Great lyrics and a bad melody. I once sent this combination to my publisher. They sent it right back to me and basically said, “Don’t waste good lyrics on a bad melody.” It hurt my feelings, but then I realized they were right. I scrapped the entire melody and rewrote it, improving the song immensely. […]
This is where I share my process along with things I’ve found helpful.
There was this scene in a cartoon my son was watching where two kids wanted to be rock stars. They started writing a song but realized they didn’t have enough life experience to say much in their lyrics. So they went out and started doing a bunch of things to expedite the process. I laughed
While painting, Bob Ross famously used to say to his viewers, “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.” I want to point out something obvious: We don’t have happy accidents unless we make mistakes—and you can’t make mistakes if you aren’t taking action. When’s the last time you had a happy accident?
My dad is an electrician. Naturally, I call him when I have an electrical problem. He’ll troubleshoot with me over the phone, and I understand him for a little bit. But then he slips into jargon and electrical-speak and I have to have him explain what he means. When it comes to wiring a house,
Songwriting isn’t about theory. Many professional songwriters don’t even read music. I’m one of them. We often don’t know the names of the chords we’re playing on guitar or piano. What many of us do know, however, are numbers. Numbers are based on the shape or position you’re in rather than the key. They give
I’ve never been good at math. I quit my calculus class with Mr. Wensloff to join the show choir. Had I paid more attention, I would’ve learned this lesson sooner. In fact, you probably already know it. Have you ever heard of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule? Here is the basic
Finding your unique songwriting voice is really just a continuation of the stuff you’re already doing, but simply editing it down and changing its form. If you’re having trouble finding your unique songwriting voice, imagine your brain as being a giant rain barrel. The top is open. Everything you take in—experiences, reading, watching TV, whatever—is
Whenever I’m stuck on a song, I imagine my dad and me in the Beltrami Island State forest in northern Minnesota. Growing up, that’s where we’d go on the weekends to hunt partridge. My dad didn’t own a pickup truck, but he used the family minivan as if it were one. We’d go down roads
With your big family, how do you still find time and energy to write your own songs and also be creative in other areas (drawing, blog)? Su in Germany Hi Su – I love this question because it’s something I think about a lot. After our third child (and again after our fourth), I felt
As I write this, it’s snowing big flakes here in Nashville. It reminds me of the snow I imagined when I wrote “Back to the Beginning.” Tsiaro, a listener in Madagascar asked me what the inspiration for that song was, so I think now’s a great time to answer. Hi Aaron ! I’m Tsiaro