Songwriting tips from top musicians in Jos

songwriting tips from musicians in Jos

I would like to begin by explaining that I chose the title, Songwriting tips from top musicians in Jos, simply for S.E.O reasons. Yeah, in all sincerity, so this publication should have been titled, Songwriting tips from top (selected) musicians in Jos with great songwriting skills. But that title is quite long,  I shortened it the way I did. I know there are many other great musicians in Jos, and some of them might even have better vocal quality than some of the ones I selected. But I selected these musicians because of their strong songwriting skills as displayed in the songs they have released so far. I believe that as far as songwriting is concerned, these are the people worth learning from.

Why songwriting tips?

Now, some of you might be wondering, what is it with you and songwriting tips? Those of you who have been following my blog for the past 13 months will have noticed that I have written more articles on songwriting than on any other subject. Let’s just say I’m passionate about good music and great songwriting contributes to having good music. I listen to a lot of music, both Nigerian and foreign. And to be honest, we have a lot a people talented with beautiful voices. We also have a lot of skilled producers that create magic. But then we have very few skilled songwriters. Many times, I’ve listened to songs with great production, beautiful vocals, but then the songwriting spoils the song. That’s why I hammer a lot on songwriting tips.

Why Musicians in Jos?

Let me just put it this way, Jos as a city in Nigeria is like Nashville in the United States. You can call Jos the music capital of Nigeria; not in terms of the market, but in terms of raw music talents. I dare say that there is no other city in Nigeria with the abundance of music talents that Jos has. In one of the blog posts I made this year on Top 3 DAWs used by music producers in Jos, I explained this in detail.

So, let’s get to the songwriting tips:

  1. A songwriter’s job, just like a poet’s, involves saying old things in fresh ways. Cliché`s are therefore not a songwriter’s friend.

Doug Kaze (JOGAMA Award winning Afrofolk/Afrosoul singer, songwriter and performing artist).


  1. One of the ways to write better songs is to write your own experience. It will help you put in the emotions in the words and even vocal delivery that would make the song a great one.

Kespan Yaron  Zaki (Mulitiple Award winning Singer, songwriter, and music producer).


  1. I strive to find the fewest words to send a profound message when I write songs. This involves studying the message and finding synonyms in order to say a lot using few words. This helps me not to have songs overstuffed with lyrics.

Neken Chuwang (Multiple Award winning singer, songwriter and performing artist)


  1. I usually take time to write my songs. I generally do not rush my songwriting process. I make sure every word I write connects to my spirit. There are some of my songs that took me 5 years to complete. And I keep going back to a song and keep making adjustments till every word sounds right in my ear.

Philip Dobson (Singer, songwriter, and performing artist)


  1. Most of my songs are introspective. So, I write songs from my own life and experiences. It’s easy for me when I say things because it’s really what is happening in my life or an experience that I passed through or a lesson that God has taught me over time.

Vblaiz (CHH artist and music producer)


  1. Be deliberate in your songwriting. Write with the consciousness that the lyrics of your song has power. And this power is active first in the ear, which is the passage way to the hearts of your listeners. Whatever the message of your song depicts, whether joy, pain, encouragement, sadness, etc, let the effect of your words be powerful enough to affect the mind of your listeners.

Skiffy Kanees (Inspirational singer, songwriter and performing artist, Co-founder Jeplune Music)


  1. Stick to one theme (message) when writing a song. Some songwriters often write about multiple things in one song. This makes it difficult to understand exactly what the song is centered on. After you choose the subject to write about, try not to deviate from it in in your songwriting.

SON Chuwang (JOGAMA Award winning Singer, songwriter, and music producer, Founder SON-city Records)


  1. There’s a lot of recycling going on in the business of songwriting due to the lack of capacity for pure creative instincts, laziness, skillfulness and craftsmanship in the business of songwriting. To avoid this, I constantly develop what I call my ‘word bank’. There are a couple of sources from which I do this; reading scriptures, listening to intelligent discussions, radio/TV, nature, other people’s music, etc.

WordSmith (Worship leader, Singer, songwriter and music producer. Founder, Word and Sound Music group)


So there you have it; 8 songwriting tips from 8 different musicians who are very good songwriters. You can also check out the series on Songwriting that I wrote last year for more tips tat will help you improve on your songwriting.


Songwriting Tips for Musicians (2)

write songs

Last week, I started this series on Songwriting tips to help musicians write better songs. I was able to share only one tip last week because I didn’t want the article to be too long. Today, I will be sharing two important tips. So let’s dive into it:

Have a central theme

I started writing songs (or rather, I started attempting to write songs) in 2004. I had just finished secondary school the previous year and didn’t know anything about songwriting. So, I just put words together that sounded sweet to the ear, made sure they fit the melody I had in my head and boom! that’s a song. Like I said, I didn’t know anything about songwriting, so my songs had no central theme, no message, nothing. Just words that fit a melody and sound sweet to the ears. It took a few years before I started to learn about songwriting.

As a musician in the 21st century, you should not write songs like the ignorant me of 2004. Don’t just pick random ideas and jumble them together in one song. Each song you write should have a central theme/idea/ message that you intend to pass across to your listeners. The depth and meaning of your lyrics is equally as important as the melody of your song. So, don’t be aimless in your songwriting; have a central theme and let that message be clear enough for your listeners to get as they listen. This leads me to the second tip for today;

Arrange your lyrics

I’m not talking about the entire song arrangement here, rather my focus is on the lyrics. Remember, you have a central idea/ message that you want to communicate to your listeners as they listen to your song. So, you need to carefully arrange your lyrics in such a way that as they listen, from the intro to the end of the song, that idea is steadily but clearly understood. If you’re telling a story, tell it systematically, from the beginning of the story to the end.

Usually, what I do when I write songs is to segment my thoughts into two or three and then develop each segment into a verse. The verses would be in such a way that the flow of thoughts continue from the first verse to the second and then finally the third. Let me give a quick example, if the central idea for my song is that ‘God does not love like men do’, I could use the first verse to talk about how men love, and then the second verse would be about how God loves in contrast to how men love. That way, my thoughts are steadily but clearly communicated from the first verse to the second.

This is something you need to intentionally and carefully do. So, as you write your next song, ensure you carefully arrange your lyrics in such a way that the main idea of the song is clearly communicated to your listeners.

This is where I’ll stop on today’s songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. Hope you learnt something from today’s piece that will help you write better songs? Feel free to share it on your social media for others to learn too.

Songwriting Tips For Musicians; Finding your inspiration

Find your inspiration

After I concluded my series on Song composition tips For Songwriters, I was inspired by my wife to write on songwriting tips for musicians. Now some of you might ask, “isn’t song composition a part of songwriting?” Yes, it is, but it is not all. Songwriting also involves writing the lyrics of the song. So today, I’ll be sharing some other songwriting tips for musicians different from the song composition tips that I have already shared. I’ll like to pause a little here, to say thanks to my lovely wife for inspiring this article. As a matter of fact, she gave me this first tip. Now, let’s dive into it;

Find your inspiration

We’ve all heard musicians we admire introduce a song, especially in a live performance, by saying something like, “this song was inspired by…” Truth is that many great songs we have today were inspired. And for musicians who perform songs they wrote themselves, the difference between inspired songs and others is usually very obvious.

So how do musicians get inspiration?

Are we supposed to just sit endlessly waiting for inspiration to come? Well, different things inspire different people. Personal experiences (whether painful or pleasant) could be a major source of inspiration for a song for someone. A lot of great songs were inspired by personal experiences. Someone else can be inspired from a story they read or heard; whether from a novel or movie, it doesn’t matter, just that the story inspired them.

Another source of inspiration to write a great song is recent happenings around the person. Say for instance, there’s crisis or inflation in their country, it could inspire them to write a song about it. It could even just be something that happened as they were walking or driving on the road, like a fight or an accident or an act of kindness displayed by a random stranger.

Christian musicians could be inspired by an insight from the Bible or a sermon. Another person could be inspired by just watching nature (maybe sitting beside a stream, or on the top of a mountain). I was once inspired by the title of a sermon. Just the title! On another occasion, it was the initials of the artists I wanted to feature in the song that inspired me. There are so many things to draw inspiration from. It just depends on what works for you as a person.

So, as a musician, you need to discover for yourself what works for you and draw inspiration from such. If it is being around nature that inspires you, then try to be in natural environments often.

I had originally wanted to give two tips today, but this article has already reached it’s full length, so I will stop here. Hopefully, I will continue on this series of Songwriting Tips For Musicians in the 21st Century in my next article. But until then, find your inspiration and write amazing songs.

Song Composition Tips (Part 3)

song composition tips 3

Today, I will be sharing part 3 on our series of Song Composition Tips. So far, I have shared 3 song composition tips with you, and I will sharing two very important tips today. So, let’s dive into it.

Try new chords

We all have some chord progressions that can easily be referred to as our favourites. Mine, for instance is the 4-5-6 progression (maybe because of my temperament). And truth is, these chord progressions have a way of re-surfacing every time we want to write a new piece of music. We could almost say they have become like our default chords. I struggled with this in my early days of songwriting. Every single song I wrote back then had a 4-5-6 chord progression. I had to intentionally start trying out new chords and it improved my song composition. Even if you don’t struggle with a particular set of chords like I do. You can still try out new chords in your song composition. It could just be changing one of the chords in a regular progression from minor to major. For instance, instead of playing the 6th chord in my 4-5-6 progression as minor, I could decide to play it as a major chord. Also, play around with bigger chords; don’t just limit your song composition to triads. This is why a basic knowledge in music theory is very essential for songwriters.

Be conscious of the length

This tip is especially necessary for composing in the 21st century, since we all know that the average attention span of people has drastically reduced.  As a songwriter, you need to put that into consideration as you compose these days. Don’t let the duration of your song be too long. Somewhere between 3 to 4 mins is a safe place to end your song.

Usually, as songwriters, when we write a new melody, we enjoy it so much that we could repeat the melody as many times as possible within the song. Don’t do that. It will only add to the length of your song. As much as possible, strip away every unnecessary repetition. If your listeners enjoy any part of the song, they will replay it over and over. So, don’t repeat it for them in your songwriting, let them do the replay while listening. Just keep the length of your song reasonable.

So, there you have it; part 3 of my series on song composition tips. This is the last week I will be posting link for my short survey on Depression among musicians. So, if you haven’t answered the survey questions yet, please do so. The results of the survey would be published so as to help other musicians. HERE IS A LINK TO ANSWER THE SURVEY QUESTIONS.  Thanks in advance.



Image credit:

Song Composition Tips (2)- Create Dynamics

create dynamics

Last week, I shared two tips for song composition in the 21st century, but today I’m going to focus on creating dynamics in a song. I actually wanted to share two tips today, but by the time I finished with the first one, I realized it was long enough for an article of it’s own. So, here’s my third song composition tip for you.

Be Intentional About Creating Dynamics

This is a very essential tip, especially when writing/composing for this generation, considering the fact that over the years the attention span of most people has dropped. There should be a clear difference in melody between the verses and the chorus of your song. This change in melody creates dynamics in your song and keeps the listener’s attention till the end. It also makes the chorus (which captures the entire message of the song) to pop out.

Why should you create dynamics in your song?

Because songs without dynamics are boring. Usually, when I want to sing my daughter to sleep, I sing the chorus of a song over and over, without singing the verses or singing any other thing, and it works. And that’s because hearing the same melody over and over for a long time is boring and so it makes her sleep. This is why you need to be intentional in creating dynamics in your song, so that your song would not be boring to your listeners.

So how can I create dynamics in my songs?

You can create dynamics by choosing an entirely different set of chords for the chorus, to differentiate it from the verses. Say for instance, in the verses you had a 1-4-5-1 chord progression, you could make the chorus a 6-4-1-5 progression. You can also maintain the same chords as the verses, but then switch the progression. For instance, the 1-4-5-1 chord progression we used for the verses can be switched to 4-5-1-1 for the chorus. You will find out that just switching the progression of the chords (though still the same) creates a different feel when the chorus enters.

Can Producers help?

Yes, producers can also help their artists have dynamics in their songs, even if they didn’t create such originally while writing. All you have to do, as the producer, is use a different set of instruments for the chorus of the song. For instance, if you used the grand piano for the verses, you can try guitars for the chorus. Or you change the drum pattern or something. Just introduce something different for the ears of the listeners to keep their attention. That way, even though the melody is the same, there would still be a clear difference between the verses and the chorus.

Another thing you can do to create dynamics in your song is to have some sort of pre-chorus with a slightly different chord progression. That way, even if the chorus still has the same chords as the verses, it would still not be so boring.

One last thing, I would like you to go listen to a few of those songs you really enjoy. This time I want you to pay attention to the dynamics created in the song by either the songwriter or the producer. It would help you understand what I have shared with you today.

So, that’s it for today. For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I’m carrying out a short survey on ‘Depression Among Musicians’ and your inputs are needed. I hope the publish the results of the survey to help musicians who are going through depression. HERE IS A LINK TO ANSWER THE SURVEY QUESTIONS.  Thanks in advance.


Image Credit:

Tips For Song Composition in the 21st Century

Song composition

Last week, I explained song composition for you guys and we saw that it is an essential part of songwriting. Today, I’m going to share song composition tips for songwriters.

In the past couple of weeks, I listened to quite a number of new music from very talented musicians (both within and outside my city) and I noticed (actually, I’ve been noticing this for quite a while) that many of them (who are also songwriters themselves) did not quite do a good job in the area of songwriting. This is what inspired me to write on this topic. In today’s article, I’m just going to share two tips and hopefully, I’ll be sharing more in the future.

Choose a Compatible Genre

In many cases, this is the problem with some of the songs that don’t just sound right. You could hear that the voice texture of the singer is great, you could also hear that the production is clean, but then something’s not quite right. I know you’ve heard such songs before. It’s probably the genre. As a musician who writes your own music, discover the genres that are compatible with your voice and style of singing and write your songs in those genres. You’ll notice that your songs will automatically sound better when you write (compose) in the genres that are compatible with you.

Let me give you an example, there’s this musician I know that started with folk music (with just acoustics) and his songs sounded great. But then for some reason, he started doing ‘Afrobeats’ and honestly, when you listen to his recent songs, you’ll find that something just doesn’t sit well. So, please don’t just go with what’s trending with regards to genre; find out which works for you, even if it’s not trending, and stick with it.

Now, how do you discover compatible genres? It’s majorly by practice (though sometimes it could just be a musical instinct). You could also record simple demos of the same song written in various genres and ask your friends which of them they feel the impact of your voice most. This is a major reason why you need to learn at least one musical instrument as a songwriter, especially a harmonic instrument (I will probably write on this in another article). But for now, just know that you need to compose in a genre that’s compatible with your voice and your style of singing.

Choose chords that portray the emotion of the song

I’m quite sure you know every song has it’s own emotion/ mood. A song’s emotion could be happy, sad, exciting, frustrated, depressed, sorrowful, angry, hopeful, hopeless, encouraging, etc. You can’t be writing a song that is supposed to be used for celebration, for instance, and use sad/ moody chords in the composition. That just doesn’t fit. Usually, as musician, your musical instinct is enough for you to know the type of chords that don’t fit the message of your song. But there are also resources on the internet to help you if you need some help. Just ensure you choose chords that fit.


I would have added another tip but I just realized this article is getting too long, so I’m going to stop here. Please remember that my short survey on ‘Depression among musicians’ is still on. Your answers to the survey questions would go a long way in helping other musicians. There are just eight questions and it won’t take more than 5 minutes of your time. HERE’S THE LINK TO TAKE THE SURVEY.

Thank you in advance. Have a musical weekend ahead and keep making amazing music.

Songwriting And Composing

Songwriting and composing

Originally, I wanted to write on basic song composition techniques for songwriters, but then, I thought there might be some of you who don’t know what song composition is, so I decided to write on Songwriting and composing, first.

So, what does song composition entail?

Well, composing a song involves creating/ giving melody to a song. It could be done for an already existing lyrics written for a song, or it could be an entirely new work of musical creation to which lyrics could be added later. It could also just be a composition intended to be left without words and just enjoyed as instrumentals. People who only compose music are called composers. They do not write the words of the song; they only make the melody. Many modern music producers, especially hip pop and EDM producers, also double as composers.


Now, how about songwriting?

Songwriting is a complete process that involves writing the lyrics of a song and adding melody to it. In other words, songwriting involves song composition as well. Most musicians are songwriters; this means they write the lyrics of their songs themselves and also the melody to accompany the words. In some situations, a songwriting team is involved in writing a song. The team comprises of composers and other people called lyricists. Lyricists are people who only write the words of a song. Just like composers, they could write lyrics to fit an already existing melody or they could write lyrics completely independent of melody. However, in a songwriting team, both the composer and lyricist work hand-in-hand and after the song has been completed, both the composer and the lyricist are credited as co-songwriters.


So, between the lyrics and the melody, which should come first?

This varies from person to person. Some songwriters write the lyrics first, then add melody to it. Some others compose a melody first, then write words to fit the melody. There are others who do both at the same time; they compose as they write the words. A lot a rappers request for a beat from their producer, then write lyrics to fit the beat. In such a case, the producer is actually the composer while the rapper is the lyricist, meaning that both the rapper and the producer should be accredited as the songwriters.

Personally, being more of a composer, I compose melody first and then write words to fit the melody but I know people who write the lyrics first before adding melody to them. It all depends on the songwriter.

Now you know that songwriting involves both composing and writing lyrics. So, next time you address yourself as a songwriter, know that you are expected to double as both a lyricist and a composer.

I hope you have learnt something new today? You can check out other articles I’ve written here.

By the way, my survey on ‘Depression among Musicians’ is still on. If you have not answered the survey questions yet, please hit the link below and answer them. I promise it won’t take more than five minutes of your time. And the results will go a long way in helping other musicians. TAKE THE SURVEY HERE


Image Credit: