Issue No. 003
October 1, 2009
Welcome to the Inspired Song Alerts Newsletter!
Each month I'll try to bring you fresh and informative ideas on songwriting, recording, and music publishing.
I guess you'll have to decide whether or not the ideas I bring you are indeed fresh and informative!
If you decide it's worth the read, please tell your friends! And if you haven't already, subscribe to Inspired Song Alerts here.
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In This Issue...
I decided to offer only one article this month. It's an important subject, and I believe it deserves its own space.
I've still included the Inspired Quote of the Month because I think it's cool!
1. Writing Songs from the Heart
Why do you write songs?
2. Inspired Quote of the Month
A little boost to keep you going through those tough times!
Writing Songs from the Heart
Why do you write songs?
Because you love writing songs? Or are you in it for the money? The money that will come from writing a hit song?
I ask this question because I recently had an epiphany.
The Ugly Truth
I took a long, hard look at some of my most recent songs and I realised I don't like many of them! I picked a song at random and I asked myself, "If this song wasn't mine and I heard it on the radio, would I like it? Would I even listen to it?"
I was shocked to discover the answer was no.
I asked the question, "If I was forced to listen, what would I think? How would I rate this song?"
The answer was, "The song is well written. The lyrics paint a vivid picture, and I understand the story. Catchy melody, was able to hum along by the second chorus."
"Would I listen to this song a second time?"
I was flabbergasted! Why wouldn't I listen to this song a second time?
Writing for Them
I realised it was because the song didn't do anything for me. Although I applied all the 'rules' of good songwriting, it was shallow and meaningless.
It wasn't written from the heart. It's all icing and no cake.
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I fell into the trap of writing for somebody else. A faceless entity that, in my mind, represents the music publishing industry.
I began writing stuff I thought 'they' wanted to hear. This doesn't work, for several reasons:
1. I don't think 'they' know what they want to hear until they hear it.
2. How can I know what they want to hear (if they don't)?
3. If the song doesn't float my boat, how can it possibly float theirs?
Sure, a publisher may tell you they want to hear an uptempo Alternative Rock song, a la Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
If you submit a song like that, it may not sound close enough to their example or it may sound too much like it!
I have received both responses. (Not for "Smells Like Teen Spirit", but I have done a couple of sound-alike songs.)
A great song should not be merely a sound-alike. It has to have something special about it, whatever that may be. That's what they want to hear! (Even in a sound-alike song.)
Writing for Me
Thankfully, I didn't waste too much time writing what I thought others thought I should be writing. (Well, the better part of a year.) And I did get some decent songs out of it.
But now I'm writing for me again. It's much more gratifying!
I still apply all the 'rules' of good songwriting. But I make sure there's plenty of cake to begin with. I make sure I like it.
After all, if I like what I've written, others are bound to as well. It's just a matter of time...
Inspired Quote Of The Month
"My discussion with Keith Richards about the creative process led me to believe that there's an invisible presence of a stream of ever-flowing creativity that we overhear; all you have to do is pull up the antenna and dial it in. This presence allows you to maintain your sense of origin and move forward."
- Billy F. Gibbons - guitarist for ZZ-Top
That's it for this issue of Inspired Song Alerts. Thanks for reading. If you liked what you read, please recommend it to your friends! They can sign up here.
Until next time, happy writing!
All the best,
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