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Songwriting Tips – 10 Of The Best From David Foster

When accepting his BMI Icon award in 2010, songwriter David Foster gave a speech which was more like a ten commandments for all songwriters to live by.

Here are those ten tips in a nutshell:

  1. Save your money
  2. Don’t get married
  3. Learn an instrument
  4. Don’t be too precious about your songs
  5. Be genuinely happy for someone else’s success
  6. Phone people back
  7. Give your career everything that you have
  8. Be on time
  9. Make every creative decision as if you have a million dollars in the bank
  10. Save your money

Enjoy 🙂

I especially liked numbers 3, 4 and 9 on the list. Which one(s) resonated with you?

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Don’t Worry About Writing “Hits,” Just Concentrate On Writing “Songs”

I reckon I’m going to open a can of worms with this next statement but, I think that as songwriters we can’t really determine with 100% accuracy whether a song we write is a hit or not.

I mean, isn’t determining whether a song is a hit or not the job of the listening public?

We can have all of the right components in place, a catchy melody, a good story, a tasteful musical arrangement, a flowing rhythm and a song form that makes sense but, if there’s no-one around to listen to your song…

As songwriters, our job is to keep on writing songs and that we are true to ourselves and our songwriting process at the same time. No matter what happens around us.

A song, like the human soul, is an intangible commodity. You can’t see it and you can’t touch it, so how then can anyone say that they can manipulate their songwriting process to achieve a predetermined result, such as reaching the top ten for example?

No-one can predict an outcome like that.

Personally, I think that any songwriter has the opportunity to get their song out into the real world however, some songwriters are more skilled at getting their songs noticed than others.

There are songwriters that seem to have the Midas touch such as Diane Warren for example, but I reckon that for every hit that she has written there are many, many other songs that haven’t seen the light of day.

For songwriters like Diane Warren, writing songs is a numbers game. The more songs she writes, the more songs of hers get picked up by other artists or placed in films and TV..

Think about it, for a song to be heard on radio or put onto CD there are so many other steps in the song marketing process that need to take place. As a songwriter, our sphere of influence is pretty much limited to the beginning of the song marketing process.

Granted, Ms Warren has an amazing reputation so her influence is much, much greater however, she still writes every day with the knowledge that the process of writing songs is more important than anything else.

The next song that you write maybe the best song ever written, but if your song is not recorded, picked up by an artist, packaged and marketed, played on the radio, distributed in a retail environment, advertised through the media and purchased by the general public then how can you or anyone else claim that your song is a hit?

Forget about writing hits and just concentrate on writing songs. If you want to write for the commercial environment make it your goal to learn as much as you possibly can about it.

Another thing to remember, Diane Warren, for all of her successes had to start somewhere.

Where you are now is where she was at one stage in her life. Therefore, where you go from here is up to you and you can be 100% certain of that.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Why You Should Collaborate With Other Songwriters

Here’s a songwriting tip for you all… Sometimes, two (or more) heads are better than one when writing a song.

Songwriting doesn’t have to be something that you have to do by yourself. Some of the greatest songs ever were written by two or more people.

Examples of these great songwriting teams are:

  • Elton John/Bernie Taupin
  • Hal David/Burt Bacharach
  • Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
  • John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Working in collaboration with another songwriter can be the most rewarding thing that you can do for your songwriting process and there are a few reasons for this.

1. You can be challenged by somebody else
Some people relish the opportunity to work alone but for the most part it can be pretty lonely and un-motivating working by yourself.

Working with others keeps us honest and there is a joy in being spurred on by someone else to be your best.

2. You can cover more strengths
Maybe you are strong with lyrics and not so strong with melody or arrangements. If you choose a collaborator that has strengths in other areas then imagine what songs you can come up with?

I bet you they will be songs that you will both be happy with.

3. Brainstorming is much more fun with a collaborator
The concept of brainstorming for songwriting ideas is most effective when there are more than one songwriter participating. When you have someone else to bounce ideas off of the songwriting process seems to run more smoothly.

4. You can double the experience that you can write about
You and your collaborator are both individuals with different experiences. The amount of scope you have to write about expands.

5. You get exposed to new songwriting ideas
Working with someone else can be very eye opening. I can guarantee you that you will learn something new every time you and your collaborator get together.

6. It’s a great way to network and meet new people
You can collaborate with people that you know or you can seek a collaborator by looking on different songwriting forums, websites and organisations from all over the world.

They don’t even have to be in the same room, even in the same town or even country because you can use services like Skype to write songs. I’ve done this in the past and some songs I’m proud of have been written this way.

One of the most important thing about working with a collaborator is to have open and honest communication with each other especially after the song is written and it’s time to work out the songwriting percentages because there’s nothing that destroys a songwriting team faster than the feeling that credit is not being given where it’s due.

If you are feeling like your songwriting is in a bit of a rut, go and write with other people for a while, you wont regret it.

As a matter of fact, I’m up for a bit of song collaboration so contact me and see what we can do together.

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting