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 […]

Emotional audience

What Does a Songwriter Need to Know About Musical Structure?

There’s nothing like the word “structure” to turn off an artistically-minded musician. When a song sounds good, we don’t necessarily think about its structure. We just revel in the fact that it just sounds great. But when songs sound good, it’s at least in part due to its structure. So what exactly do we mean […]

Eagles - Life in the Fast Lane

Avoiding the Problem of Disorganized Song Lyrics

It’s an important principle of all music that the energy we perceive at the end of a song should usually exceed the energy at the beginning. That increase in musical energy keeps audiences listening. But the build in energy is not usually a straight line. It’s an ebb-and-flow quality, and it usually takes the following […]

Rolling Stones

5 Tips For Turning a Bit of a Song Into a Complete Song

Most songwriters start the songwriting process by improvising on ideas. You may have nothing to start with, and so the purpose of that initial improvisation session is to come up with something catchy. Let’s say that you manage to come up with something short but great, something that might serve as an important fragment of […]

Songwriter in Home Studio

Are Songwriting Principles Genre-Specific?

In songwriting, a principle is a statement that attempts to explain why some aspect or element of music works the way it does. Principles are not rules, because a rule implies that it must (or at least should) be done a certain way in order for the music to be successful. But a principle makes […]

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 […]