Do Audiences Understand What You’re Writing?

In today’s social media world, we can get fooled into thinking that because something sounds smart, clever or pithy — or even just rhymes — that it must be true. “You never learn anything by doing it right.” (Yes, you do.) “Rules are meant to be broken.” (No, they aren’t.) Clever online statements of course […]

3 Ideas For Starting Lyrics When Ideas Aren’t Happening

No matter what your favourite songwriting process is, all songs start with you getting some sort of musical idea. It might be a fragment of lyric, a catchy chord progression and rhythm, or even just a short bit of melody. Who knows where these ideas come from… often they seem to pop out of thin […]

Adele - Hello

The Benefit of Speaking Your Lyric

Improvisation is an important part of most musician’s songwriting process. You sit at a keyboard, or set up some loops, or start strumming your guitar, and you generate ideas spontaneously. It’s fun to work this way. And I suppose you might say that the stronger your musical imagination, the more likely you’ll hit upon hook-like […]

Blake Shelton - Boys 'Round Here

The Role of Cleverness in Popular Songwriting

When we use the word “clever” in songwriting, we’re usually talking about lyrics. In that context, a clever lyric means any one of the following: There’s a double meaning going on that might not be immediately obvious. (i.e., the song isn’t about what it appears to be about) There are common words being used in […]

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Writing lyrics

A New (Old?) Way of Writing Lyrics

I’m fond of pointing out the similarities between all the different genres of music, because it reminds me that no matter what style of music we call our own, we’re all trying to do the same thing: touch the emotional soul of the audience. For most musical genres, the main differences with songs lie in […]