SongTown USA: Why I Write

by Marty Dodson
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at 10:24am

People often ask me why I write songs.

The quick easy answer is "Because I need to."

Writing songs has been my way of processing life since I was 11 years old.

I think men often have trouble talking about our feelings. We tend to keep them to ourselves a lot of the time.

Early on, I discovered that I could sing about my feelings even when I couldn't talk about them. I guess it gives me just enough distance from them that it makes me feel safe.

I can project my feelings onto my character in the song and let "him" deal with them. I write because it is my therapy and keeps me sane.

I also write because I have to. Something inside me needs to have its voice heard. I have always looked at life differently than most people. I have questioned the status quo. I'm the one who says "the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Very early in life, I learned that this trait does not make you popular in a conservative church environment. So, I kept my voice quiet.

I became very shy and withdrawn because when I did speak out or share my thoughts on life, people looked at me like I had three heads. That voice inside me stayed quiet for a number of years, but it was killing me to keep it hidden.

I write because I believe I have something worth saying now - even if no one else "gets" me - I want and need to be heard. I have learned that keeping your "voice" silent is a slow painful death. So, I speak through my songs.

And, I write because I love writing. Writing has given me more than I could ever repay, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I love when new combinations of words come together and say perfectly what is in my heart. I wake up ever day thrilled that I get to write another song with another creative soul.

Bill Currington's official video for "Must Be Doin' Something Right."

One time, I was on the road writing with Billy Currington. He was opening for Kenny Chesney, so I got to see them perform 3 of my #1 songs each night. One night, I snuck out of the backstage area (I know it usually works the other way) and went out into the grassy area of the amphitheater where they were playing.

I sat in the grass surrounded by strangers and watched people slow dance to "Let Me Down Easy" and "Must Be Doin' Something Right." The whole crowd was singing along.

Then Kenny sang "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven." Everyone stood up. People raised their drinks in the air and went crazy dancing and singing.

As I watched, tears came. Maybe I'm the only person who ever cried during "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven," but it hit me in that moment that my voice had been heard. That my voice mattered. That speaking up and out can impact people's lives. And I realized….THAT is why I write on.

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here: www.facebook.com/songtownusa, at www.facebook.com/martydodsonsongwriter and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit martydodson.com