LYRICS and SONG INSPIRATION: Steve make a bullet point summary of the main elements of Shawn’s Story. How does this help to writing song lyrics? Breaking down Shawn’s story helps us find which parts will have the most emotional impact. And there is one last little interview nugget I had to share: All Shawn’s Mom’s boyfriends bought him Barbies.

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Shawn’s Story

Here are the main pieces of Shawn’s story that I list in the video:

  1. His Free-Range Childhood
  2. His Teen Mom: She neglected him and later committed suicide
  3. The “Miss me, miss me, now you gotta kiss me” moment.
  4. His newfound love of Horses
  5. The realization that the his happiness took hold when he stopped feeling sorry for himself

Emotional Bang

Shawn is not a cry-er, that was obvious the moment we started to talk. Full disclosure, he even warned me when I approached him about appearing on the show, that he would not cry.

Yet you can feel that the memories hold a lot of power still. If I had to pick one, and only one, that would deliver an emotional impact for him, it would be the story of when his Mom chased him throughout the house, then caught him and kissed him everywhere.


That said, there really is a pretty rich “tableau” of images in Shawn’s story, even going back to when he was made to parade down the street like a model in high heels and towels for a dress and hair, by his warped Aunts. As I mentioned, the latter two events likely won’t make the cut.

I want to resist the urge to write something dark. Shawn’s song should be about who he is today. Shawn’s story is about overcoming pain, loneliness, rejection, and loss. Shawn doesn’t dwell in these feeling and neither should his song.

Writing Lyrics

Most successful songs celebrate the human spirit. They celebrate resilience and strength, and overcoming the worst of circumstances. Even if the message is simply, “I’ll live one more day.” And that’s a great place to start when you’re searching for LYRICS and SONG INSPIRATION

Discover Other Great Singers

Check out our other signers. Everyday real people who share their unique stories about overcoming pain and abuse and learning to thrive. Watch as Steve captures their unique stories with real songs about their lives.

What is Toronto Song Project?

Toronto Song Project is a Web Series where Steve searches the city for Real People with Real Stories, then writes them a real song based on their life events.

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