Ever wonder why someone else would want to sing your songs?
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It may be crystal-clear in your mind why you wrote the song, and it may be satisfying you in some way, but now look at it from someone else’s perspective: Why should anyone else want to sing your song?
The vast majority of songs written, regardless of genre, are an intricate mix of objective observation and emotional reaction. But it’s the emotion that sells it to the listener. A song about losing your lover is going to get far more attention and interest than a tribute to the quadratic equation.
And that’s not just because of relevance. It’s because people respond in a far more poignant way to an emotional appeal than an intellectual one. In that sense, the best songs require the listener to buy in to the emotional message of the song, and they usually do that willingly.
And that applies to potential singers of your music, not just listeners. Your song may seem relevant and interesting to you, but does that extend to the singer? Is there enough emotional motivation for them to sing it to their audiences?
Emotion is a crucial component, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Every time you finish a song, you need to ask yourself:
- Does this song’s topic have the potential to resonate with most people listening to it? The strongest topics are ones that have universal appeal, often touching on some aspect of love.
- Would the emotional content of my song motivate someone else to want to sing it? Is there a message with a broad-enough appeal to which other audiences could relate? Is it something that other audiences could get emotionally connected to?
- Are the lyrics relevant to common human experience? Not all songs have to be relevant on every level, but the ones that speak to issues of love or social justice are good ones for building a broad audience across many demographics.
- Does this song sound like something others could sing about? Is the message too personal and contrived to be only relevant to me as the writer? If, for example, you write a song about a fictitious character you created for a story you wrote years ago, what’s the motivation for someone else to sing it?
It’s not that hard to find topics that relate to large groups of people, and that is in fact your job as a songwriter. You should be well aware of the need to write music that tugs at the heartstrings of your audience.
But if you hope to write songs that inspire other singers to perform them, you need to ask yourself: Does my music provide the emotional motivation for them to do so?
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