Song Writing Tips
Phantom City Studio has a few suggestions for how you can tailor your songs to suit the requirements
of music business professionals.
The first step is to take a good look inside yourself and explore what you as a unique individual has to
say, lyrically and musically. What do you think about, believe in, stand for? What make you tick? These
precious truths that bubble up from the soul provide the driving force behind great song writing. These
sparks of inspiration, these "aha! moments," are what listeners crave when they play a song. They're
also what People Behind Desks are desperate to find. Do you have the courage to lay bare your
personal truth in public? I firmly believe that's what it takes to achieve success with your songs.
The cynical among us will say, "no, you just need the right equipment, a catchy hook and a whole lot of
money behind you." Sure, those things help, but if you're trying to break into the business, your song
has to simultaneously grab people by the guts, tickle their ears, and slam them over the head like a 2-
by-4. Strive to write songs that take risks, tap into the universal via the personal, and motivate people to
laugh, cry, feel, dance or take action. Make an effort to innovate, not imitate what's already out there. In
other words, write your passion. Songs miraculously translate to listeners the exact emotion you felt
while you were writing them. Do your best to work that magic!
Another quality that professionals look for in a song is strong dynamic flow. Skillful use of the many
conventions of songwriting can manipulate listeners in the most enjoyable way. Don't be afraid to push
those emotional buttons! Here are some ways to go about it:
• Suck listeners in with lyrical, melodic and chordal tension.
• Create a question in their minds: how will this turn out in the end?
• Throw their bodies off balance with chords or melodies that are unexpected or quirky.
• Take a strong point of view that's boldly provocative, unique or intensely felt.
• Paint a vivid picture in the mind's eye.
• Set a palpable mood.
• Construct an entire sonic and/or lyrical environment.
Once you have piqued people's interest, crank up their involvement using all the techniques in your
lyrical toolbox, i.e. rhyme, meter, imagery, metaphor, alliteration... you name it. Avoid clichés like the
plague, or turn them on their heads somehow. Experiment until you find the melody lines that best
show off your lyrics, and vice versa. Salt your song with enough repetition to make it memorable, but not
so much that it becomes predictable. Use chord progressions that are fresh, stimulating the ear rather
than lulling it into complacency.
When it comes time for the ultimate payoff, your Hook, don't settle! This is your Money Shot, and most
music biz pros will hit the "eject" button if they don't hear a strong hook in one listen. One listen! Here
are a few ways to enhance your hook:
• Construct your song so that all roads, lyrically and melodically, lead to your hook.
• Remember that famous music business adage: "Don't bore us, get to the chorus."
• More hooks is merrier! Instrumental riffs, backups, rhythmical chord movement, and verse melodies
can provide secondary hooks.
• Fear not repetition (up to a point, of course).
• Throw in memorable "monkey wrench" words that stand out.
• Make sure the world can sing along.
• Play with the language: use slang, twists of phrase, even invent a new word!
Finally, People Behind Desks really appreciate it if you know your marketplace. Don't submit a country
ballad when their artist is a heavy metal guitar-shredder. And if you're the performer, have at least 3
crowd-pleasing, radio-ready songs in hand before you shop a deal. Make a detailed study of the hits in
your chosen genres, and incorporate those lessons into your work. The Internet has made it incredibly
easy to educate yourself about what's selling these days, so there's no excuse for ignorance.
Look at the world for a moment from the perspective of a music industry pro: They'll respond positively if
they think your song will save their job. By bringing them dynamic, single-worthy, heartfelt material you'll
be well on your way to doing just that, and creating a career for yourself as well.
Welcome to Phantom City Studio Orlando, Florida Recording Studios
|By appointment only. No walk-ins will be permitted entry. We value the privacy of our artists.