10 Unusual Songwriting Tips

Many songwriting tips are available online. Most of them are based on the technicalities of music theory. Many beginners trying to write their songs get confused with some of the technical terms. Here’s the thing: not every talented musician is a music scholar. Many young gifted newbies I meet just want to simply write their songs without any complex process. In this article I will try to give 10 tips I use to write my own songs without much complexities and people like them.

  1. Choose a Niche or a Cause: when starting your musical journey, decide from day one the cause your are promoting. Doing this will enable you focus on a niche or philosophy. For example, I chose to talk about the African heritage in my music. This includes topics like identity, culture, politics, lifestyle, family, education etc. Choosing a niche makes you build a brand for yourself faster. It equally defines your audience and makes it easier for you to target the right audience when promoting your music.
  2. Make your song to be thematic: choose a theme for you song and discourse it in your lyrics. Choosing a theme narrows down your choice of words. Theme is smaller than idea. It is easily narrowed down to specific things. An idea is broad. However, your theme is carved out from an idea. For example, you want to write a song on the idea of love. Good idea, but you will now think of an aspect of love you want to discuss in your song. For example, your theme can be “Love is not a Pleasure.” Now make an outline and write your stanzas. Each stanza talks about this assertion in a different way until you bring the message to a logical end.
  3. Write from Experience: writing from experience is telling a story. It flows naturally. The experience can be yours or that of another person or a group of people. writing from your own experience can be tricky because you will be tempted to capture every detail of the story. Learn to craft your lyrics to hit at the main points of the story.
  4. Have a Goal for Your Music: what is the general goal of your creativity? Is it to educate while entertaining? Is it to be violent? Is it to motivate? Is it just to make money? Your overall goal for creating music guides the lyrical choice and tone of each of your numbers. For example, my musical goal is to use my creativity to encourage, sensitize, educate, and enlighten Africans and the world about our great heritage and the need to look inward to solve our problems.
  5. Do Some Research: do not write your music carelessly. Learn things about the theme you choose to write on. Write from an authoritative stand point. Check your spellings and grammar. Check what other musicians have done about the same theme or topic. For example, one of my songs is titled “Mama.” This title has been used by many musicians in praise of mothers. I made a little research and found out that most of the songs about mothers did not discuss most of the roles mothers play as mothers and as wives at the same time. I took that theme and developed it into a full discussion of mothers’ love, multitasking, bread winner, caregiver, nature of women etc.
Unusual Songwriting

6. Consider the Mood and Tone: people say that mood and tone are reflected in the singing aspect of the song. This is true but considering the mood and the tone of the song when you are writing it helps you to choose the right words. It is not right to use funny or slangs lyrics when discussing serious matters in your song and vice versa. If a song is meant to make listeners laugh, the lyrics should show that before you do the delivery.

7. Be Poetic: poetry is dry they say, but it is beautiful in singing! What I mean is that applying poetic devices in your lyrics makes your song sound great, feel great, and inspirational. Your rhymes, alliterations, assonances, etc. add beautiful colors to you music. However, don’t use dry poetry such as a forced rhyme or what others call “rhyme without reason.” If you don’t know much about this, you can read it up. Your diction is also important. Pronounce the words well and articulate the sounds appropriately.

8. Be original: with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), generating lyrics seems to be a done deal. Yes, AI is cool, but it doesn’t have a mind of its own. If you must use AI to write your songs, be sure to give it a mind. Generate the prompts and edit it. Tailor your prompts to the theme of the song and make sure the stanzas connect perfectly. I don’t use AI to write now, but I may use it in future. Also, avoid copying other people’s lyrics even when you feel the people are far away from you. The world is a global village now. People know when you are original and when you copy from others.

9. Build Your Brand: use your unique songwriting skills to stand out from others. Avoid overused melody lines. Make your melodies unique. Avoid using the kind of harmonization most people use. Find a unique way to harmonize your tracks. Be known for using unique chords and singing styles. For example, I make my singing a discussion or like a lecture, most times designed to teach or persuade the listener to take an action.

10. Capture Unique Ideas: sometimes you have trouble coming up with an idea to write about. Ideas can come from watching a movie, an event that just took place, a thing that just happened, an existing circumstance, new knowledge etc. Ideas come in fragments. Try to put down the fragment when it hits you and develop it after. Be open. Think too much. Criticize norms. Explore and invent. Look for ideas in places others would not. Write unique lyrics. For example, the first line of my song “Black Soil” goes this way: “Black soil, full of humus.” The word “humus” is not found in many songs. It’s an agricultural term but it creates uniqueness in the lyrics. Discuss unique ideas in your music.

Conclusion: writing your song doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. If you are intentional about your music, the ideas you want to convey, the philosophies you project, the problems you want to solve and the kind of entertainment you want to provide are the things that help you generate your lyrics. It’s that simple. Songwriting becomes difficult when you try to write for writing sake. If you have music in you, and you have a message and mission, the lyrics will flow. Don’t worry that your songs are not very popular like that of big artists. Don’t worry when people criticize your unique styles. Keep doing your style. Use the criticisms as advantage to get better at your art. Soon people will start paying attention. Like minds will gather to spread the word. They will bring other disciples to you. Before too long your dreams are exceeded. You may say I didn’t mention the money part. Yes, I didn’t because when you do the right things. When you inspire and help others succeed, When you provide a service that brings solutions. When your music is both entertaining and educating, money will come. Remember I am here for music, message, and money ! I am here to inspire.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *