Songwriting

Does It Matter In What Order Your Song Comes Together?

New songwriters can be forgiven for thinking that there must be a right way and a wrong way to assemble a song. When we talk about songwriting process, there tends to be a belief that you should start with a certain element of a song (the lyrics, or the chords, or perhaps the melody) and […]

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 […]

Marvin Gaye

The Secret Power of the Melody: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

The 1960s hit song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine“, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was a Motown hit for several groups. Gladys Knight & the Pips released it in 1967, and it went to number 1 on the R&B Singles chart. You’re probably more familiar with the Marvin Gaye version, released in […]

George Harrison

Solutions For the Two Main Reasons Why a Song Might Fail to Impress

In reality, there’s many possible reasons why a song that started with a lot of promise winds up being one where the audience has a ho-hum reaction. But if you’re looking for a likely culprit, here are two of the most common reasons for a song that misses the mark: The hook isn’t doing its […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

The Power of Creative Chord Changes

By creative chords, I mean any progressions that stray from the typical 3- or 4-chord changes that strongly reinforce the key your song is in. Standard progressions are the most common ones you’ll find in most of the pop genres, like: I-IV-V-I (C-F-G-C) I-ii-V-I (C-Dm-G-C) I-vi-IV-I (C-Am-F-C) I-vi-V-I (C-Am-G-C) There are more to add to […]

A cluttered workspace

A First Step to Keeping Your Songwriting Output From Fizzling

I’ve always felt that the first step to keeping your songwriting output from fizzling is to have a well organized, tidy workspace. I don’t want to present myself as the model for this: I try, but like most people, my workspace can get a bit out of control. If you think it’s time to put […]