SONGWRITING TIPS AND ADVICE ON THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOUND IN ALL HIT SONGS

Top songwriting tips from country music’s biggest songwriters

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When Radio.com’s Annie Reuter asked some of country music’s most successful songwriters for their advice for new writers, her interviews produced these Top Tips from leading writers such as Steve Wariner, Clint Black, Suzy Bogguss, Lady Antebellum (pictured), Kip Moore, Big & Rich, Brett Eldredge, Kacey Musgraves, Jerrod Niemann, Charlie Worsham and Josh Thompson …

1. Be totally focused on your writing

Most of these writers agreed that you have to be totally committed to your writing. Songwriting has to drive everything in you. It has to be a switch you can’t turn off. As Kip Moore explained: “I always tell people to chase their passion. But that ‘chase’ also comes with a warning … Trying to do it for a career, it has to be all or nothing.”

2. There’s no set way to write a song – just write about something you’ve experienced first-hand.

“The best songs for me come from things that I have actually experienced or have some kind of insight on,” said Kacey Musgraves. “It all has to resonate somewhere within me. It can’t be completely fabricated.”

3. Always pay attention to your surroundings in case you overhear a great idea for a phrase or a title.

“Songs are everywhere,” said Steve Wariner. “As a writer, you must always be paying attention so you’re ready for that inspiration to strike. I’ve been in a restaurant where I’m trying to not eavesdrop but you hear a great phrase at the next table and you’re like, ‘That’s a great song title’.”

4. Be a student of songs – always be prepared to learn.

“Study writing,” urged Westin Davis. “Don’t just study songwriting. Study writing period. Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, go all over the place. Study lyrical geniuses too.”

Kip Moore takes a similar approach: “I just studied my butt off with great music,” he said. “I just did it over and over until I figured it out. I can remember how discouraging the whole process was for me … It was such a tough road. But it was all I wanted to do, that’s what kept me going.”

5. Write from the heart and don’t try to fake it.

“I write my best stuff when it’s coming from the heart and it’s exactly what I want to be writing,” said Erik Dylan. “Write what you know and write from the heart … The listener will understand the emotion in the song. If it’s fabricated they’re going to know it’s fake. If it’s real and from the heart people notice that. They believe it.”

6. Get into the habit of writing something every day.

“You want to be a songwriter? Write every day,” urged Dierks Bentley. “Don’t type them up on a nice sheet of paper and put ’em in a three ring binder. Just write ’em up, then go on to the next one. Keep writing.”

You can find out more about these successful writers’ top songwriting tips by watching these three great videos …

 FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

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LYRIC WRITING TIPS: 40 most common lyric writing mistakes revealed in new songwriting tips book, “How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!”

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A new book titled “How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” aims to help aspiring songwriters steer clear of the many traps they can easily fall into when writing lyrics for their songs.

Written by experienced music publisher and music consultant Brian Oliver, the book takes a close look at the essential lyrical elements that are consistently found in the structure of all hit songs.

It highlights the most common errors that are made when these key components are built into a song, and shows writers who are just starting out how to avoid such mistakes in their own lyrics.

This new book is the follow-up to Brian Oliver’s five-star rated title: “How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success”.

Written in an easy, non-technical style, “How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!” identifies many frequent causes of lyrical shortcomings—from common mistakes in the basic construction of song lyrics … to making flawed choices with titles, opening lines, lyrical hooks, verb selection, rhyming patterns, and more.

The book also highlights other causes of lyric writing problems—such as having the wrong mental attitude, not paying enough attention to ‘creative preparation’, and not taking steps to avoid writer’s block.

“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!” includes important tips on fixing and strengthening lyrics, along with a comprehensive checklist of more than 100 potential hazards that writers can measure their own lyrics against—no matter how ‘finished’ they think their songs are.

Most songwriters have, at some stage, had to endure the disappointment of having their songs rejected and ended up asking: “Could I have done more to make my songs better?”. This book aims to help writers recognise weaknesses in their lyrics, so that they can re-work them, make them stronger, and hopefully achieve the breakthrough they’re striving for.

The book’s author Brian Oliver—who has worked with legendary songwriters such as Neil Diamond, Janis Ian, Albert Hammond and Gilbert O’Sullivan—warns that aspiring writers’ chances of success could be hampered if they fail to spend enough time polishing and editing their lyrics and eradicating weaknesses.

Says Oliver: “When a new lyric idea suddenly hits you – and everything comes together so quickly that the song almost writes itself – it’s very easy to fall into the trap of rushing straight into a studio and recording a demo. You then confidently submit the song to a music company believing it’s the best thing you’ve ever written – only to suffer the agony of having the song rejected.

“Sometimes it’s better just to slow down, take a step back, and re-examine each element of your new lyrics,” he says. “If you don’t spend a little more time polishing your lyrics, there is a danger that they may still contain weaknesses that you failed to spot first time around.”

“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other good book stores as a paperback, or as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Kobo Books.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK).

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Dolly Parton on why songwriting is so important to her …

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“If I had to give up everything else, if people said you can only do one thing, I’d just write. I’d say, ‘Well then, I’ll just be a songwriter.’ Because that’s how I express myself. That’s my time with God.

“My guitar is like my best friend, and my songs are like my therapy … Some days I’ll write four or five songs. Some days I’ll just write one. They’re almost always spinning in my head.

“It’s so fulfilling to think that I could actually leave something in the world today that wasn’t there yesterday.”

—Dolly Parton (in an interview with Alison Bonaguro of CMT.com)

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

 

SONGWRITING NEWS: Smokey Robinson named as next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

SMOKEY ROBINSON

Photo: Dwight McCann

Smokey Robinson, the “poet laureate of soul”, is set to be the next recipient of the prestigious U.S. Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao has announced that Smokey Robinson will receive the prize in Washington, D.C., in November.

The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.

The seven previous recipients are: Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson.

“As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend,” said Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao. “His rich melodies are works of art—enduring, meaningful and powerful. And he is a master at crafting lyrics that speak to the heart and soul, expressing ordinary themes in an extraordinary way. It is that quality in his music that makes him one of the greatest poetic songwriters of our time.

“His velvet falsetto and incomparable mastery of lyrical verse have created a tapestry of hits that have transcended generations and become a mainstay in American pop music.”

Smokey Robinson commented: “It gives me such joy and gratitude to be included among the past recipients of this most prestigious songwriting award.”

TRACKS OF MY TEARSThe 76-year-old Grammy Award winner has released dozens of Top 40 hits and added more than 4,000 songs to his legacy songbook. His music reads like a playlist of Motown’s greatest hits—”Mickey’s Monkey” (1963), “Going to a Go-Go” (1966), “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (1963), “Ooo Baby Baby” (1965), “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965), “More Love” (1967), “I Second That Emotion” (1967), “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” (1969), “The Tears of a Clown” (co-written with Stevie Wonder, 1970), “Cruisin’” (1979), “Being With You” (1981), “Just to See Her” and “One Heartbeat” (1987).

“The Tracks of My Tears” was named to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2007 as one of the nation’s culturally, historically or aesthetically significant sound recordings.

Robinson was the creative force behind many Motown classics. Hit songs that he wrote for other Motown artists include: “My Girl,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “Get Ready,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “My Guy,” “You Beat Me to the Punch” and “Don’t Mess with Bill”. He has crafted lyrics for Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, The Marvelettes, The Temptations and many others. His music also influenced The Beatles who recorded his song “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” in 1963.

The Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is only awarded to living musical artists whose contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin.

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Nick Jonas on the importance of writing songs from your own experiences

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“The beauty of songwriting is that we have the ability to tell our stories, and it means something to us. But then you open it up to other people, and their experience and how it affects their lives.

“That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a songwriter in an 11,12-year career. You have to write about things that are real to you and relevant to you. And it doesn’t always have to be emotional and heavy, it can be just about whatever it is, but it has to connect. But it can’t be hyper-specific or it’s going to alienate some people.

“People like Taylor [Swift] and Drake do that very well. They’re able to kind of create something that means something to them but also everyone can connect to it in their own way.”

—Nick Jonas  (in an interview with Bustle Magazine)

(Photo: Mingle Media TV)

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

SONGWRITING TIPS: Paul McCartney talks about his songwriting method …

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In its latest All Songs +1 podcast, America’s National Public Radio network (NPR) talks to Paul McCartney about his songwriting process and how he manages to stay inspired despite having written some 30 albums worth of songs over the past five decades.

The intriguing 40-minute discussion shows how McCartney, at the age of 73, is still in love with making music, and still feels a spark of enthusiasm in the way he approaches songwriting.

“If I was to sit down and write a song now,” he tells NPR’s Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen, “I’d use my usual method: I’d either sit down with a guitar or at the piano and just look for melodies, chord shapes, musical phrases, some words, a thought, just to get started. And then I just sit with it to work it out, like I’m writing an essay or doing a crossword puzzle. That’s the system I’ve always used, that John [Lennon] and I started with. I’ve really never found a better system …”

You can listen to the full NPR podcast here …

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/481256944/481471157

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Lionel Richie on breaking the rules of songwriting

 

Lionel Richie

“I didn’t know I was a writer. I thought you had to be able to read and write music and understand theory before you could write songs. Then as I got into Motown, I realized probably half of the great writers there couldn’t read or write music …

“It set me free from the standpoint of technically trying to write the notes down … I think by not knowing much theory, it set me free from the rules.”

—Lionel Richie (in an interview with Billboard magazine)

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

 


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