The Heart of the Matter

36176591_398113080699965_4782194089774809088_nI’ve been busy songwriting this month having joined a few songwriting groups where you can share your songs and other songwriters give critical feedback on theme, structure, hook etc. I’ve found this a really helpful and interesting exercise even trying a few of the challenges set, to stretch myself hoping to learn some secrets of successful songwriting, or tools of the trade.

I found that my own style is very instinctive. I collect inspiration all around, on a walk, people watching, overheard phrases or experiences. Something in the tiniest interactions or observations. Of course, sometimes I just know what I want to say and go for it. Once I know what I want to say, I just get going writing about it and then craft the song to have a structure I feel works. Sometimes I hear the melody as I write, sometimes I try a few on the piano till I like what I hear.

Last week I attended a meet up for songwriters where we were going to learn from Martin Sutton – a successful songwriter, record producer, mixer and songwriting coach. Martin founded the Songwriting Academy which provides courses for songwriters run by music professionals and mentoring programmes and conferences. Martin has an impressive record of successful songwriting across the decades and through his teaching has developed a great range of tools to support the songwriting community. As you would expect he’s a great storyteller – so his session was entertaining and inspiring!

Martin and his team of professional songwriters have produced a 77 step system to creating successful songs. You can get this from the website if you’ve a mind to but I think he had already given out some great advice already by that time.

“Write something you’re excited about! If it doesn’t move you, it won’t move anybody else.”

There was lots of great advice and tips but for me it was brilliant to learn The 6 Tools for Songwriting. These were priceless and worth the trip just to get these.

What are they?

  1. Pen
  2. Paper
  3. Phone (recording device!)
  4. Heart
  5. Ears
  6. Mind

To be honest a laptop can replace the first 3 but there is no replacement or shortcut for number 4.

Great songs have to move you. You know what moves you, will move others. If you are excited about the song, you know you are on the right track.

Or as I say you need to “feel it”!

I really enjoyed my day with Martin and his team and the other songwriters. Oh yes and the final secret to success – see it through the end!

Complete the song. Record it. Get it out there.

Great advice Martin! I’m on it!


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