The Music of Kelly Van Shaar

Frequently Asked Questions

  What process do you go through in writing a song?
Usually for me the song starts with a snatch of melody and a key phrase. It may be only one or two lines, or less. The way that little bit of melody and the text fit together portray the way I felt at the time. Usually if I sing the melody in my head for very long then I start getting cool harmony ideas. If something sounds like some other song I know, then I usually throw it out.

At this point I will get on the computer with two windows open: one for composing the music and a text editor for doing the lyrics, if there are any. I try to get as much of the melody and harmonies done as possible, and sometimes the lyrics just fall into place along with that. Usually I write the melody first and then the bass line comes pretty easy. After that I just fill in the middle parts and try to give them some interesting rhythms that are varied from the rhythm of the melody.

Then I usually write freestyle to express all the connected feelings I'm having. Sometimes a natural rhyme will come out of this process; sometimes not. But I don't force it at that point or worry about meter.

After I get the feelings all out in freestyle, I will go back through and try to organize them in logical sequence and try to put some more rhymes together. I am not a stickler for every line has to rhyme, but it really bugs me when songs act like they're going to rhyme, but then don't.

All in all, it's a lot of jumping back and forth to follow various ideas as they come.

Drums/percussion are usually the very last thing that I add. I hear the beat in my head anyway, so it's not really important to me to get it notated right away. If I decide that other people need to hear the beat as well, then I'll add a drum track. My percussion is nothing to write home about; I usually write a simple 2 or 4 bar pattern and repeat it throughout the song, with variations as needed for emphasis.

 

Are these really questions people frequently asked, or questions I frequently hoped they would ask? Maybe both.

I would like to start doing some of my own recordings but I don't have a lot of money to invest. What are your recommendations?

What is your family situation?

If you do so much video work, why aren't there more music videos for your songs?

Who are your greatest musical influences?

What hardware / software do you use?

How long does it take you to write and record a song?

What process do you go through in writing a song?

I notice that a lot of your music has Christian messages and/or scriptural references. What are your religious affiliations?

I want to do something artsy, but I don't think I have a creative or musical bone in my body. How do I get started?