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songwriting

Lewis Capaldi, you should pay attention to him!

In a space of two years, Lewis Capaldi one of Scotland’s foremost songwriters and singer has successfully transcended from an upcoming artist to becoming one of the country’s best and most popular star.

Lewis breakthrough came after his most popular track “Someone You Loved” which surprisingly spent 7 weeks at number one on the UK’s Top music chart. He released a follow up single afterwards, “Hold Me While You Wait”, the song also ranked number 4 on the UK top songs chart and had remained there on the chart ever since.

Obviously, in the last year, Lewis’s international reputation has greatly increased.

That particular song has greatly impacted the US music industry and has moved on to the “Billboard Hot Top 100 chart”, and also become a hit track in countries like Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland and more.

Capaldi released his album titled “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Existent” under the Virgin EMI/Capitol Records.

When he was asked about what the interviewer referred to as an emotional video (that looks more some having a heart transplant), he said the song video was motivated by the will to give and was done to encourage the act of organ donation, and the whole story was his idea.

Capaldi in the interview explains the idea behind his crafty album name title “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Existent”. He said it was a reference to his feeling of doubts while recording the album was what propelled the unique title.

According to him, he had some doubts about whether the song is going to be as good as others, he feared the song might not blend in with his repertoire; the album title actually came as a result of this fear.

But what about his songwriting process? In a recent interview for songwritinguniverse, he told the whole story. Curious, here’s a quote from the article:

I had the melody for the song…it was done and ready to go. At that point, I was at the end of writing my album. I felt I had reached the end, in terms of writing songs about an old relationship (laughs). I had been writing songs [about that relationship] for quite some time. So I decided not to finish that song and parked it.

Then I was lucky to get with TMS (the writing/producing trio of Tom “Froe” Barnes, Ben Kohn & Peter “Merf” Kelleher) and Romans, and we were working on this other song which was upbeat and very pop.

I said to them, “Look, I’ve got this other idea as well,” and I showed them the song I had with the melody. Then I said, “I don’t want to write about the same break-up. I want to write about the feeling of losing someone in general, and have the story be broader so that people could make their own story of it. And from there, we got this idea, and we were able to write it very quickly.

Certainly another testimony of the importance of having a great team to support your career.

If you wanna learn more about songwriting and production feel free to check out “The Smart Songwriter: A Modern Approach to Songwriting”

THE STAGES OF WRITING A SONG

A chapter from The Smart Songwriter – The Ultimate Guide to Songwriting, Available Here

Some believe that inspiration is not a real factor in writing songs but only a kind of legend or myth. These people are sort of right.

Inspiration is something that certainly comes from above and allows us to write great songs, but it is also the result of everything we feed on, so it often happens that for long periods we have no kind of idea of how to write a song and that is where preparation comes into play.

Within this book, we have already addressed some techniques of preparation, such as destination writing, reading a book or going to the cinema. In short, feeding our brain and our soul.

For many, it is essential to take notes on ideas, words, conversations, all recorded on their mobile phones, on post-its, anywhere. For others, these are just moments of pure inspiration. Another way to prepare, is to write a real diary, a kind of therapeutic document in which to vent about what happened during your day, in the world or to some of your closest friends.

Another method is to write additional invented verses on existing songs that you love. According to Bruce Springsteen, we have everything we need to write great songs as early as at the age of 12 or even 18.

Other people write purely for themselves without thinking about the listener or a particular topic at all. All these methods and techniques are valid, none is better than the other. The important thing is to understand what works best for you and for your creative process.

After the preparation part, comes the real inspiration, that moment when the song seems to come from nowhere. Tom Waits says that “inspiration is like taking a picture in the nature, you stand still with your camera in your hands for three days without anything happening and then suddenly there it is, the perfect picture.”

The real inspiration is made of small moments in which we think of phrases, melodies and whether we like it or not, we must absolutely note them down somewhere, otherwise they will be lost forever.

Chris Martin tells in an interview that he had the title “A Sky Full of Stars” for years, having written it on at least 7 songs, none of which was good enough for him. One day, he decided to sit at the piano and the right words and the perfect melody came out naturally. Nobody knows where the inspiration really came from and maybe it is not even important to ask oneself.

Another aspect of creativity is certainly the drama. You must have heard many times various artists say that they have written their best songs in moments of personal suffering own or of others.

Think of Adele, who built her first success and sold millions of copies based on the break up with her historical boyfriend. Or Eminem, who says that, if there had not been drama in his life, his songs would be absolutely boring. However, songwriting does not come in moments of deepest despair, songwriting can only be therapeutic when you have a clear vision of that moment.

Art comes from the precise description of a situation in our inner life and only a real understanding can help us write about something so deep and true. Creating a song is not only about applying techniques and tricks, but is, above all, a way of driving demons out of our hearts.

Finally, now that we have collected everything we have inside, we can start writing. A lot of us start from the melody and it seems that most of the Hit creators work in exactly this way as well. Sing your melodies with words that come to mind in a made-up language or your own and then work on the text.

A great example of this is Nik Kershaw ‘The Riddle’, it was a scratch vocal with words to help shape the melody. The Record Company heard the demo. He then finished the song and they didn’t like what he had written, they wanted the demo… the rest is history! Hence the name ‘The Riddle’

‘You can sing your song in front of 85000 people and they will sing it with you for 85000 different reasons.’

Dave Grohl

COMMON LANGUAGE IN SONGWRITING

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

SONGWRITING AND MORNING PAGES: ARE THEY WORTH?

Did you know that there are guerrilla techniques that you can actually use for songwriting?

A primary lesson

The primary issue is you would like a decent idea but you know that success is 10 per cent inspiration and 90 per cent perspiration. Perspiration as you know, it’s a lot of work.

Like any creative person, you’ll find yourself doing most of the work but this is not a downside, to be honest as Robert Rodriquez repeatedly points out, the only way to extremely make sure you’re obtaining what you want is to try and do it yourself.

You will need to learn all the small “processes” within the overall massive image process-learning your instrument, learning your tools for recording, learning your business procedure.

Whit all the work sometimes you can feel overwhelmed and tired, you can even start to think to abandon the idea of being a professional songwriter.

Genius is outlined by limitations but as we said initial spark is where it starts. To find that magic “idea” I would like to recommend to do morning pages

Morning pages yes or not?

“Morning Pages” directly from “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (a book that I strongly suggest you) are a sort of diary where you write under the influence of a flow of consciousness. To do them there is not a formula you will create your own method. The purpose is to induce writing at once within the morning whereas your brain continues to be connected to your artistic subconscious.

I’ve tried this morning routine myself and I have to say it. It works, you feel more inspired, more open to the universe and to your true self. Write them first thing in the morning and don’t be afraid of repetitions or banal concept it’s all about digging deeper to find YOUR gold.

10 songwriting mistakes to avoid

10 Songwriting Mistakes to avoid

A little particular can kill the effectiveness of your song. This post will reveal ten common songwriting mistakes.

You have just finished recording your hit song, but something is not right, and you can’t tell exactly what it is all about.

To the best of your knowledge the lyrics are great, the chords are okay, and the melody is perfect. You begin to imagine why it’s pretty hard to diagnose the weakness in your recording.

This is a list of 10 common mistakes to avoid:

  • When our chorus lyrics and the verse are the same

Far from it! They are entirely different as chorus lyrics describes emotions and reactions while verse lyrics describe situations and

  • When our chord progressions are not respecting harmony rules

All your chord progressions need to give a sense of direction as if they are moving away from a tonic chord and going back again to it. If you pick chords out of thin air, your music will sound coarse and confusing.

  • When your melodies lack a unique shape

Chorus melodies should be higher in pitch than verse melodies. Constructing your verse and chorus melodies from the same 4 to 5 notes, it can make your songs sound boring.

  • No plans towards the song’s musical energy

It is a fundamental principle that the level of energy at the end of a song should be higher than the beginning level.

  • When the form of your song is absent

The structure of your song will enable your audience to make sense of your music. Listeners will get bored when they can’t tell the direction your song is going next. And this only happens when your music is structured haphazardly.

  • When there is no difference between your newest song and the previous one

Your songs will annoyingly have some similarities if you create them all using the same instrument.

  • There is no climactic moment in your song

There should be a moment in your songs that are outstanding from the rest. It can be anywhere in your song.

  • When you have an uninteresting song instrumentation

Don’t make the mistake of using the same sounds and instruments for every song. There are many ways of playing the guitar to produce different hits.

  • Song sections that are too long

Music sections that are too long can be boring for the listener. And that creates the need to make the most of the short sections to produce great melodies.

  • Lack of a solid melody in instrumental music

Contrary to most beliefs, an instrumental need melody the same way the vocal line needs it.

What are the most common mistakes in your opinion? Please tell us in the comment section

getting_started_synch_today

Getting started with the Synch World

Do you watch movies, commercials, or TV shows? If you do, then you must have noticed that most of them use a lot of music.

However, there’s a cost attached to the utilisation of this music and the money earned from the use of such music is known as Sync Royalties. This gives you the right to use the music you have paid for freely.

Sync rights are coupled with music reproduction when coordinated with movies, television shows, advertisements, among others. For instance, the copyright of the song “Love” was recently sold by Royalty Exchange.

Many advertisement agencies and brands have requested to license the song (Love) for different purposes. The song has been used in movies like “Hotel for Dogs”, “Wedding Crashers”, and many more.

The song was also used in 2014 by Nissan in a commercial for the Nissan Leaf, and a fee of $200,000 was paid for rights. Also, Microsoft paid $125,000 to use the same song in France, Puerto Rico and Spain to promote Bing.

Sync licenses are essential for many different reasons. First, the recording artist and the songwriter both get paid.

Secondly, they depend less on radio airplay and popular trends, as the song isn’t bought for fans to stream, but to create a feeling. Thirdly, the cost of the license is negotiable.

According to the United Kingdom music industry association BPI, funds from sync licensing for films, TV, and video games keep increasing over the years.

OPEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE

One of the music revenue streams where both the recording artist and songwriter are rewarded equally is the sync royalties. Labels and recording artists get paid six times or more by streaming services compared to what they pay publishers and songwriters. But the amount paid for sync license is split equally between both parties.

Furthermore, smaller artists often benefit more from sync licensing. Those platforms concentrate more on hits because they aim at being more engaging and raise traffic volume in the process.

However, producers or brands in need of sync licenses do not care whether the artists behind the mick has 200 or a million fans. These people are only concerned about getting a song that works for their project.

A song that might not be streamed by young music fans may turn out to be the perfect ingredient to play in a movie scene or a commercial.

MARKET FACTORS

The need for music in commercials, films, and TV shows is at its peak. The total number of TV shows which are produced globally has doubled in past years. Not only have Hulu and Netflix decided to add original scripted shows, but movie production has also increased locally.

Today, advertisements take place every day, all thanks to the introduction of internet ads. Now, most companies seek to add a song to their ads; the movie industry uses songs in almost every movie as well.

Having known all about sync royalties, you should be able to spot out its importance to you as an artist, songwriter, or producer. This is one of the best ways to make money even without having a million fans.

PS: If you need help in your music journey do not hesitate to contact us HERE!

producers are songwriters

PRODUCERS ARE THE NEW SONGWRITERS

There’s a significant change in the music industry. Producer’s old duty of creating music has been revolutionised and redefined.

Traditionally, when visiting a music studio, you may find the band, the artist, the audio engineer, the manager and other musical professionals.

These were the traditional tools needed to produce great music. Now, throw all that away. Think of what can be accomplished by a single person using just a Macbook.

With a digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Fruity Loops or Ableton, few cheap-to-free VSTs/Plugins, some royalty-free sample packs, and a musical ear, music can be created by laptop producers as they now have all the tools they need.

Also, consider the latest news about Spotify accepting artist uploads directly and cheap digital music companies in saturated markets. How does this affect the music industry, and how does it help a music producer?

With all these, we can agree to the fact that producers are also songwriters. As a producer, securing music publishing rights can grow your business to greater heights.

LET’S ADD A LITTLE CONTEXT

Music ownership can also be made possible through music publishing. If you produce a song and the song is released, it creates publishing royalties.

If the song was composed by you (the producer), then the publishing rights are owned by you, and therefore you can claim royalties from this ownership.

Furthermore, if this is the case, everything is negotiable between you as a producer and the artist. All creators should understand what publishing rights is all about and use it to their advantage.

DON’T OVERLOOK PUBLISHING

This is very important to beat leaders and creators. Ensure to maintain and register publishing ownership whenever you let your beat to be used by others. If this isn’t done, you might end up producing a hit without getting rightfully paid for it.

Also, consider the fact that you can distribute your product whenever you want. People also enjoy listening to instrumentals.

When listeners frequently play your music on Spotify, it will help Spotify recognise when listeners like your music and will help them find your listener base. Locate that hard drive, complete your beats, and get them out!

THE LAPTOP PRODUCERS ARE TAKING OVER

Today, music is more fun than ever. Now, an independent artist can produce, release, and make cool cash from music while still having complete ownership. Big businesses and taskmasters do not decide the terms any more.

We, the songwriters, the producers, the people, can now promote our music whenever and however we want, we have the freedom to develop our music to consumers digitally.

This creates an avenue for new movements, new subgenres, new communities, and new sounds to find their way around the world and end up in the ears of new listeners and subscribers.

Producers are also songwriters in their way. Ensure to negotiate publishing percentages wherever you can. Maintain and register publishing ownership to get your hands on the proper amount of money too!

Songwriting strategies

Do you use any of these 9 songwriting strategies?

When it comes to songwriting there is always a certain misterious curtain around it. The thing is, if you want to be a professional songwriter (and let me tell you also a singer and a producer, because in 2019 you need to master those skills), you have to put in strategies to keep the work rollin’ also when you don’t feel like that.

Make a specific time to write

Like every job you need to set apart a specific time to reach your goal. It could be an hour a day or three hours a week but you need to have your time well organised otherwise you will remain just another amateur.

Write fast edit last 

It is time to challenge yourself. As artists very often we have strict deadlines and also we are not able to deliver our songs when needed. Remember a lot of great songs have been written in a very short time. Set your timer to ten minutes and try to came up with 4 chords and a melody. Now repeat the process 5 times. Choose the best one and develop your song.

The liberty of the limitations 

Avoid to sit immediately in front of your computer. Instead use just your hands and your guitar or piano to develop the first draft of the song. Being limited will force you to be more creative and something new and original will pop up in your mind, believe me.

Change the key or tempo.

Sometimes if a song does not work it is just a “matter of time”. BPM and Key are a very strong element in a song, they can determine success or failure for a composition.

Use another instrument

This is the simplest way to have a new perspective. If you are a pianist try to pick up a guitar and play some simple chords. Try out new instruments from time to time and you will end up with something interesting.

Try new sounds

We live in the magical era of the computer music. Using little sounds here and there will spice up your production.

Use Spotify as your secret weapon

Every Friday set aside at least one hour to listen to these playlists: New Music Friday, Viral 50 and Top 50. Discover which is the sound in the charts right now and try to add your twist on it during your writing sessions.

Write elsewhere

Change is the key word of this article. The thing is, f you are not feeling inspired also a simple change of landscape a little trip near your home city, will make your muse flourish again.

A good song needs some rest 

Do not insist on the same song for a long period. When you finish it let it rest in your closet a few days, like every good dough it needs time to become the perfect pizza, plus you will have your mind clear before you have to decide what to do with the song.

PS: If you need help in your music journey do not hesitate to contact us HERE!

invest in knowledge instead

HOW TO MAKE A HOME RECORDING STUDIO AND WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN KNOWLEDGE INSTEAD

The first thing to note while setting up a home recording studio is that you don’t have to acquire all the expensive gear, and multi-million dollar facility to make it work. With the advancement in today’s technology, you can easily create professional sounds and record your lyrics in the comfort of your home and with a little budget. Here is how it goes.

You will need a computer

You do not need a Mac Pro ladened with all specification and could cost you a lot, but you still do not need a computer decked with the Windows 95 from the ’90s. Anything in between will do a great job. Since the computer will be the basis of your operations, you got to have a good one to prepare your studio.

Purchase a recording software

This represents the interface through which you will manage the recordings on your computer. I’d say that today standard for songwriters is still Logic pro X for Apple users and Cubase for PC.

Install an audio interface

An audio interface allows you to connect your microphone and instruments to your computer using a mixer. In today landscape you have plenty of good choices at a very low price. Technology allows us to create almost anywhere in the world with just a notebook and an USB audio device. One of the best and cheapest for us is Audient iD4, the perfect solution for songwriters

Decide on the microphone to use

You can manage your home recording studio with just one mic. Remember vocals are one of the most important part of a production. A good solution would be an AKG C214, not so expensive but it will bring you the right amount of quality, believe me.

Buy a pair of home studio monitor

This is the only thing I should suggest to spend a bit more on. A good pair of home studio monitor will help you to reach your sonic vision and make better mixes. Which one you should consider? There are a very good and portable pair called iLoud.

Now you know how to set up a home recording studio with ease. The fact is that such a move is not always right.

So, how can you spend your money in the best possible way? Our idea is that gear is important but it is not as important as studying your subject.

There are plenty of courses on songwriting, music production and also one-one-to-one lessons you could take to become better at what you do.

So, start with a cheap studio and invest in knowledge is the best way to change your career for good!

songwriting software to check out

5 BEST SONGWRITING SOFTWARE TO CHECK OUT

There are a lot of DAW from which you can choose from, but what about songwriting softwares?

A song has a way of soothing the mind while bringing forth an array of emotions. But creating a perfect song (more on this here) goes more than just a paper and pen. A good songwriting software is all you need to get started.

They come with features and background synonymous to that which a real band provides.  Most of these software comes with inbuilt dictionaries and words as well as rhythms to enable you to write a song effectively. Songwriting software helps you create songs on the go. What is the five best songwriting software you mustn’t fail to check out? Let’s find out!

EASY SONGWRITER

As the name suggests, the Easy Songwriter is an easily programmed songwriting software that provides a detailed guide to help you create your first song. It also provides background features for artists who don’t have a band yet or can’t play a musical instrument.

The Easy Songwriter also enables you to create demo tracks just like in the studio. It has special reverb effects and features a multi-track recorder.

ABLETON SUITE

This is probably the best songwriting software for beginners. It is also a great option for DJs and beat creators. It has numerous features that any music lover will marvel at, for instance; its 1600 powerful sounds, preset and sound templates, construction kits and effects tracks.

LYRICIST

This is an all-in-one songwriting application that supports all your music needs. It features include a sing database, a dictionary for rhyming words and several editing tools. You don’t need to combine it with other applications because the software gives you all you will need to create your hit song on the go. The unique aspect is that Lyricist enables you to copyright your songs anytime online.

MASTERWRITER

MasterWriter is a dictionary music software that can be used by both songwriters and poets. It has a unique rhyme dictionary, word organization and every other thing that makes songwriting a pleasant experience.

SONG BANK

This is one of the best songwriting software that also provides unique features that makes songwriting a breeze. It comes with rhyme dictionary and editing features that enable you to enhance the quality of your songs easily. You can also share your songs or export them via mail.

PS: If you need guidance in your songwriting journey do not hesitate to contact us HERE!

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