Teenagers Write Songs for the Soul

Woodbridge High students describe their journeys as young songwriters

Photo by Emily Chin and Julie Yoo
To the right, students Saveena Patel, Robert Tambe-Taka, and Juila Dest sing their heart out to their orgianial songs

Behind every great singer lies an even better song, because without a melody accompanied by harmonious lyrics, a voice simply cannot be showcased to its utmost potential. Songwriters take on this significant task of fabricating vocal compositions. Three Woodbridge High songwriters, senior Saveena Patel, senior Robert Tambe-Taka and freshman Julia Deist, share their journeys of treading through the imaginative, soothing and sometimes tedious waters of composing music as young artists.

These songwriters create songs for their own individual reasons, ranging from a cathartic means of unleashing emotions to acting as a unique hobby.

“Songwriting is like a journal,” Deist said. “ You put your feelings in it and make it your own.”

“I write songs because it’s how I stave off boredom,” Tamba-Taka said. “But also because it’s an expression of whatever emotion I’m feeling.”

The first step in the songwriting process is to determine the theme. Songwriters garner different affinities for certain subjects and styles in order to capture specific feelings or memories.

“[Nature] is a lot of my inspiration,” Patel said. “When I write my songs, a lot of the times I sit by this big window in the front of my house. I look out and see the beauty of the world or the pain that it brings me.”

As teenage songwriters, these artists are capable of reflecting their own high school experiences into their songs. High school is an impressionable time for youth, a blend of high expectations and hardships paired with new and refreshing opportunities to elevate learning, athletically train and form new bonds. These four years propel teenagers to practice soul-searching and to analyze their relationship with society, including people and even pop culture.

“The songs I write usually have a mellow tone to them, to contrast with the loudness of everyday life and the music that plays on the radio a lot of the time,” Tambe-Taka said.

“When I entered high school I felt a big change in the amount of work and classes that I was taking, and it added a lot of stress into my life that I was not used to handling,” Patel said. “By writing songs I was able to relieve myself of some of that stress by putting it to good use.”

When inspiration is unearthed, the technical songwriting follows. There are no strict guidelines that a songwriter has to abide to. Depending on personal preference, the songwriter can create the lyrics first, then compose the melody afterwards, do it vice versa or simultaneously.

“[Creating songs] is so random,” Deist said. “One time at swim, I heard a rhythm in my head of me swimming. It literally comes out of nowhere.”
Despite the endless methods of songwriting, the process is not always smooth sailing. When feeling stuck in a song, the artists tackle these hurdles by changing locations or taking a break.

“There’s a song that I’ve been working on since eighth grade that I have not finished yet,“ Patel said. “It means so much to me, and I know when the time is right it’ll come.”

Despite the obstacles, these songwriters continue to pursue their passion and hone their skills of transforming ideas and emotions into prose and melodies. Whether they keep songwriting as a hobby or tie it into their future careers, these artists have successfully found a way to establish a unique and creative outlet to further connect with themselves and the world.