James Taylor

Stealing (Not Stealing) Songs

A number of years ago I wrote a blog post called “Deliberately Sounding Like Your Songwriting Hero.” In it, I advocated pretending that you were your favourite songwriter, trying to write a song that would sound to everyone else that it was written by that person. The reason was a simple one: It would focus […]

Songwriting

Looking Inward to Get the Best Advice On Your Songwriting

Social media makes it easy to seek advice on your songwriting. In fact, it doesn’t just make it easy — it makes it likely that you’re going to play your newly written song for others and then ask opinions. Take a look at today’s Songwriting Reddit and see how many are asking for help. If you’re […]

guitarist - songwriter

5 Important Lessons I Learned Over the Years as a Composer of Music

Like anyone who writes music, I could probably write a book regarding advice I’ve been given over the years — advice that’s helped shape the musician I’ve become. The best lessons I’ve learned have come from individuals, not necessarily from the pages of a book. That’s not because books aren’t good; it’s more because I […]

Singer-songwriter-guitarist

Polishing Songs Has a Limit

Scott Borchetta is an American record executive, known mostly as the founder of Big Machine Label Group. You may not know who he is, but suffice it to say that he’s spent a lot of his career working in the business end of music. He started Big Machine Records, and his first major client was […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Fixing Your Songs When You Can’t Identify the Problem

One of the biggest challenges in writing good music is figuring out why the song you’re writing isn’t working. You feel that it started with such promise, but now everything sounds lame. Probably the best thing you can do for a song that isn’t working is the easiest thing: play it for someone. Preferably play […]

Guitar and paper for songwriting

Ignoring Rules – Following Principles

It’s common to hear questions posed by those who are relatively new to the world of songwriting that start with the phrase: “Can I…”, or “Is it OK to…” “Can I start and end a song in different keys?” “Can I change tempo in the middle of a song?” “Is it OK to write pop […]