Because great song titles, themes and lyric lines can come from anything and everything around you, it’s important to make sure you grab them right away in case you forget them, warns British rapper Tinie Tempah.
‘My thing is to constantly take notes on my smartphone,” says Tinie whose debut single ‘Pass Out’ entered the UK Singles Chart at Number One in February 2010. He famously began his hip-hop career as a schoolboy, composing songs in class and telling teachers his lyrics were poetry.
“Most of my lyrics are inspired by my everyday life so I’m swimming in sources of inspiration,” he says. “Even when I’m out having fun with my friends, I’m always using my phone to make notes for new songs.”
He adds: “When I change country, when I’ve got a long and difficult day, when I spend a 100 per cent fun weekend, I’m still writing. I collect lyrics.”
It is also important to keep a note of these odds and ends in one place—such as on your phone—so that you always know where to find them. Coming back to them at a later date—and looking at them from a fresh perspective—can often result in a spark of inspiration that helps you finish the song. Sometimes the best songs just need to gestate a little in your subconscious before all the pieces fit together.
Tinie Tempah says he stores his lyrics until he finds a piece of music that he likes, then he tries to fit the right words to the beat. “When I hear a beat that speaks to me, I have a browse in my phone and piece it all together,” he explains. “It’s kind of like a construction game.”
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