To say that Michael Farren is one of today’s top songwriters is a bit of an understatement. Besides penning “Let It Rain” which has sold a mere 2 million copies, been translated into multiple languages, and is impacting worshipers across the globe, Michael has written and is writing many of todays top songs for Christian Artists and churches. As a signed staff writer for Integrity Music he often writes and delivers more than 100 songs a year. So how does he keep inspiration fresh? Here are some things I’ve observed him say:
- Gear is always set up: Just like most of us Michael is always busy with something. Business, Church, Family, and just…life have their demands but he is always ready to record the moment inspiration does strike. Guitars are set out, keyboards are on, and the microphones are hot. Just yearning for him to push the big red record button.
- Sounds that inspire: The right sound can make all the difference. It can bend your ear towards a melody or strike your imagination. When he finds those products that do that, he buys them. Two of them are “The Giant” plugin by Native Instruments and instrument preset from Abel Mendoza’s company ‘That Worship Sound’
- Instruments That Have Songs In them: How do you buy a guitar as a songwriter? It’s not the best one or the most expensive. But rather, you pick the one that has the most songs in it. Sounds dumb, but it’s true. You play a bunch of instruments and see which one makes you want to sing a new song and which ones make you want to play an old tune. Then purchase accordingly.
- Alternative Instruments That Play the Same as a Guitar: Don’t play the banjo or the Mandolin? No problem. As mentioned before the right sound bends your creativity in new directions but sometimes we are hampered by our playing abilities. A few easy solutions are two instruments that Michael keeps close by. The first is a Ganjo – a banjo that has the neck of a guitar. The second is a ‘Nashville Strung’ guitar – accomplished by taking a pack of 12 string guitar strings and then only using the higher string for each note. (hint: use the other stings for your regular guitar)
- Listen to Peoples Prayers: If worship songs are supposed to communicate a persons heart to God, then it stands to reason we should be listening to more than just our own heart. When people pray, add your agreement and pay attention.
I’m sure I’ll have more nuggets of wisdom to share as I spend more time around the All About Worship offices and studio. I will pass them along as we go.