I want to tell you the truth. All the time. Sometimes I worry that my posts are too blunt and real. But, my premise is this: If I tell you the truth, then you can evaluate for yourself whether you want it bad enough to do what it takes to succeed. So, here's the truth for the day. It's HARD. It's REALLY hard. There are lots of ups and downs. And LOTS of heartache when you get SO close, but it doesn't happen. Still it's worth it.
While Don McLean was recording “American Pie,” the eight-minute-plus song that brought him stardom in late 1971, his label, Media Arts Records, went under. Understandably, the situation put a damper on any great expectations McLean had for the song. “I wasn’t thinking of releasing or editing it,” he says today. “My expectations were that I would be looking for a record company.”
When I first started chasing writing as a full time career, I had difficulty staying motivated. There were so many times when something big ALMOST happened for me and then fell through. I would be devastated for days and it would be hard to go write again when all I was getting in return was disappointment. I tried a number of things that didn't work before I found the answer in a simple place.
With the line between home and studio recordings blurring daily, writers/artists are now finding themselves, more and more, in the role of de facto producer when looking to capture their latest creations. With that thought in mind, Songcraft’s “Becoming Your Own Producer” looks to dissect, simplify and offer insight into the (sometimes daunting) process and art of DIY music production.
With a majority of today’s songwriters having powerful recording tools at their disposal, just a laptop’s click away, and the line between home and studio recordings blurring daily, writers/artists are now finding themselves, more and more, in the role of de facto producer when looking to capture their latest creations.
As you read along this week, please excuse any typos or grammatical sloppiness you may encounter, as I’ve given myself a limit on the time allotted for the creation of this piece. In efforts to, hopefully, illustrate a point (if only to myself), in exactly T minus 20 minutes I will, despite all completest urges, stop writing.
The "chorus first" construct begins a song not with a typical intro or verse, but with what would be considered a tune’s chorus or refrain. Conventional composition dictates that we view the chorus as a sacred section best introduced later; a section that should be grown into, with the writer organically ratcheting up a song’s intensity and the listener’s interest through the gradual addition of “lesser” structural elements.
With this post, I’d like to discuss a somewhat disturbing condition I’ve observed over the years, one that seems to afflict a lot of my songwriting compadres. Believe it or not, sadly I’ve noticed … (He whispers) …many don’t actually listen to all that much music.
If your lyrical snippets and song title ideas are worth getting down, shouldn’t your random musical ideas, riffs and chord patterns be worthy of the same treatment? Why not keep a sonic sketchbook? As discussed in a previous Songcraft post, today’s technology can make capturing song ideas easier than ever.
Revered by experienced tunesmiths but often overlooked by novice writers, the bridge, or the middle eight as some call it (derived from its typical, but not set in stone, 8-bar length), is a songwriting device/song section that’s traditionally used to change things up mid-tune, breathing new life into the structure of a song.