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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.