Whether you are a seasoned songwriter or you have just recently begun to write your own music, an important part of songwriting involves being self aware. Knowing what makes you tick will spur your creativity in new and unexpected ways. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? How does your taste in music reflect the style of songs that you want to craft? How do certain grooves and tonalities make you feel? Which events and stories from your own life or the lives of others around you inspire you? These are all questions for self reflection while trying to write music.
Say what you will about the life of blogs, but even today with all the power that streaming services like Spotify yield for discovering new music, you can’t take away the power of a well-written review or feature, and the influence that individual writers have over whether or not we decide to listen to a new track.
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Much of what’s popular today — from Mark Ronson to Kendrick Lamar to Anderson .Paak to Bruno Mars to Cardi B — seems to owe much of its funky swagger to James Brown’s crowd-pleasing, smile-inducing live recordings. Brown would go on to record several other live performances at the Apollo for decades to come. The appreciation for a well-orchestrated show with a god-like frontman singing songs that they themself wrote was increased tenfold by this album, leading to the success of other songwriter-performers such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and Nirvana.
Explore how common music theory is used in pop songs like “Superstition,” “Get Ur Freak On,” “Teenage Dream,” and many more and how you can use the same basic theoretical concepts to add color and complexity to your songs with our free Theory for Producers series.
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Similar to social media platforms, it’s easy to get fixated on increasing your total number of likes, followers, or views. While it’s always encouraging to see these numbers go up, the truth is that these are just vanity metrics — or, in other words, things you can measure that, while not completely meaningless, don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
This is a great reminder to all of us that sometimes closing the laptop and reaching for our microphone can help our electronic productions to no end. We shouldn’t be afraid to turn those familiar sounds we get from our instruments into something unfamiliar and other-worldly, to seek new ground.
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