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#3 Writing Songs

I have been writing music now since I was nine years old. When I think back, any piece of music that I wrote stemmed from whichever way I found it easiest to sing and play an instrument at the same time. That is the hardest part about it when you’re first starting out.

As time goes on, you obviously discover your preferences in sounds, structure, lyrics etc. and as you get better, you can afford to apply the more difficult techniques by taking more risks.

I try to approach song writing in as many different ways as I can, but most of the time, for me anyway, it begins with a chord progression, either something I’ve written on guitar or keyboard, maybe just three chords that I like the sound of, then the song is built up around that foundation.

From there onwards, I start singing nonsense lyrics over the top, just so I can get the vocal melody pinned down and once I’m happy with it I think of a topic for the lyrics and then start writing them properly.

Most of my lyrical content is autobiographical, stories about things that have happened to me or people I know. Occasionally I’ll write fictional stories, but even then, the loose basis for them usually comes from something I’ve experienced.

I like to try new things with structure as much as I can, but I’ve always been fond of the old simple ‘Verse, chorus, verse’. I suppose I like to hear that myself when I’m listening to any genre, so I’d imagine that’s the reason I usually write that way.

Once I have each section of the song written both musically and lyrically, I try to decide which direction I’m going to go with the overall sound of it, as I produce my own material. ‘Genre’ for me is a tough one, because my influences come from everywhere. Whenever I’m producing, it’s like a blank canvas for me. Most of my songs begin on the guitar, but they can take on a whole new form in production. So I’ve already got the typical “pop music” structure, but I usually mix that with elements of electronic, dance, hip-hop, indie etc. Whatever I’ve been listening to most at the time probably has the biggest influence on how each song turns out.

My song ‘Lies (The Worst Ones)’ started out as a guitar based song, but when producing it, I felt that it could take on a new direction, so I began to experiment with the sound a bit and it ended up more of a ‘Dark Pop’ track. I was much happier with the finished version than I was with the original sound of it. This happens a lot for me between writing and producing and I think this is how I can always keep things fresh.

You can now listen to my song ‘Lies (The Worst Ones)’ as well as my six track EP ‘Make It Out’ HERE.

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