by Gary Ewer, from”The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:
I think it’s too bad when a pop song writer shields him/herself from listening to other styles of music. You’d be surprised what you can learn from listening to other genres. And there is good music being written in every style you can think of. In my own CD collection, I have a representation of almost every genre imaginable. Why is that important?
If you want to use a biological analogy, think of it this way… the more diverse the gene pool, the stronger the offspring. The best songwriters out there will tell you that their music is strongly influenced by many different genres. In my opinion, whenever I read an article by a songwriter who says, “I don’t want my music to be labeled because it takes its influences from so many styles…” I know I am going to hear some good music.
If you write pop, try listening to some country. You’ll find that there’s an approach to lyric writing that is specific to country music, and it makes that genre not just distinctive, but successful. You’ll find that melodic construction in Classical music may be what sets your music apart from everyone else’s. Progressive rock has formal elements that sometimes defy description, but may be what your song is lacking – solid structure.
In any case, if you write in one style, but only listen to that style, you are closing yourself off from a huge world of other styles that could be helping you. Broaden your horizons!