Songwriting; It’s addictive! It’s exhilarating! It’s a rollercoaster! It’s a topic that I love sharing on because it’s such an awesome thing to be able to see something that starts as a thought and watch it develop into something magical.
Here are 5 keys that I have learnt along this neverending journey of songwriting. Some are revelations that I operate out of, some are just practical tips. Either way I hope by reading this you feel encouraged to never let up on your songwriting
1. Have a theme or concept. There is far too many songs out there that are just songs for the sake of songs. Have a concept for each piece and put purpose behind what you do. Whether that is some inspiring story or a word that just won’t leave you alone! Ask yourself what am I trying to say? You can speak either through lyrics or even just music. Generally I have found if it is something close to my heart or moves me already it will come out better.
2. Rhythm and melody is key. Don’t you find it weird that you can hear a song for the first time and be singing it by the 2nd chorus like it’s a childhood memory. That’s because you have found the rhythm and melody of the song. When you are trying to remember a song, you will generally find yourself humming a melody or a rhythm. That could mean a certain groove to your syllables or general melodic hook. Create something that people can take away with them. So push the horizons of your creativity and listen to new music, watch more movies, read more poetry. A good friend of mine puts it this way “As artists we have to take responsibility to keep ourselves inspired, so live inspired”
3. Words - their original use was to create. The first account we have of the use of words is in Genesis 1:3 “Then God said, …” God’s first use of words was to create, He created the environment in which we live and communicate. So likewise, our words create the atmosphere or the reality in which we live.Secondly, they are used to communicate. Understand this, we don’t have the ability to say “tree grow” and a tree then grows in our garden. What we do have is the ability to say “I want to see a tree grow” and then we plant a seed that God will grow. So communication will come when you determine the atmosphere or reality of the song you are writing. As a songwriter, we have the incredible privilege of writing something that people will sing on their way home from a bad day at the office or while they are chillin’ on a beach in Thailand, Who knows?
4. Don’t be precious. I can’t emphasize this point enough. This is a hard lesson to learn but is vital for growth as an artist. One of the best things I have ever done is taken my songs to other people and asked for their honest feedback because in reality, it always sounds better in our own head. Sometimes putting our song or even part of a song in the passionate hands of someone we trust will bring the song to life. For instance, when I wrote Forever You remain, I had a whole different idea to the way it was going to look but in hindsight, it would have not become the song it is now if I had been precious with it.
5. Make time to write. Sometimes we can view songwriting as a waste when put next to our day to day schedule but even if it is 10mins trying to find a new line or way to say something you will see that it is energizing. It creates focus and you will find yourself being more productive outside of writing songs in your day to day. Songwriting is like a muscle, it needs to be constantly stretched and strengthened. So aim to fit in songwriting to your schedule, try just pondering a thought or playing around with different rhythms on the piano or instrument of your choice. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to it, just be diligent with your talent and always aim to keep moving forward.
I hope this has helped you and I look forward to meeting you one day!