I love storytelling songs. They take me on a journey, and oddly, the more specific they are, the more they resonate with me. When I first started writing, I thought all songs had to be told from my point of view if they were in first person. Weren’t all writers telling their own stories? I’ve learned that’s not always the case and speaking from my limited point of view was limiting what I could write.
I've taken several classes from Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters who are both brilliant storytellers. They both have said that songs don’t have to tell your LITERAL truth, but they must tap into a universal EMOTIONAL truth. By using different points of view for my narrator, doors suddenly opened to new songs. Old Habits is a perfect example. My narrator is a middle-aged woman, struggling to find work and love and turning to her tried and true pick-me-ups to get her through. The emotional truth is that we all have habits and patterns we fall in to when we're stressed. I have another song I hope to release that is told from the point of view of the family table. The table was perfect vehicle to express the emotional truth I wanted to express. I do have many songs told from my point of view, several of which are on my album.
If you are new to songwriting, I challenge you to find the emotional truth you want to convey and then search for the right narrator and story to convey that truth. Sometimes it will be you and your personal story and other times it may be someone else's story.