Project M 2016: J Marsden

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5/22/16: I've had a busy week and haven't quite found the time to finish writing my location song for tomorrow's challenge... I do have the guitar part and hook, but the verses are taking a bit more effort than I was hoping for. I've been tossing around a few different ideas as far as the location goes and haven't quite settled on anything yet, so I guess it will be a surprise all around! However, I do have a good choice for a signature song that I think will go over well. I'm actually looking forward to playing more than one song at this next challenge as I'll be a lot more comfortable going into the second song after having warmed up with the first song. 

As things get down to the wire, I'm excited to see who gets to go onto the finals. I have a good feeling about getting to the final 3 and have been thinking about what I might do for a final set already, but don't want to speak too soon as I still have the hard work to put in before this next challenge. Either way, it has been a great ride and has made for a very busy and eventful May!

5/16/16: I finally finished the lyrics for my song Saturday and have been fine tuning them as I rehearse for the show on Monday. I drew the emotion "doubt," and although I wanted to not make my song title super obvious, I ended up titling the song "Doubt" anyway. I ended up somewhat writing the song from a viewpoint as if I was in a relationship with doubt. The guitar part is a lot more driving than you would expect and has a killer breakdown that I'm excited to share with everyone!

I don't know how well I'll be able to observe my growth as an artist while I'm still in this competition, but I can say that I've surprised myself with being able to come up with a new song over the past 3 weeks that I'm not only okay with, but actually excited to share with people, which is generally not the case. I'm like a song a month maybe kind of guy. I'm hoping that all this work will be the jumpstart I need to finish the CD that I'm currently writing and not burn me out!

I'm excited to see what the next challenge will be if I get through this week. I'm not really look for anything in particular as I kind of like the surprise of each new challenge. I just hope that it will spark the creativity in me as well as fit the guitar part I already wrote when I was coming up with ideas for this week's challenge!

5/9/16: Alright, so I'm feeling pretty good about the competition so far. My song "Bike Snob" went over well with both the judges and my fans which definitely helped. I think I'm now getting into the swing of things as I continue on. 

The hardest part of all this for me is probably writing the lyrics. At least its the most time consuming thing, and they need to really capture the essence of the song all around. I find myself to be more of guitarist first and a lyricist second, so I try to use it to my advantage by writing all of the music in a way that I think will best convey the feel and emotion of the song. I'll then try to find the right melody for the different parts of the song as well as a rhythmic meter for the lyrics to fit in. Throughout this process I'll brainstorm different words and phrases that help to really capture the full meaning between the melodies and lyrical content, and then I'll try and try again until the pieces seem to fit right which seems to be the most difficult part.

My song for this week has a tentative title of "Into the Gray," and I'm still working on the lyrics. As you know, we all got the same picture that we have to base our song on. What I'm thinking so far is to use the woman walking away into the picture as the character and then use elements of the picture to compare her journey forward through life from the moment she's stuck at in the picture. Things like overcoming uncertainty and embracing the unknown come to mind. I'm looking forward to finding the finished product as I write more and then to share it with everyone!

5/2/16: So this week, my challenge was to write a song with the title of "Bike Snob."  At first when I drew that slip, I thought that I had the worst choice out of all the other titles that were drawn, but I just kind of dove right into writing and actually came out with something I'm pretty stoked about. I started with just the guitar part and tried to write something that was more upbeat with a verse riff that reminded me of riding a bike. This song is definitely a stylistic detour from my first performance and the type of material I'm currently writing for a CD, however I chose a style that comes very naturally to me which I thought would help given that at first I was a little stumped with coming up with material. I started brainstorming on lyrics by looking up cyclist jargon online and sketching down more rhythmic/rhyming phrases which came together nicely with the guitar parts I wrote. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the outcome of the song and am excited to share it with everybody on Monday!

4/25/16: Hi, I'm J. Marsden and I've been very actively playing guitar, singing and writing music over the last 15 years of my life. I've played all types of musical genres throughout my career, however now my solo songs are more in the vein of alt. rock ballads with a spacey country western swagger to them. I've played a couple hundred shows with various bands, but have recently been branching out as a singer songwriter over the past year and am grateful to be a part of Project M this year! I'm really looking forward to the songwriting challenges so I can push myself to be creative in a new way, and I'm also excited to see the creativity of the other contestants! I'll be performing a personal and fan favorite song of mine at the first challenge. I feel this song best represents where I am and and where I'm going with my solo songwriting career. I look forward to seeing everyone on Monday!