Get the best song will certainly help you get ahead as a singer.
We singers are constantly striving to find great song material. We’re also looking to express our ideas with an artistic voice that is as unique as we are. Furthermore, most us want to simplify the process and expand our marketability. One important key to marketability in the hit song market is, of course, content. Effective songs paint rich images for the listener. Imagine that your songs are paintings. Are you the proud creator of stick figures scrawled across
construction paper, or does your palette of texture, color, and light capture the desires and deepest
wanderings of those gazing upon it?
To ensure that the latter is the case, you can use a writing process called destination writing. In destination writing, we begin with one key word—a place—as the momentum for your song content.
The key to destination writing is to use all of your
senses—touch, taste, smell, sight, sound, and also
movement—as springboards for creativity. When
those senses are involved, the writing springs to life.
The connection that your audience makes with
your lyrics depends on the power of this one key
word. But how do we build that connection with
the audience? By illustrating our piece through
specifics and actions. We immediately know the
meanings of words like ‘walk’ and ‘say’. But these
words are generic and will not engage any audience
by themselves. But there are dynamic alternatives.
Consider the sentence below.
And I was saying
We know what’s being said, but it doesn’t
And I was stuttering
And I was stammering
And I was blurting out
All of these phrases swapped out the boring ‘say’
with verbs that are emotionally charged. Verbs
and adjectives like these will keep your audience’s
Once you’ve got a handle on what words will draw
your audience, it is time to craft a compelling
narrative. Any destination writing will consist of
two types of detail: external and internal. Assume
that your song is centered on a primary character.
The external details will be what happens around
your character and the internal details will be their
thoughts and feelings. Any good song will be a mix
of both. Toggling, or the art of combining internal
The 10-Step Process to Songwriting
From Commercial Songwriting Techniques
Six Keys of Connection:
and external detail, is integral to providing balance
in your lyrics. Too much internal detail and your
song will be weighed down by the thoughts of the
characters. Too much external and the audience will
have nothing personal to identify with.
So how are our words going to work with the music?
How we expect the melody to move is going to
influence how the lyrics move as well. Every new
melodic idea presented in a song – a movement
from the verse to the pre-chorus, for example – will
go hand in hand with a new lyrical idea. I’m sure
you’re familiar with “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Mary had a little lamb
Whose fleece was white as snow
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go
These fours lines contain two musical and two
lyrical phrases (“Mary had… white as snow” and
“Everywhere…lamb was sure to go.”). But this isn’t
the only way to attack these four lines. We could
have kept describing the various attributes of Mary’s
little lamb over all four lines. In that case, we would
continue the same melodic idea for the entire verse.
We could also change ideas with each new line if we
have a new melodic idea to accompany these ideas.
The melodic phrasing determines not only where the
topics begin and end but also where a rhyme might
occur. For ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,” the rhyme was
occurring between the two large musical phrases.
Mary had a little lamb whose
fleece was white as snow A
And everywhere that Mary went
the lamb was sure to go A
If the four lines were all representing four smaller
melodic phrases, the rhyme scheme might look
more like this. Note that wherever the melodic
phrase closes, rhyme occurs.
Mary had a little lamb A
and Mary had a pony too B
the sun was rising on the land A
and May was slipping into June B
Once you have your primary lyrical sections in place
and developed, it is time to contrast. Imagine if
every section of a song had the same number of
lines, the same rhyme scheme, the same rhythm
and the same toggling pattern. Sounds boring.
By changing up the rhyme scheme, changing the
rhythm, adding or subtracting lines, and altering
the toggling pattern, a songwriter can keep things
interesting over the course of their work.
The 10-Step Process to Songwriting
Find rhyme pairs.
Choose a rhyme scheme and toggling
Add prepositions and conjunctions.
Choose a plot progression.
Destination-write again using thought/feeling
Look for titles and write the chorus.
Write a second verse and pre-chorus.
Write the bridge.
Assess verbs, tense, and point of view, and
Just from these short exercises, it’s clear to see that
the process of commercial songwriting is based on
a number of patterns. These patterns make up the
content of hit songs and these are patterns that a
songwriter can reproduce while still maintaining
a unique voice. Knowing these patterns is critical
to the success of both beginners and experienced
writers. With this in mind, the best way I’ve found
to approach commercial songwriting is through
something I call “The 10-Step Process.”
By utilizing all of these steps, you’ll be able to craft commercially viable songs with ease.