Hit Songwriting: “All On Me” by Devin Dawson

“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.

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Hit Songwriting: “Hello” by Adele

Adele

Here are three huge hits by Adele that are packed with songwriting tools you can use.

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

Writing With Images: John Mayer
& Sara Bareilles

Using images in your lyrics  is a quick and powerful way to connect with listeners. Let’s take a look at a couple of strong image-based song lyrics. To find them, we need look no further than today’s successful singer-songwriters. This style relies heavily on the use of images to express personal experiences and emotions.

SONG #1: “SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM” – JOHN MAYER
Writer: John Mayer

Read the lyric here.

Watch on YouTube.

 

IMAGES IN THE SONG

THE TITLE IMAGE: The title of this song is an intensely powerful visual image. Who can resist picturing this couple and the destruction happening around them? Continue reading