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

Tag Archives: songwriting success

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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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).


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).


DRAKEAccording to Spotify’s latest annual music rankings, Drake was the world’s most streamed artist in 2015. He has racked up 1.8 million streams this year on the platform and reached 56 million listeners.

Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran was named the most streamed artist of the year in the UK on Spotify as well as being the most streamed artist of all time on the service. He has more than three billion streams to date.

The most streamed female of 2015 was Rihanna with over 1 billion streams and 57 million listeners.

Justin Bieber set the record for the most streams in a single day with 36 million streams on November 13.

Here’s the full list of Spotify’s 2015 rankings:

Global Results

Top Five Global Artists (also Top Five Global Male Artists)

  1. Drake
  2.  Ed Sheeran
  3. The Weeknd
  4. Maroon 5
  5. Kanye West

Top Five Global Female Artists

  1. Rihanna
  2. Ariana Grande
  3. Nicki Minaj
  4. Beyoncé
  5. Ellie Goulding

Top Five Global Tracks

  1. Lean On (feat. MØ & DJ Snake) – Major Lazer
  2. Cheerleader – Felix Jaehn Remix Radio Edit – OMI
  3. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
  4. See You Again (feat. Charlie Puth) – Wiz Khalifa
  5. Love Me Like You Do – From “Fifty Shades Of Grey” – Ellie Goulding

Top Five Global Albums

  1. Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd
  2. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake
  3. Peace Is The Mission – Major Lazer
  4. Stories – Avicii
  5. Title – Meghan Trainor

Top Five Global Viral Tracks

  1. Sugar (feat. Francesco Yates) – Robin Schulz
  2. Hotline Bling – Drake
  3. Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better) – Felix Jaehn
  4. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
  5. Here – Alessia Cara

Top Five Global Playlists

  1. Today’s Top Hits
  2. Afternoon Acoustic
  3. Baila Reggaeton
  4. Hot Country
  5. RapCaviar

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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).


LAMONT DOZIER

“Knock on every door, and write seven days a week. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but let that be your priority. Write, write and write some more.

“Your work ethic has got to be to the bone. Writing songs should be your first love, and give it all the time it needs until you feel like you’ve accomplished or gotten the song that you think is worthy of letting the world hear.”

—Lamont Dozier (in an interview with American Songwriter magazine)

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MORE SONGWRITING TIPS


GARTH BROOKSCountry superstar Garth Brooks recently learned the hard way that if you’re going to record and store song ideas on your phone you have to make sure you always keep the phone backed up … otherwise you run the risk of losing everything.

And that’s exactly what just happened to Garth Brooks. He lost six months’ worth of new music ideas for his next album when the personal cell phone on which he’d recorded them decided to stop working.

“All the new stuff I’ve been working on for six months was on a phone that’s been fried, and I can’t get the phone to come back up,” said Brooks. “It’s like losing your briefcase back in the Nineties! This is what happens when the old guy gets into technology …”

Brooks says he’s now counting on an IT tech specialist being able to somehow extract the memory from the dead phone and rescue his ideas for what would become his tenth album. Brooks fears the fried cell phone may have set back production on the new album which is intended to be the follow-up to 2014’s Man Against Machine.

The country legend’s experience is similar to that of Metallica’s longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. He recently lost his iPhone which contained more than 250 unused Metallica song ideas and riffs for the band’s next album. “I was crushed. It didn’t get backed up,” said Hammett. “When it happened, I was bummed out for about two or three days. I’m still looking for it to this day …”

Hammett added: “All you musicians out there who use your phone, make sure it’s backed up, right?”

In 2013, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran lost a phone which contained the only recording of his new, unreleased album (later released under the title x). Fortunately for Ed, the missing phone was eventually found in the back seat of a limo that had transported him to an awards ceremony in London.

So new songwriters beware!

If that potential hit song you’ve just written has been entrusted to digital media, make sure it is backed up. And if it’s the only copy of what could be your breakthrough song, play extra safe … and back it up more than once!

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


SONGWRITING TIPS: David Bowie's 'cut-up' method of writing lyricsWhen David Bowie released his twenty-fourth studio album, The Next Day, in 2013, a journalist asked him to explain his thinking behind the new songs, each of which featured unusual, cryptic lyrics and surreal imagery.

Bowie responded by sending the journalist a list of 42 words which supposedly provided the framework for the critically-acclaimed album.

Here are those 42 words:

Effigies … Indulgences … Anarchist … Violence … Chthonicum … Intimidation … Vampyric … Pantheon … Succubus … Hostage … Transference … Identity … Mauer … Interface … Flitting … Isolation … Revenge … Osmosis … Crusade … Tyrant … Domination … Indifference … Miasma … Pressgang … Displaced … Flight … Resettlement … Funereal … Glide … Trace … Balkan … Burial … Reverse … Manipulate … Origin … Text … Traitor … Urban … Comeuppance …. Tragic … Nerve … Mystification.

Quite a confusing lyrical framework for an album that ended up including song titles such as: ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’, ‘Love Is Lost’, ‘Where Are We Now?’, ‘Valentine’s Day’ and ‘The Next Day’.

Maybe the answer can be found in a 2008 interview with Bowie. In it he described how he often comes up with interesting lyric lines by employing the ‘cut-up’ writing technique used by postmodernist author William S. Burroughs in his controversial novel Naked Lunch.

‘Cut-up’ is a literary technique designed to add an element of chance to the creative process.

It involves taking a finished line of text and cutting it into pieces—usually with just one or two words on each piece. The resulting pieces are then rearranged to create a brand new text.

The cut-up concept can be traced back to the Dadaists of the 1920s, but it was developed further in the early 1950s by painter, writer and sound poet Brion Gysin—and then popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Burroughs.

David Bowie explained: “I use it for igniting anything that may be in my imagination … You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects, creating a kind of ‘story ingredients’ list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix ’em up and reconnect them.

“You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this,” he said. “You can use them as is or, if you have a craven need to not lose control, bounce off these ideas and write whole new sections.”

This technique is also said to have influenced Kurt Cobain’s songwriting. And Thom Yorke applied a similar method on Radiohead’s 2000 album Kid A. Yorke reportedly wrote single lines, put them into a hat, and drew them out at random while the band rehearsed the songs.

Here’s Bowie explaining his cut-up technique in the 1975 BBC TV documentary Cracked Actor

So there you have it … If you want to get all Bowie-esque and create some unusual and intriguing lyrics, simply reach for your lyric notebook and a pair of scissors – and start cutting and pasting!

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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).

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 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).