Exploring the Psychology of Songwriting with Jefrey Siler

by | May 15, 2024 | 0 comments

Interview with Jefrey Siler:

In a captivating interview on our psychotherapy podcast, singer-songwriter Jefrey Siler gave us a deep dive into his creative process and the psychological underpinnings that shape his music. Siler, whose latest album “Jefininetly” is a testament to his introspective and honest approach, opened up about the importance of vulnerability, authenticity, and staying true to oneself as an artist.

One of the central themes that emerged from our conversation was the concept of belonging and how it has influenced Siler’s songwriting journey. “I think that you’re trying to build your community of people who make you feel like you belong,” he explained. “And that’s what you’re trying to do [as a songwriter]. You’re trying to create a space where you and your listeners can connect on a deeper level, where they feel seen and understood.”

This desire for connection and understanding is beautifully showcased in Siler’s lyrics, which often delve into the complexities of human emotions and experiences. “I want people to feel like I’m being conversational and honest with them,” Siler shared. “If you’re asking for their undivided attention, then you want to make sure that what you’re offering is rewarding. You want them to come away from the experience feeling like they’ve gained something meaningful, like they’ve had a genuine encounter with another person’s truth.”

Siler also touched on the challenges of being vulnerable as an artist and how exposing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings can be both daunting and liberating. “The more honest and vulnerable you are, the brighter your light shines,” he said. “But it can also make you feel incredibly insecure because you’re constantly questioning yourself, wondering, ‘Is this actually how I feel? Is this my authentic voice?’ It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there like that, to risk being judged or misunderstood. But I think it’s necessary if you want to create something that truly resonates with people.”

This willingness to confront the uncomfortable and probe deeper psychological truths is a hallmark of Siler’s songwriting, particularly on his latest album “Jefininetly.” Tracks like “Heart Decides” and “Let Somebody In” grapple with the messiness of relationships, the push and pull of intimacy, and the ways in which we often sabotage our own happiness. As Siler put it, “I’m trying to draw from the stuff that happens in real life, the things that we all struggle with but maybe don’t always have the words for. I want to give voice to those experiences and emotions, to let people know that they’re not alone in feeling them.”

Siler’s commitment to lyrical honesty is evident in the way he approaches the craft of songwriting itself. “I wish I wouldn’t have chickened out on some of the lyrics,” he admitted. “Like in one song, I said ‘foolish’ instead of ‘stupid.’ ‘Stupid’ lands with more of a thud, it has more impact. But I shied away from it because it felt too blunt, too harsh. In retrospect, I wish I would have just gone for it, because that’s the word that really captures the feeling I was trying to convey.”

Throughout our conversation, Siler emphasized the vital role that therapy has played in his development as both a person and an artist. “When you go to therapy, you don’t necessarily come out feeling happy,” he reflected. “But you do come out with a clearer mind and more realistic expectations about life. It’s not always an easy process – there’s a lot of grief involved in accepting things about yourself and your past that you maybe wish weren’t true. But having a therapist there to guide you through it, to help you see that these challenges are a normal part of the human experience, is incredibly valuable.”

For Siler, engaging with the psychological dimensions of songwriting has been a way of separating his authentic creative voice from the more neurotic impulses that can arise when we’re too focused on controlling how others perceive us. “When you have nothing to hide, when you’re not trying to present some idealized version of yourself, you can just say what you want to say,” he explained. “You can fly your freak flag, so to speak, and trust that the right people will be drawn to your message, that they’ll appreciate your honesty and vulnerability.”

This hard-won wisdom and commitment to truth-telling is what makes Siler’s music so compelling, both from a musical and psychological standpoint. His songs serve as a reminder of the transformative power of art, of its ability to help us make sense of our lives and feel less alone in our struggles. They invite us to confront the parts of ourselves that we might rather avoid, to sit with the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with growth and change.

In many ways, Siler’s approach to songwriting mirrors the work that we do as therapists. Just as a good therapist creates a safe space for their clients to explore their innermost thoughts and feelings, a skilled songwriter crafts melodies and lyrics that allow listeners to access their own emotional truths. And just as therapy is a collaborative process, with the therapist and client working together to gain new insights and perspectives, the relationship between a songwriter and their audience is one of mutual exchange, a shared journey of discovery and meaning-making.

As our conversation drew to a close, Siler offered some advice for other artists who might be interested in exploring the links between songwriting and therapy. “I would definitely encourage people to look into some of the cutting-edge therapeutic techniques that we discussed, like brain spotting and emotional transformation therapy,” he said. “These modalities can be incredibly powerful tools for accessing and processing the deeper psychological material that often fuels our creative work.”

But beyond any specific technique or approach, Siler emphasized the importance of cultivating a spirit of openness and curiosity, both in our creative pursuits and in our personal lives. “I think the key is to stay willing to engage with the parts of ourselves that we maybe don’t fully understand or feel comfortable with,” he said. “To keep asking questions, keep exploring, keep pushing beyond our perceived limitations. That’s where the real growth happens, and that’s where the most meaningful art comes from.”

As we wrapped up our interview, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for Siler’s willingness to share his insights and experiences with us. His music is a testament to the transformative power of vulnerability, to the way in which our most painful and challenging experiences can become sources of strength, wisdom, and connection when we have the courage to face them head-on.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to “Jefininetly,” I highly recommend checking it out. The album is available now on Bandcamp and all major streaming platforms. And if you’re an artist yourself, looking to deepen your own creative practice and explore the psychological dimensions of your work, I encourage you to take Siler’s words to heart. Embrace the discomfort, stay curious, and trust in the process. You never know where it might lead you.

Buy the album:

https://jefreysiler.bandcamp.com

Jefrey’s Webste:

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