And here we are with yet another guest blogger writing a post for my blog! Tim is a rising artist and was so kind as to share his tips with us, in terms of writing your own song! So, I’ll give him the word and let you guys get creative. Let’s start swinging!
- Start with the title
Start with a title, seeing as it’ll help you to stay focused on the idea you have for your song. Create a phase of 1 to 6 words, summing up the heart of what you want to say. Or, look for an interesting phase that describes a situation or emotion. Use an image in your title to make it sound interesting, or a word of action to give it energy.
2. A list of questions linked to your title
Start by asking yourself what you want to tell when people read your title. Think about what your listeners want to know. Make a list of these questions. What does the title mean? What feeling does it give you? What happened that made you write that title? What do think or hope will happen next?
3. Song structure
Most hits rely on a song structure that looks something like: verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus. Some add a short section called a ‘pre-chorus’ or ‘lift’ between the verse and chorus. The verse, pre-chorus and chorus each have a melody that’s easy to identify, one that the listener recognises when listening to it.
4. Answer one question in the chorus and use the others for each verse
Let’s focus on the chorus first, seeing as it’s the most important part of a song. Select the question you want to answer and write down a short phrase that expresses your answer. Look for images and words of action to bring your answers to life. What’s the singer feeling, thinking or saying? What emotions is the singer feeling? How would you describe those feelings? Warm or cold? Dark or light?
5. Find the melody
Choose one (or two) phrases from the one you came up with in the previous step. Say those phrases out loud. Now say them again with lots of emotion. Exaggerate the emotion in saying those lines. Notice the natural rhythm and melody of your ‘speech’ when you do this. That, is the start of your chorus melody. Play with it until it feels comfortable.
6. Add chords to the chorus melody
Try a simple, repeated chord pattern. Play with the melody and chords until you find something you like and can work with for a while. Record yourself singing and playing (or just singing). It could even be recorded with your smartphone. All artists start somewhere. Be sure to write it all down, so you don’t forget it.
7. Lyrics in first verse
Focus on the question you chose in step 4. Make your first line a perfect incomer, something that’ll interest listeners. It could be an intriguing statement, a question or a description of a situation. Consider restating the first line in your second line, but in a different way, or with adding more information. Don’t move on too quickly, seeing as listeners need to understand what’s happening. And that takes time. Be sure to give listeners enough information in verse 1, so they can understand the chorus when you get there. Go through steps 5 and 6 with your verse melody and chords.
8. Connect verse and chorus
Once you have these, you need to create a transition between them, making them flow naturally. You may need to raise or lower your verse melody. Or perhaps change the last line to get to your chorus smoothly. Chorus melodies are usually in a higher note range than verses. It’s because they’re mostly more emotional (when emotional voice tends to rise).
9. Build second verse and bridge
Choose another one of your questions to answer in your second verse. Use step 7 to work through the lyric. Your second chorus will have the same melody and lyric as the first one, so you’re almost finished with your song. You only need to add a bridge. This part adds a peak emotional moment to your song. Or a realisation of sorts. Try 2 or 3 lyric lines that provide the best insight into the situation or emotion the singer is feeling. This melody should be different from both verse and chorus. Try using a chord you haven’t used before, or change the phrase lengths of the motion of the melody. Keep in mind that a bridge isn’t necessary, but it does add a lot of strength to a song.
10. Record the song
A simple piano version, guitar version or vocal version can be the most effective emotional statement of your song. You can always do an unplugged version, when you wrote a rock song. You don’t need lots of strings or drums, seeing as they could be detract. Practice both the instrumental and vocal parts until you’re comfortable with them. The less you’ve to focus on when playing or singing, the more you can let go and feel the emotion of the song. Try singing it, as if you’re speaking to someone. Record for short periods, then take a break. Keep it all fresh.
Love, Deem ❤
Image source: Pexels