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

Tag Archives: hit song formula

American Authors, winner of the 2013 USA Songwriting Competition

This year’s USA Songwriting Competition is now open for entries and is offering a top prize of $50,000 (£35,000) in cash, plus music gear and US radio airplay.

Songwriters from around the world are urged to enter before the closing date of 27 May 2016. The cost is US$35.00 per entry.

Original songs – which can be written in any language – may be entered in 15 diverse genre categories including: Pop, Rock/Alternative, Country, R&B, Gospel/Inspirational, Folk, Latin, Instrumental, Jazz, Hip-Hop/Rap, Children, World, Dance/Electronica, Novelty/Comedy, and Lyrics Only.

Winners will be selected by a committee of music industry judges, including music publishers and record label A&R execs from Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony.

Songwriters will retain all rights to all of their songs.

The USA Songwriting Competition is an international songwriting event which has been honouring songwriters, composers, bands and recording artists from all over the world since 1995. Past winners have come from Australia, Japan, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil and South Africa, as well as from the USA.

“This is not American Idol,” say the organisers. “This is the professional songwriting competition that offers winners the clout that it takes to really make it.”

The winner of the 2013 USA Songwriting Competition—’Believer’ by US rock band American Authors (pictured)—went on to achieve Platinum sales. It topped the Billboard Adult Pop Song Charts and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. The song—which was written by Zac Barnett, Dave Rublin, Matt Sanchez, James Adam Shelley, Aaron Accetta and Shep Goodman—was also featured in the hit movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

You can enter the competition online HERE …

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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).


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If you try to force too many messages into one song, you could end up being overloaded with verses, warns former Buffalo Springfield and CSN star Stephen Stills who wrote the rock classics ‘For What It’s Worth’ and ‘Love the One You’re With’.

Stills believes writers should never be afraid to take a pair of scissors to their songs. “If I’ve got too many verses,” he says, “I’ll cut out two verses and then take the meaning of the song and condense it.”

Unfortunately, many new writers tend to try too hard and end up cramming too much into a song—making it way too long and unnecessarily complicated … and leaving the listener feeling confused.

That’s why it’s so important to avoid over-thinking or over-writing your songs. Sometimes, the chords, melodies and lyrics that come to you instinctively are the right ones, so don’t spend forever searching for the perfect melody or words. In other words, know when to quit.

That’s something that Dave Matthews – lead singer, songwriter and guitarist with the Dave Matthews Band – admits he finds hard to do. “I take it too far sometimes,” he once told Rolling Stone magazine. “When I listen to my favorite songwriters, they have such simple melodies and chords. I occasionally manage to stop at the right time, but all too often I keep on going until I have way too many notes and words.”

These days, a hit song tends to comprise just one story told from one point of view. So stay focused. If you have several unrelated points that you want to get across to listeners, try putting them in separate songs.

And don’t try to be too tricky with your chord progressions. Just concentrate on creating music and lyrics that can hold the listener’s attention … and write a melody that is easy for them to remember.

In short, don’t sabotage your songs by being too smart for your own good.

Here’s Stephen Stills with a perfect three verses-plus-chorus classic ….

Stephen Stills photo: SolarScott

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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).

 


Marvin_Gaye_in_1973

Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards are among the music legends who will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at an awards ceremony in New York in June.

The 2016 inductees also include Chip Taylor who wrote the classic songs ‘Angel of the Morning’ and The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’.

The inductees will follow more than 400 artists and songwriters who have already been enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees were chosen from a long list of nominees in three categories: Performing Songwriters, Non-Performing Songwriters and Deceased Songwriters. The nominees included Madonna, John Mellencamp, Sly Stone, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Blondie’s Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, and one-man Swedish hit factory Max Martin who has been responsible for twenty-one No. 1 Billboard hits since 1998.

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, co-chairmen of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, said they were excited about “the quality and diversity” of the songs and songwriters that will be honoured this year. “The 2016 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a beautiful mosaic of the best of late 20th Century popular music,” said Gamble & Huff in a statement. “With creators of Rock & Roll, Soul/R&B, Country and Funk/Dance represented, we are looking forward to an unforgettable and extremely exciting event.”

Founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond, the Songwriters Hall of Fame provides a bridge between music’s past and future – with musical pioneers celebrated and enshrined, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of songwriters.

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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).

 


MEP 14

Max Martin, one of the most successful songwriters of the last 20 years, is set to receive this year’s Polar Music Prize Laureate when the Stockholm-based event celebrates its 25th anniversary in June 2016. The award will be presented by Sweden’s King Carl XVI.

Previous winners include Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Burt Bacharach.

Stockholm-born Max Martin (real name Martin Sandberg) said: “If you can somehow influence popular culture, shape it in some way, when something becomes bigger than just a song, that’s the greatest thing for me… this is what I love about music. You can reach so many people.”

Things really took off for him in 1995, when he started working with the Backstreet Boys, receiving a writing credit on the boy band’s platinum single ‘Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)’. He followed that success with Robyn’s ‘Show Me Love’ and ‘Do You Know (What it Takes)’, both of which also charted.

Since 1999, Martin has written or co-written 21 US Number One hits (most of which he also produced or co-produced) – including Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ (2008), Pink’s ‘So What’ (2008), ‘Hold It Against Me’ by Britney Spears (2011), Maroon 5’s ‘One More Night’ (2012), and Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ (2014).

Martin is the songwriter with the third-most Number One chart single credits – behind only Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Many of the stars who have achieved chart success with Martin’s songs have already started paying tribute to him. “He sets the scene to be really creative,” said Katy Perry.

Britney Spears – for whom Martin wrote ‘Baby One More Time’ – said: “I think you are a genius; you’ve been a part of my career from my beginning.”

Pink said: “You blow my mind and I’m really proud of you,” while Justin Bieber added: “No one deserves it more, you are a master.”

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, who was the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA. The name of the prize stems from Anderson’s legendary Swedish record label, Polar Music.

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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).


Take That -2015Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) – the UK-based organization which licenses recorded music that is broadcast or played in public – has released an official chart of the ‘Most Played Love Songs of the 21st Century’.

Based on PPL’s exclusive UK airplay data, the chart collates songs about love, longing and adoration played on UK radio stations between 2000 and 2015.

Snow Patrol’s 2006 Grammy-winning song ‘Chasing Cars’ tops the list, followed by ‘Rule the World’ by Take That (pictured) in second place and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ by Kylie Minogue at number three. Power ballads, romantic film soundtracks and up-tempo dance tunes all feature on the list.

Here’s the full list of PPL’s ‘Most Played Love Songs of the 21st Century’:

1. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
2. Rule The World – Take That
3. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue
4. Crazy In Love – Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z
5. I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aerosmith
6. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
7. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
8. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
9. Rather Be (Feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
10. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
11. There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) – Eurythmics
12. (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
13. Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Bublé
14. Drive By – Train
15. Someone Like You – Adele
16. Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
17. Lady (Hear Me Tonight) – Modjo
18. Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle
19. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
20. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
21. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
22. Can’t Fight The Moonlight – Leann Rimes
23. Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) – Spiller
24. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
25. You To Me Are Everything – The Real Thing
26. True – Spandau Ballet
27. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
28. It Must Be Love – Madness
29. She Moves In Her Own Way – Kooks
30. Stars – Simply Red
31. I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin
32. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling
33. The Power Of Love – Huey Lewis And The News
34. If You’re Not The One – Daniel Bedingfield
35. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John & Kiki Dee
36. Stand By Me – Ben E King
37. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
38. With Or Without – You U2
39. We Found Love – Rihanna Feat. Calvin Harris
40. When You Say Nothing At All – Ronan Keating
41. Hero – Enrique Iglesias
42. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – Police
43. You Give Me Something – James Morrison
44. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – Aretha Franklin & George Michael
45. You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins
46. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
47. When You’re Gone – Bryan Adams
48. Life Is A Rollercoaster – Ronan Keating
49. Take My Breath Away – Berlin
50. Everlasting Love – Love Affair
51. Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
52. Dreams – Gabrielle
53. Ain’t Nobody – Rufus & Chaka Khan
54. Never Too Much – Luther Vandross
55. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
56. She’s The One – Robbie Williams
57. If There’s Any Justice – Lemar
58. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
59. Love Is All Around – Wet Wet Wet
60. Halo – Beyoncé
61. Eternal Flame – The Bangles
62. Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
63. Fill My Little World – The Feeling
64. Yellow – Coldplay
65. Lovely Day – Bill Withers
66. Dilemma – Nelly
67. Grenade – Bruno Mars
68. Thank You – Dido
69. Kiss From A Rose – Seal
70. I Wanna Be The Only One – Eternal Feat. Bebe Winans
71. Best Of My Love – The Emotions
72. Run To You – Bryan Adams
73. Lego House – Ed Sheeran.

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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).


apple-music-memo-lead-582x402An all-new app from Apple called Music Memos will allow songwriters to quickly capture, organize and develop musical ideas on their iPhone. At the same time, a major update to Apple’s GarageBand for iOS on iPhone or iPad has introduced several new features, including Live Loops.

Many musicians and songwriters already use the Voice Memos app on their iPhone to quickly record ideas. According to Apple, the new Music Memos app is inspired by Voice Memos and takes the functionality even further by adding musician-friendly features designed specifically for songwriting and developing musical ideas.

With Music Memos, says Apple, you can record any musical instrument through the iPhone’s built-in microphone in a high-quality, uncompressed format, then name, tag and rate it to start building a library of your ideas. The app can analyse rhythm and chords of acoustic guitar and piano recordings, and instantly add drums and a bass line to provide a virtual, customizable backing band that plays along to match the feel of your song.

Apple says Music Memos can even provide basic notation that displays the chords that were played. With iCloud, Music Memos will automatically be available across all of a songwriter’s Apple devices – so the memos can be opened in GarageBand or Logic Pro X to further develop new songs.

“The innovative new Music Memos app will help musicians quickly capture their ideas on iPhone and iPad whenever inspiration strikes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “GarageBand is the most popular music creation app in the world, and this update helps everyone easily tap into their musical talent with the powerful new Live Loops and Drummer features, and adds support for the larger iPad Pro screen and 3D Touch on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.”

Ryan AdamsSinger-songwriter Ryan Adams (pictured) says he is already a big fan of the new Music Memos app. “Sometimes ideas come faster than I can get them into my notebook so I’ve used Voice Memos and Notes to quickly capture songs before they’re lost. Music Memos is like if those two apps came together to form some kind of superpower for songs.”

He added: “It quite literally blew my mind how Music Memos could transform a single guitar idea into a whole composition with a virtual drummer loose enough that it felt like you were having your mind read by some A.I. musician and a choice of stand-up or electric bass accompaniments.”

Music Memos is available for free on the App Store and is compatible with iPhone 4s and later, and iPad 2 and later.

For more information about the new Music Memos app, visit: http://www.apple.com/music-memos.

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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).

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Bernie_Elton_By_Bill_Claxtonsm-294x250

“I just go to the studio and there are 24 lyrics [from Bernie Taupin] waiting for me and I look through them and see which one I want to start with, and then I try and write a song. I never, ever know what the lyrics are gonna be upfront.

“When I first started writing with Bernie [49 years ago this year] it was exactly the same as it is now: I would get a lyric, I would go away, and write the melody and play it to him … then the band come in and learn it and we put it down.

“I don’t try to analyze it. It’s a strange approach, but it works.”

— Elton John (during an interview on ABC TV’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! show)

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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).