‘How Strangers Online Helped Me Make A Breakup Album’

Headspace Album Art + FINAL COVERBeing a successful songwriter doesn't necessarily mean you need to have musical experience. After going through a tough breakup, this artist turned to a community of strangers online to help her turn her written feelings into a complete album of songs.


Guest post by Arianna

January was a rough month for me. After going through a breakup, I found myself alone with my feelings at 2am, again. Of course, I’d gone through breakups before, but the depressing January climate and parade of Facebook engagements made this one hit harder than most.

Being the millennial that I am, I fell down a Google rabbit hole of “breakup advice.” You know the type you find in those moments of despair. I scrolled endlessly finding no comfort in traditional advice, like, “don’t text him,” or, “don’t look at his social media.” I sighed and tossed in bed. I sat up and began writing down my feelings, trying to find solace enough to, at least, fall asleep.

IMG_3027 (1) (2)All week, I had been looping “Consequences” by Camila Cabello and Hozier’s, “Someone New.” I turned my emo playlist back on as I wrote and wondered how artists make something so sweet from their pain.

I went back to my blank screen and typed my feelings about the breakup. I questioned whether I had ever been in love or if I had only liked having a relationship to distract me from my own mind.

“Maybe I loved you…. Or maybe I loved the vacation from my own anxieties,” I wrote. I continued to type furiously, “I tried to see you clearer… the more I saw, the more we crumbled…” The words seemed to flow effortlessly, and I soon had a page of text about my feelings.

Thinking back to the songs I had been drawn to over the past few weeks, I wondered if it was possible to try and turn my words into music.

I didn’t think the idea through much and, in about ten minutes, tweaked my poem a bit to rhyme better. (That was the only thing I knew about song lyrics–that they usually rhyme. Think Oasis: and after allllllll, you’re my wonderwall ????)

The tears have dried and the feelings distant now

Maybe I loved you

Or maybe I loved

The vacation

From my own anxieties

Maybe that’s all you were, someone.

Your soul was hidden

And when I got a glimpse

It was broken, ridden with pain

I tried

To see you clearer

The more I saw

The more we crumbled

Maybe I loved you

Or maybe I loved

The vacation

From my own anxieties

You’ll always have a place in my heart

I knew that from the start

That very first day was electric

You were more than a sum of a part

But time can make us crumble

When the foundation isn’t there

Maybe I loved you

Or maybe I loved

The vacation

From my own anxieties

If you have ever gone to karaoke with me, you know that you’ll soon drown in embarrassment by association. As someone who can’t sing or play an instrument, I never thought music creation was an option for me. Regardless, I Googled, “how to create a song,” and read through a few articles, knowing I definitely needed to find someone to help me. I wondered if a freelance marketplace might be the answer. I remembered that while browsing Fiverr weeks ago for design, I had found all sorts of talent from designers to writers. I wondered if maybe there were musicians on the platform.

My eyes lit up as I saw pages of artists with profiles reading, “I can write your song.” I’ve been an outsourcing veteran for years, contracting design and content work for my marketing agency. My strategy has always been to test out a few people and don’t give up until you find what you’re looking for. I hired a few people to sing my songs as a test, spending around $100.

I woke up the next day and got back a very rough sample from someone. I turned on the track, excited to hear. It was okay, but didn’t evoke much emotion. I forgot about the project and went on with my day. Later, I got back another sample from a talented artist named Matt. I turned it on and started to cry. It was beautiful and encapsulated all of the emotions I had been feeling while writing.

That day, I listened to the song on repeat until it was glued in my head. It was an epiphanic moment–maybe I really could pursue songwriting, with the help of Fiverr talent. Over the next few months, I continued to produce my music and found Julian, a vocalist, and Nathaniel, a producer, on the platform to help me create a new version of the song that I’m releasing on an album called Outsourced Feelings.

To start making your own songs, grab a pen and start writing. Then, you’ll be ready to find a talented freelancer to help you–you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you can find. 

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