Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 58

PHOTO: JODI DUNLOP WRITING Stefanie Blondal Johnson is a singer-songwriter and frontwoman of the Canadian garage pop band Mise en Scene. She works as a visual artist and consultant based in Gimli, MB. www.miseensceneband.com. By Stefanie Blondal Johnson Songs of Inspiration Part 2 P icking up from where we left off in part one, here are more songs that, through their honesty, poetry, and emotional complexity, have inspired my songwriting. I truly believe that you can only write about what you know, and the artistry lies in how you describe those emotions through your songs. The following songs have taught me this honesty, sincerity, and truth, all as- pects I value so much in songwriting. Fleetwood Mac – “Songbird” “And I wish you all the love in the world, But most of all, I wish it from myself” This song is the wish we all have in our hearts for the ones we love. It is everything we want to say; it is everything we feel. It is why love is the most beautiful gift of life. This song was recorded on a grand piano as one live take, which I feel is imperative to our understanding and reception of it. The live performance illuminates the honesty of Christine McVie’s lyrics, and the piano and voice are entangled together in their emotion and performance. The vulnerability, the honesty, and the pain are all aspects that encompass love’s journey. I remember seeing an interview where Christine said she didn’t want to play “Songbird” because she didn’t want to cry anymore. That almost brought me to tears, knowing that it must have come from such a tender place in her heart, a place of hurt, a place of vulnera- bility. I think having the courage to write a song knowing that it will expose your pain is what separates the greats from the giants. This song continually reminds me to be courageous in love and in my music. 58 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N Simon & Garfunkel – “Homeward Bound” “Tonight I’ll sing my songs again, I’ll play the game and pretend. But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.” I have always known this song, but I never understood it so clearly as when I started touring in Mise en Scene. When you’re touring, you miss home like a child at his first sleepover. Nothing compares to your bed, your music, your space. Home is where my “love lies waiting silently for me.” I find comfort in this song because I understand that it is the nature of what we do as travel- ling musicians who tour around the world. It’s the part of the job that turns you into a vagabond, for better or for worse. Jackson Browne – “The Road” “Phone calls long distance To tell how you’ve been Forget about the losses, you exaggerate the wins” Like “Homeward Bound,” this one holds a special place in my heart and is just as hon- est about what life is like on the road. It isn’t as glamorous as you might expect it to be. These two songs have helped me accept some of these undesirable aspects of being a musician. Annie Lennox – “Why” “I may be mad I may be blind I may be viciously unkind But I can still read what you’re think ['BHٝ[]^\[[XHX]\HB۸&]ۛY\^HY[]]]H[H\YKx&[H\Bۙ[Z[Y[\H\[ۘ]K[\ۙ\HZ\܈YHقH[\\XH\وH[K]\ۙ[XZ\YHY[[X[B\H\X Y][Y\H^\[[H HY܈Hܛۙ[^BX\]ZXYو^HXY \ۙœ[Z[YHHۙ\]^\[H[™Y[]\ۙ[YHX[^H]x&[B[^\ۙ\]H\[YH\’H۸&]][HۛHY[[]HX\X]\H]]YH[H[\XBXK[H[\ۙ[H\x&[B[[Hܙ^\[H[YYHۙY\\\X]K]YYH8$8'\\'B'KH[[Y[X\[[HH[[H[XݙH\XY[H\Y \Y[[[8'BݙHXZ\\[H\\ˈݙB[HݙY\HܙX]\[H[]\X\[HܙX]\[H[]\X\Y܋HYZ\HYHܛB\ݙHۙ[[Y]HX[]X[[X]Hو\[[H\[[ H[]\[[]X[۝[[ۙ]]Z[]\[]YB\[^\Y[[ܙYXHX[]H\] 8']HYX\'HZ[[\YH]\]BوZ[Kx&[Hۜ[H[\YH\X[]BY\\ܙ[]\[ ][[H\œXZ[XYX[KH[YZ\H\X[]B\X\Y]\ܚX[[H\XZ[›]\[H[XH\Kܙ\H[]\X][H\H[H[۝^›ۙH[\][ܙX]HH[]Y BX[[X]H^\Y[H][Hۙ