Songwriting: Head or Heart // Luke Hellebronth

This post originally appeared on Bespoke Records

Bono said “You can have 1,000 ideas, but unless you capture an emotion, it's an essay.” 

I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently, being someone who gets to put words in people’s mouths to sing. Often as songwriters, we think it’s head or heart. There seems to be this ‘either or’ decision to make, but that is too simplistic. I don’t want to leave my brain at the door. I believe we were made with a direct connection between what we think and feel, that to me is what makes us human. However, I know for me, without the heart engaged what I’m singing doesn’t go to the deeper place, maybe even to the soul. I’ve come to love the more simple songs recently, the ones that somehow get me to a space that doesn’t bypass what I’m thinking or processing but helps me to land into a greater freedom, somewhere that’s hard to find in this world. 

In that space anything can happen! I love the range of expression that can be drawn out of humanity through song. I fully believe God made music to influence and even perhaps ‘manipulate’ the heart, not in a controlling way but as a powerful gift to humankind. The great composer Beethoven put it like this “Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” A little bit sexist but you get his point. I’ve seen men crying and women jumping up and down just because of what a song means to them or helps them process. I think of Saul and how David was specifically sought and called in to play for him because he had a musical gift. 1 Samuel 16:23 says ‘relief would come to Saul’ and ‘he would feel better’ after David took up his lyre. As a songwriter I want to write more songs and music that does that for people, surely that’s where the magic is.


Luke Hellebronth, Global Director of Worship Central