8 Big Points For A Lyricist
I'm coaching lots of lyricists including a few whose first language isn't English. Helps to boil it down to a few, clear tips sometimes. One of my favorites I heard a few years back was to consider yourself like a stager.
If you're not familiar with the term, it's a person who usually works with a realtor or home seller and their job is to make the home inviting enough to be able to picture yourself living there. Too much stuff and it's impossible to see past someone else's story. Too little and it's hard to imagine anything at all but, with just enough color and detail they can make you see their vision while leaving room for yours. Just like a great lyric. Here are eight more tips - hope these are helpful!
1) As a lyricist, you’re always writing about one thing. Start with a great idea!
2) Writing your idea as prose first is always a good excersise. Refer to it often to see if you're still on track.
3) Get your idea down first with color and detail and worry about rhyming and structure later.
4) Talk your lyric out at every phase. If it’s hard to say, or feels stiff, keep working it!
5) Remember the listener at every stage of your writing. Is the idea clear? Info in the verses, big idea in the chorus. Bridge only if you need it.
6) Write like you talk! Sounds simple but lots of lyricists don’t do it.
7) Economy of lyric. Get rid of any extra words before you decide it's finished.
8) A big one . . . Remember a song is made up of melody and lyric and they have to share a space. Too much of one and the other can’t breathe. Decide if your song is lyric/story driven or melody driven and leave space for the other element .
November 20, 2015
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Mark Cawley is a hit U.S. songwriter and musician who coaches other writers and artists to reach their creative and professional goals. During his decades in the music business he has procured a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing, Tom Scott, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners and The Spice Girls. To date his songs have been on more than 15 million records. Mark’s resume includes hits on the Pop, Country, R&B, Jazz, and Rock charts and several publishing deals with the likes of Virgin, Windswept Pacific, and Steelworks/Universal. Mark calls on his decades of experience in the publishing world, as an artist on major labels, co-writer with everyone from Eliot Kennedy and Burt Bacharach to Simon Climie and Kye Fleming, composing, and recording to mentor clients around the globe with iDoCoach. He is also a judge for this years UK Songwriting Contest, New England Songwriter Search , a contributing author to the USA Songwriting Competition a popular blogger and, from time to time, conducts his own workshops.
Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark has also lived in Boston, L.A., Indianapolis, London, and the last 20 years in Nashville, TN.