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.

One In Every Crowd – Montgomery Gentry

Talk about an irresistible bunch of fun! This song has listener appeal from the first line to the last. It’s a great Contemporary Country party song with a sing-along hook that’s a killer. Let’s take a look at how it all works together.

 

TECHNIQUES TO HEAR AND TRY:

• Try a sing-along post-chorus for a party anthem!
• Use images to bring a character to life.

• Fake out the listener with your melody.

Read the lyrics here: One In Every Crowd – Montgomery-Gentry

Watch on YouTube.

Recorded by Montgomery-Gentry
Writers: (Ira Dean / Kim Tribble / Eddie Montgomery)

GENRE/STYLE  (What is a genre?)

The genre is Contemporary Country, verging on Country Rock. The song went to #5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The lyric has a conversational, heartland twang with plenty of references that Country Rock fans will adore. Freebird, Harleys, and six-packs are front and center. Continue reading

“Study the Hits” eBook on Amazon.com

Hi folks – I’ve been working like crazy on my brand new eBook: Study the Hits and it’s DONE! There are 30 new songwriting shortcuts and 21 song guides to recent hits in the Pop, Country, Singer-songwriter, and Folk genres. Phew! I am exhausted. But it’s all done and it’s now available on Amazon.com. If you’re looking for something to spark your Pop hits, inspire your Film & TV songs, spur your Country creativity, check it out. It’s 278 pages of songwriter LOVE for just $9.99!

This book will show you how to get your hands on the latest songwriting tools and techniques straight from today’s biggest hit songs. Read about a technique, listen to hit songs that use it, then try these cutting-edge songwriting tools in your own songs.

You’ll find Songwriting Shortcuts that take you inside today’s hottest markets and latest song craft skills:
• 6 Hit Songwriting Shortcuts
• 6 Lyric Shortcuts
• 6 Film & TV Songwriting Shortcuts
• 5 Music Shortcuts
• 7 “Ears-On” Kickstarter Shortcuts show you how to study any hit song and learn from it.

PLUS “Ears-On” song guides to 21 of today’s top hits. We’ll explore…
• 5 Pop and Pop/Rock Hits
• 6 Contemporary Country Hits
• 5 Singer-Songwriter Hits
• 5 Folk & Folk/Rock Hits
… to see what makes each one so successful.

You’ll find “Try It Now” exercises in every Shortcut and Song Guide so you’ll hear and apply contemporary hit songwriting techniques right away.

NOTE: This eBook contains active links to online videos and lyrics. An Internet connection and audio output are recommended.

Sound of Madness – Shinedown

ShinedownLet’s say you’re a hard rockin’ band out there working the club circuit. You’d like to get a record deal but can’t seem to interest a label. Your fans love you. You put on a killer live show and tour like crazy, so why won’t the the music industry sign you up?

You may have everything going for you except one thing — you need at least one or two songs that sound like they could get radio airplay either on the big commercial radio stations or on major college radio stations. Record labels know that getting radio airplay is the key to rapid career growth; it will be a key part of their marketing campaign for any group or artist.

So, what’s the difference between a good song that energizes fans at a live performance and a song that can get radio airplay? Let’s take a look at Shinedown’s hit “Sound of Madness,” a powerhouse of a rock song with huge radio appeal, a strong lyric theme, and an unusual but very memorable, contemporary melody.


Recorded by Shinedown
Written by Brent Smith, Dave Bassett
Read the lyrics here.

STRUCTURE
This song opens with three verses. The first one acts as a kind of intro. It’s sung an octave lower than the rest of the verses and sets up the situation in the song. After the intro, there are double verses before the first and second choruses. Here’s the structure:

VERSE 1 (intro) / VERSE 2 / VERSE 3 / CHORUS
VERSE 4 / VERSE 5 / CHORUS
INSTRUMENTAL BRIDGE / CHORUS / CHORUS

In genres like Pop and Country, Verse 3 and 5 would be pre-choruses. The Rock genre goes for a more straight ahead style that leans more on repetition to make its point.

LYRIC
The double verses in this song give the singer a chance to say what he wants to say. The lyrics are vivid, filled with powerful language and images. Continue reading