I’m writing this in lieu of the Writer Resources post I’m now three weeks late on (I promise it’s coming!). Music is a valuable tool for writers, I think; for artists in general. I listen to it when I draw and I listen when I write, or when I’m simply looking for inspiration for a story or I need that bit of motivation or encouragement. It’s a constant in my life, whether I’m walking or driving somewhere, and I wanted to share my personal favorites.
Alesana, from Raleigh, North Carolina have been my favorite band since their first album, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, debuted in 2006. With songs inspired by Greek mythology, it was one of the most engaging and dynamic albums I’d ever heard and the one that really got me into the post-hardcore/metalcore scene. On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax was followed by Where Myth Fades to Legend, another concept album, this time inspired by pop-culture (the first track is a reference to the TV show, Heroes) and the stories of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Now, as great as those two albums are, Alesana really cemented themselves as scene mainstays with their third album, entitled The Emptiness. This is where my love for all things Edgar Allan Poe and poetry come in. Shawn Milke and Dennis Lee, the frontmen and lyricists for the band, are huge Poe fans as well. The Emptiness follows a character called the Artist, who wakes in the middle of the night to find his beloved Annabel dead. As the story progresses, the listener/reader (Yes, reader: they include the actual story with the album!) learns the Artist has slowly fallen into madness, poisoned by the pictures he creates, and that Annabel’s death was imagined; that she is the one watching him.
Following The Emptiness are A Place Where the Sun is Silent (a sonic interpretation of Dante’s The Inferno) and Confessions (inspired loosely by Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time), the second and third albums in the Annabel trilogy, which throw further turns and twists at Alesana’s fans, with an ending that begs the question: where does the story start and where does it end?
Time travel; multiple dimensions; demons; and goddesses: you can see why the writer in me is so drawn to this band. They’re creative, always reinventing the wheel, so to speak, and genuinely great people who care about their art and their fans.
I found Lindsey Stirling by accident on YouTube a couple of years ago, and boy am I glad I did. I write fantasy, so string instruments are very appealing to me because of the imagery they evoke, especially the violin. Let me preface the rest of this by saying not only is Lindsey Stirling a phenomenal violinist and musician in general, she’s also a beautiful person, inside and out. I follow her on social media, I watch her YouTube videos, and I was lucky enough to see her live in Costa Mesa, CA a couple of weeks ago, and the way she interacts with her fans, treating them kindness and compassion, floored me.
And then we come back to the music. There’s a very folklore and seaside vibe to many of the songs; there are some that conjure images of magic and fantasy (which, if you’ve scene her music videos, makes a lot of sense); and there are others that feel personal. One of the coolest parts about Lindsey’s music is the absence of lyrics (in most). It allows the listener to focus on the violin (and the dancing!), but it also gives the audience the freedom to interpret the song in any way they see fit.
If you haven’t listened/seen her before, do go check out her YouTube videos, and do go pick up her new album, Brave Enough. Heck, pick them all up!
A writer has many tools at his or her disposal, and music, I believe is one of the greatest. We write about far off realms, snow-covered mountains, dragons, and magic, with so many places inspired by the images music evokes. Find something you like and let the music take you and your writing to that far off place.