When these songwriting commissions work best the person I write for recognizes themselves, their relationships, or their home town in the song, but also sees some things they might not have noticed before. Hopefully the specifics I use from the interview connect to larger patterns, stories, truths and provide bridges to new perspective and a sense of hope and being known. This does not always happen. Sometimes the people just like the song.
And sometimes they don't.
This might be for a variety of reasons. Here are a few: I totally misread them and the song is irrelevant. I wrote a bad, unlistenable song. The song has something true in it that the person does not want to or is not ready to see. I'm sure there countless other reasons as well.
Now about that "song has something true that the listener doesn't want to hear" thing -- I can think of one or two instances where I wrote and sent a song a person didn't like where that might have been the issue. Of course, I'm not sure. I do know it's been the case with me (songs I've heard that I didn't want to hear). In most cases though, when people get a song from me they really appreciate it.
There is, after all, something meaningful about having a song written for you, even if someone paid for it. (Someone always pays for it, actually!)
I will write one more post on this, and I will tell you about the most recent commission.