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

Tag Archives: hit song formula

Nick_Jonas_-_Kingdom_Premiere_Oct_2014_(cropped)_(cropped)

“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).

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PAUL McCARTNEY - pure_mccartney_4_cd_packshot-b237130001f1c3fb11d0d50acfeb28ab75058b90-s800-c85

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).

 


 

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).

 

 


Damon Albarn - 2010 - by Bill Ebbesen

“What is songwriting? What is it all about? … True songwriters are people who are able to release themselves from something that’s really affected them by writing a song about it.

“Some of us see it as going to church, some of us see it as going to work, but at the end of the day, if you’re not connecting to the spirit you’re not making true music.”

— Damon Albarn (on receiving his Lifetime Achievement award at the Ivor Novello Awards 2016).

(Photo: Bill Ebbesen)

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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, 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).

 


Pixie_Lott_2014_(cropped) - Photo - Walterlan Papetti

Pixie Lott (Photo: Walterlan Papetti)

UK music business training organisation, The Songwriting Academy, has teamed up with coffee house chain Caffè Nero to launch a songwriting competition to find the best unsigned songwriter in the UK—and raise £50,000 for charity.

According to the organisers, this is the first time a live, event-based songwriting competition has been launched in the UK where the song is the star, not the singer.

The songwriter with the strongest songs will be the winner. Songwriters who are not singers will be allowed to use session singers and musicians.

The first prize includes a 12-month development programme with The Songwriting Academy, plus promotion and exposure via Caffè Nero outlets, and support from Yamaha Instruments.

Songwriters can enter their songs online HERE before 1st September, 2016.

The top songwriters will be selected to showcase their songs at live regional heats across the UK in Caffè Nero stores from 26 September 2016, culminating in a star-studded Gala Final in London on 30 October 2016.

In addition, top celebrities and multi-million selling songwriters are all coming together to help the competition raise money for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign and music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins. The two charities will share all profits.

English singer-songwriter Pixie Lott (pictured above) said: “What an amazing way to raise money for a great cause. Every unsigned songwriter in the country should get writing for this competition!”

Jack SavorettiSinger-songwriter Jack Savoretti (left) added: “This is a great opportunity for up and coming songwriters … which are hard to come by. It is also for a great cause.”

The Songwriting Academy is a UK-based songwriting, production and music business training organisation. It aims to help songwriters succeed in today’s competitive music business through the support of a team of leading songwriters, producers and industry experts.

Caffè Nero has supported talented grass-root musicians for many years. It was instrumental in supporting the early careers of artists such as Jack Savoretti and Passenger through live performances in many of its 600 UK stores and airplay on Caffè Nero’s in-store playlist.

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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, 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) and HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).



Sia Furler - Photo by Kirk Stauffer

“Record labels want things that people can Google,” Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler recently told ABC News.

This may be one reason why she has become one of the finest contemporary exponents of the captivating,  one-word song title. It’s a strategic songwriting approach that has resulted in a stream of distinctive hit songs such as: ‘Diamonds’, ‘Chandelier’, ‘Cannonball’, ‘Titanium’, ‘Unstoppable’, ‘Radioactive’, ‘Breathe’, ‘Invincible’, ‘Sexercize’, and many more.

“I’ll choose lyrical content from a list of concepts I have in my phone, and whenever I think of one, I write it down,” said Sia. “I usually choose a word, one solid concept. So say I’m looking around and I see a chandelier, I think ‘oh, how can I use that?’ … There’s a lot of strategy that goes into it.”

A recent study by Priceonomics confirmed that, in recent years, there has been a steady upward trend in the number of one-word song titles in the Billboard Hot 100. This could be a result of the growing importance of using catchy hashtags on Google, Twitter and other social media to promote artists. The Priceonomics study found that the probability of a one-word title is two and a half times greater today than in the 1960s, and the average number of words per song title has also declined. In the 1960s, less than 10% of hit songs had a one-word title; today the figure is almost 25%.

“There have always been songs with one-word titles, but in the first half of the 20th Century, they were uncommon,” said Dan Kopf of Priceonomics. “If you peek at lists of popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s, you’ll find that one-word song titles are exceedingly rare – hits like Jimmy Dorsey’s ‘Tangerine’ and Billie Holiday’s version of ‘Summertime’ are exceptions.”

He added: “By the 1960s, one-word song titles were more popular, but still unusual, at less than one in ten hits. The growth was relatively gradual from the Sixties to the Nineties, and then accelerated at the turn of the century”

With easy-to-remember song titles becoming increasingly important as a music marketing tool, it’s not surprising that Sia Furler and fellow hit songwriter Bonnie McKee both advocate writing songs from titles. After all, the title is the heart and emotional foundation of any song—a stepping stone to the lyrics in the verses and the chorus.

Once you find a great title, a song can almost write itself—or at least give you the direction that the song should take. It can help you to focus your creativity by encapsulating the message of the song in a simple phrase or (increasingly) just a single word.

Bonnie McKee - Photo Justin Higuchi

“I start with titles a lot because I think if you open your ears and eyes to them they’re everywhere,” said Bonnie McKee (pictured – photo by Justin Higuchi). “They’re on billboards; they’re in conversations when you’re eavesdropping at the grocery store. The world is full of song titles. So I just have a list that I go through.”

She added: “In pop music usually there’s already a track finished, so I can listen to the track and decide does it sound like a sad song or a love song? Is it a party song? What is it? And then I look at my list of titles and kind of find a title that looks the way the track sounds and build the story around that.”

A good title can also dictate the whole architecture of a song—with the words in the title helping to establish the cadence for the rest of the lyrics and thus playing a part in determining the melodic structure.

Sting is another top songwriter who always writes from titles. “I never write the first line of a song first,” he once remarked. “It’s a mistake, because then you have to come up with the second one.”

(Sia Furler photo: Kirk Stauffer)

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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 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, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

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

 


Lionel Ritchie - Mar2011 - Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Lionel Richie is set to receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at this June’s Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The award is the Hall’s highest honour and is only awarded to past inductees. Richie has been a Hall of Fame member since 1994.

“In our view, Lionel is more than well deserving of this honour as one the greatest and most prolific songwriters and identifiable music voices in our century,” said the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s co-chairmen Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. “As a songwriter, Lionel’s songs made you love and dance and will last forever in American culture. But he truly demonstrated the power of songwriting with his masterful co-writing of the global song ‘We Are The World’ with Michael Jackson.”

Richie’s songwriting credits include ‘Three Times A Lady’ and ‘Easy’ with The Commodores, and solo hits such as ‘Endless Love’, ‘All Night Long (All Night)’, ‘Hello’ and ‘Say You, Say Me’.

Previous recipients of the Johnny Mercer Award have included Van Morrison, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Phil Collins, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and Stephen Sondheim, among others.

Set to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at this year’s event are: Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Chip Taylor, Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (who died in 1996), and the late Marvin Gaye. Sire Records co-founder and chairman Seymour Stein will receive the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.

(Photo: Eva Rinaldi)

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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) and HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).