It can be said that there are as many lyric-writing techniques as there are writers. The writing methods depend on various aspects and there can be differences even between the genres. However, the key is to find the most workable way to write for your needs.
Often a beginner artist faces the following questions: “Do I have write my own songs? If so, how to start if you have no clue?” These days writing lyrics is commonly one of the most required skills for an artist and it supports the process of strengthening their artist identity. Take a look at our list of lyric-writing tips for beginner artists below.
In this blog post we barely scratch the surface of lyric-writing as we only provide beginner artists food for thought in their initial attempts in lyric-writing in order to get inspired and start jotting down ideas that could transform into a song later on with the right rhymes and melodies.
Here are 10 lyric-writing inspiration tips to get you started:
Try to remember your life’s highs and lows. Strong emotional experiences in life often help us find inspiration and as the text takes shape, add a little imagination to it.
This is a great way to start as many others may have experienced similar feelings in life as you do. Thus, listeners can identify with the lyrics of the song.
“When you´re writing a song, try to express what is happening in a concrete way - instead of your inner feelings only. This way the listener can identify the feeling behind these actions better. If you just pour your feelings out, it’s easily uninteresting and there might be a danger of abstraction, which often doesn’t communicate in the best possible way."
Tommi Kalenius, Songwriter & Artist Development Manager at Family in Music.
Spy a little bit about what people are talking about on the bus or how they are feeling. Then use your imagination and create a story around those insights. Here is one tip on how to find inspiration in public.
“If I am walking down the street and I see an old man sitting on the sidewalk, all alone, that sight makes me feel something. That feeling can be sadness, happiness, or anything else in between. I will take that feeling and carry it with me for a while. Usually, until I get home.”
Chico Muya, singer-songwriter and video presenter at Family in Music.
We have a great opportunity to learn from the best songwriters by listening to their works. What makes them so perfect?
"A good starting point for a singer-songwriter is for example Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the wind”. Just a man and a guitar and it works perfectly still in 2021," says Tommi.
Listen to the music of others and analyze the text. For example, what kind of language images do they use, how do they describe the mood, do they write directly or more descriptively? Pick the way of writing what feels like your own and just start writing.
Get inspired by people you know personally or by a person from a work of art. Characters in books, movies and tv-series have already a background story so writing songs about their experiences can be a great way to start writing.
Often the best ideas come just when you least expect them and when you don't try too hard.
In this case, it is a good idea to write them down immediately, for example in your phone’s notes. This way it’s easy for you to come back for them at a better time.
Nowadays technology offers us various tools for lyric-writing. In addition to computers and tablets, you might want to try traditional handwriting, too. Sometimes writing in a notebook can feel better and more effortless as you can pour your own thoughts and feelings on paper. The choice is yours.
Those are important tools to create rhythm with the words without repeating the same word over and over again. After you wrote the initial draft of your song, repeat it out loud and mark the words you could replace to create a better flow in your song. Here is one free rhyming dictionary to use.
Try using metaphors to describe a feeling but be careful with its use, some metaphors are overused like ‘break my heart’ for instance but when making a metaphor, make sure they convey the message you are trying to send across as sometimes people don’t get what the songwriter was trying to say with their lyrics.
Will you write your song in the first person, third person, or second person? In the first-person narrative, the singer is participating in it (I, I am, me, etc). In the third person, the singer acts more like a storyteller narrating a story (they, them, she, her, him, his, etc) and the second person can be also called direct address because the singer talks directly to someone (you, yours).
“Stay grounded! Many of us often do the same mistakes again and again when writing a song. One example is a temptation to use big words. Try to bring your focus closer to the ground and things that you are conceptualising. And then you might combine these thing to bigger, abstract expressions. - Tommi Kalenius
If writing alone feels like a daunting task, try to find some people to help you. Writing with others often helps ideas to emerge and writing can be a lot more fun and smoother.
Our upcoming Family in Music platform will enable artists to connect with other music creators globally in order to collaborate and thrive in the music industry. Also, the platform includes a unique edutainment section -the Family in Music Academy- that will help music creators’ with the right knowledge and concrete tools.
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