A Songwriter’s Story: Terry Radigan on “The Breakdown of a Breakup”

Written by A Songwriter's Story, Music

How does an artist know when she’s done with an album? Terry Radigan shares her story.

Terry Radigan

I was going over the songs for The Breakdown of a Breakup with my executive producer David Barratt, and he felt as though the story was incomplete; that I hadn’t quite given a proper breakdown to the emotions that I was feeling. The song where I got down and dirty and told on myself. I balked a bit at first, but I realized he was right — and for the next few weeks, I walked around wondering what that song would sound like. I didn’t want to pick up a guitar until I’d gone through the thinking to the feeling part. When I did sit down to write the tune, it pretty much came out in one shot. I was actually a bit horrified at some of those feelings and very ambivalent about fessing up to ever having them.

I was working on a verse and had the lyric: “I tell myself that I’ll be fine, even better all on my own, but those words fall hard round midnight when you’re all alone.”

I sang those lines a few times, and I knew that I could go deeper with the thought. The emotion. I wasn’t quite telling on myself — not really.

I sang it until I did.

Then the lyric was: “I tell myself that I’ll be fine, even better all on my own, like I was when I was younger…but younger has come and gone.”

I have to say that while that was the exact thought I’d had many times, I was reluctant to admit that I’d had that feeling, even for a moment. In the end the songwriter in me won out, and I realized I’d have to be “okay” with having written a song where I’d admitted to myself — and anyone who listens — that I wasn’t “fine” and “confident” and “strong” 24 / 7.

When I finished “The Truth,” I felt as though I’d really given a true breakdown of the breakup.


Terry Radigan‘s next album, The Breakdown of a Breakup, will be released February 14. Sample a few songs below, then watch Terry’s video for the IndieGoGo campaign in support of the record.