When it comes to Songwriting, I know that there are many writers and musicians who follow a strict routine. For example, they must always have the chorus written before they can build the verses around it or they must have a song title before they can write the chorus and so on.
I have been asked quite regularly about how I write songs and how I cowrite with people and what my plan and structure usually is and my honest answer is always this……I don’t have one!
That doesn’t mean that having a plan, or not as the case may be, is right or wrong; it simply depends on what works for you.
It seems to me that so much pressure is put on writers to produce a masterpiece every time but without practice and without playing around and trying new techniques and experimenting with ideas, you won’t achieve this and you shouldn’t want to straight away. You need to find a way to write in an environment where you are comfortable to experiment.
I felt pressure when I very first started writing but quickly realised what worked for me. So, over the past 18 months, I have given the following advice, hints & tips as to what has worked for me.
- Don’t be afraid of tough subjects
When I first started writing, I didn’t know what was acceptable or not and I didn’t really think about it at the time. I just wanted to write the truth. I wanted to write about my life experiences, things I had seen, done, the people who I have crossed paths with, things that I believed in and that meant that some of things were going to be tough.
The first song I penned was called ‘Survive’ and was about my cancer battle. A tough song but with a good, inspirational undertone to it. It was the best thing I ever did and because of this, I built my first EP and promotional material around my story and life experience and it certainly paid off so don’t be afraid to write about whatever it is you want to express.
- Be your own voice
It’s always great to get feedback from your peers and to people who you value the opinion of but never let them change or influence your music if you don’t believe in it. Follow your instincts. I’ve learnt to trust that when it doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. You have to remember that your music will be available to the world forever and the last thing you want to do is regret what you didn’t do just because someone didn’t a few words or the melody. Tell your story in your way. Stay true to yourself and the subject you are writing about.
- Find an exceptional musician
Being a lyricist who cannot play an instrument, it was extremely important that I worked with the best musicians who I could trust to create the music to my songs. I had to be able to comfortable enough to tell them how I imagined the song to sound but trust them enough to know that they would tell me honestly what wouldn’t work. Your team of musicians should believe in your songs as much as you do. If they don’t buy into what you are trying to express and sell, then find someone who will.
- Not every cowrite will be successful…
This is ok. I have tried to write with artists in the past and we just haven’t been able to make it work. Maybe we have had different ideas about where the song should go, maybe we just haven’t quite got a melody that we both loved, maybe our writing styles were just different or maybe we just didn’t click. This will happen a lot down the line and that’s ok. If it doesn’t work for you then don’t make it. Don’t force a song for the sake of it because in the long run it will have been a waste of time. You won’t believe in the song and it won’t be successful.
- …But the ones that are will be amazing!
I will always encourage cowriting. Some of the greatest songs in the world have been produced from cowrites. Collaborating with others is a fantastic way to bring different ideas to the table and will create something you wouldn’t have created alone. There is no better feeling than walking into the studio with some words on a piece of paper and an idea and then walking out with a song that you are excited about!
At Inspire Music, we collaborate with artists regularly and are always open to hearing new ideas and concepts for songs. Whether you are a lyricist or a singer songwriter, if you would like to meet with us for a writing session, please contact us via our website: www.inspire-music.co.uk