Songwriting Tip: Recording Voice Memos + My New Song “Moraine”

First off, I’ve been stoked out of my mind because my new song, “Moraine”, is out! The whole process of writing, recording and releasing this song has been so. Much. FUN!

Listen to Moraine on Spotify:

iTunes/Apple Music: ‎


Google Play:

The release of “Moraine” is especially meaningful for me because not too long ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever enjoy creating music again.

And yet here we are.

There’s even more new music is coming your way very soon!

But until then…

I’m here to let you in on one of the most helpful and simple aspects of my songwriting process.

During your writing or jam sessions, record EVERYTHING.

I have been recording melody, guitar and lyric ideas into my little voice memos on my phone for many years now, and have hundreds and hundreds of short memos now saved in my archives!

When I say everything, I mean every little thing you write, sing, jam or mess around with on your instrument of choice.

Record yourself every single time you have a musical idea.

Record it all!

Why is this helpful?

As soon as I sit down with my guitar to jam or try to write, I set my phone on my knee, open up my voice memos, and press record. You never know what ideas are going to come out of you when you’re not thinking too hard about writing something perfect and just letting the music flow.

If I ever feel stuck or don’t have anything new to work with, I can always go back and listen through old recordings to hunt for new song ideas!

It’s important not to judge yourself and your ideas as you write. Just play around and record it all, whether or not you think it’s good!

I wrote my song “Moraine” after I discovered a voice memo that I’d recorded over 5 years ago, a voice memo that, at the time, I didn’t find interesting enough to finish writing into a full song.

Fast forward to last summer, five years later, when I stumbled across this bad boy in my iTunes library and thought it sounded like a FANTASTIC idea! Listen to the voice memo here:

I had just come back from a trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, and had been blown away by the incredible scenery and beauty of the places we’d explored. Most especially, I had left my heart in the middle of a pristine, turquoise lake settled in the mountains and surrounded by tall pines, so I knew I wanted to write a song about that special place called “Moraine”.

hailey gardiner moraine songwriting tips using voice memos alberta canada tourism new song

As soon as I heard this particular voice memo, I immediately pulled out my guitar and started writing.

I knew this idea could help me capture a feeling of longing, wanting to be back in that place and time when things had been perfectly beautiful, before the storm clouds came in and everything fell apart.

Once I’d played around with the melody for a few minutes and felt like it was going in the right direction, I started jotting down the lyrics.

I decided I didn’t want to take the song in a literal direction by talking about the lake itself. Instead, my voice memo inspired ideas around a melancholy story about a long lost lover who was named Moraine.

Doesn’t that name just conjure up the image of some devastatingly handsome Healthcliff-esque English aristocrat who decided to go and break your heart? Gives me chills just thinking about it.

You too?


Just me?

Alright, you unromantic, you. Just enjoy this photo of this magnificent lake that inspired the song instead…

hailey gardiner moraine songwriting tips using voice memos alberta canada tourism new song

And so, in about ten minutes “Moraine” was written.

The final recording definitely sounds a little different from my original voice memo idea, which is almost always the case. Songs will change and evolve as you bring them to life!

Moral of the story…

If I had judged myself when recording that voice memo five years ago and (HEAVEN FORBID) deleted it, I never would have been able to write this tribute to a place and moment that I wanted to preserve in a song!

hailey gardiner moraine songwriting tips using voice memos alberta canada tourism new song

Use your voice memos! Get out your guitar and sit down at the piano and just start recording!

No judgment. Just music.

And listen to my song “Moraine”, available everywhere now!