Stuck on lyrics? Think of yourself as a potter

If you’re stuck or unsure of how to begin lyrics to a song, or a portion of a song, here’s a useful analogy: Think of yourself as a potter. A potter is similar to a songwriter in that the end result they seek is to create a beautiful, well-crafted piece of art. But they differContinue reading “Stuck on lyrics? Think of yourself as a potter”

Lyrics and Luggage

You’ve got a verse with three solid lines but you can’t quite find that fourth and final line—the one that brings it all home. You’ve been fishing for it for maybe 15 minutes or maybe an hour, strumming, singing, trying, trying, trying. You know it’s there somewhere. It’s glimmering in the corner of your eyeContinue reading “Lyrics and Luggage”

John Prine Interview on Songwriting and Life

What can I say about John Prine that hasn’t been said? He was like a grandpa to me—and every other songwriter. His songs were magical and his character was impeccable. He’ll be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Below is an entertaining and enlightening 90-minute interview Prine did with CBS promoting his final masterpiece, The TreeContinue reading “John Prine Interview on Songwriting and Life”

Think, Think, Think, Pause, Aha!: A Creativity Technique for Writing Song Lyrics and Titles

We’ve all had this experience: You’re in a conversation. As the other person is talking, you have a thought you want to share. But when it’s your turn to talk, suddenly you can’t remember it. “Hang on a second,” you say. “It’ll come to me.” Then you think and think and think and think and…Continue reading “Think, Think, Think, Pause, Aha!: A Creativity Technique for Writing Song Lyrics and Titles”

Be childlike, not childish.

Childlike is open, filled with wonder, curious, un-self-aware, fully engaged, operating without fear, pure heart, no filter, completely honest, and quick to forget, not precious whatsoever (they will spend 20 minutes building a tower with blocks only to knock it down instantly with utter glee), and they inspire everyone without fail. Childish is petty, stubborn,Continue reading “Be childlike, not childish.”

How to Write Lyrics That Are Both Meaningful and Memorable

The best lyrics say something meaningful in a memorable way. That’s the balance we’re all trying to strike in our writing. But often when we succeed in getting one half of the equation, we lack the other: Problem #1: Your lyrics sound poetic but say nothing Problem #2: Your lyrics say something but lack poetryContinue reading “How to Write Lyrics That Are Both Meaningful and Memorable”

Be the Soundtrack to Their Good Time

I was in Nashville sitting in a Starbucks with my friend Pablo, another singer-songwriter. We were talking shop and he started expressing a common frustration among bar-hopping troubadours such as ourselves. “I’m getting tired of standing up there singing while everybody is just yapping. Nobody cares, nobody’s paying attention. They’re just drinking their Bud LightsContinue reading “Be the Soundtrack to Their Good Time”

I Wish I Wrote That: “Signed, Sober You” by HARDY

I love it when a song just levels me with sheer craft. Like… it’s so good, it makes me mad. But it also makes me smile. And I can’t decide whether I want to pick up a guitar or throw in the towel once and for all. Yes, when that happens you know you’ve stumbledContinue reading “I Wish I Wrote That: “Signed, Sober You” by HARDY”

In Songwriting, One Word is All it Takes

It never fails to fascinate me how one word can unlock an entire song. I was in the gym the other day and “Speechless” by Dan + Shay was playing. It was the first time I’d heard it, and it was instantly memorable. With that one word they did what so many of us songwritersContinue reading “In Songwriting, One Word is All it Takes”

How tall is your song?

So you’ve written a song. Now, how do you play it? To me, the answer often comes down to understanding the nature of your song. In other words, its character. How tall or short is it? What does it like to wear? Is it weepy or joyous? Does it bark at you, or sing youContinue reading “How tall is your song?”