Tonight for some reasons I felt nostalgic and started singing some song from my childhood. I had always been prone to singing and liking songs that were too patriotic or heroic type of inspiration, too symbolic and so on. My kinder-garden teacher raised the concern to my mom that when I sang these songs I cried. I do not believe in coincidences and random events in life and since I believe in reincarnation then I now know why I was always prone to love these types of songs. This song tonight was about how a mother, just by being nice and kind, can instill the love for fatherland in her child. In many countries you probably hear motherland but in Albania we say fatherland (Atedheu). Anyhow, the question that strikes me tonight, as I am singing this song, is: How was this song made? Was it first the author who was inspired and wrote about fatherland and how mothers can educate children, this new generation that will populate that land, with love for the fatherland, and then, after the lyrics are done, the compositor is inspired by powerful words to create a music that goes along and emphasizes exactly what the author wanted? Or is it the other way around, the composer creates the piece and the author writes the poem based on the rhythm of the music. And what about the singer; does he or she has any part on this at all?
I remember when I was young and was singing at children’s festivals through almost my entire elementary school years from grade 2 to grade 7. I was so much in love with music and writing poems during those years that I do not even remember how fast these years flew me by. However, some major events I do remember. In one of those practicing hours I asked my instructor how a song was made. Was it the lyrics that came first, and then the music or the music and then the lyrics? He explained that it could happen both ways but the best songs follow the normal order he said: The author feels inspired, then the compositor becomes inspired by the lyrics, and then the singer becomes inspired by the music and the lyrics. Then I asked him, could it be possible that someone can sing and create the song right there on the spot with words and music and passion, and this person is also the singer? My instructor laughed and said that it happens all the time, for everyone, in the shower. I was little back then and could not understand the joke. I thought he was making fun of me because I was little, so I told him that I had thought of a song in my mind, and created the words at the same time and I can sing it too but I do not know how to transform my music into notes. Then when he heard this he asked me to sing it for him, and as I was singing it, he was playing it on the piano. Two days later he turned my tune into a real song. He even presented it at the next year’s children festival, I was told, as his own song. I did not feel bad at all. I was glad he liked it, because I had outgrown the need for being recognized for my singing or my music. I had shifted into my next growth and was more interested into scientific stuff instead. But tonight, remembering all this, makes me think that we humans are beings that love entertainment and probably are made just for entertainment purposes, because it is in our blood or in our DNA to love occupying the spotlight, either for good or for bad, and sing and dance all our problems away. In certain way I am starting to feel that this is a necessity for our survival.
But now my question is how come that lots of effort is put into a song from the author of lyrics and from the composer but we often accredit all the hard work and success to the singer on stage, who is simply acting out the passion that the author poured on his lyrics which may reflect a true experience in author’s life; therefore it is his life that is being sang away and is becoming an inspiration for many others who listen to that song? The musician too has a very important part in this process because if the music does not reflect that passion previously poured in words, and if the music is not catchy for the audience’s ear then the audience will not follow. However, the musician comes after the author, and must follow that passion created by the lyrics, which was inspired by real life experiences. In this process, I realized that the singer has an important role too. I can talk about this process because I went through this process myself and I have experienced it. I remember that while I was participating in one of those children’s festivals in grade five, I sang a song called “I am the color red,” which earned a prize and lots of admiration from the public in my city. According to the comments that people made, the reason why that song won the prize was it because I, the singer, added much rhythm to that tune while singing it. Indeed, each song that was represented for the first time in those festivals was sung by two different contestants. This song that I sang was about the color red representing love, blood, blood shed for freedom to protect fatherland, and red was also the color of our Albanian flag. The other contestant sang the same song as me, she probably worried too much about making the best impression to the public, while I never cared, I used to cry in front of the public while singing, so again I did not care. I poured my soul into is and let myself to be carried away by the meanings of those words and by the rhythm of the music. I added so much rhythm by emphasizing certain parts of the song that even the composer himself, as I am told, did not recognize his own song. He called me after the show and gave me a big, big hug.
So, what I learned through those years of singing and entertaining is that the person, who pours his soul on the lyrics, is the one who needs to be honored more than the singer or the composer. It is this person, that needs to be recognized first, because it is his experience and passion and lyrics that captures everyone else in that net of entertainment and fascination; it is the author who makes everyone see some part of their own story in the story that he is telling with his or her lyrics. Now, there are other funny people like my oldest daughter for example that just called me an hour ago, asking me to check a song in Albanian to tell her whether the singer was saying “My heart is being taken slowly, slowly,” or “My heart is being stabbed slowly, slowly.” She had made a bet with her best friend and so they called me to decide. Unfortunately my daughter lost. So, this was funny but also made me think again, that in every story told, in every play or movie or event, we may indeed all hear and see the same thing but we concentrate only on the parts that touches us the most and moreover, we interpret these parts of the story in the song based on our own experiences that we go through in life. This takes us to an entire different topic which I would like to explore in the near future. But for now I want to add one more thought on how a song is made and who must take the credits.
So, when I sang that song, people in my city remembered the title of the song since it was repeated so often in the lyrics, and they remembered the composer’s name, because he was a well-known composer of many other children’s songs, but no one remembered the name of the author who wrote the lyrics and no one remembered my name. People who randomly met me in the streets started calling me “Red color,” they did not know my actual name. I was not bothered by this at all; I was happy that they at least recognized my face. With this observation I conclude that, in a certain way the singer and the author of the lyrics become one in this process. It is the singer’s interpretation on stage that represents the actual passion of the event or the story that author is trying to tell. As such, blending three different identities in one song is not fair, not fair at all. If song writing and creating music and singing is one’s passion and only means for living the blending identities will always create problems and conflicts. However, in case some blending is necessary and needs to be done then the most natural way is to blend the identity of the singer with the author who wrote the lyrics and experienced the story himself (herself). The composer of the song therefore, must come out as a different identity with his/her own rights. He or she is like the sale person or the telemarketer, but do not worry managers and producers, I am not trying to eliminate your jobs here. It is important to make the musician well-known to the audience because it is his effort and talent that makes this song so catchy and that will get the audience’s attention to follow that song.
So, what I am trying to say in this post is that the process of song-making is a team work, team effort, however, that does not mean that identities of team members can be blended in one representative the singer on stage. If the singer would be a mannequin one day, whose face or identity should the singer take? I believe it is the author’s right to put his face on that mannequin, but shadowing the other team members is the worse decision ever. In fact this shadowing of other team members can lead to too many psychological issues, mental and personality disorders. I am now writing and doing my final research for my Master’s thesis on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I am covering the same issue in my study. I am raising the concern that the biggest error people often make is to diminishing others’ contribution on the team work. This is creating lots of conflicts everywhere in every field where interaction with others is required. When people are not appreciated or recognized for their efforts then a contra-reaction to the previous action of ignoring, denying, shadowing, or minimizing, will be the most natural course of events and we must be prepared and not surprised at all that conflicts will rise up.
In order to avoid further conflicts, and survive any attempt for assimilation, starting right now we must recognize each team member for their efforts in the process of any teamwork.