Singing harmonies in a recording studio

What Kind of Backing Vocals Are Right For Your Song?

How to write (or even if you should write) backing vocals is usually a step beyond songwriting. In other words, it’s usually something that comes under the heading of production more so than songwriting. These days, though, where technology has blurred the line between songwriting and production, you may find yourself thinking a lot about what to do about […]

Mic in a sound studio

Going Old-School: Separating Songwriting From Production

One of the benefits of being a songwriter in the 21st century is you have an incredible array of computer-based tools at your disposal. Like at no other time in history, you can do up a polished, professional end product with not much more than a mobile phone and a good mic. Thousands of songwriters […]

Pensive songwriter

And Now For Something Completely Different

If every song you write bears a striking resemblance to the ones that came before it, you’ll struggle to build on your fan base. That’s because your fans will think they’ve heard it all before, and start to lose the belief that you’ll come up with something different. It’s tricky, though. For most singer-songwriters, if […]

Joni Mitchell

Controlling the Mood of a Song

Mood is one of the first things that’s conveyed by music. Listeners pick up the mood via the partnership of all the various song components, but mostly through: key choice (major versus minor); tempo; melodic shape; instrumental choices and effects; lyrics. I purposely placed lyrics at the bottom of that list, even though the lyrics […]

Yes - Roundabout

How Simplicity Makes for Good Songs

Some of the best songs ever written have a noticeable core of simplicity about them. Songs where the melody is easy to remember and easy to hum means that audiences are more likely to hum it as they go about their day. Simplicity is part of the reason that we find it so easy to […]

Carole King

Keeping Your Listeners Excited to Listen For the Full 4-Minute Experience

One of the most powerful and effective aspects of songwriting is creating a sense of expectancy. That term expectancy refers to a song’s ability to make you want to hear what happens next. Without that quality of expectancy, a song would have no ability to keep listeners listening. The best element to look at to see expectancy […]