Write lyrics about what YOU know
Don’t let the initial idea be your only focus
Daily I have random lyric ideas that pop inside my head. I write them down before I forget them. Two years ago, I thought this was the key to the success of lyrics. How wrong I was. I have spent hours, days and even weeks trying to turn them into a song. This post will explain how to overcome writing lyrics that have no meaning or focus. Now I realise, that for me, the best way to write lyrics is to write what I know. My first track that I released was about a childhood memory of singing into my hairbrush called ‘Stars’. Didn’t we all do this or have kids that do? While I still love this song, I now know that the lyrics could still be improved.
People often ask where I get my inspiration from. The simple answer is memories and experiences. I am extremely lucky that I haven’t had many break ups and my husband is a diamond geezer. However, I have witnessed friends’ and family relationship dramas, so I think I can relate.
Consider another concept
More recently, I have been working on a co-write for a song where the music was amazing, but we decided to re write the lyrics completely. I felt the original lyrics were missing ‘a story’ and ‘imagery’. The first thing I noticed was the music was quite melancholy and reflective. I listened to the instrumental track about five times and then I sat with my eyes closed.
Use your own experience
My parents got divorced when I was thirteen. So, I decided to put myself in their emotional shoes. How did they ‘feel’? Why did they get together in the first place? Did they ever want it to work out? Did they fight to stay together? Or was it all too much? From there, I knew I could start writing about something I had experienced. Yes, it was from a different perspective, but I could still relate, because they were MY parents.
Sam Fender is phenomenal at dragging the listener into his songs. In “Spit of You” he describes a difficult relationship with his father. He shows how his father paid more attention to his sister than him.
“You kissed her forehead, and it ran like a tap” “No more than four stone soaked wet through”. “Hurt me right through”.
I have no idea of what kind of relationship Sam Fender has had with his father. However, every time he lures me in and I can relate. This song makes my heart ache, and it makes me think about my relationship with my own father.
Not only will writing lyrics from YOUR experience help to be relatable, it will arm you with so many ideas. You won't have to think about what happens next in the 'story' because you already know. You will also know how you felt in your surroundings and this will make it easier to describe using imagery.
Writing random thoughts down for lyric ideas is still a great idea. Afterall, you’ve written them down in the first place, so they must mean something to you. Use those ideas but make them relatable to you and your audience will thank you for it.
The main point is – if you are getting ‘stuck’ writing a song, it might be because you can’t relate. It’s simple, write about what YOU know.
For more hints and tips click here