Category Archives: Building A Hit

Writing Songs That Are “Just As Good” Isn’t Good Enough.

Ever turn on the radio, get mad and think, “Well, my songs are just as good as THAT!  Why aren’t MINE getting cut???”

Raise your hand if you’ve been there.  Yep.  Me, too.  And you might actually be writing songs that are, in fact, just as good as a few of the ones on the radio.

But “just as good” isn’t good enough.

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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Unless you’re already one of the cool kids on Music Row with a track record and a strong network, being “just as good” equals “just as good as invisible.”  It’s not enough to get you noticed or to get your song on the radio.

If your songs are just as good as a pro’s, expect the pro writer to get the cut.

After all, the pro has paid his (or her) dues, written a lot of really good songs, has industry contacts and might be writing with the artist or producer.  If anyone’s going to get their mediocre song recorded, it’s them, not you.  It might not seem fair, but a songwriter in that position has earned it.

Your songs have to be better. Period.

Not only do your songs have to cut through all the clutter of “bad” songs, they have to leapfrog all the “good” songs and be so good they land in the stack of “great” songs.

Sure, vanilla songs will get cut, but yours probably won’t.  As an outside songwriter (one without strong industry connections), you’re up against songwriters who DO have those connections.  Basically, your song has to be so good or so right for the artist that they pick yours INSTEAD of their buddy’s (or even their own song).

Write songs so good they can’t be ignored.

So… how do you actually do that?  The shortest answer is just to “dig deeper.”  (Have you ever heard that in a song meeting?  I have.  And it used to drive me NUTS.)

Thankfully, I don’t hear that these days.  Why?  Well… I’ve learned to DIG DEEPER!

I’m a lyricist, so I’ve found my advantage in finding and developing ideas.  Find an interesting title.  Then find a compelling, fresh angle to that idea.  Then develop the idea into something that makes sense commercially.  Then finish strong.  Sounds simple.  But it takes hard work and dedication to the craft of songwriting.

However, becoming known for consistently bringing in strong ideas – and knowing what to do with them – will help you attract great cowriters and maybe even land some great cuts.

I want to help you find, develop & finish great song ideas.

A great idea is one of the best ways to get other songwriters to not only notice you, but to tell their friends about you. If you can make another songwriter say, “I wish I’d thought of that!” they’ll remember you.  And if they remember you, it’ll speed up your success in the music biz.

I want you to be memorable.

If YOU want you and your songs to be memorable (in a good way), I have an awesome opportunity for you.

In the month of January, I’m hosting a transformative online songwriting event called, “Building A Hit: From Blank Page To Finished Lyric.” In this powerful 4-week online workshop, I reveal:

How to find great song ideas. Kill writers block and fill up that blank page again and again.

How to focus your ideas for maximum impact. Don’t waste any more great ideas by leaving them under-developed or confusing.

How to frame your ideas for maximum commercial appeal. Having a great, compelling idea isn’t enough. You have to build your song in a way that an artist will want to sing it and an audience will want to hear it.

How to finish your song. Stop leaving your best ideas unfinished! Nobody loves a song they never hear, and a song that’s only 99% finished will never get recorded, get on the radio, or change your life.

If you want to join me on a journey that will help you think and write like a pro songwriter, click on the link below. Spots are limited for this event, and I only host it twice a year. Miss out, and it’s gone for another 6 months. Don’t delay. Transform your songwriting today..

DON’T MISS OUT- CLICK HERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far.

Building A Hit: Luke Bryan & “Light It Up”

Luke Bryan’s current single, “Light It Up,” is lighting up the country singles chart. Today, let’s take a look at some of the ways they built this song to be a Luke Bryan hit.

If you want to write hits, too… read on!

________________________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

Let’s look at some of the choices that Bryan and Old Dominion member, Brad Tursi, made when building “Light It Up.” Now, I wasn’t in the room with them, so I can only speculate at the thought process behind the end results. But as a professional songwriter myself, I can take an experienced and educated guess. So let’s dive in.

1. Stick to the brand.

Overall, this song is built to fit Luke’s brand of country. The lyric is young, hip and sexy. It’s a love song, and a desperate one at that (more on that in a second). The lyric sings “me to you,” which is more sexy and impactful. Luke is singing TO the female in the audience, pleading with her to light his phone up. The phrasing and production are also more progressive than traditional, which also fit’s Luke’s brand.

 2. Speak to a large audience.

How many people can relate to desperately hoping someone will call, to the point where they obsessively check their phones? That’s a pretty universal thing, so that’s a large audience who can relate to it- especially Luke’s target of young listeners. Also, notice how the lyric doesn’t talk about how he checks his phone 100 times at work? (Has Luke EVER had a job in his songs?)

He keeps it young. Yet, he doesn’t talk about checking his phone at school, either. He sidesteps both and keeps the lyric open enough that both junior high school kids and young professionals can relate to it. Really, anyone missing someone can relate to it. It’s open and speaks to a large audience.  But it isn’t vague, which leads me to…

3. Show me, don’t tell me.

There are a lot of images in the song, and it puts us in the moment. Right in the first line, we see him open his eyes and reach for his phone. We see him checking the phone right after his shower and almost wrecking his truck checking it. We see him unlock his screen, and we see her red lipstick picture. As I mentioned in my last point, it’s open enough for many, many listeners to relate, but it is not at all vague. He’s not just saying he misses her, he shows us how he checks his phone all throughout the day.

4. Focus the lyric’s emotion.

The story is one of tension and desperation, bordering on obsession. The lyric is relentless in painting the picture of the guy whose whole world is wrapped up in waiting on her to call. Notice how many times they repeat “I check it” throughout the song. The repetition is intentional. Not only is it real and relatable, it builds the sense of obsession and angst.

Also, they keep the song “in the moment.” Luke doesn’t sing about how he kept checking his phone after their fight in the past. No, we follow along throughout his day as he checks his phone, checks his phone, and checks his phone. It’s immediate. It’s “right now.” And it adds to the sense of tension and desperation.

The writers know the emotional button they’re pushing, and they keep pressing it. They don’t get sidetracked with other emotions- they don’t “muddy the waters” of the song. They know what they want the listener to feel, and they focus on that. They keep it simple. And there’s power in that simplicity.

Okay, those are four areas in which Luke Bryan and Brad Tursi built “Light It Up” to be a hit song. Of course, those aren’t the only elements that make “Light It Up” a hit, but they’re four important ones. If YOU want to discover even more of the elements of building a hit song, I have an awesome opportunity for you.

In the month of January, I’m hosting a transformative online songwriting event called, “Building A Hit: From Blank Page To Finished Lyric.” In this powerful 4-week online workshop, I reveal:

How to find great song ideas. Kill writers block and fill up that blank page again and again.

How to focus your ideas for maximum impact. Don’t waste any more great ideas by leaving them under-developed or confusing.

How to frame your idea for maximum commercial appeal. Having a great, compelling idea isn’t enough. You have to build your song in a way that an artist will want to sing it and an audience will want to hear it.

How to finish your song. Stop leaving your best ideas unfinished. Nobody loves a song they never hear, and a song that’s only 99% finished will never get recorded, never get on the radio, and never change your life.

If you want to join me on a journey that will help you think and write like a pro songwriter, click on the link below. Spots are limited for this event, and I only host it twice a year. Miss out, and it’s gone for another 6 months. Don’t delay. Transform your songwriting today..

DON’T MISS OUT- CLICK HERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far.