Songwriting Tips from Popular Artists
Published by Nemanja on October 7, 2015
Today we’ll share with you some of the best songwriting tips. To help you get started and/or become a better songwriter, we’ve prepared some amazing tips for you from truly talented artists: Sia, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, and John Mayer. Let’s start!
The thirty-nine-year-old Australian singer, Sia, is everything but ordinary. She’s the type of person that will put a paper bag on her head if she doesn’t want to show her face (which she actually did for the cover of Billboard magazine). She’s a talented songwriter who believes that you can decide whether you want to get old or not. It looks like Sia decided all the hits she wrote for various artists, including Rihanna, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5, NeYo, etc will stay forever young.
These are Sia’s songwriting habits that might help you become a better songwriter:
- She writes every day
- She likes to write songs with other writers
- The first part of a song she usually writes is a chorus
Sia – Chandelier (Live on SNL)
For Swift, there’s no free time when it comes to coming up with new ideas and catchy lyrics for her songs. Great ideas are born at any time and at any place. This young singer/ songwriter is known for writing songs about her ex boyfriends. However, her songs are more than songs about famous artists Swift has dated. She writes about everyday life, and people around her. Being a closed person she uses her songs to channel her feelings about things she never talked to anyone about.
So, here’s what you should do, following Taylor’s formula for writing great lyrics:
- Think of something you wanted to say to someone but you never got a chance. Connect to that feeling and relive that moment. We’re sure you’ll come up with some great lines.
- Find something your lyrics will easily be recognized by. Taylor Swift writes about her exes. Love, friendship, life in general – think about what could be the main theme of your songs.
Just a thought: has anyone tried to write songs about saving money? That’s always a popular topic, and you can always give thousands of great tips. It’d be like how-to songs. If you dare us, we just might write these songs, so we’ll keep an eye on the comment section.
Taylor Swift Dear John Lyrics
Lady Gaga is unique in every sense of that word. She’s famous for her eccentric clothes, but also for her music talent. Did you know that the singer only needed 10 minutes to write “Born This Way”? She learned to play the piano by ear at the age of four, and today this instrument plays an important part in her songwriting process. All of her songs can be played on a piano as well. When writing a song, she sits at her piano and, as she said in an interview, “the song comes to her like an inspiration, like a dream”.
If we take a look at Lady Gaga’s songs, here are some really great songwriting tips:
- Find a word that sounds good, and use it in your songs (Lady Gaga’s favorite word – love)
- Repeat both one word and a line over and over again.
HD – Lady Gaga – Europride Roma 2011 – Born This Way and The Edge of Glory – Live
Pharrell Williams – the man who has won the Grammy Award for the best record of the year, best pop vocal album, album of the year, etc. We wonder if there’s an award he didn’t win… The music world should be thankful to McDonald’s for firing him three times (from three different McDonald’s restaurants), as thanks to this he is what he is today – a great songwriter, among other of his talents.
In one of his interviews, Pharrell explained very creatively how he sees the whole songwriting process. Namely, according to Pharrell, a song is like a conversation between two people. The thing they argue about and constantly get back to is a song’s chorus. The specifics of that argument are verses in a song.
So, make use of arguments you have in your everyday life.
Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky (Official MTV Video)
John Mayer attended prestigious Berklee College of Music, and he is an incredibly talented musician that has over 200 guitars in his possession. He collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music including Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Herbie Hancock, etc.
When it comes to songwriting, John Mayer believes that honesty is one of the most powerful ingredients of a great song. However, according to Mayer, first you have to really get to know yourself. Then, in order to get your audience’s attention, find something genuine you feel or something you’ve experienced and share it in your song. The song shouldn’t be about you though, and this is the most important part – the song has to be about that same something genuine but it has to be something you and your audience have in common.
What you can learn from John about songwriting is this:
- Be honest
- Connect with your audience
John Mayer – Paper Doll (Lyric)
To conclude, here are the best tips that will help you become better at songwriting:
- Write Every Day
- Work With Others
- Find a Theme of Your Song
- Make Your Lyrics Simple
- Be Honest
That’s it. If you have any other tips on songwriting you’d like to share with the Lyreka community, we’d be happy to read them. So, feel free to leave them in the comment section.