I haven’t written anything on songwriting in a while and as I am in a middle of writing a new patch of songs, I thought it might be a good time to share some of my tips and ideas here for you. So get your notebooks out class, this is going to be fast and intense 😉
It’s Monday morning, I am recovering from a very busy weekend with Sliotar. I am playing simple chord runs on my new Journey Instruments guitar, just fishing for ideas. At this stage coming up with ideas is not half as hard as making sure I am not repeating myself, but that’s a good complaint. I scribble down a line. I search in my head for another to follow it. I look for the rhythm to compliment the first line and a rhyme. It needs to be more than just a match, it needs to be comfortable, not clumsy or a cliche that has been written hundred times. It drives me bonkers when I hear a song I haven’t heard before and I can guess the last words of a next line. Use your imagination people!
The words start to make sense in my head, but will the listener understand what I am at? I need to be more descriptive, but without being more long winded. I need the words to work extra hard. I need details. Whether the details are about a specific moment, or just a feelings of the characters in the songs, they need to make the listener feel like they are in the song, like the song is talking to them or about them.
And I need a hook. A chorus that stick in the listener’s head, whether they like it or not. Here the Rhyme and rhythm of the lyrics need to be spot on! I will let you away with one or two clumsy lines in the verse, but in the chorus it has to hit hard. If you think you can’t say what you want in the rhymes required, rewrite it. There is no space in the chorus for those clumsy lines, this is your deal sealer.
I look at the page, I am quite happy with what I got. I record a quick demo on my phone. I walkaway, come back to it later and if I am still happy with it, it has passed my quality control. If something sticks out I rewrite. If the rewrite after few attempts does not work, I dump the song and move on to the next one.
Happy songwriting my friends 🙂
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download