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Twelve songs – Twelve songs in one year

Twelve songs

What is “twelve songs in one year”? Basically,

I want to start writing my own songs. I have no idea how to do it, but I’m going to do it anyway, and I will write down my experiences on this blog.

My goal is to write 12 original songs in one year. The official start of the project is February 10th, 2018. But, well, if it takes longer, it’s not a bit deal. The most difficult part is actually to start.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been singing in a choir since I’m 8, I play the guitar, I’ve been part of several bands, and I use to study music theory. I did a few arrangements for songs, finding the chords, and I’ve been arranging a cappella songs, transforming existing songs in only-vocals versions.

But I never managed to write my own songs until now. That’s my challenge for 2018!

What I mean is, this is not a pro-blog, I won’t write tutorials or useful advice. I’m just going to learn when doing, and write it down in the same time. Everything is going to be home-made, I have no sound studio and no professional instruments. But I believe I can start with what I have, and see what happens.

I also hope that this project will bring on my way some other musicians, help me collaborate with people, make some discoveries and meet awesome people, and together we will improve.

These are the only things I have so far. And my laptop, proudly running with Ubuntu.

To help me, I will pick up a few constraints.

It’s very scary to start in front of a blank page, so in order to help me creating, I thought about several categories, and I will pick up some random constraints for each song.

Dance. I want my songs to be danced in bal folk or fest-noz, so I want their rythms to be based on existing european and breton dances. For example: mazurka, an dro, gavotte, polka…

Inspiration. I listed twelve styles or artists that I like, some themes, to give me a direction for the melody. For example: irish traditional, Cécile Corbel, electro…

Instrument & guest. I could write all of this alone, but something would be missing. I also want an opportunity to work with other musicians. For each song, I’ll pick up an instrument that I’d like to include in the piece, and ask someone who plays this instrument to write the piece with me. For example: piano, flute, electric guitar…

Lyrics. This will probably be the most difficult part for me. I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing to write. To help me start, I selected twelve words, topics, or emotions, that I think I could write about. If I’m stuck, I won’t hesitate to ask some friends for help. Examples: sailor song, “positive”, celtic celebration…

Language. I’d love to experiment a lot and be able to sing in plenty of languages, but let’s stay reasonable, I picked up only four of them. French of course, since it’s my mother tongue, English, I feel able to write lyrics in this language as well, German and Breton. For these two, I will have to ask for help, especially Breton that I don’t speak at all. It’s going to be fun!

Bonus. I want this experience to be social, so I’ll ask my friends and people reading this blog to suggest an extra constraint, just after revealing the others. I’ll include this constraints with the others to write the song. Don’t be too hard with me =)

So, I will select pick up one thing out of my list, for each category, randomly, and start working on a piece with these constraints. For example, it could be: a mazurka, with the music inspiration “punk”, adding a cello, with lyrics in French on the theme “postcard”. And someone would write a comment adding “you need to use the word ‘triceratops'”. Yay!

Note: I will try to follow the constraints, but I also leave myself the freedom to remove or change some of them, if the inspiration comes about something else. The point of these constraints is to help me create, not to block me.

By the way, the idea of this projects comes directly from a fantastic French Youtuber, PV Nova. I love his work on Expériences Musicales where he explains how the main music styles work, and in 2017, he started a project “10 days, 10 songs”, where he basically created one song a day, with constraints even crazier than mine. He’s starting again in 2018, by the way. I owe him a lot of my motivation in this project. Of course, he’s surrounded by professional musicians, I’m not, that why I didn’t keep the crazy “do everything in one day” part. Anyway, go and check his work, it’s amazing (and English subtitles are available).

And now, spoiler alert, here’s my board, and the constraints I prepared (before sorting them into small boxes):

And yes, it’s in French, but don’t worry, the whole content of this blog will be in English.


I’m going to share it all with you.

PV Nova does fancy making-of videos, well, I’m not going to do that, but I’m writing on a good old blog instead! I’ll share ideas, pictures, samples of sound, describe how I work, my motivation and despair, almost everything.

I have three goals behind that: stay motivated, gather feedback to support me, and document the process for later!

I’d be very happy if you leave comments (plus, when is the last time you let a comment on a blog, hmm?) or send a message to support what I’m doing.

Most of the content will be shared here. I don’t have a communication plan for social networks, since it would take too much time and I want to keep focused on the actual writing. So, well, you can… reactivated your RSS feed? Or just come here from time to time? #sucholdschool

Oh and, if you know me a bit, you already know that all the content that is published on this blog is released under CC-BY-SA. At least the text and the pictures. I’d like to to that with the songs as well, if my guests and co-writers agree.

You can be part of it too!

Apart from supporting me with a nice comment, you can also help me to work on my crazy project in several ways.

As mentioned above, I’ll ask for the “bonus constraint” each time I start working on a new piece, so you can suggest a nice constraint.

If you’re playing an instrument, and would like to be one of the guests, please write to me, I’d be very very happy to have suggestions. Even if the instrument is not on my list yet. In general, I would prefer people who live in Berlin, IRL collaboration is easier, but I can make exceptions. Let’s talk about this.

If you would like to help me with lyrics, pictures, or whatever idea you have, feel free to write me as well! Oh and, of course, if you own a professional studio full of crazy instruments. Or if you want to offer me chocolate. Chocolate always work for me.

Last but not least, if you have friends who could be interested by this project, or if you just want to share the link to the blog on your favorite social networks, that would be already wonderful =)



  • Gwenvred

    *Prie pour que le plinn soit en breton et que je puisse t’aider*

    J’adore ce projet! J’espère que tu vas réussir à le tenir. J’ai hâte de t’aider si possible (même si ce n’est *que* pour la contrainte de langue) et surtout d’écouter le résultat et de te lire régulièrement!
    Je suis complètement impressionnée par ta motivation \o/

  • ArCo

    Si tu as envie d’une 2° harpe en soutien, n’hésite pas 🙂

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