Sunday, February 12, 2012

Creating from a Place of Compassion and Love

I first met my good friend Wade Austin when Jennifer and I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona from 2006-2008. One of those rare people who exudes both authenticity and joy, Wade has since been a remarkable friend, brother, encourager, challenger, and someone whom I deeply admire. In addition to many other talents and abilities, Wade is a gifted pianist and composer. Recently, I asked Wade if he could respond to some questions about his process of creation and creativity, as well as share some of his originally composed music (three YouTube videos follow the interview).

What inspires you most to create music?

Wow, great question: I would say several things inspire me. 1) Is hearing good music. When I hear good music, I ask myself and analyze what about that song do I like. For example it could be a good chord progression or an impressive melody, or excellent use of tension and release. Than I try to use it in my own music. 2) I also feel inspired when someone needs something. For example, if one of my friends needs a song for their wedding, or if they need a song to help them through a hard time. I feel very inspired to write.

When did you first fall in love with writing music?

I believe that in high school I first fell in love with writing music. While most people stand on the earth and watch the sun rise, I believe artists stand on the moon and watch the earth rise. It is a double edge sword, because artists get a unique perspective of the world, but they also tend to feel alone and misunderstood. Music allowed me to express hidden feelings and also share my perspective. In grief there is so much beauty. I believe that there is such a thin line between pure beauty and grief, and music walks that line perfectly. This is the aspect of music that I fell most in love with.

Can you share a story about a song you've written and the personal experiences out of which it arose?

There is a song I wrote for a wedding. The bride to be lost her brother and I felt like she really wished that her brother could be there. So, in this song I told a story about a woman/the bride who has a deep pain and she is embarrassed to bring this pain into the marriage. Later the fiance says I have pain of my own and I understand how you feel but with my strength I will carry your burden. In the future, the husband has his own burden, but the wife is free of her pain, but she never forgets. I can't play that song without tears coming to my eyes. It also reminds me of how God loves us. Despite whatever we bring to the relationship he loves us anyway. He also helps us get through our deepest grief.

What are your greatest joys and deepest lows when you work on music?

My greatest joy about music is seeing someone heal because of the music I was inspired to write. My greatest joy is when someone says, "I know exactly what that song meant," or "that song helped me through this hard time." My deepest low is when I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I feel like the music I write is stupid, or people think that I am an amateur writer. It's difficult to compose when those feelings are haunting your mind.

What advice would you share with others who aspire to write music and share their work with audiences?

I would say never quit. Make sure that you always write for yourself. It is tempting to write something that will be popular or that people will like. I guess that is necessary sometimes, but always write something that you enjoy and blesses you.

Can you tell us about the song(s) to which the link or links go?

I put three songs on the web, and they are all songs that I wrote for my wife. They are all about different times of her life.

One of the songs is called "Orphaned Child." This song has special meaning because this is one of the songs to which we first fell in love. She asked me to write music to lyrics she wrote. After I shared the song with her, it blessed her tremendously. It was a crazy spiritual connection. We later walked down the aisle to that song.

The second song is called "Southern Belle." This song captures her experience as a missionary in Louisiana.

The third song is called "Celeste Movement I." This song captures a time in her life when she lost a good friend of hers in a car accident.

"Orphaned Child"

"Southern Belle"

"Celeste Movement I"