Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
If your goals are like mine- getting cuts, hits, etc., then your best bet is by writing well-crafted COMMERCIAL songs. Here are six simple (though not always easy) ways to make your songs more commercial.
1. Write uptempo.
Learn to write tempo! If you don’t believe how important this is, count the ballads on the radio for an hour. Or listen to a few of the current top albums and count the ballads. Knock, knock. Who’s there? Math. Math, who? Math says they cut a lot more uptempo and midtempo than ballads.
2. Write positive.
If you’re like me, your natural inclination is to write sad/negative. When I come up with a hook, my first instinct is something sad. Maybe for some reason pain is just more interesting than happiness. But not for radio. Radio likes happy. Knock, knock…
3. Write from the me-to-you point of view.
“I love you” is just more emotionally powerful than “he loves her.” The artist wants to connect with the audience, and “I” to “you” is a good way to do that.
4. Write about love.
Love is a deep need. It’s often our greatest joy and our sharpest pain. Nothing is more universal.
5. Write in-the-moment.
The present tense- right now- has more power than the past or the future. “You ARE killing me in that sundress” usually beats “you WERE killing me in that sundress.” There’s power in the present.
6. Write with imagery.
Don’t tell me how you feel- show me. After all, there are only so many emotions. But there are endless ways to put those emotions into pictures.
There are obviously many hits that weren’t written in the way I’ve described. But, from both my experience and observations, writing songs with these six qualities as your default setting will increase the commercial appeal of your songs.
Break down this week’s top 10 singles according to this list. What did you find? Leave a comment!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com