Reinventing the Wheel

As innovative as The Beatles were, there wasn’t much new in their collective songwriting style. They brought ideas to pop music that had been around for years in other genres, and of course, they did it stunningly well. Their compositional technique gave us some real beauties, but much of what they did had been happening […]

Singer - Songwriter

When Your Newest Song Sounds Like the One You Wrote Last Week

It’s tricky, writing music that pleases your target audience. They want every song to sound unique and fresh. But at the same time, they want to hear the kind of music that attracted them to you in the first place. So you try to write something that goes in a refreshingly new direction, and they give […]

Rock Concert

The Courage to Be You

People who don’t write songs (or choreograph ballets, or write plays, novels, poetry…) can be forgiven for not understanding how the word courage has anything to do with the creative arts. For any songwriter who composes truly original music, who has more of an interest in being themselves than simply giving the public what they want, knows that courage is […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]

Musical tightrope

Leaning Without Losing Your Footing

Songwriting in the pop genres is, for the best songwriters out there, like walking a tightrope. Lean too much one way, and you’re giving your audiences exactly what they expected from you. No challenge, no getting them thinking outside whatever musical box they live in. Lean too much the other way, and you’ve given them […]

The Beatles

Songwriting: How to Avoid Moving In a Bad Direction

If you look at the description of Lennon & McCartney’s “I Saw Her Standing There” in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, you’ll read this: This song had been written by McCartney two years earlier. After penning the first line  – “She was just 17” – McCartney wanted to avoid completing […]