I wrote my first song at age eleven, but my songwriting story goes way back to when I was about seven years old, because that was when I wrote my very first poem, and this is how it goes. Now mind you, it’s really deep. Mr. Nobody said one day, I’m going to disappear today, then the monster said to the crab, search for him right away Moab. Really deep, right?
Well, as I got a little older, about the age of nine, I actually tried to make up songs with Christian lyrics and remember them. I also tried to make up poems with more meaning and with a definite theme. Some examples of things that I wrote about were exercise, pets, and friendships. Here is another poem that I probably wrote at the age of nine:
As I went through the world on a trip
I wondered if I could give a tip.
If you look this way and that
You will see green, blue, and black
Through wonders all displayed,
You can see it’s all grand made,
And our God so mighty and tall
Is so great and made it all
Could you have made a flower,
Or a dog, and a tree that towers,
A cat, a knat that flies,
All the insects buzzing by,
Can’t you see that He has made,
For all the things are written with his name.
But all words I wrote that were “Christian” were exactly that to me, just words that I had heard all my life, because I myself was not a Christian till the age of eleven. At the age of nine, even though I did believe that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins, I hadn’t accepted him into my heart because I didn’t believe that I had really done anything that bad. Until God brought me to a point where I recognized that my sin, however small it may be in the eyes of people, was no better than a murderer’s sin. After my salvation, a new melody was ringing in my heart, which was the most important step towards my writing songs.
At age elven, I also started for the first time playing with chords on the piano, which was another step for my writing songs.
Soon after I accepted Christ as my Savior, I started writing an Easter song. After working for a long time on it, I finally finished it, and though at the time I didn’t know what to call the song, it’s now called “Jesus is Alive”, and it is really my first song that I ever wrote. Some of you here might actually remember me singing that song in church. I certainly know my family remembers because I practiced that song almost every day for two months straight, and I would say it drove them a little crazy after a while.
After I sang that song in church, I tried really, really hard to write another song, but I could not figure out how on earth I had written “Jesus is Alive”.
It frustrated me that I could write down words to the melodies in my head, but then I would always forget the melodies. This went on for two years. At age 13, it finally dawned on me to record the melodies with a camera, and that small discovery opened a huge door for me. Also at age 13, I had started going to music camps and there I learned many things that aided me in writing songs. I grew much more proficient in playing with chords on the piano, I took some theory classes that helped me to understand music better, I learned some techniques for writing songs, and I learned how to improvise really well, and writing a melody to a song is really just organized improvisation, and remembering what you improvised. During those two years, God was also growing me spiritually, and the lyrics that I wrote were a reflection of the lessons I was learning, and the ways that God was changing me, and that is still true today. For me, writing songs is a way to share a message that I desperately want others to know. The message of what it is like to live a set- apart life for Christ.
Now that I look back, I realize that it was God working in my life. He is the one who gave me the ability musically to write songs, he is the one who gave me the desire to write songs, and he is the one who gave me the words to write songs. Whenever, I had tried to write the songs on my own, the words were empty and didn’t have much meaning. All the glory belongs not to me, or my parents, or Danika Massagli, who is the wonderful lady who directed those extremely helpful music camps and taught me a lot about songwriting, but the glory belongs to God, because He is the one who made me. In the same way, he is the one who made each one of you, and he is the one who has given each one of you a gift that you can give back to God. In Jeremiah 1:5 it says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..”
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalms 139: 13-14
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