While melodies take precedence over lyrics, your lyrics are the foundation of make your song make sense and giving it meaning. Learn more about Melodies in our Melody Blog.
Many people who write lyrics of things they have personally gone through, but it is songs that end up resonating with the most amount of people that wins the day. It's not that you can't write lyrics that are deeply personal, but if you can combine those with something deeply universal, you are on your way to writing a hit record.
In this area, I find it cannot be forced. It is a great melody combined with universal lyrics that you hear on the radio and so often they seem to come together like magic. If you've watched as many interviews from Grammy Award winning artists as I have, you'll soon realize that know one "plans" on writing a hit record. It just sorta happens.
Plan to write great music, try to develop a skill for writing great universal lyrics, and who knows, you too may just write a global record.
If you've ever encountered writers block I have only two recommendations for you.
Come back to it later...in an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year. Some of the best chorus' I've ever wrote came six months after the initial melody and lyric draft.
Journal song title ideas. I have a notebook on my phone called "Song Titles". Song ideas are everywhere and the easiest way to capture them is to give them a title. I hear song titles in conversations, shows I watch, books I read, dreams I've had. They are everywhere if you're watching for them.
Readable...Don't Write like Yoda Speaks
As cool as it is to write mystical, poetic lyrics...at the end the day your lyrics need to make sense to the average listener. Great songs include an element of poetry and mysticism, but it isn't usually the main course at the dinner table.
Your lyrics should be readable. Someone should be able to pick them up and read them from the top down without music and read it like a story. It should make sense.
By doing this exercise, you will also learn to write lyrics in a way that people speak. What I mean by this is that sometimes songwriters will get caught twisting sentences to fit a rhyme pattern, but do so in a way that people would never normally speak.
They're lyrics start to sound like Yoda from Star Wars is writing a song:
"To you I am coming, rest a while we shall do." vs. "I'll come to you and rest awhile"
This is one of those things that you should try to avoid. That being said, music is art, and you can do whatever you want. However, if you write lyrics that don't make sense, it likely won't be hitting #1 on the charts any time soon.
Finally - Tension & Release
There is so much more we could say, but this is to help you get started, the real quest is in writing. For more direct feedback you can subscribe to anyone of our plans and we can work together.
As you write your lyrics, you should try to write in a way that creates tension and release. This is most often found between the verses and the chorus. The verse create a tension while the chorus releases that tension.
Here you will see one line for a verse and chorus (both lines are created for this blog). Imagine this theme carrying throughout the verses and chorus. Now picture the melody and genre of this.
Verse: I searched for you all my life, every where I looked, but you were never there...
Chorus: I found you in the summer of 2003, you were sittin' at the pool side lookin' at me...
Feel free to take these lines and try writing your own song using this tension and release. I'm granting free royalties to these lines to be commercial used with anyone who wishes - like a free audio sample.
We hope this helps and as always, hope to work with you one day in the future. Happy songwriting friends!