The best songs exhibit a mix of two things:
- Predictability. Songs need to sound enough like other songs out there that audiences enjoy your music.
- Uniqueness. Songs need to sound different enough from other songs out there that audiences don’t feel that you’re simply rehashing other writers’ ideas.
And that’s a tricky balance to get right. Predictability means that you’re doing something that’s not only been done — it’s been done a lot, running the risk of having audiences give up on you. Similarly, uniqueness has the power to turn people away from your songs because they just sound too different.
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I want to make a plea to you as a songwriter to get your music moving as close as you dare to being unique. And even if you lose a few listeners in the process, I believe that what you gain from sounding different from the mainstream pop songwriting world will eventually pay off for you.
To be specific, uniqueness in songwriting means:
- Choosing songwriting topics that outline a story in a way that hasn’t much been done before. Remember, though, you still need the ability to have an audience connect emotionally.
- Writing lyrics that don’t sound so much like a conversation you might be having at a Walmart. Find creative, imaginative ways to express what you’re thinking/feeling.
- Finding backing accompaniment and rhythmic treatment that moves toward being unpredictable and unique. Give your audience some credit that they’ll stick with what you’re doing and try to understand what you’re trying to do.
- Finding chords and progressions that go a little beyond the basic I-IV-V-I kind of progressions. Remember, when progressions get dicey, revert to something more predictable to pull your audience back.
I believe that much of the best music out there, particularly in pop genres, comes about quickly, as the result of spontaneous improvisation. But for songs that are less predictable, expect to spend more time working and reworking ideas as you strive to entice your audience without scaring them off.
One of the best ways to become more creative with songwriting in general is to spend more time listening to genres that you don’t normally pay attention to. The more familiar you are with other genres, the more chance there is that you’ll create a unique mix.
Straying from what’s normally been predictable for you takes courage, and as I say, you may lose a few fans in the process. But the end result, I believe, will be a fan base that is more loyal, and more open to your creative approach.
If you’re looking to create more imaginative chord progressions, it needs to be done carefully. “Creative Chord Progressions” shows you how to do that, and offers dozens of sample progressions you can use as is, or modify for your own songs. Right now, it’s FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”