Songwriting

You Are What You Eat: What’s Your Musical Diet?

by Clay Mills
Oct 15, 2019

It’s been said that we are what we eat. And if we eat healthier food, we will have healthier bodies! But what about your musical diet?

Many songwriters write emails to Marty Dodson and me each week asking what they can do to become better writers and have artists to record their songs. When examining the music they love, it becomes apparent that the goal (getting their songs cut) does not match up to their musical diet.

Simply put, if you spend ALL your time listening to music that is 10,15,or 20 years old, then that is what you will write.

What goes in must come out! Your music might be perfect for those albums, but not today‰’s albums. Now, I’m not suggesting that you listen only to brand new music. But if your goal is to get a cut today, then your writing will thank you for digesting new music!

Most of us have a great library of music stored in our heads spinning the songs we grew up on.

We know those old songs by heart. They are a part of us. We don’t need to keep listening to them over and over. We need, instead, to grow. To change our musical diet. To discover new music and get excited about something today that is fresh! If we are excited about hearing new music, then we will be excited about creating new music. And that will be contagious to all who hear our songs.

Stephen King talks about how he reads four hours a day.

Every chance he gets, he is taking new material in, so that he turns out better novels. Today, I challenge you to find some new music that turns you on. If you have recently discovered something you’re in love with, please share it in your comments!

No matter how much success I’ve had as a writer, I never stop learning! I’ve been listening to the Ed Sheehan, Chris Stapleton, and The 1975 over the last couple weeks. And I’ve just finished reading Marty Dodson’s Song Building book. It’s full of ways to streamline and improve your writing process.

What are you listening to? ~CM

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.

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