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“How Hard Would You Work for a Hit?”


From MusicWorld, posted 1.20.22 A few weeks ago, a talented writer/artist asked me to write a song with her to fill a specific niche missing from her repertoire. She wanted a lyric that would convey strength and resolve; words that would empower listeners. She hoped we would write a melody that would showcase the… Read more...

“Bring Me Something New”—What Song Publishers Really Mean


From MusicWorld, posted 8.19.21 I recently forwarded three songs to a list of publishers who have agreed to listen to songs that I screen. One of the publishers responded, “This song is very well written and commercial. But I’ve already got this kind of stuff by the dozens. Seems that most writers are all… Read more...

What’s Hot—and What’s Not In Songwriting


From MusicWorld, posted 7.23.21 I was recently asked how the tools and techniques I teach today differ from those I have taught in the past. Have I noticed any recent changes in successful songs and in the processes of writing them? I looked back over the thirty years that I have been teaching songwriting,… Read more...

How (and Why) to Rewrite Your Melodies


From The Weekly, posted 6.23.20 Imagine that you have entered a competition. The grand prize will be awarded to the songwriter who writes the most memorable, freshest melody—the melody that will jump out of the pile and convince a panel of music industry pros that they are listening to a future smash hit. The deadline… Read more...

What Makes a Song a Worldwide Phenomenon?


From MusicWorld, posted 2.20.20 Warning: Listening to the songs referenced in this article is likely to result in an inability to get them out of your brain. It is an incredible accomplishment for a song to reach the top of one of the Billboard charts. Occasionally, songs connect with listeners sufficiently to… Read more...

What Makes a Song a Hit?


From MusicWorld, posted 1.23.19 When I worked in the A & R Department at a major record label, and later, as production coordinator for albums by hit artists, in many cases, my ears were the first barrier that had to be crossed when a song was submitted for those acts. Almost all the songs… Read more...

How to Write a Song That’s Fun to Listen to—and Fun to Sing


From MusicWorld, posted 7.19.18 When it was suggested I write about songs that are fun to sing, the jukebox in my brain instantly thought of “The Name Game” (recorded by Shirley Ellis, written by Lincoln Chase and Shirley Elliston). Anyone of a certain age remembers plugging his or her name into the… Read more...

Reality Check: Looking at Your Songs Objectively


From MusicWorld, posted 8.23.17 In the early years of my songwriting journey there was nothing anyone could have said to convince me that my songs were anything less than GRAMMY-worthy. I was certain that each new song I demoed would be the one that would change my life. That belief in my songs often… Read more...

Tayla Parx & Lara Andersson

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