Listeners finding their own meaning in the songs of an artist

I’ve been wondering about how it feels as an artist to know that people are finding their own meanings in songs. Obviously, an artist has their own feelings/memories/thoughts associated with songs and then, the listener will also associate their own feelings/memories/thoughts to a specific song. Is it something that feels validating as an artist ? Is it something that an artist strives for ?


It’s very validating! That’s the moment other people take the song away from you, which is one of my greatest aspirations. During a show, there are certain songs that start to feel like they’re for them, not me. It’s humbling. You kind of lose the instrument in your hands and do the thing – sort of a dreamy state for me. Even Great Things does this a lot, we share it. Whereas new music, especially if they don’t know it, feels like “performing” and requires a different kind of focus to make a connection.


I often think about it too, in terms of interpretation. Every artist has their own creative mission and each one of the audience can do whatever they want in their mind with the art. How do you find balance not overthinking that part of the process when creating? Do you consider listeners’ possible interpretation at all while making your music and if so, how does it affect the outcome? I’m not asking whether you strive to deliver a clear message or way of interpretation (because that obviously depends on the song and those that are unclear remain a scattered puzzle forever and that’s their beauty) but you know :slight_smile:

Good question @krolewskie. For me, the thing I’m making should be as honest a story or feeling as I can get across. And the spark that starts most tunes is often a powerful feeling, so it’s (normally) written before I can lose track. It’s strong so it, like, can’t be about anything but that one thing. And when it’s taking time to finish something, one of my biggest concerns is preserving the original intention.

Just as a personal preference, I tend to avoid thinking of a songs alternate meanings until it’s buttoned up. Then it’s interesting to approach it from different perspectives. And I’m always surprised by other peoples’ interpretations. It’s always cool to see.


It’s cool how a listener reverses the process in their head. When I get the first impression associated with my personal experience, then discover other possible meanings and eventually figure out (or not) the author’s original thought and then wonder what made them write that particular weird line or why this chord here, does that mean something or is it random…
Or how our interpretations can evolve over time and different contexts we perceive the art in, are those pieces the best or is it just growing up changing perspective? :upside_down_face:

A bit of both in my stuff, honestly :stuck_out_tongue:

My favorite bit. Some of the older tunes means something else to me now, because I’ve seen people’s experience with them live.

Hard to say! There are certain pieces that are the best for me, in that they say what I wanted in a way that feels deeply honest and true, but if they don’t connect, maybe they’re selfish in a way? It’s hard to know in the moment, but I do question working in lines that only I’ll understand fully. Because even if the goal is to write about a singular thing, it’s kind of a layer on top of that to be secretive. And feels a bit like hiding.

1 Like

Thank you for such deep insight!

I do suppose there is some random stuff in your music. But how did that holy chord progression from closedloop happen, that I can’t even-
Still working on that cover by the way (mentioned a life ago at the zoom conference). We got stuck on so many things in the past months that eventually I stopped liking the way it was played, truly a riddle for a guitar to make it work… now my dear guitarist has lots of exams (ugh education) so I’m postponing the whole project just for this bunch of chords, that’s how much I love this song :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And that’s one of those that change their meaning accordingly to whatever is happening in my life and always fits like a glove.

I often catch myself revisiting old lyrics I had written before trying to figure out what the hell was that supposed mean. Even if I remember it was not random at all, only I really didn’t want to be straightforward about it. Not the same thing but I sure feel that hiding part. Sometimes from myself, I’d say.

(so talk about selfish - or should i rather say SHELLfish - do you even know for sure what it told you?)

Ha! May be the longest I’ve practiced something before recording it. Really tried to make something sound fierce but unsure of itself… kind of like it couldn’t find its footing, even though it was trying to establish itself. I’m sure it raised some music-theory eyebrows. Would love to hear the cover whenever it’s done!

I guess this is me breaking my own rules a bit, haha. Deliberately though! Was sort of saying I wasn’t ready to leave that place of comfort/ignorance and face things. The little seashell had the ocean in it, the thing that takes everything away in the next song.

Woah. So simple. There are hardly any metaphors for my personal take on those songs, no wonder I wouldn’t see that. Thank you :)))

Well it is sort of done :sweat_smile: