During my career in the music business as a songwriter, producer, author, record label exec, and recording artist, I’ve collected a lot of useful, no-nonsense info and I love to share it!
My books are used in some of the top universities and music schools in the U.S. to teach all levels of songwriting, from beginning to advanced. I hope you’ll enjoy your visit and find plenty of inspiration. And be sure to check out my SONGWRITING BLOG at MySongCoach.com – for the latest in songwriting craft and tools. ~ May your songs flow!
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“All On Me” is the breakthrough debut single for Country artist Devin Dawson. It zoomed up to #2 on the Nielsen Radio charts, topping 19 million views on YouTube and 95 million listens on Spotify (and still climbing).
I love digging into songs that propel a brand new artist up the charts. Those artists don’t have a billion fans breathlessly waiting for their next release, guaranteeing it shoots like a rocket straight into the Top Ten. Nope. Their releases have to make it on the strength of the song and performance. It takes an exceptional song with a lot of appeal to make that happen and that’s what makes these songs so much fun to pull apart.
“ALL ON ME” – DEVIN DAWSON
Writers: Devin Dawson, Jacob Robert Durrett, Austin Taylor Smith
TECHNIQUES TO HEAR AND TRY:
Use a lyric “measuring stick” to express emotion.
Fresh rhymes are happening in all mainstream genres.
Create a contemporary melody using phrase patterns.
Make your hook stand out with a rhythmic melody line.
Although I usually feature songs at the top of the mainstream music charts in this section, today I want to look at “The Other” by Lauv, an artist who took a different path to success and whose work and career provide plenty of inspiration for independent artists and songwriters.
Lauv’s self-produced singles “The Other” and “I Like Me Better” have collectively had over 450 million listens on Spotify and launched a sold-out tour. Yet he has never had a Billboard chart hit as an artist. (Although after his solo records went viral, he co-wrote charting songs for Charli XCX and Cheat Codes w/ Demi Lovato.)
Produced by Lauv and co-written with Michael Matosic, “The Other,” debuted on a friend’s music blog (Oblivious Pop) and was picked up by other bloggers, spreading virally through blog aggregator Hype Machine. It just goes to prove that listeners WILL spread the word when they find good music.
“THE OTHER” – LAUV (Pop)
Writers: Ari Staprans Leff (Lauv), Michael Matosic
TECHNIQUES TO HEAR AND TRY:
Flesh out a basic verse-chorus structure.
Build your lyric around a peak moment.
Keep your listeners involved with images and actions.
Create contrast in your melody with octaves and beat emphasis.
I often suggest in my songwriting posts that you learn to sing and play (or just sing ) successful songs. But why is that so important? Because you miss so much when you don’t. It’s like the difference between zooming down a highway at 80 mph versus rolling slowly along with your head stuck out the window.
When you slow down, you notice things… road signs, blue sky. You feel every bump in the road and the smells on the breeze. At 80 miles-per-hour you can feel the emotional rush; when you slow down, you can learn what the rush is made of.
I thought it might be fun for you and I to slow down and go through the process of learning to play and sing a hit song together. I chose “Hello” by Adele because, as I listen to it, the 80 mile-per-hour experience is pretty good, and something tells me that if I slow down and take a closer look, there might be some good songwriting tips I could use to create that experience in songs of my own. So, let’s take it for a drive. Continue reading →