Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

Ed SheeranEd Sheeran is definitely paying his respects to Van Morrison here. The vocal style, the blue-eyed soul groove and melody, and the personal, honest lyrics all recall hit singles like Van’s “Into the Mystic.” But there are contemporary elements, too – an emphasis on current melody phrasing patterns and tight lyric focus that appeals to today’s listeners.

This song is a co-write with Amy Wadge, a songwriter Sheeran has worked with before. In fact, he wrote an entire EP of songs with her called Songs I Wrote With Amy.  It’s a great example of a first-rate songwriter who certainly doesn’t need a co-writer. There are many reasons to collaborate: speed, new ideas and techniques, another writer’s perspective, and more.

TECHNIQUES TO HEAR AND TRY:
– Keep your lyric focused on your theme
– Use your melody to make a  basic chord progression

 sound fresh
– Create a simple but effective instrumental arrangement

Read the lyrics here: Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

Buy it now or listen on your preferred music site (Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, etc.).

Watch on YouTube

Recorded by Ed Sheeran
Writers: Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge

GENRE/STYLE (What is a genre?)

The song’s blend of Blue-Eyed Soul and contemporary singer-songwriter propelled this song to the top of the Mainstream Top 40 charts in the U.S. and global hit status. It has the kind of positive, love-themed lyric and easy melody that suggests it’s likely to be a standard on Adult Contemporary (AC) radio for years to come. Continue reading

May/June Songwriting Newsletter Is Out

Songwriting TipsMy latest newsletter is filled with useful, hands-on songwriting info and a great Country hit song for you to study. It’s so packed with tips, “Try It Now” exercises, and ideas to inspire you, it’s almost like getting a free eBook delivered to your inbox.

Song Tip: “Be An Original In a Play-By-the-Rules World” – In this article you’ll find 10 songwriting “rules” with ideas on how to break, bend, twist, and otherwise mess around with them to create something uniquely your own that still has plenty of listener appeal.

Dierks BentleyStudy the Hits“Say You Do” recorded by Dierks Bentley. Find out how these hit songwriters broke the rules and ended up with a Contemporary Country chart buster.

If you didn’t get your newsletter, sign up in the EMAIL FORM at the upper right. You’ll receive a Confirmation email. Click on the link in the email to confirm your subscription, then look for a “Thank You” email with the latest newsletter included. Your email is always private.

Beautiful Day – Joshua Radin

Joshua RadinI usually feature a hit song from the music charts in this section, but this time out I want to take a look at an artist who has built an extremely successful career on Film & TV placements, Joshua Radin. More than 40 of Radin’s songs have appeared in top TV series, including Bones, Parenthood, Grey’s Anatomy, Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie, 90210, and the list goes on. You won’t find his songs on the mainstream music charts, nevertheless, he has sold over 2.5 million singles and 700,000 albums.

Radin’s songs are atmospheric, mood-based, and emotionally evocative rather than attention grabbing radio hits. They tend to feature refrains instead of big, over-the-top choruses, as radio singles do. The production is simple but carefully thought out, with chiseled performances that lock into a groove.

Each song is a gem filled with insight, fresh twists, and beautiful payoff lines that are perfect for film and TV uses. If you’re a singer-songwriter looking at the Film & TV market, here’s an artist who’s worth studying.

TECHNIQUES TO HEAR AND TRY:
Turn a simple idea into a compelling lyric.
Add interest to a melody with unpredictable phrasing.
Create an arrangement that supports your lyric concept.

Read the lyrics here: Beautiful Day – Joshua Radin

Buy it now or listen on your preferred music site (Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, etc.) or watch on YouTube

Recorded by Joshua Radin
Writers: Joshua Radin & Kenneth A Pattengale

GENRE/STYLE  (What is a genre?)
The song’s genre is Contemporary Folk/Rock. It fits right in with songs by Passenger, Phillip Phillips, Ed Sheeran, American Authors, and Iron & Wine. “Beautiful Day” has been featured in three primetime TV series and a Subaru commercial. Radin recently released a second version of this song featuring Sheryl Crow. You can reference either one since they’re essentially the same. I like his solo version better.

In many of his songs, Radin pays his respects to the Singer-Songwriters of the 1960s. The relaxed, conversational vocal style and harmonies, image-filled lyric language, and strummed acoustic guitar track are reminiscent of Folk Singer-Songwriters like Simon and Garfunkel. Yet Radin’s songs fit right into today’s Indie Folk renaissance. If you’re a fan of the ’60s Folk scene but want to pitch your songs to current projects, listen to Joshua Radin for techniques that will help you update your sound without losing heart and soul. Continue reading

March/April Songwriting Tips

My latest songwriting email is out.  Sign up in the form on the right to get yours. You’ll receive a confirmation email. Click CONFIRM and hit send. You’ll get the current issue as part of my Thank You email. (Your email address is always private.)

IN THIS ISSUE…

New Song Tip: “FASTER & BETTER: Pick Up Your Songwriting Speed” Want to write more and better songs faster? Do you want to finish more songs and get them recorded and into the hands of publishers and music supervisors? What’s holding you back? We’ll take a look at a few of the reasons your songs may be moving at a snail’s pace or not getting finished at all. Then we’ll explore concrete ways you can pick up your speed while writing songs that are moving and authentic.

Study the Hits: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran (Adult Contemporary): In this issue, I’m taking an in-depth look at Ed Sheeran’s beautiful ballad “Thinking Out Loud.” It’s an excellent example of a retro style (Van Morrison on Astral Weeks) blended with the contemporary singer-songwriter sound. It’s on its way to becoming a classic. Don’t miss this one. You can do this!

And be sure to check out my songwriting books: Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting, Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV, Study the Hits, and The 30-Minute Songwriter. Find out more about all of my print and eBooks on my Author page at Amazon. In each book you’ll find dozens of useful, real-world shortcuts that will show you how to craft songs that work for today’s music market, plus dozens of hands-on exercises to get your creative ideas flowing.

January Songwriting Email Out Now!

My latest “Songwriting Tips & Inspiration” email is out now. It’s full of practical, usable info you can apply to your songwriting career, PLUS a new in-depth “Study the Hits” song guide

Song Tip: “The Music Producer: A User’s Manual”: Learn what a music producer can do for you and how to find the right one for your song. How do you let the producer know what you want? How can you be sure he or she understands your genre and the goals you have for you music? This detailed article will take you through the steps, from laying the foundation for your first meeting to taking the producer for a “test drive.”

Study the Hits: “Beautiful Day” by Joshua Radin (Folk/Singer-Songwriter): Take a look at a great Film & TV song by Joshua Radin. Find out how he turns simple language and a familiar theme into a compelling lyric. Try a melody with plenty of interesting twists, like this one, in your next song. Find out how to use your musical arrangement to support your theme.

Songwriting e-TipsSign up to get a new email every two months.  Just add your email to the list using the form in the right sidebar. You’ll get a confirmation email. Just click CONFIRM and send. You’ll receive the current issue as part of my Thank You email. Your email is ALWAYS guarded as if it were my own. I know it’s good to share… but not emails.