Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Christopher Columbus Approach To Songwriting

by Kim Copeland

In the writing process: Explore every angle for the idea; every possible character perspective; every scenery option and every timeline. When the muse sends you a full song, write it and say thank you. But before you spend money on the demo or put it in your finished file, explore these elements to make sure that you have exploited that idea to the fullest. If your goals are commercial songwriting, “uniqueness” is your best friend. You can practice what has been written before to hone your skills, but exploring until you discover the uniqueness of an idea will be your key to success.

In the pre-production process: Explore every possible groove, chord voicing, instrumentation and arrangement idea. It costs nothing but your time and is immensely valuable. If you are working with a producer you trust, they will help with a lot of this exploration. That is their job and talent. Participate to the best of your abilities and be willing to learn from what others can offer.

In production: Surround yourself with creative musicians, producer and vocalists and let them explore with you and for you. Hire people you admire and trust and then turn them loose to see where your song leads them. If you don’t like the results, you can always reel them back in, but you may miss something great if you tie their hands.

Ultimately, writing a great song is a wonderful journey. Enjoy the journey. Rather than rushing to the finish line, listen to the idea and let it lead you where it wants to go.

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