‘Seinfeld’ rerun provided inspiration for singer/songwriter Paul Ford

Written by Carson James

Retro rocker Paul Ford is one of those gifted singer/songwriters that, for one reason or another, has been under the radar of mainstream consciousness. A large part of that is because of how segregated music has become. Ford neither fits into rock nor pop, neither commercial nor alternative. In today’s narrowly defined musical landscape you have to wonder how Tom Petty would’ve made it. But, given enough time and exposure, I like to think that Ford could eventually nab a larger audience. Until then, I will remain captivated by his new album, The Moon, in the privacy of my own airspace. For those unfamiliar with Ford, let the following interview provide an introduction.

Carson James: How do you approach your songwriting? Lyrics first, then the music?

Paul Ford: There are so many ways to write songs, and I have several methods of writing. Sometimes a song pops into my head-lyrics and melody completely without much thought or effort. We call those moments “true inspiration.” “If I Were Superman” (from The Moon) was one of these. Other times I will spin a line or melody around in my head for days or weeks, then sit down and try to write. I look at songwriting as kind a puzzle. You start with a thin frame work of an idea and fill it in with lyrics and melody.

James: What advice would you give to people who have just started writing lyrics.

Ford: I would say keep writing! Songwriting is a process. When you learn which processes works best for you, keep doing. It. They are not all gonna be gems. Don’t be afraid of that. The good songs come from repeating the process, changing it up a little from time to time, and just doing it!

James: You’ve been in a number of bands before. What made you decide to go solo?

Ford: Bands are great fun and hard work, but hard to keep together in many cases. I have decided to concentrate more on songwriting and recording my songs. I would also be very interested to hear how other performers would sing, interpet and perform songs I have written. That would be really exciting and quite an honor.

James: Explain the inspiration behind “If I Were Superman.”

Ford: When I wrote “If I Were Superman,” I was laying in bed watching a Seinfeld rerun. It was the one with Terri Hatcher, who played Lois Lane once. I was watching the show, and the song plowed into my head like a lightning bolt. Lyrics, melody, bridge. It was nearly complete when I tried to get what I heard in my head down on paper. It’s in the key of B flat which I very seldom write in, but that is how it sounded in my head.

James: Your album, The Moon, has the cohesiveness of a complete album. When you recorded it, were you conscious of this being an “LP experience” -in other words, something that is greater as a whole?

Ford: Thanks for noticing! I grew up listening to the LP experience as it were. We didn’t mean to do it at first, I was trying to pick the best examples of my songwriting. When we started to put the tracks in order it seemed to have a cohesion to it. If you listen to it in order it’s kind of like an emotional journey through Happiness, Sadness, Love, Loss, Insanity, and Fear. They are all there! I hope the listener will enjoy it!


Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 7:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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