Writing a kick-ass song doesn’t have to be hard! Here are a few awesome things to consider when writing your music and judging whether you think you have a hit on your hands! You now you have a great tune when…
1) It sounds great acoustically! If your song sounds great even without all the production elements, you’ve definitely got something special on your hands.
2)It is written from the heart.
Some of the biggest songs were written from actual experience rather than just making stuff up. I’ve found that some of the most loving lyrics or painful lyrics have come straight from thin air simply because I was writing about how I REALLY felt about something. Use your experiences to inspire your writing. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” is absolutely beautiful and even more touching to know that he wrote it about his beautiful son who passed away. This song will forever be loved by his fans. “All of Me” by John Legend was written for his wife and he even included her in the music video. I literally cried when I saw it! You can feel the realness in each of the words and visually see the beauty by what he paints with those words.
3)Be brave and transparent! I have found that sometimes it is hard to talk about certain topics with friends, but have found it much easier to sing it in a song. Talk about something you’re afraid to talk about…. Be bold, say something risky, controversial, sexy, and be transparent with whatever you are feeling. People will sense the authenticity in your words!
4)Tell a story. Country music is really good at this!!! People love listening to a good story and it’s even better when the words are put to beautiful music! Share the first time you got your heartbroken, the first time you fell in love, the first time you felt what it was like to be on stage, or how much you miss a loved one. Tell the stories as though it were a movie and people will want to listen to every second! Dolly Parton has a show on Netflix called “Heartstrings” where she tells the story behind each of her songs and it’s so interesting to watch! People will love how REAL you are in your music. They’ll relate to your music because they’ll relate to the experience you are sharing with them.
4)Be witty and original! Some of my favorite lyrics have been poetic and creative. IE: Breakeven by The Script is one of my ultimate favorites. He sings about how when two people break up, their hearts don’t break evenly! “When a heart breaks, it don’t break-even”. And then he describes how for him “he has time”, while he’s hurting through it all, while for her, “she has freedom”. Ouch! He has pain while she finally can be free… it hurts, but is so creative and thought-provoking. Take a listen for yourself! Try to give people a visual of the feeling you are trying to create. C-Lo Green in “Forget You” says “He’s an X-Box while I’m an Atari”. He compares his financial situation to him being the cheap gaming system “Atari” while his ex-girl’s new boyfriend is the cream of the crop gaming system the “X-Box”. It’s hilarious and funny to listen to as well as witty and creative. Try to re-create whatever feeling you’re trying to convey by being very intentional with your words!
4)Everything should be balanced and even. The lyrics and melodies are typically the shining stars. If the production and instruments are overwhelming, the message of the song can get lost. Or vice versa. There should be a great marriage between the supporting production and the leading melodies and words!
5)People love it even if they don’t know you! Friends and family will always be supportive when it comes to encouraging you to follow your dreams and write and be creative! But, to REALLY know if you have a great song on your hands, go online to places like Soundcloud, Youtube, or other music sharing networks, and see what people’s comments are! Especially be mindful of what complete strangers say or watch the crowd’s reaction when you perform it live. If people who do not know you love the song, you definitely have something incredible!
No matter what genre you are writing for, these are all great elements that make up an awesome song! So go out there and show the world what you can do!
Good luck everyone!