From the book “The Smart Songwriter” the ultimate guide to songwriting

Have you ever listened to a song and asked yourself what the artist wanted to communicate? Have you ever heard a song and thought that the terms used and the metrics were unusual? I am sure the answer is yes.

In general, the goal of a songwriter is to communicate something, and if your message is not loud and clear, then you are not writing for others but only for yourself. Writing for yourself is a bit like practicing autoerotism. Pleasant? Maybe. An end in itself? Absolutely.

Our key to writing is therefore the one that leads us to use a common language, which is sometimes obvious, in a new way that results originality, albeit in its familiarity. Do we have to give up using special terms? Different words, new ones, those terms that you do not usually hear in a song? No, I am not talking about giving up, but about moderating the use of an excessively high linguistic register, otherwise we will just be isolating ourselves in our magnificent ivory castle, but up there it is lonely.

Think of the finest artists you know and their biggest mainstream hits; every time one of these artists has had a radio or sales success is because their songs and writing fell under these rules.

Rules facilitate and improve the use of chosen means of expression and music is no exception.

Rules are our friends and allow us to do a good job. In this book, you will hear me talk about successful Hits, because we do not want to our songs to be heard by mom and aunt, but we want to live off of this. Try to be aware and listen to the people on the streets, discover the new common expressions, look for what is new in town, look for originality and depth in the daily images.

If you cannot reflect yourself in the song, then that song will almost never be a Hit but just another beautiful song that someone will probably listen to. The songwriter always pays attention to what is going on in the world and what is going on in his community. An insignificant detail in the eyes of someone can become gold for a songwriter.

There is nothing more universal than a detail. The songwriter is a person who reads, watches movies and keeps up to date with social trends, in short, the songwriter is fully part of the world, an investigator of the private and public sphere of the society in which we live. Eyes, ears and heart are always open.

The myth of the lonely songwriter is precisely a myth. We have to live life to be able to tell it. Make an effort at least once a week to go out and observe people and life in different situations.

‘As for songwriting, my inspiration comes from love, life, death and other people’s situations.’

Ed Sheeran

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