Northern Ireland

County Down man writes a song for every day of the year

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Media captionBBC Newsline's Claire Savage meets the man who wrote a song every day for a year.

While some people don't have a note in their head, others are naturally musically talented, like Stephen Bell from County Down.

He spent each day of 2012 coming up with a song for every day of the year.

"John Lennon said a song should be written on the Monday, recorded on the Tuesday, pressed on the Wednesday, promoted on the Thursday and released by the Friday, and I thought the way things are these days, you could just do that in one day, with modern technology," Stephen said.

"That is where the idea came from and to actually decide to do it.

"It was just a moment of madness really and I thought I'd just start and see if I got one day done, and you look at the next one and, like a lot of things, take one day at a time."

Asked how he got his inspiration on a daily basis, he replied: "Just from what I was doing those days.

"The emotion I was having those days and sometimes you pick up the paper, sometimes you read an article in a magazine or you just hear something, you hear a phrase," he said.

"Some days you just write about the frustration of having to write so many songs."

Melodies 'just seem to come'

In Stephen's kitchen he has made a makeshift studio with an electronic keyboard piano, a computer and a couple of guitars.

"I start with the melodies, that is kind of my way and lyrics are something I need to do more of," he said.

"I need to pay a lot more attention to my writing, but the melodies just seem to come.

"You know, when you are just at the very last minute at ten to twelve at night waiting for the song to come up, it suddenly appears."

Robbie Burrows, Stephen's brother-in-law, added: "If you were trying to write a diary every day for a year, you'd find it very difficult, especially if you were trying to write two to three pages every day for a year or so.

"Putting a song together every day is fraught," he said.

"There were times when he was moving house and other things and he was having to come to our house and upload the songs - he was maybe coming down about a quarter to twelve at night to upload the song for that day.

"It has been a very difficult task and it has taken a lot of commitment, a lot of hard work on his behalf."

Image caption Robbie Burrows said it had taken a lot of commitment from his brother-in-law

Stephen, who is 34, hopes to pursue a career in music, but at the moment he is the full-time father of two young children.

"I just want to do something with the songs, make it as a song writer," he said.

"That is kind of the reason why I thought, particularly in today's market, it is so over-saturated by music that I tried to do something that stood out, writing so many songs and tried to do something that would attract a bit of attention.

"But I also want to perform every song in a one-off gig, one sitting.

"To start the diary from day one and perform it to the end. That is just a challenge I have set myself.

"It will take about 16 hours of constant playing, but it is an idea and I think it might be worth doing."

Stephen said because he has written so many songs, it's hard for him to remember most of them off the top of his head.

"It is hard to say what my favourite one is - it is probably a bit like picking your own child, favourite child you know, which one you love the most. I love them all," he added.