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

Tag Archives: songwriting help

Twin_Peaks_2017_Poster

With David Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks returning to TV screens after a 26-year hiatus, the haunting central music from the show – ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ – is also back, along with the Laura Palmer character whose murder was the basis of the original show.

In this video, composer Angelo Badalamenti explains how the dark and mysterious ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ was written in less than 10 minutes, with director David Lynch sitting beside him at a Fender Rhodes piano.

For composers who aspire to write for film or television, it’s a masterclass in how to create music that accurately interprets the on-screen emotion or atmosphere of a particular scene.

In the video, Badalamenti explains how he set about perfectly capturing the disturbing images, sounds and emotions that were in David Lynch’s vivid (and weird) imagination …

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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).

 


Ed_Sheeran_2013 - Photo - Eva Rinaldi

Photo: Eva Rinaldi

“I think songwriting is a form of therapy … I think any time I’ve ever got down or ever felt low the one thing that picks me up from that is writing a song about it because at least you’ve got a positive experience out of a bad experience.”

— Ed Sheeran (in an interview with Kirsty Young for BBC Radio Four’s ‘Desert Island Discs’).

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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).


billy-bragg_shot_by_kris_krug

Photo: Kris Krug

“It’s a good time to be a political songwriter … Let’s have another generation of young songwriters come along and tell us all about it, about the pressure they feel under.”
—Billy Bragg (in an interview with Music Week)

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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).


Bob Dylan

“Rhyming doesn’t have to be exact anymore,” Bob Dylan told Paul Zollo of American Songwriter magazine in a 2012 interview. “It gives you a thrill to rhyme something and you think, ‘Well, that’s never been rhymed before’. Nobody’s going to care if you rhyme ‘represent’ with ‘ferment’, you know. Nobody’s gonna care.”

Dylan—who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature—once admitted to Rolling Stone magazine that he stunned himself when he wrote the first two lines of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and rhymed “kiddin’ you” with “didn’t you”. “It just about knocked me out,” he said.

Historically, many classic pop songs from the rock era have tended to feature ‘perfect’ rhymes where a one-syllable word is rhymed with another one-syllable word (such as ‘kiss’ and ‘miss’), or where two words have the same spelling in the last syllable (such as ‘love and ‘above’).

These days, it’s best to steer clear of perfect rhymes, if you can, because rhymes that are too exact can often limit the expression of true emotion.

You can create a much greater impact by rhyming words that don’t have the same combination of letters but sound similar (such as ‘clown’ and ‘around’, or ‘made’ and ‘late’). This is because sound-alike words tend to engage listeners more than words with the same spelling, as in the case of Dylan’s “kiddin’ you” and “didn’t you”.

Using ‘false’ rhymes that create word pictures – or which convey what you want to say more accurately – can often be much more effective than pure rhymes.

It’s not enough to simply go through the alphabet looking for words that rhyme, irrespective of whether or not the chosen word helps to underpin the meaning of your song and drive the story forward. This approach usually results in clichéd rhymes that we’ve all heard many times before.

You can surprise the listener by having the rhyme fall on the second or third syllable of a multi-syllable word instead of at the end (for example, put the rhyme on the syllable that is stressed most strongly in normal speech, such as ‘unachievable’ and ‘believable’).

You can also rhyme a multi-syllable word with a word that only has one syllable (such as ‘sublime’ and ‘time’). This device can make a lyric much more interesting.

So don’t weaken a potentially good song by going for the easiest and most obvious rhyme. These days, lyricists have to be much more adventurous. Challenge yourself and make your rhymes less predictable.

As the great Stephen Sondheim once remarked: “The ears expect certain rhymes, so you want to fool them because one of the things you want to do in a song is surprise an audience”

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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).

 


FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL

A new book titled “How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” aims to help aspiring songwriters steer clear of the many traps they can easily fall into when writing lyrics for their songs.

Written by experienced music publisher and music consultant Brian Oliver, the book takes a close look at the essential lyrical elements that are consistently found in the structure of all hit songs.

It highlights the most common errors that are made when these key components are built into a song, and shows writers who are just starting out how to avoid such mistakes in their own lyrics.

This new book is the follow-up to Brian Oliver’s five-star rated title: “How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success”.

Written in an easy, non-technical style, “How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!” identifies many frequent causes of lyrical shortcomings—from common mistakes in the basic construction of song lyrics … to making flawed choices with titles, opening lines, lyrical hooks, verb selection, rhyming patterns, and more.

The book also highlights other causes of lyric writing problems—such as having the wrong mental attitude, not paying enough attention to ‘creative preparation’, and not taking steps to avoid writer’s block.

“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!” includes important tips on fixing and strengthening lyrics, along with a comprehensive checklist of more than 100 potential hazards that writers can measure their own lyrics against—no matter how ‘finished’ they think their songs are.

Most songwriters have, at some stage, had to endure the disappointment of having their songs rejected and ended up asking: “Could I have done more to make my songs better?”. This book aims to help writers recognise weaknesses in their lyrics, so that they can re-work them, make them stronger, and hopefully achieve the breakthrough they’re striving for.

The book’s author Brian Oliver—who has worked with legendary songwriters such as Neil Diamond, Janis Ian, Albert Hammond and Gilbert O’Sullivan—warns that aspiring writers’ chances of success could be hampered if they fail to spend enough time polishing and editing their lyrics and eradicating weaknesses.

Says Oliver: “When a new lyric idea suddenly hits you – and everything comes together so quickly that the song almost writes itself – it’s very easy to fall into the trap of rushing straight into a studio and recording a demo. You then confidently submit the song to a music company believing it’s the best thing you’ve ever written – only to suffer the agony of having the song rejected.

“Sometimes it’s better just to slow down, take a step back, and re-examine each element of your new lyrics,” he says. “If you don’t spend a little more time polishing your lyrics, there is a danger that they may still contain weaknesses that you failed to spot first time around.”

“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other good book stores as a paperback, or as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Kobo Books.

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

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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).


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).