Creating & Composing

Akua KamauA few months ago I was speaking someone about the creation process and looking at the differences and similarities about how it works with both of us. She an artist, and I was very surprised at the similarities with how we both created something (in her case artwork, in mine music) from nothing.

For starters, when we are composing it starts with a vibe (a very urgent, very burning need to create). At this stage apart from knowing that it is a song, I really do not know what it is that is going to be created. I have no idea about chord progressions, drum sequences etc. I only know it is a song simply because that is what I do. This stage can last from a few days to even weeks. Thereafter, I get the feeling for the drum sequence i.e. slow, medium or fast. The kind of drumming ie. ethnic congas, or regular kick drums and snares etc. While this is going on, the sounds of the chords begin to make themselves heard, in my mind. Things will remain at the stage for many weeks and sometimes even for months. During this period I will explore various sounds and textures to get a feel for which one(s) best capture what I am feeling inside my head. There are times when I simply cannot decide and this serves to extend the process even more. There are even times when new inspiration overshadows what I originally felt and owing to the strength of this new inspiration, I am forced to suspend work on the original song and go with the stronger inspirational vibes. I remember when I started work on a song called Children Of The Rainforest, I suddenly felt a new vibe and the end result turned out to be Nakupenda. What I felt while composing Children Of The Rainforest was real sadness and despair, however I felt love and happiness while composing Nakupenda, so the nature of the vibe is a hint at the type of song that is being composed. For me, I always think about The Ancestors especially while I compose. Those who have been here before us and are no longer in the flesh.

Akua KamauAkua Kamau