Lenny Kravitz

When Simplicity Rocks: Lenny Kravitz and “Fly Away”

Twenty-one years ago Lenny Kravitz released “Fly Away“, the fourth single from his fifth studio album, ‘5‘. If you’re not sure you know the song, you’ve likely heard it as the soundtrack for travel agencies, car companies and more, like this Nissan commercial from 2011. If you’re ready to study — to learn why a great song […]

songwriter - guitarist

The Rarity of the Fully-Formed Song

There’s probably nothing like the excitement you feel when you get an entire song appearing, more or less fully-formed, in your brain all at once. Forget improvising, experimenting or jamming… you just wake up, and there it is! There are songwriters who claim to have had songs appear fully-formed in their minds. Paul McCartney’s description […]

Sam Cooke

Coming Up With Fresh Song Topics When You’re Out of Ideas

Deciding what your next song could or should be about can stop your creative process in its tracks if you let it. You’ll be happy to know that great songs don’t need to be profound. True, some of the songs we acknowledge as being the greatest ones are about deep, philosophical/social issues: “Like a Rolling […]

Eric Church

Creating Expectation in a Song Lyric

Lately I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about musical momentum… that quality that keeps people listening to a song. Without it, songs would just be one nice sound following another nice sound, and though it may seem strange to say, that’s not enough to keep people listening. There’s a sense of expectation that keeps people […]

Songwriter- Writer's Block

What You Can Copy From Another Song

We all know that songs need to be unique. You can’t take someone’s melody or lyrics and call them your own. Most songwriters know, though, that chord progressions aren’t generally protected by copyright. So that’s certainly one element of a song that you can take and use, guilt-free. If you’re trying to develop a lyrics-first […]

Guitarist - Drummer

Tips for Writing a Great Song Hook

Even non-musicians have an idea of what the hook of a song is: it’s the short, memorable bit that comes immediately to mind when you ask someone, “Hey, do you know the song ____?” Back in the 70s, if you asked someone, “Hey, do you know the song “Stayin’ Alive”, they’d immediately sing, “Ah, ah, […]