The Argotist Online
Deborah Williams is a singer/songwriter who grew up in London. She studied and worked in film before spending several years gigging the London music scene with various band line-ups. Working with music and film has led to her songs being featured in major advertising campaigns in the UK and abroad. Influenced by songwriters of the 70s, her acoustic folk style has been described as beautiful and haunting. You can listen to some of her songs on her YouTube channel here, and listen to more songs here. Here website can be found here.
Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?
I think of my lyrics as lyrics. If you stripped the music away and were left
with just the words, Iím not sure they would stand up on their own. Words in
poems do stand up on their own (or they should at least!). The lyrics I write
are usually written with the sounds of the music in mind. And my intention is
that the words and music marry well.
Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?
For the most part, songs to tend to rhyme. And the rhyming in songs can be very
satisfying for the listener. If you haven't heard the song, you can anticipate
the coming words. And if you are familiar with the song, the rhyme helps you to
remember the words. However, when I am writing lyrics, I tend to think more of
the sounds of the words. The vowels and the consonants. How they sounds at
Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised
song structures such as clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and
bridges or that songs can also be like free verse?
In a word, no! Pink Floyd are a perfect example of how free form can work
magically. But I think that takes immense confidence and skill. And I have to
confess it is not something I feel I can do (Ö yet?!). Having said that,
itís worth considering that creative structures are often identified after the
creation. I.e., we can analyse how something has come together,
but it is not necessarily created with that formal structure in mind. Itís
done that way simply because it works.
When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to
the music you enjoyed?
Poetry holds a special place in my heart. And so does music. I didn't merge the
two consciously in my youth. I think I do more now. There are certain musicians
who are in my mind, more poetic. Take Leonard Cohen for example. Or Joni
Mitchell. They seem to blend poems and songs seamlessly. Something I will aspire
Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?
Yes, absolutely. Mainly that they would inspire me. Or provide an idea for a
song. If something is said eloquently and rhythmically it can stop you in your
tracks. Good art, in any form will make you realise the importance of what is
being said, and make you want to go out and say the same thing in your own way.
So yes, I have been very inspired by poetry.
Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?
Well, songs can be enjoyed more passively. If the radio is on, and Iím busy
doing something, a melody can seep into my mind without me being aware, while I
carry on about my business. A subconscious pleasure. Itís very easily
absorbed. Poetry on the other hand often requires more participation. More
attention. It could also be argued that songs are poems with music, so double
bang for your buck. Which brings us back to you first question regarding whether
I consider my lyrics to be poetryÖ on reflection perhaps they are?
copyright © Deborah Williams
copyright © Deborah Williams