Interviews Q&A

Top 25 Interviews of 2014: No. 3 Westin Davis

It’s crazy how after just one phone conversation your whole perspective on songwriting can change. That’s exactly what happened after I interviewed Westin Davis. The songwriter behind many of my favorite songs by Kip Moore (“Dirt Road,” “Young Love,” “Lipstick”), the more I talked to Westin the more he gave me faith in my dream to be a songwriter. He told me he didn’t learn the craft of songwriting until he rolled up his sleeves and started putting the work in.

Westin explained that inspiration for a song comes from everywhere. He could be driving down the road, remembering a conversation he had or just thinking about his own life. What struck me most throughout our chat was his honesty. He opened up about his past and his struggles, never holding back. He even gave me advice when  I confessed that it’s my goal to write a song.

Below is some of the transcription from our chat. Stay tuned for my article on songwriting, which will feature Westin, early next year.

“I carry all of my yesterdays into my co-writes. I carry my home town, I carry everything bad that ever happened to me. So when I’m writing, I’m giving everything I have just like an entertainer would if he was performing for an audience. There still is that thing deep within me where the only motivation I need is my past. I take what I do very seriously.

“I think writing in general is therapy. Somebody told me recently, they said, ‘Man, I can hear you in every song that someone else sings or every song that I hear you play. I can hear your life story in it.’ I’ve always drawn from my life. I’ve been very fortunate to have very rainy days and sunny days. I’ve been very fortunate to live in black neighborhoods, to be poor, to be around crack dealers and drug dealers. To drive to a family member who lives 30 miles down the road and has more money than he knows what to do with and to see that side of life. And also be in love and out of love and heart-broke and lose somebody. I know that might sound crazy. It wasn’t until I started writing, that I looked back and actually thank God for hard times because I can draw from a deeper well than most people.

“If you want to be the best writer read books. Find out words. Follow the people you look up to. See how they said something and say, ‘Oh my gosh, they said that in a different way. How could I do that?’ It’s like anything. The beautiful thing about writing is it gives you the freedom and a sense of pride. Take a leap.”