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

Tag Archives: Ed Sheeran

AVICIIThe trend toward songwriters mixing up music genres in order to create something different and fresh—and also help them reach new audiences—appears to be gathering pace.

Swedish dance producer/writer Avicii has just announced that his next album will blend rock with electronic dance music (EDM). This follows his previous flirtation with a combination of bluegrass and big-room house on his crossover hit ‘Wake Me Up’.

Avicii says he plans to add a rock flavour to his next album with guest appearances from Jon Bon Jovi, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Other guest artists are expected to include Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu (on a reggae/EDM duet).

With his new (as yet untitled) album, Avicii is also echoing the recent call by Disclosure for EDM writers to use a broader range of chords and song structures.

Commenting on the new album, Avicii recently told Rolling Stone magazine: “It’s going to be a lot more song-oriented. True [his 2013 debut album], was an attempt at that, getting electronic music in a song format.”

Other singer-songwriters who are taking this ‘fusion’ approach to writing songs include Taylor Swift who has hinted that her new album will push the boundaries of her sound by featuring greater cross-pollination between different genres.

JESSIE JJessie J also shares this view: “I feel like pop’s taken a really good turn at the moment,” she recently remarked. “I feel like artists are experimenting. That’s what music should be about, pushing boundaries.”

And British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s new hit album, X, features a broad mix of genres, sonic ideas and songwriting styles that stretch his original folk rock sound. Sheeran said he deliberately set out to “rock the boat a little bit” with his new music.

As a possible indication of Avicii’s upcoming collaboration with Chris Martin, here’s his remix of Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ …

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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).

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ED SHEERANBritish singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is continuing to demonstrate the strong commercial potential of fusing different music genres and cross-pollinating sonic ideas and songwriting styles.

After co-writing his R&B-influenced hit ‘Sing’ with Pharrell Williams, Sheeran is now pushing the boundaries of his original folk rock sound even further by teaming up with American rapper Benjamin Levin (aka Benny Blanco). They have co-written ‘Don’t’, the second single from Sheeran’s new album ‘X’.

‘Don’t’ is also one of three songs from ‘X’ produced by Rick Rubin who has previously worked with artists such as Eminem, Jay-Z and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Benjamin Levin’s hits include ‘California Gurls’ by Katy Perry, ‘Payphone’ and ‘Moves Like Jagger’ by Maroon 5, and Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’.

Like Sheeran’s previous collaborator Pharrell Williams, Levin believes in marrying different elements together to create something fresh. “I listen to so many different types of music,” he says. “I don’t want to have any boundaries whatsoever. If someone came to me and was like, ‘I want to make a polka album’, I’m making the best damn polka album ever.”

Levin says much of his sonic inspiration comes from his home city of New York. “I love that this city isn’t pretty all the time – that it’s dirty and loud. Sometimes when you’re in the studio you can actually hear car horns and fire alarms outside—I love that.”

But very different from the ambient sounds found in Sheeran’s new home – a renovated farmhouse in the peaceful, rural landscape of Suffolk, England!

Here’s the Official Audio for ‘Don’t’ …

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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).


Taylor SwiftWith Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album expected to be released in October 2014, the seven-time Grammy winner has been dropping hints that her follow-up to multi-platinum Red will be very different from anything she has ever done before.

It is likely to push the boundaries of her sound by featuring greater cross-pollination between different music genres.

“It’s already evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted,” the 24-year-old recently told Billboard magazine. “There’s a fusing of genres that makes me happy and excited.”

In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), she also stressed how important it is for songwriters not to simply put out a retread of songs they’ve already done: “The goal is to continue to change, and never change in the same way twice,” she said. On her new album, this involved writing in ways that she had never attempted before and using a sonic backdrop that she had not previously explored.

She said: “I love [collaborating with] people who have endless strange and exciting ideas about where music can go—people like Max Martin and Johan Shellback who are likely to ask ‘What if we made it weirder? What if we took it darker?’.”

ED SHEERANMeanwhile, Taylor Swift’s good friend Ed Sheeran has also been exploring entirely new realms of sound for his next album, titled x, which will be released on June 23. “I’ve been writing very specific songs to different genres,” he explained.

Never a songwriter to stand still, Sheeran has recorded x at various locations around the world—adding new flavours to his music with the aid of producers such as Rick Rubin (Eminem, Jay-Z, Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Pharrell Williams (Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, N.E.R.D), Benny Blanco (Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa), and Jeff Bhasker (Alicia Keys, Jay-Z), as well as his key collaborators Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol and Jake Gosling (who produced Sheeran’s first album +).

The first single from Sheeran’s new album is ‘Sing’. It was produced by Pharrell Williams—another singer/songwriter/producer who believes in marrying different elements together to create something fresh. “That is where I find the magic,” said Pharrell, “in trying to just blend different worlds together and mix it up.”

Commenting on his work with Pharrell Williams, Sheeran told Music Week magazine: “Pharrell took me way outside of my comfort zone, which was very, very helpful. He forced me to try new things.”

Here’s the Official Video for ‘Sing’ (featuring Ed the Puppet) …

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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, and Barnes & Noble's Nook storeHow [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) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.

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


British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has teamed up with Martin Guitar to produce a Signature Edition six string guitar. It is based on Martin’s classic 23 inch ‘Little Martin’ LX1E model which is said to have been Sheeran’s guitar of choice since his early teens.

Over the past two years, Sheeran and his own well-used LX1E have graced prestigious stages worldwide – from the London Summer Olympics opening ceremony in 2012, to the 2013 Grammy Awards where he teamed up with Sir Elton John.

The new Signature model carries the orange plus sign from the cover of Sheeran’s 2011 debut album (which was titled ‘+‘), along with the words “Est. 1991” which is the year in which Sheeran was born. He will be playing the new guitar during the rest of his current tour with Taylor Swift.

Proceeds will go towards a Children’s Hospice charity in England.

“It was a huge privilege to have the opportunity to collaborate with Martin Guitar,” said Ed Sheeran. “I have been a fan of Martin since I started playing guitar and songwriting, and I am honored to have a Signature Edition that bears my own personal imprint.”

He added: “All of the royalties from every purchase from my Signature Edition will go to the East Anglia Children’s Hospices. I can’t wait to get on stage and perform with it for my fans.”

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How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is now available from Amazon’s Kindle Store for only US$7.22 or GB£4.78.

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

Also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music).


Listening to the same things over and over again can kill your creative process, warns Taylor Swift.

“I think you need to change up your influences,” she recently told USA Today. “I think you need to be inspired by different things than you were inspired by before.”

Swift, who is about to start working on new songs for her next album, revealed that she often scraps new ideas if they sound too familiar to her. “I may like it, but if it’s going to sound like the last record it is going to get thrown away,” she said.

She also confessed that her songwriting is often spurred by anxiety. “When the anxiety starts, the writing happens right after, usually,” she said.

Many leading songwriters agree that is important to seek inspiration by listening to plenty of new things – even genres that you haven’t considered before. It can help you to start thinking differently about your own songs.

For example, Taylor’s good friend Ed Sheeran recently revealed that his follow-up to his 2011 debut album is likely to include a broad mix of influences. In an interview with MTV News, he even hinted that it could feature some hip-hop and rap-metal songs. He recently recorded a track with rapper and hip-hop star The Game.

“I’m actually writing very specific songs to genres at the moment,” he said. “I’ve got a whole album of one genre and enough to make another of another genre.”

US singer-songwriter Ben Harper also feels it is important to listen to other kinds of music. “That’s how new ideas come,” he said, “and how musical inspiration is passed on—through other music and other brilliant artists. Listen to whatever pulls you in different musical directions so that you don’t start copying yourself.”

Critically-acclaimed British songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson once told Innerviews magazine: “Someone very wise said ‘Copy everyone except yourself’. Looking at other people’s ideas and twisting them to fit your own style is a good thing.”

He added: “It’s important to keep searching and not go for the obvious idea.”

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

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


This week’s 2013 BRIT Awards event proved to be a nerve-wracking time for UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran – and not just because the winners were being announced.

The 22-year-old found that his mobile phone containing the only recording of his new, unreleased album went missing before the show.

Sheeran – whose hit single ‘The A Team’ was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards – confessed to “freaking out a little” on realizing that he had misplaced his phone.

He also admitted that it wasn’t the first time he had lost a phone containing new material. “I lost the MP3 that everything was on in Ibiza,” he said. “But the album hasn’t come out yet so that’s good.”

Fears that his new material may be leaked were eventually allayed, however. The phone turned up in the back of the car that had transported Sheeran to the BRIT Awards venue … but not before the award-winning writer had learnt how important it is to keep a safety copy of new songs!

Unfortunately, being well-organized is often a significant weak spot for many songwriters. If you’re a new writer, it’s a failing that could affect your chances of success – especially if the only recording of that potential hit song you’ve just written goes missing…

You can watch the Official Video for Ed Sheeran’s ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ HERE…

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How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is now available from Amazon’s Kindle Store for only US$7.22 or GB£4.78.

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

Also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music).