Someone asked me the other day "how do you write a hit song?" and I answered there really is no easy formula but the lyrics should always come from your heart and the melody should always be something people are going to remember.
I've been writing for a while now and one thing I've learnt is to always finish a song. Even if it turns out to not be one of your best, it's important to get it finished and out of the way so you can move on to the next.
Here's some other tips that I hope will help any aspiring songwriters out there.
Get it down - Always have a phone or a notebook with you as you never know when a little melody is going to come out of your mouth or a lyric spring into your head. Write it down or sing, hum or whistle it into your phone so you can revisit it in your next creative opportunity. Inspiration can come from anywhere, a lot of our songs started from relationship problems. Coming out of a relationship you just have heightened emotions and can really pour your heart and soul into a song.
Collaborate - It's always good to collaborate and bounce off your band mates or other songwriters. Usually I'll come up with a lyric idea or a melody and make a fairly rubbish demo on the acoustic guitar or piano at home then bring it to the guys and if we all like it we break it down as a band. Ads might want to change the beat and Ryan could put down a different bass line.
Experiment - Whether by listening to a variety of music and bands to get inspiration or trying out different melodies before you settle on the final one. If you're not 100% sure then don't use it and keep working on it until you get one that stands out. In Pop, hooks tend to be an important part as it helps people remember the song and is easy for them to sing along to. In the track Taking Over Me we've got the 'oooos' in the chorus that the fans love to sing back to us when we're on stage.
Learn from others - I know a lot of songwriters, those I've worked with in Sweden like to work in a way that's more like putting a puzzle together. You write a chorus then make that the verse and write an even stronger chorus and make that the bridge and so on until you end up with four amazing parts that you put together like a jigsaw to make your song. It's a good way of doing it if you're writing more commercial songs. Personally, I love just sitting with a guitar and singing a song but everyone is different!
Throw out the rule book - after I've said all this there are in fact no rules - you can write a song to a bass line, a piano part, a beat or whatever means you have available to you. Sometimes our publisher will have tracks from DJs and they need what's called a topline where the track is there but they need a vocal part and melody written.
Most importantly don't be afraid to take a risk!
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