Expert Songwriters On How To Write A Song

Whenever someone uses the word “should” when talking about songwriting, ignore them. There are no “shoulds” or “should nots.”

Songwriting has one rule: there are no rules.

Instead, there are tips, suggestions, and learning from other songwriters whom you respect.

So here are seven songwriting tips from some of the most respected songwriters. All of these people have written numerous hit songs.

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Here’s One Of The Best Songwriting Tips Ever, Thanks To Taylor Swift

Say what you will about Taylor Swift, but her songwriting skills are sick.

Songwriting
Taylor Swift (photo via Toplife)

She’s won the big songwriting awards, like the Nashville Songwriters Association International Award for Songwriter/Artist of the Year seven times and the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

I think she deserves every songwriter’s ear.

In an interview with The Boot, she offers one of the best pieces of songwriting advice I’ve heard.

“My advice to first-time songwriters would be you know the person you are writing the songs about,” she says. “First know that. Then write a letter to them, what you would say if you could.”

The reason I love this songwriting tip is because I have trouble with focus in my songs. Writing a letter would combat lack of focus.

Try this: write a letter to someone. Then turn that letter into a song.

Who knew Taylor Swift could teach you something useful…


A great app that I use exclusively for songwriting is EvernoteAnd you can use my referral link to get a free month of a Premium account (although the Free account is awesome too).

Songwriting Tips From fun.’s Lead Guitarist

Pulling from Bruce Springsteen and fun., Jack Antonoff has some pretty good songwriting tips.

Songwriting tips
Jack Antonoff (photo via I Am The Industry)

Antonoff fronts the band fun. and has a solo project called Bleachers. He’s written with or for Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, Sia, and Lorde.

So he’s been around the songwriting block a few times.

And even though I’m not an active fan of his music, he has tips any songwriter could live by.

In an article for Vulture called “Jack Antonoff on How to Write a Perfect Pop Song,” he talks about his songwriting process and what he’s learned over his nearly two decades of music industry experience.

He points out that pop music isn’t automatically “simple and stupid.” What makes a good pop song — and this goes for any genre — is its listenability.

“The easiest way I can describe what makes a pop song a pop song is that it’s a song you want to hear over and over,” Antonoff says.

And part of listenability is relatability.

He believes the main idea of the song should be something everyone can relate to while the verses should be specific to you, the songwriter.

“What you’re trying to create with a perfect pop song is a song that doesn’t sacrifice emotion and energy and smarts and still reaches people,” he writes.

And when it comes to creating the feel of a song, Antonoff taps the mind of Bruce Springsteen by borrowing his songwriting method: “The verses are the blues, the chorus is the gospel.”

“How do you write great music?” Antonoff concludes. “You sit in a room for your entire life, trying to write great music.”