It’s relatively easy to become a singer-songwriter or song lyricist. Getting started is a simple matter of picking up an instrument, a pen and a notebook.
Technology – computers and music recording software – also makes it easier than ever to create rough work tapes before even considering a professional music recording studio. And social media simplifies building a fan base. In fact, so easy it is to get started that people can begin their singing-songwriting careers in just weeks.
While it is relatively easy to begin, developing into a good or better singer-songwriter requires just a bit more; a gentle nudge in the right direction, as they say. Or, as we say, a look at a few small tips for getting started as a singer-songwriter or song lyricist. They might be obvious tips but they are often forgotten, so here's your reminder:
Tip #1: Analyze, Analyze and Always Keep Writing
Is there a song you just adore? What about lyrics? What are some of the lyrics that inspire you? If you have an answer to those questions, you’re ready to start writing your own lyrics.
Writing lyrics starts with putting down ideas as soon as you get them. But it doesn’t stop there. The best lyrics come out of an inspired mind. And if you want to get inspired, consuming media is the best way to get started.
Some good lyric writing exercises include: • Writing ‘new’ lyrics for your favorite song – best for figuring out how to construct lyrics in a musical context. • Writing a theme for another piece of media – creating lyrics and music for your favorite book, for example. • Using free word association to create lyrics – good for beginning to write lyrics when you’re stumped.
What about rhymes? Not all lyrics need to rhyme, but you certainly need to know how. Referencing a good rhyming dictionary usually does the trick!
Tip #2: The Hook Matters
Ever find yourself bopping to a song long after listening? Yeah, everyone does! And if you do, you’re likely reliving that song’s hook all over again.
Hooks exist in pop music to boost a song’s appeal. This catchy piece of music often makes up a song’s chorus—or, in some cases, it is the song’s chorus. Whether melodic or rhythmic, this important musical motif is essential for crafting a memorable song.
The best way to construct a hook is, well, playing around with evocative sounds. If you come up with a melody, try replicating that melody with your instrument of choice. Your voice works, too. Repeating the melody more than once helps it to stick in your mind. Playing around with words and other turns of phrase helps develop catchy hooks, too.
Tip #3: Make It Dynamic, Make It Interesting
What makes a song interesting? Some say it’s the lyrics. Others say music. Others get technical, mentioning elements like chord progression and the hook. It typically depends on the song, so you can’t just narrow down ‘what makes a song interesting’ to just one thing.
Making a song interesting ultimately starts with you. Don’t believe it? Well, what do you like in a song? Try replicating what you like musically when you create music or write lyrics. When you play it back or read it, do you hear something that sticks? Something catchy? If you do, why not expand on that idea?
If you sing, safely experiment with a different vocal style. Musician? Try different takes on a hooky idea. There’s no wrong way to make your own song dynamic, so go crazy with experimenting!
Yes, it’s easy to begin a career as a singer-songwriter nowadays. But becoming good at it might be just a little more challenging. Fortunately, our tips might help make the beginning of your journey a little easier.
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