was captivated by dinosaurs and other peculiar creatures that roamed or once walked the earth. I decided early on that when I grew up, I was going to be a palaeontologist. This was the first of many life paths potentially ahead of me. It didn’t last too long though.

After identifying a number of other potential paths and being unable to stick with just one, I finally settled during my teen years on wanting to be a musician. I tinkered with a wide range of different instruments – piano, drums, bass, guitar, saxophone – yet never managed to stick with any of them for long enough to actually be any good.

Getting started

The Zamora - 'Pigeon Souvenirs' sleeve

The Zamora - 'Pigeon Souvenirs' sleeve

When I discovered first John Lennon and then Bob Dylan, it hit me that writing lyrics was also a way to take part in making music without actually having to be good at an instrument. At 16, I wrote my first song as a set of lyrics. Ten years later, I finally wrote a song that I was happy with. Although I never had the patience to stick with an instrument, I ended up having to put a similar amount of effort in to earning my chops.

I loved wordplay and using imagery in my earlier efforts. As I’ve written more, I’ve tried to focus on making things simpler to be able to get the message or meaning of the song across. I’m still a big fan of wordsmithery though, rating the likes of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco and Michael Franti along with Lennon and Dylan.

Using this page

Shelf Life - 'Best Before End' sleeve

Shelf Life - 'Best Before End' sleeve

By selecting ‘Lyrics‘ from the drop-down Categories menu on the right of this page, you can find some examples of my lyric writing. Most songs are taken from two bands that I sung in and wrote for, The Zamora in Brighton and Shelf Life in Tokyo. The individual posts all contain links to places where the songs can be listened to.

If you’ve liked, loved or loathed any of the songs you’ve found here, have any questions or comments about them or would like to commission me to write some new lyrics for your band, please submit a comment below.


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