Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Craft Of Lyric Writing PT 2- What Makes A Hit Song

What makes a good song? What makes a great song? what makes a hit song? what makes a song you are happy with?

I have always been a word smith, with over 2,000 songs in my portfolio, and 40 years plus of song writing, I have learned what stands out the most are great lyrics. It is true there are styles of music that are very different, artistic, and all the lyric writing rules are broken, that is not a bad thing, after all art is art, but to break the rules, we ALL must know the rules first, and than we break them at will.

No matter whom you are, if you write lyrics you MUST have the song writer’s market book, it is a songwriters bible. It is mostly where to send your songs, but every year, it has several chapters on the ins and outs of the music business, the basics and a must read.

It takes many years to become great in this craft, you must learn not to over rhyme, unless its rap, LOL. you must have a strong lyric hook, and a smooth transition from verse to Choir, and your break. Over rhyming shows you are a novice, but that is OK, a writer writes, and again its art, it takes time, and that is that. You may be a complete song writer, meaning you write music and lyrics, that is the great thing about independent music, or movies, you are in the drivers seat, you make the calls and you do what you want.

The song should be like a mini movie, or a short story, this is harder than you think, and just like a novel or movie script you must have a start a middle and an end. This may be the hardest part of making a true sonic work of art. Country music is by far the best at telling a story in a song, I am not a big country fan, but I listen to country and you should to, trust me you will learn a lot as you listen evaluate and see how a well written song is put together. Modern country music is so competitive, you have to know your craft, and a great hook master, while telling a story with a start, middle and end. It amazes me how good modern country lyrics have become. If you have the nerve, listen to many country songs, or read many country lyrics and see how the song was structured.

I find that experience , pain makes the best song, you write what you lived. It is said, if a person is crying while listening to a song, it is only because the lyric writer cried first.

I have been doing a lot of film music of late, many music only songs, and music if it has a good melody and a good hook instrumentally, it also can make you cry, music is powerful. A good movie sound track can give you all the range of emotions and many times with no lyrics, just listen to Hans Zimmer or Horner and a few other greats. Listen to  the main sound track, this is the theme that is played different ways all through the movie, like brave heart, the gladiator, lord of the rings and such.

I have said many times, if you write only lyrics, you need music, never, I say again never, use the services of the song sharks you see in music magazines, send us your lyrics and we will put it to music, for a high price, it sounds awful, what they do, is many live say, in the middle of no where and have a P.O. box in say, Nashville, they use band in the box, they pick a template, a style and hit record, they do not put anything into your so called original song. A lyric writer should never pay to have there lyrics set to music, you find a person to co lab with , they do the music, and it’s a 50-50% deal, no money paid to anyone. That is how it works.

Also more on song sharks, like bogus publishers, they may give you a contract, while your song is under contract you can not shop your song anywhere else, many times Publishers will sign a lot of songs to build their portfolio, and have no intentions of shopping your song for you. Most say you must sign a one year clause, never do this, demand a max of six months, and the song, if not bought is yours and off it goes to another publisher. It can take years for a song writer to get their song shopped, because the song shark publishers always have your song. What do you do?

DIY, that is the independent way, sell your songs, online, use CD baby and others I tunes, Jango radio, and pay to play, well worth the fee. And start your own label,  or publishing co. it is very easy to do, so just do it. Take control, you may never get rich , but you will be in control. You can make a small fortune, if your a performer- soloist, band etc. and play out, you sell you're CD at your performances, and I know of many unknown Indy bands, playing clubs, Churches, halls, selling CD's ,or a card that they pay for with the cd cover art and has a code, you can buy them or make them, Disk makers has a good price a buck for each business size card, pre-paid ticket to your website where they down load your CD, a new thing in the Biz, and no 2K from disc makers, or oasis to get a CD done, just the cover CD art work and that is used on your site, and sell mp3's no over head, its all on line now.

My little Co does art work for CD covers check it out. Another thing Many young song writers do is they send their song to TAXI, or another rip-off co. and you pay a good sum of cash to have pros listen to your song and give a crappy critique, many places that say our staff is all pros, so and so was with RCA records 20 years, they forget to include the fact he was the janitor LOL.
They are very hard on the criticism, I offer free, no strings attached, song evaluation with truth but gentleness, and kindness, with encouragement, I listen all the way through every song and not 15 seconds of it like all A&R exec's do. Its free, why not send it and get a pro review, and no I was not the janitor in my music co, or in any studio, I am a  mastering and recording engineer, A&R exec , producer, artist development, my label is called, Urgent mission records, and digital goatee productions, we will very soon be shooting music videos, and Indy film's, just waiting on the funds for a video camera. it is hard times for us all. Have a dream, get it deep in you, never listen to anyone at the end of the day , but your own heart. Be creative, push the envelop, multitask, work your songs, get some networking like my favorite place Sound Click, the best, and great people on that super friendly site.

A writer writes as I say, you will find your nitch, your own style, always carry something on you , always, a digital voice recorder, pad and pen, and if your a music and lyric writer take that lap top, or palm sequencer with you every where, as you never know where, and when you hit song may come to you. So go on you can do it, just do it, take your talent to the next level. If you need help in the recording side of your audio, My small business offers, one on one mentoring ,a music recording school, via email,100% free. no strings attached. Free consultation, advice, free song review and well you name it, on line I can do it. My small business offers what no other one does, look around, and if you do, I know I will hear from you.
Have a creative week Danny Abaldo ( D'Abaldo)

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