Graphic by staff graphic designer Sumen Imtiaz.

Writers of Tomorrow* is a Slice of Culture series where we will strive to highlight our writers of tomorrow — aspiring novelists, songwriters, fanfiction writers, playwrights and more.

As we all know there are dozens of different types of writers; from humor to horror, fiction to nonfiction, factual to fantastical and much more. Today we will be looking into a type of writer that virtually everyone can appreciate — songwriters. 

Like any other entertainer, songwriters give so much more than tunes people can dance to — there are many songs that speak on serious issues within our community and even inspire people to better themselves. 

For some, the right song can even empower them to believe in themselves. 

Songwriter Chris Subol, 22, from Jersey City is one of the members of Shola Aurora, a local band who has performed at multiple venues including in New York City. 

Now, one of the most important things to a writer — of any kind — is inspiration, their muses and the things that drive them to create their brand of art. Inspiration is a key element in any literary work, especially songs. So, naturally, I wondered about Subol’s particular muse. 

What inspires you to write?

A lot of what inspires me is the people I surround myself with, how I’m currently feeling with my mental state, or even just something as little as someone making me laugh.

In addition to drawing inspiration from his emotions, Subol also drew inspiration from the people in his life. 

 What challenges do you face as a songwriter?

I think the biggest challenge I face is myself. My composition may sound like one thing at this moment, but in another instance, it can sound completely different from what I originally wanted. 

Another challenge I face is finishing songs. I have hundreds of ideas, maybe even thousands just sitting within my computer and or head that I have never finished because I’m never sure what to do with them.” 

Many writers often have countless ideas yet very few ever actually make it to either paper or publication. Some describe it as an abundance of ideas, many of them half formed, swirling within them, especially for writers such as Subol who draw inspiration from not only their emotions, but the people around them. 

How does being a songwriter shape your view on life?

I feel like I’m generally an open person now, I used to be very close-minded before and tended to have things done the right way. Not that there’s anything wrong with scheduling or structure, being able to adapt to situations and change is a good thing.” 

Has the pandemic affected your writing/ inspiration in any way?

The pandemic felt like a reminder of making use of the time you have wisely. 

Although it is tragic seeing countless individuals become ill and even pass away from COVID, the amount of time given to us forced everybody to look inward within themselves. After my spring semester for college ended, I just worked on music all day. Especially once parks opened up, my routine would be biking in the morning and music for the rest of the day. 

That smidge of freedom inspired me a lot. Sometimes we forget to appreciate what we have when it’s gone.

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