Notes From The Heart, PT. I


Holiday season 2016

Of all the songwriting projects I've designed, this one was the most ambitious. In thinking that the holiday season is too focused on consumerism and the giving and receiving of "stuff," I decided to offer my songwriting skills to people who would rather give their loved one something a little more meaningful. The basic format I developed went as follows:

  • The Giver fills out the form on my website with the Receiver's name, the nature of their relationship, and any pertinent details that they would like to see included in the song. Style/genre tips are also welcome.
  • I take the information and begin experimenting with ideas. Once an idea takes hold, the initial draft of the song is finished in less than an hour.
  • The draft is presented in voice memo form to the Giver who can either approve the structure and content as is, or suggest edits that I then have 48 hours to implement and resubmit. 
  • Once the song is approved, it moves to my home studio where I record a more intricate version.
  • The lyrics are handwritten and framed.
  • Delivery methods vary, but the Receiver is ultimately presented with a high-quality recording and a framed, handwritten copy of their lyrics.

My thinking behind this project was that a song necessarily takes time and thought to produce, and that a Receiver would appreciate knowing that such effort was spent specifically on them. While I was often unsure how the drafts would be received, to my pleasant surprise they were all met with enthusiasm and, with one exception, no edits had to be suggested.

In the end, 17 songs resulted from the project; a personal milestone was achieved when I wrote 6 songs in a single day.


Below are some highlights from the project, along with some of the words and ideas I was given to use as inspiration.

  • Chompers - A dog who loves gypsy jazz, the words "Mandy Patinkin," chasing squirrels (although he saved a mouse's life once). Shares a zodiac sign with his owner. Almost fell off a cliff while hiking in Utah.
  • Dizzy Dan - Works as a grave-digger. Hardworking, rabble-rousing. Loves to dance. Taught his son, also a dancer, all the moves to Thriller. Nicknamed "Dizzy Dan" because he loves to twirl his partners around.
  • Hamilton - A woman and her mother and sister are all obsessed with the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton." 
  • Cupcake - A man orders a song for his wife who loves to make ornate and experimental cupcakes.