Today, I’m going to continue on my series on songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. And today, I will be sharing two important tips that have helped me. So let’s dive straight into it:
Good songs take time
One of the things that has helped me, is an advice I read in my early days as musician. It was by Mark Winkler. He said,
“What separates Professionals from amateurs is their ability to rewrite. Keep coming back to the lyrics until it’s as close to perfect as you can make it. Remember that quality is better than quantity.”
I can’t over-emphasize how important this tip is. Know this from the start, good songs take time to be written. Don’t be in a hurry to finish writing your songs. Whenever you get stuck while writing, rather write things that are unnecessary or that don’t fit, just abandon the song there and go do something else. Come back to the song some other time. Don’t put pressure on yourself; take your time and write beautiful songs. And when you think you’re done, don’t run off to the studio immediately to record. Leave the song for a while and then come back to the lyrics again and check if they still appeal to you like they did when you first wrote them. You’ll find in most cases that you’ll begin to notice some words that didn’t quite sit well at that moment; find a replacement for them. The idea is keep coming back to your lyrics untill it is near perfect. Which leads us to the second tip,
Record a demo of your song for yourself alone
This is a very helpful tip and I do this all the time. Truth is, the reality of how your song really sounds hits you when you listen to it from a device (like your phone or something) as opposed to hearing yourself while you sing. There is a huge tendency that you’ll enjoy every bit of your new song as you sing it and you can’t wait for the world to hear it. But relax! Record yourself singing it on your phone and then replay it later for your listening pleasure. That’s when you’ll know what ‘that your new awesome song’ really sounds like. You can even add it to your playlist on your phone and let it play in between other songs you enjoy. You’ll be able to tell from there if the song is ready for the world to hear it. Another thing you can do, if you’ve got the guts, is play that demo to someone who is not a musician and watch the reaction on his/ her face. Or you could ask them what they think about the song. Remember I said “someone who is not a musician”, so you don’t expect a well-structured criticism. What you’re looking out for is how normal people would perceive the song. Again, I do this a lot and it helps me. But here’s a little warning; don’t go playing your recorded demo to other people if you know you’re not emotionally strong enough to handle criticism or rejection. So, if you can’t handle criticism, just record the demo and play it for yourself.
This is where I’ll stop for today on this series of Songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. By the way, we have started doing music reviews for already published songs/ albums. So, if you would like a non-biased review of your song/ album and you’re not afraid of the world reading it, send an mp3 (please don’t send wav files) of your song to firstname.lastname@example.org with details such as the release date, artists featured, a little about you, and links to where people can listen to the song.