Below is an excerpt from an e-course I subscribe to by Morgan Cryer. Morgan is a Nashville based songwriter who has had airplay and hits on commercial radio.
That said, he is also a songwriting coach amd internet marketer. He’s the author of the e-book Strong Song Writing. I don’t pay attention to most e-books, but Morgan’s seems different. He cares more about providing in-depth guidance than fluffy content.
I don’t own his book, yet, but I do plan on purchasing it very soon because my next big music endeavor is going to be based around songwriting.
So if your main focus in this business is writing songs you’re going to want to pay attention to my next few Round Ups. They’re going to be all about how to sculpt the best song you can write – every time.
In the meantime I hope you enjoy Morgan’s view on starting your song strong.
GET DOWN TO BUSINESS IMMEDIATELY
By Morgan Cryer
One of the most overlooked secrets to writing strong songs is so simple you’ll think it’s stupid. And yet it’s so important that I don’t know why songwriting authors and “teachers” have not made more of a big deal of it.
Here it is: ALWAYS start your songs strong.
It sounds too simple to even be called it a “tip.” I can hear you saying it,
“Everybody knows that!”
But do they? Out of 100 songs I hear at writer’s events, 97 of them will have weak first lines (actually weak first and second lines). Just think of how crazy this is. You book a flight, pay a registration fee, make sure you’re in the right room for the critique session, and then you patiently wait through all the other writers’ stuff.
It’s finally your turn! They announce your song title and your name, and press
“play.” ALL EARS ARE ON YOUR SONG! AND…because you didn’t
start strong, all that rapt attention just bleeds out into the carpet while your first
two lines dribble out of the speakers like warm mayonnaise.
No (or low) impact. By the time your lyric gets up to speed it’s too late.
The audience has quietly slipped you into the “just another wanna-be songwriter”
category along with 96 other people.
**Actually, you have 2 other “first impression” chances even before they hear
your first lyrics: 1) Your intro, which should “arrest” everyone quickly and reset
their mood, …even before that, 2) The moment you walk onto the stage, or into
the room, or into the publishing company office, your personal presence can
greatly help or hurt your chances of being taken seriously.
In my book, Strong Songwriting, I go into great detail about how to “ace”
all these first impressions. You can check that out by clicking here.
WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING FOR?
Your goal is not to make every song’s first line into an epic event. Sometimes a song calls for an understated beginning. However, understated is not the same thing as boring or un-engaging.
Here’s what I believe you should shoot for in EVERY first line you allow out of the house:
“Your first line should entice, dare, tease, or otherwise promise the listener that if they will listen to the next 3 lines, they will be happy they did.”
Remember that a song is a two-way communication. A listener must literally give your song the time of day to even experience it. If you don’t make (and keep) a worthwhile promise right up front, a split-second decision will be made
to bypass your song. So keep this simple thought in your mind:
“Make the promise in the first few seconds, then keep the promise with the rest of the song.”
For Morgan’s next tip, he’ll talk about the simple differences between boring songs and interesting songs.