New songwriters often need all the help they can get to find the success they’re looking for. Fortunately, successful ones aren’t shy about sharing their tips because they’re confident enough in their songwriting ability to not worry about the competition. To help you along, here are some of the best pro tips for wannabe songwriters to use.
Work Through the Process, Not Against It
The modern approach to ‘rage quit’ isn’t in the lexicon of songwriters who wish to get somewhere in the music industry. All types of writing require the patience to work through bad days to reach the good ones. Good days will usually come when you are patient enough and hard-working. Songs don’t write themselves, and often bad ideas precede the good ones. Therefore, a bad song idea shouldn’t convince you that you’re incapable of creating something memorable or catchy that people will sing along to. You’re just not there. Yet…
Find the Best Space for Working on Your Craft
Writing songs is a process. Sometimes, you’ll want to write the lyrics on your own and you don’t need a song to go with it. Sometimes it’s the other way around where you’re a dab hand at putting new lyrics to existing music. But either way, using writing studios can help in this process. The idea with this type of studio is that it’s a quiet space to play around with inspirational musical ideas and write songs to accompany them. It could simply be a quiet space to get some lyrics written for a melody that’s stuck in your head. However, for many, access to some musical equipment including headphones, digital inputs, controllers, screens, and speakers is useful to allow them free range in a soundproofed environment.
Some of the better available writing studios are found at Pirate. They have listened to the needs of songwriters and put together spaces that adapt to what’s required. Their studios are available in New York, Los Angeles, and London; wherever you are, a writing studio is waiting.
Becoming a Great Songwriter Isn’t an Overnight Thing
In almost all cases, being a natural songwriter isn’t possible. Sure, there’s the very occasional person whose first song is just perfection. But they’re either a one-hit-wonder or they were just born with this ability ready to bubble to the surface. For the rest of us, it’s necessary to work at our craft.
Also, trying to force it is not a good thing. When you’re not in the mood to try to come up with a melody or to find the right lyrics for one, then that’s that. It might be a good idea to take a break and return to it when you’re in the right frame of mind. Otherwise, the results will feel forced and filled with the wrong kind of emotional notes.
Be Prepared for Random Ideas to Pop into Your Head
Random ideas for lyrics or the beginning of a song pop into your head at the oddest of times. It could be when you’re in the shower, walking to work, or any odd place you’d care to think of. Usually, it’s when you’re subconscious has been free enough to work on it while you were busy doing other things. That’s why new ideas arrive when they do.
Be prepared for this moment. Ensure you have a smartphone to hand to record lyrics or a melody quickly. Or if you prefer a pen and paper, this will be fine too. Don’t lose inspiration when it strikes because it visits less frequently than we’d like as songwriters.
Keep Yourself Sharp
If you plan to write songs and put ideas to music quickly, then it’s necessary to be nimble. Keeping yourself sharp is important if you’re planning to create jingles or songs for TV shows that need fresh material every week. Also, the creative process is helped when you’re able to embrace flexibility in styles and types of music. Challenge what you can do by testing yourself regularly. Avoid getting stuck producing similar songs because it’s difficult to break out of that once you start.
Use the Melody as Your Guide
Many songwriters prefer to use a melody as a starting point and then let the lyrics develop from there. That doesn’t apply to everyone, but it’s often the spark. You may wish to record melodies when they first come to you. Some musicians who write their music and lyrics prefer not to do so. Instead, they wait to see if the melody comes back to them later. This suggests it’ll be catchier and worth putting lyrics to it. That’s entirely up to you.
Strive for Originality
Avoid going over old themes that crop up in songs regularly. This may seem like a sure thing, but for musicians, it’s boring to sing these lyrics and it won’t match their feelings either. Look for original ways to express feelings. Strive to be creative with songwriting in much the same way that novelists do. You’re telling a story through the lyrics and the music that goes with it. Make people want to listen because the lyrics are powerful and original.
Don’t Ignore Relationship Building
Relationships are everything with songwriting and making connections within the music industry has real value. If some of your songwriting will be the basis for inspiration for other musicians, then be open to talking with as many people as possible. Find a way to be useful to them, rather than just being another name in your extensive contact list.
Sing the Vocals Yourself
While you may not be the best singer – this is perhaps why you’re a wannabe commercial songwriter – it still pays to sing the words. This is much the same as for playwrights who speak their characters’ dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds right, and not just on paper. Similarly, singing your lyrics helps to find the right pace and word selection to allow a singer to reproduce it beautifully. It doesn’t need to sound great; it just needs to sound right.
Whether you want to be a commercial songwriter or you wish to be a musician who writes their music and lyrics, follow the above tips to help you get started and avoid early blunders.