How to Write a Song: Imagine a Grateful Dead Show

Question: What is your creative process when writing a song?

Dan Zanes: It’s always a little different trying to figure out how we’re going to do things, but in the beginning it was I was interested in finding older songs that I could update and I wanted the people who heard them, especially young people to be able to have some kind of an emotional attachment to it, but it couldn’t be at the expense of the adults, the adult listeners, so I mean there is children’s music out there and that tends to be particular to the experience of children and then there is adult music, which is probably most of what we all listen to, but in between songs about learning to eat with a fork or putting on a pair of trousers or learning to say please these are things that young people are kind of that’s a big part of their world. So that is one end of the spectrum and then the other end is songs that I would have sung when I was in rock and roll band about old girlfriends or drinking or you know fascinating themes like that, so between those two extremes there is… that’s kind of where I live, so it’s got to be… the tunes have to… you know they have to work for all ages all the time, but it could be more… could lean more towards adults and more towards young people, but nobody ever gets left behind and if a song is good and easy to sing along with that’s a big plus because when we perform it’s great to… You know it’s great if it can be like a little Grateful Dead show. You know that is really sort of a goal for the live part because we want everybody to be in it together, so singing, dancing, nobody has to sit still, but the more people sing along the more it’s like a you know less like a concert and more like a show.

Or more like a party I should say. You know you want to make it more like a party.

The Grammy-winning composer explains why the most important element in songwriting is imagining it as a party.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Wealth inequality is literally killing us. The economy should work for everyone.

This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.

Videos
  • Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
  • The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
  • The cooperative business model can help reverse wealth inequality.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less