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

Tag Archives: hit song

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift advises new songwriters to use their past relationships to inspire great song ideas.

The six times Grammy award winner always tries to draw on emotions she has actually experienced, she says, because she believes people can relate to songs more if they are based on real personal experiences.

But it seems 23-year-old Taylor’s ‘true life’ approach to songwriting is making life hell for One Direction’s Harry Styles, her former boyfriend.

Harry is said to be worried about what her next songwriting move is going to be. She has already written the hit song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ about the break-up of their relationship, and she has reportedly aimed another jab at Harry in the promotional video for her new song ‘22’. The poor guy apparently doesn’t know what to expect next!

The 19-year-old One Direction star is reported to have told friends that he now regrets dating her because she keeps mocking him in her music. For Taylor, though, it’s all good material for her songs.

Different kinds of experiences inspire different kinds of songs, she says. “That’s why emotions are so beautiful to write about because they all sound so different to me.”

Taylor explains that real feelings can result in several types of songs – from ‘missing-him’ songs and ‘frustrated-and-confused, don’t-know-why-it-ended’ songs … to ‘I know we can’t be together but I miss you right now’ songs.

She says personal experiences can also inspire sad songs ‘tinged with anger’, guilt-laded songs, and sad songs that contain ‘a little bit of hope that he’ll come back’.

“I think songwriting is the ultimate form of being able to make anything that happens in your life productive,” Taylor insists. “If you get out of a bad relationship that was a complete waste of time, you can write about it and it can become a benefit to your career. How sweet is that?”

You can watch Taylor’s video for ‘22’ HERE…

The video for ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ can be seen 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 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).


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).


“You have to be honest and true about what you’re writing,” says BRIT Award winner Emeli Sandé (pictured), “and then that way it resonates with people.”

The Scottish singer-songwriter’s heartfelt songs have certainly resonated with lots of people over the past 12 months. At this week’s 2013 BRIT Awards ceremony in London, she won the coveted Best Album prize for Our Version of Events.

The 25-year-old, who received a major boost by appearing at the 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, also picked up the Best British Female award. She had gone into the event with four nominations in total, including two in the Best Single category.

“I think I’m a very unlikely pop star,” an emotional Sandé said in a humble acceptance speech after receiving the Best Album prize. “This is an album I wrote because I didn’t have the confidence to say these things in person.

“For me, that so many people have connected with this album and found strength in these words makes me feel incredible and it doesn’t make me feel as lonely.”

She capped her success at the BRIT Awards by closing the ceremony with a medley of her singles ‘Clown’ and ‘Next to Me’.

Backstage, she added that she felt her decision to leave medical school to pursue music had finally “paid off”.

“I was an underdog,” she said, “Nobody wanted to sign me.

“When people don’t believe in you, you want to prove them wrong. I want to encourage any underdog to achieve their dreams.”

Emeli Sandé’s success should certainly be an inspiration to all struggling singer-songwriters who are determined to make it. In a pointed remark, she once said: “My song ‘Clown’ was written when I couldn’t find anyone who believed in me as an artist. Maybe those labels will think twice next time a young songwriter comes along.”

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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 sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK and Europe).

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


Finding the ideal writing place at home where you can focus and be creative can substantially increase your productivity as a songwriter. But it needs to be a clutter-free zone where you feel comfortable and have no distractions.

It should be a special place where you can close the door, turn off your phone, and give your mind the focused time it needs to get your creative juices flowing.

British singer-songwriter Dido – ASCAP’s Songwriter of The Year in 2007 – says she gets easily distracted by mess around her. So she always makes sure she completes her household chores before sitting down to write new songs.

Although inspiration often strikes the ‘White Flag’ writer when she’s busy doing the cleaning, she admits she can’t concentrate on new material until she has finished all of her tasks.

“I find it quite hard to write if I haven’t tidied up,” she recently told Britain’s Hello! magazine. “It’s so annoying. I wish I could forget that I need to empty the dishwasher but I can’t. Having said that, I have a lot of ideas when I’m cleaning, doing something domestic.”

Dido attained international success with her debut album No Angel in 1999. The album sold over of 21 million copies worldwide and won several awards – including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act, two NRJ Awards for Best New Act and Best Album, and two Brit Awards for Best British Female and Best Album.

Her next album Life for Rent (2003) continued her success with the hit singles ‘White Flag’ and ‘Life for Rent’. And her third studio album, Safe Trip Home (2008), received critical acclaim – including an Academy Award nomination for the song ‘If I Rise’.

No Angel and Life for Rent are among the best-selling albums in UK chart history.

Dido’s new album, Girl Who Got Away, is released on March 4 in Europe and March 26 in America.

You can watch a video for ‘No Freedom’, the first single from the new album, 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).


JIMMY WEBBIf you see songwriting as an easy way to get rich quick, you’ll need to think again if you really want to achieve success.

Let’s be clear, songwriting is not easy. And writing hit songs is even harder. As Jimmy Webb (pictured) once observed: “Songwriting is hell on Earth. If it isn’t, then you’re doing it wrong.”

We’ve all heard about people who finished a song in the time it takes to boil an egg and it went on to earn a fortune. Country legend Hank Williams used to say: “If a song can’t be written in 20 minutes, it ain’t worth writing”. Lady Gaga wrote her first single  ‘Just Dance’ in 10 minutes—the same length of time it took the Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston to write the Barry Manilow classic ‘I Write the Songs’.

The truly great songwriters just make it look easy.

In reality, though, they have to put in hours and hours of hard work—making many mistakes along the way—in order to hone their talent and achieve their greatness. Diane Warren, one of the most successful female songwriters of all time, spent 20 years writing six days a week, 10-12 hours a day before she felt she could finally take the occasional weekend off!

The great Sammy Cahn put it like this: “Writing a song can be agony or ecstasy. It can take half an hour or half a year.”

That’s why it’s important to understand that hit songwriting is a process. It’s an art and a craft.

The initial spark that ignites your song idea is a gift. From then on, it’s all about hard work.

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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 sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK and Europe).

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