You may not have heard of her yet, but this girl is a teen to watch. Kayla has been performing music since the age of 9 at places like the Highline Ballroom, the Apollo Theater in New York City, and at other large venues. Now at age 16 she is making the transformation from singer to songwriter and musician, recording her own original songs for the first time. Anna Graceman is a fan!
Not only is she beautiful and talented, but Kayla is super-nice, and she has offered to give you, dear STACKS readers, some advice about songwriting. Read on for Kayla’s tips, and if you would like to ask her any questions, leave them in the Comments. Kayla will be joining us soon to answer YOUR questions!
Kayla: The process of writing songs takes a while for me. It’s usually late at night when all my thoughts are jumbling through my head. It’s the easiest time for me to write songs. It could be a word, a simple feeling of what I went through that day. Sometimes, I can write an entire song in minutes, sometimes it takes days. I keep my journal next to my bed to write every single idea.
For me to write a song, I have to actually experience it, usually friends, boyfriend, family or anything like that. I then show my ideas to my brother, because he also writes. I try to be as realistic as possible so my audience can relate to my normal teenage life. The more you write, the easier it will become. There are some songs that I may never sing because they are so much a part of me, but from there, it helps me get an idea for another song.
Next is the melody. This gets a little trickier for me. I sit down at my piano or guitar. (You don’t have to be that good of a player. Just playing one note to get a melody will work.) I also listen to other songs, making notes of the instruments I like, the beat, and so on. Next time you listen to a song, don’t listen to the words, but listen to the music. It may inspire you to write your own melody.
Don’t ever get stressed that you can’t complete an entire song. Just take a break from that one and maybe move on to something else. I personally have about 20 uncompleted songs, and I’m in no rush.
I currently have about 5 songs that I’m set to record. All of these songs were from my own personal feelings (about a boy). The next person I will go see is a producer, who asks me the type of sound I want and feel, and hopefully we both agree and my new songs will be ready.
I honestly think everybody has the ability to write down feelings and turn it into a song. If you can’t do it alone, find a friend and collaborate.
–Kayla Stockert, Songwriter
Do you have questions for Kayla? Leave them in the Comments, and check back soon for Kayla’s answers!