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Emotions: my secret sauce

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

You wouldn't think it's difficult to let things out that you feel throughout the day. The ideal method being to express your feelings with those closest to you: A significant other, a close family member or a best friend. But as the years go by, the case changes to a point where there's either very limited emotional expression in a person or too much. And it comes out in all kinds of ways.

Some people vent in the gym, some have minor outbursts every time they get into a heated discussion or hold on until they get into a big argument. But the artist has quite the smoothest way out to vent and get rid of all underlying emotional burdens wearing them down: their art.

Art is such a lovely way to get thoughts out. You can stay silent about things that illegally occupy your mind all day, but on a blank canvas.. you could be screaming your heart out. Unfiltered. It's a kind of freedom I wish everyone could feel, even those who maybe aren't into the arts.

Now when you're done purging the mind of all its thought and become an empty canvas for the world to paint on, what you've made through the process is what you want to show the world.

In the process of learning music at my music school, I encountered so many artists who are perfectionists when it comes to playing an instrument. They would play each note down to the second and were almost machine-like. I would always be in awe of this ability when it comes to playing an instrument, specifically like an android designed to play the piano only.

I can manage my way around the piano, the guitar or a bass guitar.. but not in the way my counterparts would at the music school.

After a while, when we were taught the composition of music, they would follow the book and use music theory to figure in seconds what to make. This too left me in awe where all of them would be playing songs that sounded like future hits.. except that method of composing music always felt a little derivative. Using only music theory to compose music is one way to go about making music.. but there are others.

Yours truly decided to follow this method and try to compose something, just like my counterparts.


I had a typical pop song progression ready in seconds. I can't begin to describe how colourless it sounded to me. These predetermined structures, majorly loved by radio stations weren't nearly as dopaminergic as my own tunes that did not necessarily follow this method of creation. It was like eating a fresh piece of chewing gum out of its wrapper only to realise it had no taste.

What I usually do is use music writing as a substitute for diary writing. Perhaps not every day but I sit down to compose as often as I can when the days have been eventful. Especially when I have felt things.. I have had things on my mind or maybe have been feeling overwhelmed recently with certain embodiments of emotional stains on my soul. And so the way I go on about composing songs, is usually how a chord evokes a feeling or a mood. If chord-1 is saying something, then chord-2 has to also say something that adds to chord-1 and effectively communicates what I'm trying to convey.

As if I'm Aang (from Avatar The Last Airbender), I always feel like I activated my avatar mode when the feelings take control of the instruments.

I've found this method to drive my composition abilities more powerfully than following music theory. Don't get me wrong, that has its benefits too, of course. But the connection built between me and my music is somehow stronger this way. The chewing gum never loses its flavours.

Every time I pick up a guitar or a piano or sit down to make music, I have no preordained structure I want to follow. No blueprints I use to make my music.

Going to paraphrase an artist I heard say: "It is a conversation between me and the canvas. The world just happens to hear it after we're done like it was a podcast."

I am not sure if this applies to every artist out there, but for me and ask my creations as The VYB Project, this will always be the case.


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