Honaman Songwriting 101 - Part 2

Justin HonamanBand Name/Solo project name:Justin Honaman - "Saturday in the South", "Let Go and Let God", "Liquid Sunshine"

City/State:  Atlanta, GA

Website:  www.honaman.com

When did you first start writing music and what instruments if any do you use in the initial raw stage of a song? I wrote my first song when I was 32 years old.  I used piano for a few ideas but developed most of the music and lyrics without instruments.  I then took my a cappella version into the studio and sang it for a colleague that added guitar chords to it.  We then recorded it as a demo.  My first song was called Shadow of the Blade and all about my dad's experience in the military.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I get inspiration for music and lyrics from different places - none of which are consistent.  I find ideas for songs in life experiences and find music concepts from listening to different genres of music.  I tend to hear things in songs that others miss - I love ear candy!

Do you tend to stick to just one genre (rock, alternative, rap,etc...) or do you jump around a bit? I started writing Country music and now am focused on Christian singing / songwriting.

Have you ever hit a dry patch where you wondered if you had anymore songs in you? Ideas come and go.  I find that I need to document them or record them immediately or they can be easily lost and difficult to retrieve.

What roadblocks have you run into during the writing process and what do you do to overcome them? I like to write stories with my songs and in my lyrics so, it is important for there to be enough content for a story.  The lyrics must also evoke some time of emotion - funny, sad, heartwarming, etc - so, I like to have the overall idea for a song in mind before I start writing.

Do you find it easier to write the music or the lyrics, and how do you overcome the more difficult portion of the process? I enjoy both - most times, I have the idea for the chorus or lyric hook before I nail the music arrangement.

What is the general song structure that you use? Intro, verse, chorus, etc... Intro, Verse-Chorus, Verse-Chorus, Bridge, Chorus / Mix, Outro

Do you use a lyrical or musical bridge in each of your songs, and how important do you think the bridge is to the song? Yes - but it is not necessary.  The bridge adds interest and allows for creative activity after the bridge.  For example, I sometimes add a half-verse after the bridge and other times go right into a big chorus to close out the song.  The bridge also is a great performance vehicle as it allows for instrumental solos.

Is there a general theme/mood that you find yourself writing about more than others? Love, happiness, sadness, etc... I love writing love songs.  I love writing songs about my faith.  I love writing songs that make me (and hopefully others) laugh.  I love to tell stories with my songs.  Really no preference but I do prefer the Contemporary Christian / Pop Country genres.

If you look at a song you wrote when you were first starting out and compared it to a more recent song you have written, what would be the biggest difference? My first songs were very wordy.  I have become a better writer by shortening my phrases, using fewer yet more effective words, and better understand the transition from initial concept to band performance.

Do you have any songwriting tips for our readers? Yes.  There is no one way to be an effective songwriter.  I have met many different songwriters and each have their own process.  Their own bank of ideas.  Their own way of structuring songs.  My suggestion is to identify an idea, begin writing down every possible detail of that idea, develop them into short sentences or phrases, and start putting them together using some rhyme.

If you had to pick one song that you were the most proud of writing, what would it be? The first song I ever wrote ("Shadow of the Blade") would definitely be my first choice.  Second, would be the collection of songs I wrote for my upcoming album.  It is so exciting to develop an idea from concept to production and release.

Where can our readers go online to take a listen to your music? iTunes or my web site - www.honaman.com