I've been a songwriter since I did a poetry project in 6th form and decided that the poems I was writing would sound better with music. My mum is a singer and songwriter too. I decided I needed to learn guitar, as before that my instrument was clarinet so Mum wrote down 3 chords on a piece of a paper for me and said go for it! 3 chords and the truth as they say.
She had taught herself guitar too back in the day; I was super motivated to learn, and I really wanted someone to show me a shortcut to all the beautiful sounds, but actually every chord I learned along the way, I would put it into a song so I could never forget it. It was good to pick it up slowly.
So I've spent the past few decades going for it, and I feel lucky to be on a journey where there are no easy answers, but so many interesting questions and new horizons to appreciate every time you figure out the puzzle of a song. I can't say I have mastered any kind of technical wizardry on the instrument, but I've definitely used it to help me write a stack of music, and the more I write the more I appreciate simplicity - the kind that you find after getting lost and realising the perfect hook was hanging right there by the front door where you left from.
I started out writing about heartbreak, the ironies and complexities of life, big ideas and little tragedies (but also more than a few songs about daisies), most of which still live in my notebooks except for the collabs I've been lucky to work on with Substax.
But writing for children is like a wider canvas to work on as a songwriter, able to leave behind doubts and embrace joy, being silly and heartfelt, noticing the things the kids really relate to, and just using your own imagination without boundaries.
I think we are all brave, anyone who attempts to find something new in the airwaves, each time we start fresh with a blank page for a new song. Crafting with a learner's heart and a listening ear to the cues and currents in the world where song ideas come from is a pretty cool obsession, one that I hope more and more kids embrace too. When it comes down it maybe the best thing any of us can do is just keep on muddling along: 3 chords and Still Looking For The Truth.