Guitar and paper for songwriting

When You’re Stuck Trying to Come Up With a Good Song Topic

Brainstorming is a great mental exercise in the creative arts. Brainstorming requires you to think quickly and to minimize judgment. When you work this way, your process is being fuelled by pure imagination, and that’s when you get to see what the inner workings of your creative brain can come up with. If you find […]

Microphone

Songwriting Principles Are Often Clearer In Older Songs

Sometimes you’ll find that studying songs from a genre not your own is a really great way to expand on what you do. Songwriting principles usually apply across genres, and hearing a principle demonstrated in a different genre can act as a kind of metaphor for your own. The same thing happens when you study […]

Bruce Springsteen

The Story Within the Song – It Needs to Be Compelling

If you find that the lyrics you write lack whatever it takes to grab and keep an audience, there are several possible reasons that you need to think about: The song lacks a good story. The words you choose don’t connect or resonate in any important way to your audience. The words (and/or the opinions […]

Keyboard - Chord Progressions

Simplicity as a Starting Point

As a songwriter you may be attracted to the notion of writing something complex, something that really gets your audience thinking. Complex chords, intricate harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, melodies that surprise… it’s all part of what makes your 4-minute song something that will stimulate the imagination of your listeners. The problem with complexity in songwriting is […]

Writing About What You Don’t Know

You’ll hear people say that there’s a kind of honesty in songwriting that comes from writing about the things that you know and have experienced. When you write about things you don’t know, they say, there’s an insincerity problem that you need to overcome. I’m not sure I believe that. I like to take a […]

Audience at a rock concert

The Power of the People

I’m not a photographer (not a good one, anyway), but I’d rather see photos with people in them than without, no matter how exciting the landmark is that I’m shooting. The simple reason is that we make connections to people more so than to inanimate objects. There’s more to a song hook than meets the […]