How To Write Songs Lyrics

This easy-to-use guide will show you how to write a song, from finding a great title to writing your melody. Hands-on songwriting exercises will jump start your creativity, while  ‘how-to’ video tutorials are a fun way to find out more.by Robin Frederick. Request permission to reprint What comes first, melody or lyrics? How does an idea become a whole song? How do you know if your song is any good? Well, I’ll answer the first two questions in this article. The third question – How do you know if your song is good? – is answered like this:. If a song genuinely expresses your feelings, then it’s a good song. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If a song expresses your feelings AND touches other people, moves them emotionally, or gets them on the dance floor – that’s a  good song with the potential to become a HIT. So, how do you write a song that moves other people and makes them want to listen? Well, that’s where song craft comes in. Now, let’s begin to turn your title into a great lyric by simply asking a few questions – the questions suggested by your title. If you use these questions as a guide when writing your lyric, you’ll be able to…. Ask the Questions hidden in your title!Every title suggests questions that need to be answered. Some of the questions will be ones that you want to explore, others will be questions that listeners have. You’ll need to answer both. Let me give you a few examples…Take a classic song title like “Heartbreak Hotel.” Some of the questions you might want to ask are: What is a ‘heartbreak hotel’? What happens there? Where is it?Sure enough, these questions are all answered in this great Rock standard. A title like Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” suggests questions like “Who was trouble?” “What kind of trouble?” and ‘How did things turn out?” If these questions aren’t answered in the song, they’ll go away disappointed. In a big Country hit like “You’re Gonna Miss This” recorded by Trace Adkins, listeners will be asking “What is it we’re going to miss?” and “Why will we miss it?” Check out the lyric; you might be surprised by the answer! That’s the sign of a great song. It draws you in with questions, then answers them in a fresh way.You can choose the questions you want to answer. Just be sure to include the questions that listeners will have and answer those, too. If you were a listener, what would you want to know?Here are some questions that work for many titles:. GO AHEAD & DO IT – Go back and look at the title you circled. What questions does it suggest to you, ones that you want to answer in your lyric? Make a list of questions that you’d like to answer. Then add any questions you think listeners will have. Will they understand your title? Do you have to explain what it means?Tell them why you’re saying this? Start writing a few of your answers now. Don’t bother to rhyme or even think about writing a lyric. Just say what you want to say. That’s the best place to start because that will be the heart of your song.Visit Robin’s Songwriting Shortcuts Facebook page for free songwriting tips and links To Top of Page. Just like a potter has clay and a painter has tubes of paint, the songwriter has images, action words, and fresh concepts. These are your raw materials. You’re going to create it yourself by using the words, phrases, and images suggested by your song title.Make a list of words and images the title suggestsLet’s say your song title is “You Make Me Smile.” To create raw material based on this title, think of words and images associated with smiling! We can start with obvious ones like “happy,” “sunny,” “bright,” and “fun.” These are words you could use in your lyric, but they’re a little but abstract. Let’s see if we can come up with words that will create a mental image for listeners and really make them feel like smiling.Take the word “fun,” for instance. What are a few things that are fun, things that make people smile? Parties, celebrations, dancing. People have fun when they go to theme parks, like Disneyland. So, let’s picture a ride at a theme park, maybe a roller coaster.These are just rough ideas. Try not to judge whether they’re good or not at this stage. Just write down everything that comes to you. You won’t use all of it but you never know what might end up in your song.Now, let’s try the word “sunny.” Obviously that word makes me think of sunshine, which makes me think of summer and being outdoors, which makes me think of grass, trees, and flowers. Flowers make me think of bright colors – gold, red, purple – how to write songs lyrics and bees buzzing around.So now we have a whole bunch of words that evoke mental images – bees, flowers, sunshine, parties, dancing, roller coasters! They all have to do with smiling and feeling good. And they all came from starting with one word and letting it suggest more.To hear how these words are used in a hit song, here’s part of the chorus of “Smile” by Uncle Kracker. Notice how many words are similar to the ones we came up with.You make me dance like foolForget how to breatheShine like goldBuzz like a beeJust the thought of you can drive me wildOh, you make me smileNow the listener is able to picture how the singer is feeling instead of just having to take his word for it. This is one of the most important tools a songwriter has. Check out this song on Spotify, look up the lyrics online, or watch the video to hear even more fun images and ideas based on smiling.BONUS TIP: After you have a list of related words, make a list of contrasting words and images, ones that suggest the opposite. For example, I wrote a song called “California Girl.” Obviously the related words will include summer, sun, warmth, waves, water, sand, feeling free – a kind of or paradise. Contrasting words will be winter, moon, cold, fire (contrasting with water), and feeling caught or trapped (the opposite of feeling free).If you’d like to hear how I turned these lists of related and contrasting words into a lyric, watch the video of my song “California Girl” or listen and read the lyrics here.