A Note From Natalie • Hookist

A Note From Natalie

Natalie B&W in window

 22 February 2015
Hey Hookists!

I’m excited to finish this chorus for our song but I think a lot of you didn’t watch my video yesterday. It had a lot of info on what I needed to finish it and the type of lyrics I was looking for. I know it was long but there was a lot of info in it and we had some big work to do to finish this chorus…

I really wanted to get a lyric for the end of the chorus that was connected so I wanted you to submit longer lyrics (couplets or even triplets) that rhymed with the “ee” rhyme from our first line and ended with the words “Unopened Letter.”

Only four of you submitted lyrics like that. :’(

So… I went with one of those lyrics and we’re going to have another round to end these chorus lyrics because I would love to use the melody for the triplet idea.

First thing – Kudos to M. Ocho, Paul Georke and MJ Frith for submitting lyrics in the form I asked for!!

I also pulled lyrics from Kathryn, Pamby1 and Tod Hughes’ submissions to try and work in. Great job you guys! These were some of my favorites:

“These words are empty…” – MJ Frith

“Trapped forever in an unopened letter” – MJ Frith

“Words drifting through the breeze” – Pamby1

“Forget about guarantees” – Kathryn

The winning lyric today goes to Jerry!!! Congrats again! 🙂  Jerry submitted: “To me you’ll always be, my unopened letter.”

I think that’s a great idea that connects to the lyric’s we’ve had before and gets to our title “Unopened Letter” really nicely too.


Okay, listen up!!! Here’s your challenge for the next round.

As I said above, I like the feel of the suspended E Major to e minor chords I played that needed a triplet of lyrics from you guys. I think they give the listener a big clue that the chorus is ending and setup the title so it stands out when you finally hear it after that extra measure of the e minor chord.

I want you to write something that goes with our line from today: “To me you’ll always be, my unopened letter.”

My goal with the end of this chorus is to have something that serves the WHOLE song and also sounds like something you would speak.

  • You can either add a line before the line from today OR in the middle of it.
  • Rhyming: If you add a line before the line today then it should use the “ee” rhyme scheme. If you put it in between the line (adding another thought/lyric where the comma is) then it doesn’t have to rhyme.
  • Syllables: Use 6 syllables if you do a line before the line from today. If you think your line should go in the middle then it’s more flexible with how many syllables to use.
  • Watch the video from yesterday to hear the melody and triplet idea for I’m talking about. It’s towards the end of the video so you can start at the 2/3 mark and hear it. Ignore the “or it can be….” Because we’re going to go with the suspended feeling of the e minor to really setup the title of the song and last line of our chorus.

We’re sooooo close to a finished chorus, you guys! And, I know I’m giving you really specific notes for this but you’ll have until Tuesday to think about something perfect. I have a couple things I have to do tomorrow including a callback for that audition I told you guys about way back on our first video. But I can’t wait to see what you come up with for this!

Happy hook writing!!


From Hookist:  Depending on Natalie’s schedule, we may or may NOT have a winner tomorrow, but we since we are working on a pivotal part of the song, that may not be a bad thing!  Rock on, you guys!  You are really making this song something special!


12 February 2015
Hey Hookists!

Amazing work again. You guys make choosing a lyric so hard for me and are sending in so many great lyrics!

This process is interesting for me because in some ways it’s different from how I normally co-write but maybe in ways it’s really similar… When I write a song, I always want to be as clear as possible with the story and message of the song. There is usually a LOT of back and forth with my collaborator and more lyrics get written than eventually used in the song.

There are also a lot of kudos given to each other for lyrics we love that may never find a home in the song and lyrics we throw out just to lighten the mood and laugh… it is just a song, after all, and anything is possible!

That said, sorry if you guys were pulling for Jerry’s pregnancy lyrics!  I know I did say in my last video to get more specific but…  🙂

…in all truth, I think we should go with the story that the person singing the song wrote the letter and received it back unopened – which is another one of Jerry’s lyric ideas! 🙂

Congrats again for this winning lyric, Jerry. You’re on a roll!!

I wrote this, with a heart so tender. Today it arrived, return to sender. Jerry Brace

I think this sets up a good chorus to be about the unopened letter. In the last video, I asked you guys to get more specific and this connects really nicely from the 1st verse lyrics into more of the story and some clarity/depth into the character singing.

I loved a lot of the other lyrics, too…

Things I did, that you forgave, will haunt me now, ’til I’m laying in my grave  – GT Edwards

 Words not said in between the lines, you can’t hear them but you know they’re lies  – songirl

Time can not change the message of the note / But the reader may be altered by those words that you wrote  – Michael Sean

 I’m still not sure of how I should feel/What’s right or wrong or what’s even real  – Wally Peters

These all stopped me in my lyrical tracks! Kudos you guys! And, kudos to everyone submitting and commenting on each other’s work – I love to read the comments and I’m loving the conversation on Facebook about unopened emails, too!

Working on the chorus next, I would love to see more “furniture” as they say in country music. I want you to get more specific with the lyrics and I’m going to be choosing one line at a time so there is really space for you to dig in and paint a vibe with images and clarity.

An example of a “furniture” lyric from my song, One More Thing:

I set down hope on the table mat
A glass of this, a taste of that

Or from my song, Streetlamp Musician:

Flowers and cigarettes on Hudson and Bleecker
Jet black and jet set to anywhere a little further than here
Sneakers and high heels, I watch them walk by me
On streets that have been mine but I don’t know them anymore

There can still be poetry in the lyric, but the imagery grounds the lyric and gives the listener more for their imagination to play with.

So… there you go! I’m so excited to be doing this with you guys! Can’t wait to see what we come up with for the chorus!!



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