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

Tag Archives: Jackson Browne

PINKPink – recent recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for outstanding achievement in songwriting at BMI’s 2015 Pop Awards – believes it’s important for songwriters to always be honest in their songwriting.

“I would say to aspiring songwriters, as long as you’re uncomfortable you’re probably on to something,” she says. “The more uncomfortable you are, and the more honest you’re being, the better the outcome will probably be.”

Pink believes strongly in the power of songwriters to speak truth through their music. Honest songs, she says, can often resonate strongly with listeners who are able to relate to those same experiences, hardships and situations in their own lives – whether it’s a broken love affair, a personal tragedy, or family problems.

If you can touch people’s emotions and make the listener feel something, it’s the sign of a good song.

As US singer-songwriter Jackson Browne once observed: “I’m not looking to describe something that’s only true of my own circumstances. It’s all about reaching inside to something that you have in common with many.”

Pink believes it is essential to write your own story. “To me, it’s a necessity. I’ve always had to put pen to paper and just scratch out my rage since I was little.”

She says: “I’m an open book. I hide nothing. I’m expressive. I’m honest … When I work with people, we share our most intimate betrayals and heartache and love, and then we just start playing …

“As long as people are telling the truth, I’m listening,” she says. “But if you have nothing to say, I’m bored.”

Grammy Award winner, Pink – whose real name is Alecia Moore – has released six studio albums as a solo artist, as well as 2014’s Rose Ave., a debut album for her folk-inspired pop duo You+Me with Canadian musician Dallas Green. She has sold over 40 million albums (and 65 million singles) worldwide.

In being presented with BMI’s President’s Award, she joins previous recipients such as Taylor Swift, Gloria Estefan and Willie Nelson.

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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).

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Grammy award-winning US singer-songwriter John Mayer claims he isn’t worried about writing hits any more. He insists that he no longer obsesses about dominating the charts. He now believes songs should focus more on being meaningful rather than simply having a catchy melody.

“I’m not worried about pop hits; I’m not worried about sales or relevance,” he recently told TIME.com. “I only care about one thing: tell your story. Tell YOUR story. … Follow where the road takes you.”

However, when telling your own story it is important to make sure that your song is not too narrow and personal. Don’t be too insular. Ideally, the song should be written in a way that leaves the audience thinking the song is about them and their lives—not about you.

People don’t really want to hear about your problems. They might, however, want to listen if your songs are about experiences, hardships and situations that everyone can relate to—such as a broken love affair, a personal tragedy, or a song about concern for the environment.

As singer-songwriter Jackson Browne once remarked when describing his own approach to storytelling: “I’m not looking to describe something that’s only true of my own circumstances. It’s all about reaching inside to something that you have in common with many.”

By writing about something that everyone experiences in his or her own life, you can touch people’s emotions. If you can engage listeners’ minds and make them feel something, it’s the sign of a good song.

On the subject of writing good songs, John Mayer urges new writers not to worry too much about whether a song is good or bad when they are writing it. “Just write it,” he says. “The rule is: write bad songs, but write ’em. If you start writing bad songs, you start writing better songs, and then you start getting really good.

“If you try to get into the building on the twelfth floor, you’ll never make it. You have to get in the basement floor and work up from there.”

Take a look at this quirky lyric video for ‘Paper Doll’ from John Mayer’s sixth album Paradise Valley.

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How [Not] to Write A Hit Song! - Smashwords cover - blog widgit 188x282How [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), 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).

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“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 (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), 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).

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).


Sir Paul McCartney recently revealed that songwriting has often helped him get through emotional and dark times. He told Mojo magazine: “I think it’s good when you’re in a dark period and the song is your psychiatrist. It’s your therapy.”

Now, Britney Spears has revealed that writing songs for her new album Britney Jean was like therapy for her too.

The 32-year-old singer split from her former fiancé Jason Trawick when she was working on the album and, she says, some of the new tracks are about the heartache she experienced.

While she understands some people might prefer to keep those feelings private, Britney is happy to lay herself bare through her songs.

“Actually I really kinda had no choice,” she recently told MTV News. “At the time I was going through a breakup that was kind of public, and everyone knew about it. And I felt like, it’s not a secret, so why not write about it and say how I’m feeling about it and what it feels like?”

She added: “I feel like when you write you do depict what you’re going through in your life, and that’s what I was going through at the time. So it just made sense for me, therapeutically, to write it out and get it out.”

In a recent interview with Mojo, Sir Paul McCartney said: “When you’re really upset about something, going away and putting it in your song you come out of that cupboard, toilet or basement and go, ‘I really feel better’. You’ve actually exorcised the demon. It’s one of the great joys of songwriting.”

However, it is important to avoid being too personal and too insular in your ‘therapeutic’ writing. If you still want your songs to be successful commercially, they should always be about your audience—not just you.

That means writing about experiences, hardships and situations that everyone can relate to. By writing about something that listeners experience in their own lives, you can touch people’s emotions. And if you can make the listener feel something, it’s the sign of a good song.

As US singer-songwriter Jackson Browne once remarked: “It’s all about reaching inside to something that you have in common with many.”

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