Ane Brun: Songwriting is “magical”

The music magazine Three Monkeys has a great interview with Ane Brun in which she reveals her songwriting technique. While Leonard Cohen writes too many verses, Gillian Welch only records a song if she can remember it after weeks, Ane Brun is mostly “inspired by emotional and existential topics”.

In the interview with the Three Monkeys Magazine Ane Brun says that “something small” can trigger her ideas for a song. “I usually start with some kind of notion of something and then it grows into a bigger poetic world … yes that’s how I do it.” Sometimes she also gets inspired by “things outside of me.”

For example, the song One on her new album, which I reviewed, is about “human initiative and how revolution starts and how change starts.” For Ane Brun, these are “also existential questions in a way. I always try to bring back the ideas to myself and how I see life.”

Private moments in her songs

Sometimes a song Ane Brun writes, is very private. About her wonderful tune “Gillian”, which I love, she said: “That particular song was written in a very, very difficult time in my life. I’m not going to talk about the specifics about it because it’s personal and I want it to be private. This song is very much for the listener. I think a lot of people – most people can feel that they understand this song.” For her, music has many functions. “I use it for everything – I use it for comfort, for fun, for sleeping, for dancing…”

Ane Brun’s first writing attempts

Ane Brun still remembers the first song she ever wrote, a song in Spanish. She actually started out covering first. “I remember I had been playing covers for two, three years learning how to play guitar and I was very excited about playing guitar and singing.” Then she took the “next natural step” and thought, “maybe I should try to write something that’s mine?” She wrote a “little” Spanish song with a guitar picking “very much like a Ben Harper song.” Then she wrote more and more songs. “Then I wrote a few English songs after that and it was a real high to finish it. I was struck by it and haven’t stopped since.”

In the flow

Once Ane Brun starts a song, there’s no stopping. It’s a flow, an “almost religious feeling of disappearing into something creative.” For her that’s “magical”. That doesn’t mean that creativity comes easy to her. “It’s hard work and that’s why I always need space and time to finish songs for an album. I need to be able to focus because I can always sit on a bench somewhere and make a sketch for a song, but to finish it and really make it recordable and playable for an audience, I need to really focus. It’s quite an introvert, focused process. For me it’s a mix of both and I think that’s important.”

Read the full interview at the Three Monkeys Magazine.

Read how Leonard Cohen writes songs.

Read about Gillian Welch’s approach.

If you know of interviews where artists reveal how they write their songs, please comment and let me know.


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3 thoughts on “Ane Brun: Songwriting is “magical”

  1. That was inspiring, Nici, thank you!

  2. Pingback: Sinéad O’Connor about songwriting: I write from a different place « notnicolajames

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