Tip Jar: What It Takes to Write a Hit Song

An industry veteran––a songwriting mentor who has had years of experience grooming and handling multiplatinum-selling talent––gives you specific instructions about the art & craft of hit songwriting. 1. Be up front with your story. Look at the first two lines of your lyric. Imagine someone came up to you and read just those two lines. How much has the, “who, what, where, why, and how” of the story been communicated? If you’re still lost after hearing those first two lines (i.e., you don’t know what’s happening to the protagonist or have any idea what the song is about), then a record executive, producer or casual listener will likely be uninterested in hearing more. 2. Make every line count. Go to any of your lines. Read just that one out loud. Does it make sense? Could it stand on its own without the support of the preceding and subsequent lines? It should. Every line should present a complete and independent picture for your listeners. Every line should also ultimately speak to the title of your song. Your title is your theme, and good writing never strays from its theme. 3. Vary the length of your lines. Type your lyric flush […]

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