songs in my head

what makes some people have songs in their heads? as long as i can remember, i have had songs in my head. sometimes i have gone through the process of finding paper or a computer or a note on my phone to write them out. sometimes i am singing them in a dream and i wake up, keeping my eyes closed until i remember. sometimes i record them.

i hear music almost all the time, if i’m in easy company i sing or dance to it, and people laugh. sometimes i hear a jukebox of every song i’ve ever heard, spliced together into intricate mix tapes; then there’s a segment of it that i can’t recall ever hearing, new genres, new sounds.

there are many kinds of songwriters. the good ones construct really brilliant songs, thinking about the hook and the verses and the bridge and the chords. then there are people like me who just hear songs, complete and whole with words and melodies and harmonies and instrumentation.

when i hear beats, which i do a lot – i have the privilege of hearing beautiful, brand-new beats – i hear full songs over them. at several points in my life i’ve made a plan for a CD, a music career, something like that. but i was blessed with a loud voice and not a great ear. when i sing, it’s an effort of the heart, plus faith. all these songs in my head just live in my head, or on paper, or on a good day, in garageband.

i often can’t hear what’s happening around me because of the song that’s going in my head. if i like it – i repeat it over and over till i can get somewhere and write it down. everything that happens to me shows up in songs – this is fun for loved ones. and i wonder, for all the folks who hear whole inner dialogues, who have multiple personalities, who can’t tell the difference between dreams and waking life, who experience intense paranoia, who are more musicians than human…how do we walk through the world with all these songs in our heads?