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 […]

Dealing With Online Haters

The Immediacy of Opinions

They say everyone has an opinion. As a songwriter, though, you deal with an aspect of modern life that people even just 15 years ago didn’t have to deal with: how quickly an online consumer of your music will offer that opinion. It’s not just the immediacy of opinions, though. If you’re involved in the […]

Folk singer-songwriter

Evaluating Your Own Songs Is Part of the Songwriting Process

When you’ve written a song, it might seem like a logical next-step to ask someone, “What do you think of it?” You might post it online, and hope that others weigh in on what the song sounds like to them. The hope is that the feedback will allow you to dig back into the song […]

Marvin Gaye

“Blurred Lines” – The Appeals Court Decision

No doubt you’ve heard that the district court legal decision regarding the apparent fact that the writers of “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr) plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” has been upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals. I have to say, I’m still confused, particularly considering that the […]

Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]

Guitar - piano

Following Your Heart

Everyone’s got an opinion. When it comes to your own songs, you hope everyone’s opinion is a good one. But if it isn’t, it can be discouraging. I practically never ask people what they think of anything I’ve ever written. That’s certainly not to say that I don’t ask for help or advice. When I was […]