I’ve been a student of songwriting my whole life. I’ve had guitar lessons since I was 5, went to 2 different conservatories, studied jazz guitar, classical and pop music, I’ve written for bands, orchestras and big bands. And with all of this experience I also learned a thing or two. When I listen back to my first songs I can hear that I didn’t understand a couple of simple concepts that I now use all the time. Listening to your contributions on Feedback Friday (my youtube show where I review your songs for free) I now see that I’m not the only one with these problems. There really are 3 things I hear amateur songwriters do repeatedly that tell me they don’t know what they’re doing. …continue reading →
We all secretly dread lyric-writing, don't we? There is nothing harder than writing some lyrics to an existing melody without completely messing up your groove. I used to spend weeks on writing a few lines and even then I wasn't happy with what I had.…continue reading →
The science of writing a great chord progression is still very much in its infancy. We all learn about the ii-V-Is and the turnarounds, but what are your chords actually doing with your audience? If you want to be able to create any emotion you want, in this article I will show you how. …continue reading →
Last time in our little Chord Progression Workshop we talked about how to create any emotion you want, now let’s take a look at your next big decision: Deciding whether you want your song to have drive or not. This decision comes down to the balance between Direction and Color. (Btw, the same thing happens in Melody - check this article here) …continue reading →
Probably the most undervalued factor in becoming a professional songwriter is speed. Being able to write a song in a day or two dramatically increases your output and therefore possibilities.
- The more songs you write, the more artists you can write for.
- The more songs you write, the more you can upload for your fans.
- The more songs you write, the more you can sell (hey, we all gotta make a living, right?)
- It simply feels great to be able to write a song quickly.
- There's no overthinking things, you have to rely on your intuition, meaning your songs don't mutate
- You are always the first to be heard in pitches if you can send in your songs first.
Growing up with my parents's favorite bands such as the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, I recently noticed 3 major changes in how songs are written now as opposed to 30+ years ago. Understanding these 3 major changes in the songwriting industry is important because the consequences are very present in which songs make it to the radio (thus, your audience) and which don't.…continue reading →
A couple years ago I had a talk with the great Pelle Nylen and we started playing some tunes for each other. Eventually, I got out my guitar and played Andy McKee's Drifting for him, which he hadn't heard before.…continue reading →
It's a sad truth that storytelling in songs has seen better days. We may get an occasional "Stan" or "Single Ladies", but even those don't come close to classics like "Eleanor Rigby" or "The Killing of Georgie".…continue reading →
Writing an energizing song is one of the big challenges songwriters have. Writing happy, fun songs seems to be the holy grail of songwriting for most. So if you're one of these struggling songwriters (as I know I was), this article is for you!…continue reading →
Being able to grab your audience with thought-provoking, colorful lyrics is a difficult job, as it requires very different skills than your normal songwriting. You need to be able to put emotions into words, make sure they're not totally cliché and then make them fit your melody. Tough job. One of the best ways to win an audience over is using the right words, what I call "Power Words".…continue reading →