Write the lyrics of YOUR song !

Hello everybody!    You know I’m a singer and a songwriter,  so I decided to create another podcast to tell you all about how I write songs.

You can listen to the first episode here  http://blankpagesongwriting.podomatic.com/entry/2011-09-27T06_37_57-07_00

Learn how to get over your BLANK PAGE SYNDROME.  By the way, do you know what it is?  Ok, imagine you have a blank page in front of you and you have no idea of what you could write about.  A white piece of paper and your mind goes blind! Ok, that’s the Blank Page Syndrome,  every writer has to deal with it from time to time…

Do you think that writing songs is only a matter of INSPIRATION ? Being in an inspired mood can help, but it takes a lot of  work  in order to find the perfect words to match the melody of your song. And it takes a method.

Listen to the first episode of “Blank Page -Songwriting”, here’s the transcript.  Have fun!



Hello! This is Marta Innocenti, welcome to BLANK PAGE – SONGWRITING.
Let’s talk about how to… “Write the lyrics of your song”.

 1 – Point number ONE : first of all you need to decide the main TOPIC.
What will your song be about? Love? friendship? family? politics? having a dream? Choose any subject you’re interested in and let’s get started!

2 – Point number TWO : decide the main IDEA regarding the topic you chose.
If the subject is Love, which particular aspect of Love are you going to describe in your song ? It could be : the joy for a new love? how love changes people? Or the end of a love story. Well, the main idea is the core of your song, so define it clearly in your mind and focus on that.
Attention: you’re gonna need a title, connected to this main idea. So, start thinking about what the title could be while working on the following points. And let’s go on!

3 – Point number THREE : choose the KEY WORDS
Write down some key words, strictly connected to the main idea, its environment, its development. Write as many words as you can, even though they don’t make any sense to you now, they will surely feed your creativity.
Notice how many words connected to the main idea you can hear in “Thriller” by Michael Jackson : midnight, dark, scream, killer, horror, night creatures, demons…
Try and find catchy key words. For instance, Paul McCartney and Steve Wonder…they talk about “Ebony and Ivory”, concerning black and white keys of a piano in order to convey the message of tolerance between black and white people. Striking, isn’t it ?
Another catchy key word is Umbrella, in the famous song by Rihanna. The main idea is -you can count on me- and that’s how it is conveyed: “you can stand under my umbrella”.

 4 – Point number FOUR : choose the POINT OF VIEW
If you want the listener to be really involved, use the first and second person, I and You: “it’s MY life, and it’s now or never, I ain’t gonna live forever…” Bon Jovi – “I’m a creep…” Radiohead – “I will try to fix you…” Coldplay
If you prefer the listener to be an observer of someone else’s reality, you can use the third person: Ricky was a young boy, he had a heart of stone, lived 9 to 5 and he worked his fingers to the bone” – “18&life” Skid Row.
You can also mention the names of the characters of your song :
Michelle, ma belle…” Beatles – “Gina dreams of running away, when she cries in the night Tommy whispers baby it’s ok…” “Living on a prayer” by Bon Jovi. – “Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light…” Police
In order to make the audience recognize into a common message, or feel part of a group, you’d better use WE : “We are the champions, we are the champions…” Queen – “We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones …” USA for Africa

5 – point number FIVE : select words connected to the five SENSES and to ACTIONS
Find adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs connected to sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste or to actions. The audience must feel what you’re saying and actually see it as if it was a movie.
For instance: “BLEEDING LOVE” by Leona Lewis. The pain she feels is described as a physical wound : I keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding love, you cut me open”.
Notice this verse of “YOU GOT A FRIEND” by James Taylor. Every word recalls an image you can see or something you can hear or feel : “If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds and that old north wind should begin to blow”

6 – point number SIX : pay attention to the SOUND of the words.
You have to adjust everything you’ve been writing so far according to the melody, searching for the best solutions about rhyming too. Make your song catchy by using assonance or consonance or alliteration whenever you can. It’s difficult but absolutely necessary.
Think of “FAME” soundtrack. Check how rhyming is important to make this chorus more emotional and easier to remember :
(Fame) I wanna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly
I feel it comin’ together, people will see me and cry
(Fame)I’m gonna make it to heaven, light up the sky like a flame
I’m gonna live forever, baby remember my name”

7 – point number SEVEN : use REPETITIONS
knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door…” Bob Dylan (Eric Clapton’s version)
Some words or lines have to be repeated in order to make the song easier to remember : “let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be…” Beatles – “can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read my poker face” Lady Gaga
You’d better include also some catchy tricks such as :
Ehh Ehh “Hey soul sister” by Train – Ohhh Ohhh… “With or without you” by U2 – eheheheh “Don’t you” by Simple minds.
Remember that you can use repetitions according to the structure of the song, you can open each verse with the same word, or use the same line in every bridge, so that it will be easier for the audience to get familiar to your lyrics from the very first listening. Check out “She will be loved” by Maroon 5 : the same sentence is used in the second verse and again after the special before the final chorus.
Tap on my window knock on my door, I want to make you feel beautiful”

8 – point number EIGHT : keep it EASY and UNIVERSAL
People need to recognize themselves and their lives in your song, so say something easy to understand but not trivial, say something interesting but not too specific.
Every breath you take” by Police : the song is about the obsession of a man who can not accept that a love story has ended. But 99% of the audience will consider it a love song, because the words used are not too specific. That gives the song a double meaning and it makes the song more popular. Pretty smart ! “Every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you”
First verse is crucial to get the audience attention. So be careful and pay particular attention to the very first words you use. Quoting The Police again, that’s how “Message in a bottle” begins: “Just a castaway, an island lost at sea, Another lonely day With no one here but me”.
Take a moment to think of the kind of audience this song is addressed to, choose the right words also according to the kind of music you’re dealing with and the medium age of the listeners.

 9 – POINT Number NINE : choose a smart TITLE
If the title is smart enough, it goes beyond the meaning itself of the song.
Such as : “The final Countdown” by Europe- used every year in December
or “Last Christmas” by Wham- considered a Christmas song but it is about a love story ended badly.
Remember that nowadays songs are searched for in alphabetical order (on the iPod, in computers, and so on) so it’s better to choose titles beginning with the first letters of the alphabet !

10 – point number TEN : put your song to the TEST
Let someone listen to your song once or twice without explaining anything.
The following day ask this person about your song. Does your listener remember what the song was about? Which sentences and words does he or she remember? If you think it’s necessary change some lines to make your song easier to remember.

So, now it’s all up to you! Write your own song, following the 10 rules.
2) main IDEA
5) words connected to SENSES and ACTIONS
8  keep it EASY and UNIVERSAL
10) put your song to the TEST

Let me add one important suggestion.
Don’t worry if the song you’re writing doesn’t seem a masterpiece to you and don’t stop writing just because you’re afraid your song won’t be perfect.
Like any other kind of human artistic expression, writing songs is useful to the writer in the first place. Right, first of all to us writers, because that’s how we get to know ourselves better, we feed our creativity and imagination, we learn how to express our feelings and opinions, we search for our style, we develop our personality.
Every song you write is important, because it is the sum of your ideas and it is shaped by many decisions you are forced to make.
So enjoy every single song you write, since it’s going to tell you , for sure, something about yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: