If I had to choose one thing as the most important thing in songwriting, it would be “making your song believable.” Throughout the entire writing process I am asking myself, does this feel real? When someone hears your song for the first time, that’s what hits them first. Nothing loses the listener faster than a line or song that’s not believable. Here are a few ways to make sure your song is “Real.”
Always write true statements.
“Everyone knows love is just a game” is not a true statement because not EVERYONE feels that way. But- “Some may say that love is just a game” is true because some people certainly feel that way. This may seem like a small point but it is HUGE. Always write true statements. People can’t argue with truth. It’s real and it affects people, even if they don’t like it, it effects them.
Write the songs truth and NOT your truth.
If you start out writing a song about something in your life that has happened. A breakup, etc; don’t insist on writing your story exactly the way that happened. The song is going to have it’s own heart and soul and you must learn to follow the song’s truth. Again, this is a subtle difference but one of the most powerful things to remember. The song is KING. Always. Learn to listen for the truth in the song. Letting go and being flexible will make you a better writer.
Follow your own voice.
Every successful writer I know has a VOICE. Not a singing voice, but an inner voice. A style of writing that is unique to only them. And it is the most honest place a writer can come from.It’s a deep real place. How do we find our voice? By experimenting. Writing a lot and paying attention to the way your songs effect the people who hear them. We are not an island. We need feedback to grow, so join a local song organization; and play your songs for your peers, bandmates, or co-writers. Take a class where you can share your songs and get a positive critiques. The SongTown.com forums is a great place to get feedback from pros and peers.
These are a few key things that have helped me create more believable better songs. They were not learned overnight but once mastered they have taken me farther than my dreams thought possible.
Write on! Clay
Clay Mills is a 11-time hit songwriter and co-founder of SongTown