So its 2011 and I have made some resolutions, the big one being to really work hard in my songwriting and I’ve started off the way I intend to continue.
My first blog for this year was about my new song God if You’re Listening and having given it a lot of thought in the wee hours, I am doing an about face which will hopefully head me off in the right direction, especially a week before my first Berklee Music Semester of the year, with the paper on Commercial Songwriting Techniques.
So here’s my first weakness which I aim to correct. When I write a new song, I record a demo straight away. That’s fine if you do it so that you can remember all the nuances, but I tend to want to upload it onto websites straight away before it ripens. The result of this is that:
- I haven’t learned how to play it properly yet. This means that the recording sounds like what it is. What it isn’t is a quality demo. Just because I know how I want it to sound, doesn’t mean that it is ready or refined.
- I haven’t run through my Song Quality Checklist from Music Publishing 101. The first question of which is “Does the title sound like a hit. My song from my last blog started off as Santa If You’re Listening, but I very quickly realized it was wrong for lots of reasons, including that the dominant theme was a woman talking to God. It also means that it is not just a Christmas and Country song, but also a Christian song.
- I rushed the accompaniment which actually sounded rushed and boring.
- I added more instruments than necessary which actually detracted from the recording. As I songwriter, I really need to focus on simple elements, vocals, one guitar and bass. If I want to pitch the song to an artist, in most cases less is more.
- The melody and phrasing always improve the more you play a new song.
So sometime soon I am going to re-record “God If You’re Listening”. In the meantime, I am going to do the following things:
- Work through my Song Quality Checklist.
- Create a song Admin Sheet
- Print copies of the song and chords for my 3 performance clearfiles
- Register it with APRA
- Analyse a hit song in a similar style from my ongoing list of 5 songs for analysis. Probably Temporary Home by Zac Maloy, Luke Laird and co-written and recorded by Carrie Underwood, because it is similar inasmuch as it was written to evoke emotions and because it is a very successful hit song.
- Then I will revisit my song to see what I can improve.
- When I am happy I will re-record it, put some copies onto CD and then submit to a number of websites.
The key point I am making is about treating my songs as a business product, because if I don’t no one else will.