How to Write Songs that Get Attention
Why a verse is not just a verse
I’m loving NBC’s Songland. It’s TV’s first real honest look behind the scenes of pitching your songs to people who matter.
Songwriting is very subjective. It’s really personal.
And, honestly there are just some songs we get so emotionally attached to that to change them feels like changing who we are. Think of those songs as a private album for just you. Keep them.
But when you’re ready to write a song to be sung in public and maybe pitched to another singer or label, it’s time to look at song construction very seriously.
It’s not the death of artistry, it’s the systematic fine-tuning of message and music until you squeeze out the very best bits.
But to get a great glass of orange juice, you do have to brutally smash a few oranges.
The hidden purpose of song parts
When it comes to songwriting for the public, it’s crucial to tell your story in the best way possible.
That’s really what song parts were designed to do.
Each verse has a different purpose.
While a chorus IS to drive in the main point, there are thoughtful reasons why you should cut or change words. It’s not to ‘sound like everyone else’, it’s to put the very best of what you’re expressing right up front for the listener. Then wave in their face til they see it. Then get in their ear until they feel what you feel.
Crafty songwriting is meant to MAKE your audience feel what bugged you so much that you just had to write it down. And if you’ve got something other people feel, it should be your top priority to do what it takes to get it through to them.
How do you write your best without sounding like the rest?
Many singer/songwriters (I’ve been there too) get caught up in the war against ‘formatting’ a song because they feel it makes them vanilla.
But if you don’t know WHY different song parts exist and you just copy the way other songs are written, it probably will.
Check out the video above for a quick walk through of the real power of songwriting with purpose. I hope it’ll inspire you with some fresh ideas of how to really make your song come alive…fast enough for even jaded ears to notice.
You’ll learn how to decide ‘how many verses, choruses’ and when you should…or maybe shouldn’t use some of those other tricks you hear on great chart topping songs.
But how do you pitch your song to important people?
So you write a great song that gets attention. And you get to pitch it!
I find the biggest fears in pitching a song come from not really knowing what to DO when you get there.
What I love most about the tv show Songland is that you get a little peak at what high level songwriting collaboration looks like. You get to watch something in a song ignite a crazy fast flow of even better ideas & see where it ends up in minutes, not months.
When a bunch of ideas come from songwriters at the same level you’re at, they usually result in songs that sound like yours do now.
But get with one or more songwriters a level or two above you, and THAT’s where you really get to grow and see just how much FUN it is to really craft a song.
Songland is also unique in that you’ll see a couple ‘pitch tricks’ if you know where to look.
Starting with the chorus or bridge in a pitch meeting (aka-the hook – the best or more attention grabbing part of the song) is a great idea.
You have to get attention fast and keep it. No one is going to wait through two ho-hum verses to see if they like your hook enough. Unless it’s good enough to blow everyone out of the water, they’ve already counted you (or the song or both) out.
What Songland is NOT, is a great example of a real pitch meeting.
That’s why I’ve included a great outline for how to introduce yourself and your song when you finally get there.
Now get back to SONG WRITING!