SONGWRITING; CRAFTING A LUCRATIVE, LYRICAL BUSINESS
By Carmen Greger
Painting with the Colors of the Soul
Among the cacophony of the world, where ideas intertwine in the realm of thought, and feelings bloom in the garden of emotion, there is a need for a unique expression to distill the essence of life. Enter the songwriters – the architects of emotion, the maestros of melody, the designers of dreams – weaving a reality that transcends language, culture, and time.
Songwriting is not merely a profession, but a soulful conversation, an eternal dance between the heart and mind. Exceptional lyrics, harmonious melodies, soothing tones, profound messages, evocative moods, and an uncanny relatability are the rich pigments that paint a masterpiece on the canvas of silence.
A paramount figure in this melodic landscape, Taylor Swift exemplifies the artistry in the songwriting profession. Crafting inspired anthems of heartbreak, triumph, and self-discovery, her lyrics mirror the universal human experience, resonating with millions around the globe. Her masterful manipulation of words and music prove that a songwriter need not be confined to the shadows behind the stage but can brilliantly shine in the spotlight.
Embarking on the path of songwriting requires more than a mere flicker of inspiration.
5 pivotal steps to writing a song that stands out:
Discover your voice: Your unique perspective is the foundation of your songwriting craft. Whether it’s a whimsical melody or a poignant ballad, your authentic voice will capture your audience’s hearts.
Frame your lyrics: Painting a picture with words requires careful attention to detail. The typical song lyric ranges between 150 and 300 words, but don’t be bound by these numbers. Let your creative impulses guide you.
Craft the melody: A memorable melody is the golden thread that weaves together the fabric of your song. Listen for the song hidden in the spaces between your words, and let it guide your melody.
Create the mood: Music has the uncanny ability to touch the heartstrings. Capture a mood that enhances your lyrics, painting an emotional landscape that envelops your listener.
Evoke relatability: The universal experiences that bind us together are your most powerful tool. Your song is a bridge between hearts, make sure it is sturdy and accessible.
Once your masterpiece is composed, it is time to share it with the world.
5 ways to put your song into the hands of the right people:
Networking: Connect with people in the industry. Attend local gigs, music conferences, and songwriter circles.
Online Platforms: Utilize social media platforms, such as Soundcloud, YouTube, or Bandcamp, to showcase your work.
Collaborations: Team up with other musicians. This not only diversifies your music but also expands your audience.
Publishing Companies: Consider working with a publishing company, which can help get your music to artists and onto radio stations.
Professional Managers: A professional manager can help you navigate the music industry, providing guidance and connections.
If you are looking to enhance your songwriting skills, institutions like Belmont University in Nashville, Berklee College of Music, The Juilliard School, University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts offer world-class songwriting programs.
There are also many wonderful remote courses you can take, including Berklee Online, Coursera and Masterclass, or even songwriting software you can download like MasterWriter.
The success of your songwriting journey is contingent on safeguarding your work. Copyrighting your songs protects your intellectual property and assures that your unique voice is respected.
Elevating the profession of songwriting to an art form are renowned lyricists and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Carole King, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, and Bernie Taupin– each masterfully blending melody and words into timeless classics. They all have unique characteristics, yet share a common thread: a deep appreciation for human emotion, a relatable voice that spans generations, and the courage to bare their souls in their songs.
Their songs do not just whisper to the hearts of listeners but echo in the annals of music history. Bob Dylan’s poetic prowess and social commentary, Carole King’s empowering and relatable narratives, Paul McCartney’s unforgettable melodies, Joni Mitchell’s candid self-reflection, and Bernie Taupin’s powerful imagery and storytelling, all create a magical symphony that touches the soul.
As a songwriter, it’s essential to approach your craft with appreciation. Admire the beauty of a well-crafted lyric, the enchanting dance of a melody, the tender touch of a tone, the silent whisper of a message, the vivid colors of a mood, and the warm embrace of relatability. This appreciation fuels the creative spirit, encouraging a deeper connection with your music.
Moreover, building self-confidence is a crucial part of your songwriting journey. It takes courage to write your heart into lyrics and melodies. Embrace your uniqueness, for it is the source of your creative magic. Your song is your soul’s language, and the world needs to hear it.
Courage is the bridge between thought and action, between the songs in your heart and the melody on your lips. It takes bravery to lay your soul bare for the world to see, and even more so to carve your own niche in the vast musical landscape. But remember, each of us is a melody in the symphony of existence, and your contribution is irreplaceable.
Take action. Inaction is the graveyard where dreams are buried. Write your song, share it, live it. In the end, it’s not about how many people hear your song; it’s about the hearts you touch and the souls you inspire.
Music is a universal language that weaves itself into the tapestry of our lives. The right lyrics can feel like a mirror to our own experiences, encapsulating emotions we could never quite articulate. Let us delve into the enchanting world of lyrics, drawing upon the wisdom and wit of three songs that epitomize relatability and emotional evocation.
From the hallowed archives of Beatles’ discography, Paul McCartney penned the classic, “Let It Be.” The lyrics, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, ‘Let it be.'” reverberate across generations. They resonate with those seeking solace in tumultuous times. Simple yet profound, the words evoke a sense of comfort and acceptance in the face of adversity, encouraging listeners to trust the flow of life.
Let’s traverse back to the magical realm of Taylor Swift, whose penchant for crafting relatable narratives is unparalleled. In her ballad “Fifteen,” she sings, “And when you’re fifteen, don’t forget to look before you fall, I’ve found time can heal most anything, and you just might find who you’re supposed to be.” Swift paints a vivid picture of adolescent naivety and the bittersweet experience of growing up. This lyric encapsulates the essence of youth, filled with dreams and disillusionment, imparting wisdom and hope.
Swift’s words are a gentle reminder that our mistakes and experiences shape us, driving home the relatable message of self-discovery and growth. Her most recent ERAS tour is a beautiful two-headed magical monstress, courageously baring both reflection and projection….. truly out of this world!
Now let’s move more closely and examine the poignant words of Bob Dylan’s timeless anthem “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Dylan questions, “How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky? How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry?”
These profound and rhetorical questions challenge the listener, provoking thought about society’s injustices and the individual’s role in acknowledging and rectifying them. Despite the decades that have passed since its release, this song continues to resonate, embodying timeless concerns and aspirations for a more compassionate world.
These examples illuminate the power of lyrics to touch our hearts and stir our minds. Great songwriters tap into universal truths, creating something we see ourselves in. As a songwriter, you hold the potential to impact countless lives, to provide solace, provoke thought, and connect hearts through shared human experience.
As you compose, remember that your words can be a lighthouse for those lost in a sea of emotion, a rallying cry for change, or a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. So, take your pen to the page or your fingertips to the keyboard, ignite your creativity, and let your soul resonate through your song.
So, pick up your pen, strum your guitar, and let your soul sing. Your song, like the golden rays of dawn, has the power to light up the world. Unleash your inner maestro, paint with the colors of your soul, and add your unique verse to the song of life. Because, dear songwriter, the world is waiting for your symphony.