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

Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Tom Petty

“To me, Tom Petty represented a kind of songwriting I idolized: complex simplicity.

“It said so much in the lyrics, the concepts, the stories, the message, the nuances … but always brought you back to a hook that got stuck in everyone’s head.

“He motivated thousands of guitarists to learn to play just because they wanted to be able to play ‘Free Fallin’. Count me as one of them.”

Taylor Swift (in an interview with Rolling Stone).

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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).

 

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Nick_Jonas_-_Kingdom_Premiere_Oct_2014_(cropped)_(cropped)

“The beauty of songwriting is that we have the ability to tell our stories, and it means something to us. But then you open it up to other people, and their experience and how it affects their lives.

“That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a songwriter in an 11,12-year career. You have to write about things that are real to you and relevant to you. And it doesn’t always have to be emotional and heavy, it can be just about whatever it is, but it has to connect. But it can’t be hyper-specific or it’s going to alienate some people.

“People like Taylor [Swift] and Drake do that very well. They’re able to kind of create something that means something to them but also everyone can connect to it in their own way.”

—Nick Jonas  (in an interview with Bustle Magazine)

(Photo: Mingle Media TV)

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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).


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).


TAYLOR SWIFT2A never-before-heard track off Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 plays in the background during a new Diet Coke TV commercial which shows ‘cat lady’ Taylor getting lost in a sea of kittens.

The 30-second ad opens with Taylor Swift playing with her cute new kitten, but after several sips of Diet Coke she ends up with a roomful of kittens. Every time she takes another sip, the cats multiply. The end line is: “What if life tasted as good as Diet Coke”.

The backing track is a sneak peek at ‘How You Get The Girl’ from Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 which is available from October 27. Taylor also gets to plug the album at the end of the ad.

1989 is Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album. It is being described as “a songwriting and sonic evolution”. Heavily keyboard and beat driven, the 13-track album is very different from anything she has ever done before … and a long way from her country roots.

Earlier this year, Taylor told Billboard magazine: “[The album] has evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted. There’s a fusing of genres that makes me happy and excited.

“I spent two years making 1989. Two years gives you enough time to grow and change and let things inspire you.”

She added: “I was listening to a lot of late 80s pop music and how bold those songs were and how that time period was a time of limitless possibilities. In thinking about that, this album is a rebirth for me. This is my very first documented, official pop album.”

In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), Taylor 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.” On her new album, she said, this involved writing in ways that she had never attempted before, and using a sonic backdrop that she had not previously explored.

A Deluxe version of the new album includes three of Taylor’s songwriting voice memos. These memos are personal audio recordings that will give new songwriters an insight into Taylor Swift’s songwriting process. They show the creation and development of three songs featured on the 1989 album.

Here’s the new Diet Coke TV commercial …

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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).


AVICIIThe trend toward songwriters mixing up music genres in order to create something different and fresh—and also help them reach new audiences—appears to be gathering pace.

Swedish dance producer/writer Avicii has just announced that his next album will blend rock with electronic dance music (EDM). This follows his previous flirtation with a combination of bluegrass and big-room house on his crossover hit ‘Wake Me Up’.

Avicii says he plans to add a rock flavour to his next album with guest appearances from Jon Bon Jovi, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Other guest artists are expected to include Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu (on a reggae/EDM duet).

With his new (as yet untitled) album, Avicii is also echoing the recent call by Disclosure for EDM writers to use a broader range of chords and song structures.

Commenting on the new album, Avicii recently told Rolling Stone magazine: “It’s going to be a lot more song-oriented. True [his 2013 debut album], was an attempt at that, getting electronic music in a song format.”

Other singer-songwriters who are taking this ‘fusion’ approach to writing songs include Taylor Swift who has hinted that her new album will push the boundaries of her sound by featuring greater cross-pollination between different genres.

JESSIE JJessie J also shares this view: “I feel like pop’s taken a really good turn at the moment,” she recently remarked. “I feel like artists are experimenting. That’s what music should be about, pushing boundaries.”

And British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s new hit album, X, features a broad mix of genres, sonic ideas and songwriting styles that stretch his original folk rock sound. Sheeran said he deliberately set out to “rock the boat a little bit” with his new music.

As a possible indication of Avicii’s upcoming collaboration with Chris Martin, here’s his remix of Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ …

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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).


Macklemore and Ryan LewisWe all have the same 24 hours in a day as songwriters like Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (pictured), so how come they are able to turn out so many hit songs on a regular basis while other writers can’t?

One reason, it seems, is that some writers may have the talent to write hit songs, but they lack the determination, focus and self-discipline to make it happen.

John Legend, for example, believes success as a songwriter is as much about working hard as it is talent. “There’s this mistaken belief that everything is about talent,” he told Q magazine, “but talent has to be cultivated and developed. If it’s not nurtured, pushed and challenged it’s not going to happen.”

Diane Warren, one of the most successful female songwriters of all time, says she spent 20 years writing six days a week, 10-12 hours a day, before she felt she could finally take the occasional weekend off!

Experienced songwriters know how important it is to challenge yourself to write something every day—even when you don’t feel like it—otherwise potential hit songs will never get written.

Establishing a consistent writing habit—making it part of your daily routine—will boost your creativity and productivity, and lead to better songs.

As Burt Bacharach once remarked: “Music breeds its own inspiration. You can only do it by doing it. You may not feel like it, but you push yourself.”

Nick Cave agrees: “I go into my office every day and work—whether I feel like it or not is irrelevant.”

PJ Harvey takes a similar view: “If you want to be good at anything, you have to work hard at it. It doesn’t just fall from the sky. I work every day at trying to improve my writing, and I really enjoy it.”

Of course, no two creative people are the same in the way they find their inspiration. That’s why it is so important to identify the most creative time of day for you. Some people like to write something as soon as they wake up in the morning, when their mind is fresh and full of ideas. Some work better late at night.

The fascinating infographic below—created by Info We Trustshows the daily routines of some of history’s most creative individuals—including composers, painters, writers, scientists and philosophers. It is based on Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals, in which he investigated the rigid daily rituals that legendary creative figures practised in order to carve out enough time, every day, to work their craft.

How does your daily writing routine compare with the creative masters below?

CREATIVE ROUTINES - INFOGRAPHIC

 Click the infographic for larger image

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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 store 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) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.

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