On Songwriting | Musings On How To Write a Song

Ed Roman On Songwriting

Ed Roman On Songwriting

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada. Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 600 stations worldwide.

Ed is a 2014 Artists Music Guild award nominee, a 2014 and 2018 International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) award winner, a two-time 2015 IMEA award nominee, a 2015 and 2016 Josie Show awards winner, an Akademia awards winner and a two-time Indie Music Channel award winner. Ed also won a 2017 Radio Music Award for Best Americana Artist and is a December 2018 Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist. The animated music video for the title track from his latest album, Red Omen has been shown at numerous film festivals around the globe.

Ed is also a gentleman farmer, gardner and paranormal enthusiast.


What inspires you to write original music?

Ed Roman:

“I sing the body electric.”

One of the most thought-provoking awarenesses — and yet a paradox — is admission of the ego’s self-admitted flaws through the resonance of the “Forever Everything” in the human experience that occurs during songwriting.

Everything is happening in the Inspired musical experience, including the thoughts we have every day, the feelings and emotions we go through that are more like roller coasters intermingled with a virtual highway of information coming from all angles. It is our own personal akashic records and pallet of information to be able to use on every empty canvas of our imaginations.

Something out of completely everything and nothing that means everything and something to everyone, including the writer. That’s inspiration to me.


Where, in your opinion, do good original songs come from?

Ed Roman:

As I was mentioning, there’s so much going on in the songwriting experience and a big part of that is recognition and listening to what’s happening. Brian Eno once said Jimmy Hendrix was the first electric musician to pay attention to what he was doing.

In the process of discovery there’s an emotional bond between the mechanics of what is being pursued and the vibrant impact and confirmation for the listener/creator. This strength and validity reassures the formation of these ideas and thus translates itself through the player, the story, melody, lyric, chord arrangements, and more.

It’s like being able to carve an effigy of Billy Barty into the side of a mountain with your baby toe whilst juggling 70 jars of pickles. They come from that place in the galaxy where stars are made.


Do you have a predictable/repeatable process for writing original songs?

Ed Roman:

I sit down with my instruments and continually play with ideas, which I guess is predictable and repeatable for who I am 😉 One of the things I’ve learned over many years is that having equations in your process hinders your creativity.

That same thought process can be applied to creativity itself which is unhealthy and resisting. In other words, worrying about repeating familiar things for the sake of repetition can be unhealthy no different than always trying to push the envelope for the sake of the envelope. It behooves me to never ignore creation in whatever formula it comes. They are the necessary transmissions of the moment and I never deny simplicity or complexity if it so chooses to be a part of the equation.



What’s typically the easiest part of writing a song? 

Ed Roman:

The easiest part of writing a song is getting excited about the idea.

What’s the hardest part?

The hardest part is seeing it through to its technical completion and its eventual release to the community. There is an incredible amount of work that’s going on behind the scenes to bring you the “Number” ladies and gentlemen.

It’s all completely worth the effort. Like planting a garden, a seed that is cast into the earth and nurtured along its way will eventually provide emotional sustenance and fruit. It’s a full circle “connect effect” to the initial spark of the moment.


When your creativity hits a roadblock, what do you do to “summon the Muse” and get back on track?

Ed Roman:

Don’t get me started. I try to completely disconnect and involve myself in something that is detached from anything musical. I’m a musician but I’m also a human being LOL! Like anybody else we have emotional stresses and things in our lives that are beyond our
control or grasp. It’s important to navigate away from this repetitious creative block in order to find new emotional and mental horizons. I’ve seen it happen thousands of times and it all happened thousands of times again. The soul is fed new information and as a result an explosion occurs. A good explosion… BOOM!


What have you learned so far about marketing original music and getting your songs out there for others to hear?

Ed Roman:

There’s so many things going on in marketing but what I’ve learned is to be myself.

To talk about my experience and the things that are happening to me. It’s why I write the music and why I want people to listen to the lyrics. They are the attachment to “The Now.” I feel so uncomfortable not being myself and feel it false and phony and therefore I’m most relaxed and comfortable doing what I love most. Writing.Playing.Performing.


Who are some other songwriters you particularly enjoy listening to, and why?

Ed Roman:

I love good sarcasm in writing. Somebody give Samuel L Clemens a Fender Strat and a High Watt amp and let’s see what happens.

There’s like 10,000 groupings of lyrics I’d love to mention but it’s the tongue in cheek aspect to writing that turns me on. When something is said and it makes you think twice, three times maybe even 50 quadrillion things and even start looking in your mental and moral bottom drawer to find out what’s rattling. They make you uncomfortable and yet at the same time wet your drawers.


Of all the songs you’ve written so far, which is your favorite?

Ed Roman:

You may as well ask me to give up one of my children for medical experiments. Just kidding folks. I don’t have kids. Wish I did.

I’ve written a lot of music and a lot of feelings have come through me more like a vent in an old house attached to a furnace in the middle of winter. I think a song that says a lot about who I am in my personal experience in terms of why am here is the song called I Found God. You’re standing on it. I guess I consider myself some form of Neo-pantheist non-conformist and this song delves deep and personally into a lot of the feelings I have about life and my own personal existence. It’s something that I would want inscribed on my stone as an epitaph.


Read any good books lately that have provided creative inspiration?

Ed Roman:

I’ve really been digging this read by Zbigniew Brzezinski entitled “Between Two Ages” Quite an opening for the eyes, as it were, when it comes to sociology in the 20th and 21st Century.


Finally, what have you observed about the art of composing original music that might be helpful to other songwriters?

Ed Roman:

Songwriting has made me a seeker. It has made me a questioner of all things around me. It has provided a musical cathedral that houses my very existence. It is my protector, my keeper, my mentor, my captor.

The most important thing I have noticed is that when I listen very carefully just outside of the realm of my imagination, that the experience comes to you — an impulse — holding you close like a mother’s hand into her warm body. So you can hear her heartbeat, feel her safety and know that what you were about to admit and experience is real. Don’t fight it. Let it pull you through.

I’ve got to say a monster thank you for having me today. Your questions were like ambrosia and it was a pleasure to be able to speak with you.

Contact Ed Roman:


Booking Contact:

Michael Stover
MTS Management Group
michael [at] mtsmanagementgroup [dot] com


Tools of the Trade

What instruments do you use when developing a new song?

Fender Jazz Bass, Takamine Nylon string, Yamaha tour custom five piece

What devices do you use to record your songwriting ideas?

Everything from my Boss LoopStation to recording devices in my smartphone like Music Notes

Do you use any software in your songwriting process?

When it finally comes down to it and “I have to jump out of the helicopter Jim” my system in my home-built studio Area 51 is fully equipped with a 27-inch iMac Quad Core running
Snow Leopard 10.6.3 OS

Mackie 24

Condenser Mics:
MXL 2001 x2
Audio Technica 4033
Audio Technica Pro 37 x3

Dynamic Mics:
AKG D112
Shure SM57
Shure SM58

Are there any other items you consider essential for your songwriting toolkit?

My conscience 😉