Songwriting guitarist

Songwriting: Moving Beyond Random Excellence

What role does chance play in the writing of a good song? Since good songwriting is guided by principles and not rules, there’s undoubtedly going to be a certain amount of random good luck. On that particular day, at that particular moment, your imagination created that melodic idea. There’s no way to get around it: good songwriting involves […]

Songwriting: On Being Safely Innovative

The danger of innovation in songwriting is the possibility of losing fans. They know what to expect from you, but suddenly you’re moving in a new direction that they don’t like. The danger of not being innovative is that you won’t build a fan base, or at least build it painfully slowly. I maintain that the […]

Reinventing the Wheel

As innovative as The Beatles were, there wasn’t much new in their collective songwriting style. They brought ideas to pop music that had been around for years in other genres, and of course, they did it stunningly well. Their compositional technique gave us some real beauties, but much of what they did had been happening […]

Singer - Songwriter

When Your Newest Song Sounds Like the One You Wrote Last Week

It’s tricky, writing music that pleases your target audience. They want every song to sound unique and fresh. But at the same time, they want to hear the kind of music that attracted them to you in the first place. So you try to write something that goes in a refreshingly new direction, and they give […]

Rock Concert

The Courage to Be You

People who don’t write songs (or choreograph ballets, or write plays, novels, poetry…) can be forgiven for not understanding how the word courage has anything to do with the creative arts. For any songwriter who composes truly original music, who has more of an interest in being themselves than simply giving the public what they want, knows that courage is […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]