Here's a couple of songwriting tips from the professionals!
Tip #1: Viewpoint when writing songs
When songwriters are performing their own songs, by default, they become identified as the narrator of the songs. This is also usually the case with songs that have a strong connection to one particular artist. Whether you are performing your own songs or sending them out to other artists, it is important that you establish a clear point of view in each of your songs so that the impact is equal no matter who performs them.
Should you use 1st, 2nd or 3rd?
This may seem like English 101 to some, but clearly stating whether your song is told from a first, second or third person perspective is vital to the clarity and emotion of the song:
First Person: Using “I”, as in “I am the Highway”. This point of view can make a song seem more personal, often giving the performer more ways to get emotionally involved. Everything, good or bad, seems to be happening to the person singing the song.
Second Person: “You”, as in “We Will Rock You”. Songs written like this can be a little more “in your face” because they are putting the audience in the position of being the main character of the song.
Third Person: “They”, as in “They Dance Alone”. This point of view allows the author or performer to become an all-knowing narrator. This type of narrator can express what everyone in the song is feeling and is not confined to the emotions of one character.
There are many ways to vary and blend these perspectives, for now, just pick one and stick with it!
Tip #2: Writer’s block-busting exercise
Having a hard time figuring out what to write about? Looking to do something different than what you usually do? Try writing a new set of lyrics to an already existing tune.
Many famous lyricists have revealed that, when creating a lyric from scratch, they often used a familiar tune as a guide for rhythm and feel. Then, when the lyric was finished and passed off to a composer, the composer, not knowing this was done, would look at the lyric and have a completely different musical take on it. Doing this may inspire you to come up with new music once you have finished your lyric. Another spin on this exercise is to write parody lyrics to a famous tune. Sometimes, when you don’t have to worry about the music, your mind is free to be more creative with the lyrics.