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

Tag Archives: Adele

ADELE“In order for me to feel confident with one of my songs it has to really move me. That’s how I know that I’ve written a good song for myself – it’s when I start crying. It’s when I break out in tears in the vocal booth or in the studio, and I’ll need a moment to myself.

“You have to write about real life because otherwise how can you be relatable?”

—Adele (in an interview with New York Times)

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MORE SONGWRITING TIPS


AVICIIWhile it’s true that the melody and the title are regarded as the most important parts of a song, it would be a huge mistake to believe that the quality of the lyrics doesn’t really matter if your song has a strong melody, a catchy hook and great beats.

As the award-winning songwriter and producer Francis ‘Eg’ White once remarked: “If you’ve got a killer tune and a killer set of chord changes and you’ve got no lyrics, you’re screwed.”

And just to prove that writers should never settle for lyrics that they know are second-best, new research from YouTube shows that lyrics are becoming more important than ever.

According to YouTube, searches for the term ‘lyric video’ are now at an all-time high. The Google-owned video-sharing website claims that some 100 days’ worth of videos with ‘lyric video’ in the title have been uploaded so far in 2014 (attracting more than 850 million views). And more major artists are now creating their own official lyric videos as a teaser for their official music video.

YouTube says Avicii’s lyric video for ‘Wake Me Up’ currently tops the ‘most viewed’ list, having been watched almost 199 million times.

Here is YouTube’s list of the Top 10 most popular lyric videos of all time:

1. Avicii – ‘Wake Me Up (Lyric Video)’: 198,525,542 views

2. Avicii – ‘Hey Brother (Lyric)’: 137,056,523

3. Maroon 5 – ‘Payphone (Lyric Video) ft. Wiz Khalifa’: 117,022,809

4. Adele – ‘Skyfall (Lyric Video)’: 98,440,284

5. Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’: 84,700,444

6. Katy Perry – ‘Roar (Lyric Video)’: 76,791,132

7. One Direction – ‘Rock Me (Lyric Video)’: 67,608,064

8. David Guetta – ‘Shot Me Down ft. Skylar Grey (Lyric Video)’: 73,957,630

9. Ariana Grande – ‘Problem (Lyric Video) ft. Iggy Azalea’: 59,862,736

10. Bruno Mars – ‘When I Was Your Man (Lyrics)’: 57,789,851

Here’s the chart-topping Official Lyric Video for Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ …

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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.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, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.

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

 


Etta James's 'At Last' is Spotify's most popular 'first dance' song

Etta James’s ‘At Last’ is Spotify’s most popular ‘first dance’ song

Many songwriters dream of being able to come up with an evergreen song that will still mean something special to listeners in years to come (and, ideally, keep earning royalties for years to come!).

One example of this is the kind of song that newly married couples choose for their ‘first dance’ at their wedding celebrations—a song that will always bring back those ‘special day’ feelings for them.

Now, leading music streaming service Spotify has unveiled a list of the world’s 10 most popular ‘first dance’ wedding songs, based on the listening choices made by many of its 40 million active users across 56 countries.

Spotify studied over 30,000 wedding-themed playlists and also analyzed 12,000 single-track playlists named ‘First Dance’ in order to identify listeners’ most popular wedding choices.

According to Spotify, the world’s most popular ‘first dance’ song is Etta James’s 1960 classic ‘At Last’ which was originally written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren in 1941 for the film musical Orchestra Wives (performed in the movie by Glenn Miller and his orchestra).

Here is Spotify’s ‘First Dance’ Top 10:

1. Etta James – ‘At Last’
2. Jason Mraz – ‘I Won’t Give Up’
3. Ray LaMontagne – ‘You Are the Best Thing’
4. John Legend – ‘All of Me’
5. Jack Johnson – ‘Better Together’
6. Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’
7. Michael Buble – ‘Everything’
8. Bright Eyes – ‘First Day Of My Life’
9. Brad Paisley – ‘Then’
10. Adele – ‘Make You Feel My Love’

If you can write a song that becomes someone’s ‘special song’ with a lyrical message and melody that will always remind them of a particular day (such as their wedding), then it is indeed a great achievement.

When Grammy Award-winner Drake released his 2013 single ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ (subsequently covered by the Arctic Monkeys), he hoped the song would go on to become a “timeless” wedding song that would still be played at nuptials in years to come.

“I thought it would be great if we had a record that was still played at weddings in ten years … something that just has timeless writing and a timeless melody,” he told MTV News at the time.

Burt Bacharach shares this view. “I like to write songs that will last,” he once remarked. “Once a record is out of the charts it’s dead, as a record. But if it’s a good song it’ll stay around.”

And there are solid scientific findings to support this ‘long-lasting’ approach to songwriting.

In 2008, researchers at the University of Leeds in England found that music has a powerful influence on the storage and retrieval of long-term memories. A piece of music can become so closely associated with an event from a person’s life that hearing the music again evokes powerful memories of the original experience.

In a recent UK survey, half of the men and women interviewed said they are taken back to memories of a past relationship whenever they hear a certain song. And 20% said they have a particular song that always reminds them of their first kiss.

That’s why music is sometimes called ‘the language of emotion’. It has an amazing power to influence people’s emotions and behaviour. As Oliver Sacks, the noted British neuroscientist and author, puts it: “Music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”

Here’s Etta James’s classic recording of ‘At Last’ to bring back a few memories …

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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.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, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.

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



To be successful, a song must be able to reach out and touch the listener and make him or her feel something. This means the song ideally needs to be about something that everyone is familiar with. It also means the lyrics should be honest, believable and heartfelt so that people can easily relate to them.

Taylor Swift says heartbreak is her favourite emotion when she is writing songs. She believes songs about people who are heartbroken tend to make the best and most interesting songs because most people can relate to how it feels.

“I think when you’re heartbroken you need music more than when you’re not,” she says. “There’s something so beautiful about people who are heartbroken. They think about things much more.”

She adds: “When you’re in love and you’re happy you don’t need to think; it’s just there. Love is one of those things that’s so simple, you only need to think about it when it’s bad. When you write a song about what you’re thinking… there’s such a gratification and it helps you move on.”

Taylor Swift is renowned for writing hit songs about her own relationships. For example, she has admitted that ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ was about the break-up of her relationship with One Direction’s Harry Styles. And tracks such as ‘Dear John’ and ‘All Too Well’ were reportedly written about her former flames John Mayer and Jake Gyllenhaal.

She says that when she eventually runs out of stories about her own life, she’ll start writing heartbreak lyrics from other people’s point of view.

Adele is another leading singer-songwriter who shares Taylor Swift’s view about the power of heartbreak songs. “Heartbreak can definitely give you a deeper sensibility for writing songs,” says Adele. “I drew on a lot of heartbreak when I was writing my first album, I didn’t mean to but I just did.”

Richard Marx – whose hits include ‘Right Here Waiting’, ‘Now and Forever’, ‘Too Late To Say Goodbye’ and ‘Hold On to the Nights – also believes sad songs can make the best songs. “I just don’t find that there’s much poetry in a successful relationship,” he says. “The poetry comes from unrequited love and heartbreak and longing … I just find that even as a listener I don’t want to hear happy love songs, let alone write them.”

And the legendary Burt Bacharach also admits that he is drawn to heartbreak songs. “I’ve never been a terribly sad or depressed person,” he once remarked. “But when I write, I just happen to go toward that sort of thing … Maybe that’s because ‘she loves you’ or ‘I’m so happy’ don’t make for such good songs.”

# # # #SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS

“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and across Europe. It is also available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle store in the United States, the UK and Europe, as well as Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … 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 Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

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

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 Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

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