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

Tag Archives: Max Martin

MEP 14

Max Martin — regarded by many as the most successful songwriter of this century — has revealed the secret behind his 22 Number One hits in an interview with journalist Jan Gradvall of the Swedish magazine, Di Weekend. In the interview, Martin — who will be inducted into the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2017 — highlights what he believes are the key characteristics of a hit song.

“A great pop song should be felt when you hear it,” Martin told Gradvall. “You can hear songs that are technically great, songs that tick all the boxes. But for a song to be felt, you need something else. Something that sticks to you, something that makes you feel: ‘I need to hear that song again’.”

Martin believes listeners should be able to recognize a song immediately. But they should also be able to discover something new in the song every time they hear it, so that it holds their interest and lasts over time. “You must be able to have more than one favourite part in the same composition,” he says.

At the same time, though, Martin believes new elements should be introduced into a song one at a time so listeners can get to know each one before they’re ready for the next. As he puts it: “Like in a movie, you can’t introduce ten characters in the first scene.”

Martin’s phenomenally successful songwriting process includes treating each song like a journey, with the song building as it moves along through each section. Even parts that have the same melody and the same lyrics — such as the repeated choruses — should never sound exactly the same each time, he insists. “It’s the same melody and all that,” says Martin, “but what really happens is that the energy changes. It’s all about getting the listener to keep his or her concentration.”

When constructing a melody, it’s important to strike a balance between the verse, pre-chorus and chorus. “If you’ve got a verse with a lot of rhythm,” Martin told Di Weekend, “you want to pair it with something that doesn’t.” For example, a section with longer notes so listeners can take it all in. Or a melody that might not start at the same beat. “Sweet and salt might be a description that’s easier to grasp,” he explains. “You need a balance, at all times.”

Max Martin has had writing credits on 22 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100, the third most of any songwriter after John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney. Martin’s most recent Hot 100 hits have included The Weeknd’s 2015 hit, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, and Justin Timberlake’s 2016 single ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ which won a Grammy in 2017. With sales in the hundreds of millions, Martin is considered as one of the most successful producers and songwriters of the 21st century.

You can read Jan Gradvall’s full interview with Max Martin 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.
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).

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 (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).

 


max-martin

Hit songwriter Max Martin has renewed his agreement with ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, for representation of public performances of his songwriting catalogue.

This follows the announcement last week that Paul McCartney has also renewed his agreement with ASCAP. The organization has represented McCartney’s performing rights in the United States for multiple decades.

With 22 Billboard Hot 100 Number One hits, Max Martin is one of the most successful songwriters of all time. He has won an unprecedented nine ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Awards. Since his first US top 10 single in 1997, Robyn’s “Do You Know (What It Takes),” listeners can’t get enough of Martin’s addictive pop songs, including #1 hits like Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (2008), Pink’s “So What” (2008), Britney Spears’s “Hold It Against Me” (2011), Maroon 5’s “One More Night” (2012), Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (2012), “Shake It Off” (2014), “Blank Space” (2014) and “Bad Blood” (2015) and this year, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

“I love being part of the ASCAP family of songwriters and composers,” said Max Martin. “As songwriters, we are lucky to have ASCAP on our side, offering support and fighting for our rights.”

“Max Martin is a generous spirit whose irresistible music keeps winning listeners’ hearts,” said Elizabeth Matthews, CEO of ASCAP, a world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators. “We love his music and we admire his broader sense of mission and advocacy for songwriters everywhere.”

“Max is a rare talent with an aim that never misses,” said ASCAP EVP Membership John Titta. “He’s one of the few who can tap into the zeitgeist to create hit after hit after hit. We’re privileged to be part of his incredible success.”

ASCAP is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. According to ASCAP, its mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works, and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances.

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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).

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 (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).


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).


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).


While Taylor Swift recently commented that she thinks songs about people who are heartbroken tend to make the best and most interesting songs, Katy Perry insists that songwriters should always try to include a sense of humour in their songs – no matter what the song is about.

“I think people appreciate a songwriter who shows different sides,” says Katy. “The whole angst thing is cool, but if that’s all you’ve got, it’s just boring. Everything I write, whether it’s happy or sad, has a sense of humour to it.”

Katy once again demonstrates her quirky sense of fun on her new single ‘Roar’ which is released on September 8. It’s the first single from her new studio album PRISM which will be released on October 22.

Written with Bonnie McKee and produced by Max Martin and Lukasz Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke), ‘Roar’ still manages to balance the uplifting feel of the track with a serious message. ”It’s a bit of a self-empowering type of song,” Katy explains. “I wrote it because I was sick of keeping all these feelings inside and I’m now speaking up for myself.”

Even the lyric video for ‘Roar’ adds to the fun by cleverly replacing many of the words with emoticons. Take a look …

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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).


Many producers of artists who don’t write their own songs are finding that the best way to consistently generate hits is to use the American TV ‘writers room’ model – with large numbers of pop writers working in teams.

But what is the optimum number of writers required to create a hit song?

English boy band phenomenon One Direction had an average of five songwriters per track on their hit 2012 album Take Me Home. Now, Britney Spears is going two better with her new track, titled ‘Ooh La La’, which will be featured in the upcoming Smurfs movie, The Smurfs 2.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Ooh La La’ is the result of a seven-way collaboration between Lukasz Gottwald, Joshua Coleman, Henry Walter, Bonnie McKee, Jacob Kasher Hindlin, Lola Blanc and Fransisca Hall.

You can watch Britney’s official video for ‘Ooh La La’ HERE…

The song will play over the end credits of The Smurfs 2 when it is released in cinemas this summer.

The film’s director Raja Gosnell said: “I am very excited that Britney is joining our smurfy adventure. ‘Ooh La La’ is the perfect Smurf-party song, and the perfect button on the film for audiences around the world.”

Britney added: “I always loved The Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans ever. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they’ll think it’s Smurftastic!”

The royalty split agreement between all of the writers and music publishers involved in ‘Ooh La La’ should also make Smurftastic reading!

Also busy collaborating right now is Katy Perry who is co-writing tracks for her third album with hitmakers such as Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Greg Wells, Sia and Bonnie McKee. The album will be the follow-up to Teenage Dream which spawned five Hot 100 Number One singles.

“Max and Luke push me the most,” said Katy, giving an insight into how she works with her co-writers. “As a team we have certain strengths. With Max, it’s melody choices, Luke is production and I’m topline and melody.”

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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).