The proper way to format your lyric sheet is one of the most overlooked details in the songwriting business!
Since starting SongTown, Marty Dodson and I have had the chance to see many songs lyrics presented in our publisher groups, song contests, and song feedback forums on songtown.com. We’ve seen some wild lyric sheets—or in many cases, even NO lyric sheets—accompanying songs being presented!!
Publishers, Producers, and other people in the industry all speak a common language.
They all share a style of working. One of the little important details when presenting your songs (to someone you hope will record it) is a typed, formatted lyric sheet.
Your lyric sheet must look professional, I can’t say this enough…
A clear, typed lyric sheet, with all of the important contact information, is half the job, the other half is the format. Why? Because, pros are used to reading a lyric sheet typed in a certain style so they can quickly assimilate the content. Making them pause and try to figure out what is going on with your lyric sheet is not respecting their time. So, every time you present a song to someone, you must do it in a professional format. Remember, the lyric sheet is your music resume, and style points do count!
What not to do on your lyric sheet…
I’ve seen a lot of aspiring writers send out lyric sheets with multiple songwriting organizations in the top header of the lyric sheet. This is NOT a good idea because producers, artists, and publishers don’t care that you belong to 5 different organizations. Pros are only interested in the song. Does the song cut the mustard? Therefore, name-dropping won’t make you more legit. And worse, putting all that other info on your lyric sheet can make you look unprofessional!
Below is a lyric sheet from one of my songs recorded by Lady Antebellum. Let me know if you have any questions!
Write On! Clay
Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter. He has 2 Grammy nominations and is the co-author of The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.
“One Day You Will”
You feel like you’re falling backwards
Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks
Like no one would even notice
If you left this town and never came back
You walk outside and all you see is rain
You look inside and all you feel is pain
And you can’t see it now
But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will
You wake up every morning and ask yourself
What am I doing here anyway
With the weight of all those disappointments
Whispering in your ear
You’re just barely hanging by a thread
You wanna scream but you’re down to your last breath
And you don’t know it yet
Find the strength to rise above
Find just what you’re made of, you’re made of