With albums being released by so many music stars this year, we thought it would be cool to do an article about songwriting and lyric writing. As you probably know, some of the best songs to have hit the airwaves are stories depicting personal experiences of the writer. Just ask Taylor Swift and her string of dating and ‘breakup’ hits (although her latest album seems to be a bit of a mystery).
Not everyone is like Ms. Swift, however. Some songwriters are quite private and would be nothing less than mortified if even the minutest details about their private lives were to reach the ears of John and Jane Public through their lyrics or otherwise. Yet, the best songs you produce might just come from those standout events of your life.
But, what can you do if you’re not comfortable writing and performing deeply-personal songs? Well, you certainly shouldn’t stop. Follow these tips to help remove any perceived shame in your game:
– Write in a hypothetical way using words and phrases such as ‘suppose’ and ‘what if.’ Doing so might leave a lot of speculation on the table, but, except maybe for someone who’s close to you and knows all your secrets, no one will know for sure whether you’re referring to yourself, a real person, an actual event, etc. Besides, it will encourage curiosity (and even controversy) among music listeners, which can be a good thing.
– Limit or avoid the use of identifying pronouns (I, mine, me, my) when describing a scenario. Not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t use them. In fact, it’s more than likely that you will need to use these words since they are among the commonest in songwriting and lyric writing. However, writing poetically, using personification, metaphors, and other literary devices in space of some of these identifying pronouns, can add another layer of mystery to the story that your song is telling.
– Try to view the song objectively; as a story/message that needs to be told. By being able to separate your personal feelings and emotions from your lyrics, you will be able to keep your song from sounding too personal.
– Broaden your songwriting skills by reading relevant books and taking courses that will help you to be a better songwriter. The more knowledge you have in this area, the more you will be able to manipulate your lyrics to say exactly what you want without feeling embarrassed.
Feeling conflicted about writing or performing lyrics that reflect your personal experiences is something that some songwriters struggle with. But as history as shown, this can be to your advantage if you keep working on your songwriting and lyric writing skills and learn how to package your songs and build your personal brand.