The essence of lyric writing can sometime be passed off as unimportant or “easy to do”, but actually it’s one of the most important things to create a connection with your listener.
And no, it doesn’t have to be super ambiguous with tonnes of floaty metaphors and complex words. Unless it’s what you audience WANTS! Which leads me to my first point:
1: Think about the person you’re writing for
Contrary to popular belief you are writing your music for the listener, not you. If they don’t like, no-one will listen. Simple. So with that in mind you need to make a decision based on what your fans like to listen to. A poet will use far more complexities in their writing than someone who is composing a kids song. Thats because the poets audience care more for the intricacies and finer details. Kids just want to sing their heart out!
2: Real Life Experiences
We’ve all had them. Write a song about that. Probably one of the easiest ones to do. BUT, if you’re struggling to find a story then look to our faithful companion, Pop Culture. Books, TV Shows, Films, News, and just about anything is a story of some kind. Take a character from one of your favourite TV shows and write a song about them. Think about the emotions they’ll be feeling, and think about the times in your life you have felt similar emotions (not stories, just emotions). By doing this you can draw your own experiences and place into the story of another.
3: Show, Don’t Tell
It’s easy to say “i’m heartbroken”, and it doesn’t really move anyone who’s listening. instead, SHOW you’re heartbroken. If you genuinely felt this what would you do? Here are some examples”:
Instead of saying “I miss you”, say:
I hug the pillow where you used to lay your head
I clutch a tear-stained picture of you
I drove to the club where we used to hang, but I couldn’t walk through that door
I wipe the tears that keep running down my face
Instead of saying “I Love You”, say
I wrote your name and mine inside a heart
I keep singing your name like a favourite song
I read your text that said “I love you” at least a hundred times
When you wan to evoke an emotion, ask yourself “what would I do if I felt this way?”.
BONUS POINT: Read It Back
Seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people I ask about their lyrics ad they don’t even know what the song is about…. WHAT?!
Read it back loud and clear, do the lyrics make sense? Are the sentences tangible? Can you describe the song in one sentence? (Also known as a one sentence summary). If you answered no to ANY of these questions, then you need to go back and clarify the message of the story. If you don’t get it, how will your audience get it.
As always, thanks for spending some time with me today. I’ll see you next time.