If writing songs for other artists is a dream of yours but it seems so difficult and distant, we have created a guide to show to you that not only it is not, but it also a very amusing and pleasing hobby that will help you become more creative in your life generally and enhance your imagination.
The only things you need is a piece of paper, a pen and an open mind. What an authentic song really is all about is writing down everything that you have in mind in a beautiful and poetic way or be more direct (depends on the song or style you want to approach).
Imagination is a very different thing for every individual and can differ in many ways as the mind is an endless source of inspiration, images and ways to act.
Techniques and experiences on the other hand, can be gain and improved after long hours, days and years of practice and can be leveled-up and perfected.
How to write songs for other artists
The only way to achieve getting the right mindset is if you think of it as your writing’s success key factor. If you start thinking “It is too difficult”, “I am not capable” or “I will fail” let me be pretty straight forward with you. You will fail indeed.
You have to adopt a very strong mindset, a positive way of dealing writing lyrics and stick to it. You have to try and find which hours of the day work best for you, which period of the day you are more willing to sit down relax and focus on your lyrics for your song.
Some people find it convenient to start writing in the morning, when they feel fresh and writing becomes one their morning routines.
Other people need to focus on their morning jobs first, such as shopping, cleaning the house or paying the bills first and then start writing in the evening or night having taken care of all the stressful and tiring things of the day.
Try to combine your writing with something you enjoy and makes you feel comfortable during the day, such as drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, eating a munchie, watching out of the window while sitting in your favorite chair etc.
That way, your mind unconsciously determines the writing process as something very pleasant for you, an occupation that makes you feel happy and has the ability to write easier and increase the levels of creativity without you even making the smallest effort!
Whichever type of person you are, it really does not matter as long as you focus on your song at the right and most relaxing part of the day, so that your entire positive energy and passion for creating a brand new song can be captured on your piece of paper.
How to start
There are many ways to start writing lyrics for a song. You can first create or find an instrumental and then write the lyrics to it, or write your lyrics without it and then find the appropriate instrumental.
In the first case, things are simpler. You have the music to guide you and help you create the lyrics according to the changes of the instrumental, you know where the verse ends and where the hook starts, where to stop and take a breath when a bridge (musical term) occurs and so on.
What you need to do first is listen to the instrumental for a period of time, familiarize with its melody, the rhythm, experiment with the different parts of the music and find out where it is more convenient for you start shaping the verses and the hooks.
Some people find it easier to write lyrics this way, while other find it harder because of the structure of the instrumental may be creating boundaries that are not useful for them. If you find it difficult or inconvenient to use this method, you can always change tactics and follow the second way.
The second method is a bit simpler and the most common for most artists around the world. As we all know, inspiration is not something that can be programmed or ordered in our liking, so many times finds us in the most unusual places at the weirdest hours of the day.
What many artists tend to do, is always carry with them a piece of paper, a notepad or even their diary and they start writing down ideas and parts of their verses and hooks every time they get inspired. This way they do not forget their ideas that may occurs and have always a draft of their songs in place.
To come up with a subject for your song or not
There is no right or wrong way on how to approach a subject for your song. Each artist has a different opinion on the matter and applies his own techniques to start writing the lyrics. Some like having a draft of the subject with verses and choruses in place before they start writing the lyrics, while others use more abstract methods and start shaping the structure of the song along the way.
If you try the first way, which is having a subject for your song, what you need to do is find something that you have on your mind, decide if you want to approach the positive or negative side of it and start putting your ideas in order.
You can divide your ideas into parts. For instance, if you have 6 ideas appropriate for the subject of the song you are writing you can write 2 verses with 3 of your ideas on each one, or 3 verses with 2 of your ideas in each one.
There are many ways to approach the structure of the song, as long as you keep some really clean notes to be able to help yourself along the way. Your ideas and number of verses and hooks of your song are your guide at this point of creation.
On the other hand, if you belong to the category of artists that like writing in a more abstract way things are much simpler for you. The only guide for you is your mind and the inspiration of the moment. The structure of the song takes places lyric after lyric and there is not a specific order or particular ideas on what to write.
Many artists think of this method as more authentic and free, as there is no preparation or codes followed. You can decide which way suits you best and start applying it on your song. Remember again, that writing lyrics is art and there is no right or wrong.
Decide on verses and hooks
Deciding on the number of verses and hooks and the appropriate order that they will appear on a song is a serious matter for some artists, while other do not think of it at all. We are talking about art here so nothing has to be done a certain way.
However, sometimes creating a plan for your verses and hooks and the way they will appear in your song might be critical. This might be necessary in the case you are writing a song for a movie soundtrack where there might be some specifications about the length or the kind of structure of your song, so that they can be matched with the film.
Or, in the case that your song is being created to become one of the songs of a compilation of various artists and the compilation has a very specific theme. For instance, the majority of the songs of “The fast and furious” soundtrack talk about cars or car races.
On the other hand, if you just want to write a song without structures or plans the writing process becomes a little more fun and less effort is involved as what you just need to do is take the pen and paper in front of you and start writing every time a nice lyric comes to your mind.
There are a lot of people who mix those two methods, according to the requirements of each song individually, but if you just begun writing lyrics and you are an unknown artist chances are that there are no such requirements, unless you impose them.
I would suggest that you try both ways and see which one fits your personality and way of writing lyrics best, then practice on this method and finally apply it every time you sit down to write a song. Both ways need time to be perfected by all artists.
How to write verses for a song
Verses are the part of the song that you can analyze or express your ideas in depth as opposed to the hooks or choruses. They usually have more lyrics than the hook even though this is not the rule always, so they give the chance to the artist to express himself in more lines.
The first verse is often times the most crucial part of the song, as it is every artist’s chance to grab the audience’s attention by showing their skills on writing lyrics. So every lyricist or songwriter is always advised to put his best lyrics possible in the start of the first verse.
Of course the next verses must have quality lyrics too, so that they keep the listeners interested on the song and make them want to listen to it with the same passion until the end.
How to write a chorus (or a hook) for a song
Choruses are also named hooks for a reason. You have to use them to keep the audience hooked on your song. They are the tool to make the song reach the next level and have to be approached very carefully.
Hooks are usually smaller than the verses, so that gives the artists a small room to make a good impression to the audience. When the hooks or choruses take place, the melody usually changes and becomes more emphatic or dramatic.
If you have more than one ideas for a hook, you have to sit down, think and decide which one is the most impressive and captivating to your ears, as it has to be to the ears of your listeners too. You have one or two line to attract the interest of your audience and you must take advantage of those few lines.
What you need to remember is to make your hooks easy to remember, use words and melodies that are more interesting or impressive than usual and especially than those in your verses and try to summarize the subject of your verses the best way possible, so that you connect those parts of the song together.
Connect verses to the hooks
So, here comes the time that you have your verse draft and hook drafts and you need to think very carefully about the way you are going to connect them.
Verses, being usually a little bigger than hook are not being repeated in most songs so you just have to find the right place to introduce them to the audience. That right place might be at the beginning of the song for the first verse, or after a hook has been already introduced in the beginning.
You have to plan your song structure, decide which way would be more appropriate for your song and then apply it.
Hook are a bit easier when it comes to connecting them to the verses, in my opinion. This is because of their length being smaller so they can be put in several parts of the song with them being unpleasant for the listener.
If you want to be sure they do not become tiresome to the audience, a way to achieve this is to place small parts of the hooks, such as the first half or a quarter of the lyric in different parts of the song like “bridges” between verses.
What is more you can variate them by taking again small parts of the hook and changing the tonality and that way you can create a more complex and interesting song with more variations.
Little delicate changes such the replacement of one word by another one that gives a similar or a completely different but intriguing meaning to the hook can be applied so that you challenge the listeners to notice those details and keep them interested in your song.
Double check everything
When done, it is advised that you make a thorough check to everything you have written from the beginning of the song. You can correct more complicated parts of the lyrics so that you can make them easier to understand.
You can also run a length test and see if the number of the verses and the choruses make your song too small or too big.
Small songs tend to be those that have a duration of two minutes or less, and big songs are considered the ones with a duration of 5 minutes or more. Of course, duration is a subjective matter. Some people get bored too easily with duration of a song while other prefer song with bigger duration such as five or six minutes and more.
You limit your own song duration to your own likings, by changing the number of hooks, or by removing some lines from the verses that are not of crucial significance to the song like some of the rest lines. Always remember that the final decision is yours and that there are not any obligatory rules that you must follow to write a good song.
In the end, every individual has a very different perception of lyrics and music so you cannot really know which song you wrote will be accepted and loved more than another.
To sum up, writing songs for other artists is not as difficult as you may think.
When you finish your song, remember that last part and check everything again for mistakes. It is very important to verify that you have stayed on point and that your lyrics make sense to other people too except yourself.
Also, it would be a nice idea to familiarize with your song for some time, share it with your friend and people closest to you and ask for their opinion and remember that like all things, writing lyrics for a song is a matter of hard practice, imagination and experience.
Good luck on your first song. Have fun!