So...How do you write a hit song? Most books and websites just tell you to write from the heart and use your emotions but...how do you actually DO that? What's more, how do you write a quality song that's catchy and infectious enough to potentially become a hit? What so many of these advice givers lack is practical information on how to write hit songs, ie What do you actually do at each songwriting session? How do you access that mine of creativity that lurks deep in your subconcious mind?
Well, the way I do it works from two different angles and it's a technique you can use in any order. Firstly I'll make as many song sketches as I possibly can. I won't be sitting down to write one song, I'll be aiming to write 10 or even 20. I don't mean complete songs at this stage either, I'd be writing snippets of songs, a verse here, a chorus there, maybe a few weird vocal hooks that don't even use any words. I certainly won't be thinking too hard about my lyrics at this point, whatever comes out of my mouth is good enough for the moment. I'll record them all onto a tape recorder or my laptop and put them to one side. In essence I'll end up with a pool of musical ideas, some may be just stupid little raps or rhymes that I'd never use in a million years and some will be genuine quality ideas I could eventually use in a complete song.
Next, I'll come back to my pile of ideas at a later time, whether it's a day later or a month and spend some time sifting through them. This is where I'll critique them and decide what's usable and what isn't. I'll then play around with some of my favorite ideas and try to develop them further, if one idea doesn't work out I'll move onto the next one, then the next until something does work. Then once I've got the bones of a song worked out, I'll look into the lyrics. Say I improvised a line the week before that said 'Just keep on sinking down...' I'd then sit down with a pad of paper and brainstorm some themes that phrase could be related to. This is where you can actually write from the heart because through those themes you can try to apply it to something that has meaning in your life. Then once you have your theme, again brainstorm words, lyrics and phrases that relate to it.
Lastly I'll probably take some time out again before coming back to my lyrical ideas and my musical idea from the first session and see if I can fuse them together. The idea here is to keep pressing forward with your ideas and to not be overly critical too early. You must keep your creativity flowing by generating as many ideas as you can, this way it will only a matter of time before you write that great, memorable song you've been trying to write for years!