How Can Songwriters be Influenced by Music They Hear And Still be Unique?

Posted in The Weekly on May 21, 2019

Every songwriter wants to develop their own voice, but not everybody knows how to go about doing it. Here are some tips from BMI’s Creative team about finding, and knowing what to do, with inspiration.

David Streit, BMI Creative, Los Angeles

When starting out, I believe sometimes it makes sense to copy other artist’s styles from an educational perspective. By studying others as a beginner, you can learn the basic techniques, tips, and tricks of artists you are inspired by, and develop a songwriting blueprint of sorts. Once you develop a wide variety of techniques and know-how, you finally have the tools to find your own voice and create unique music.

From this point on, it’s important to switch gears from emulating others to forging your own path. Attempt to create a type of music you wish existed, but that you haven’t heard yet. If you hear something you like, don’t copy it outright, but rather try to distill exactly what you like from that song, then apply that to your own music. Honing your unique voice will take time, trial and error, and experimentation. Make sure to be patient and open minded!

Spencer Nohe, BMI Creative, Nashville

Listening to other artists’ music can be a great form of inspiration for a songwriter’s own writing, but one effective way to do that without being derivative is to capture the spirit or essence of the inspiration versus pulling direct references or elements from them. Influences can be an encouragement to take risks in your songwriting and production, address new topics lyrically, or stretch yourself sonically with new instrumentation, arrangements, etc.

Check back next month for more insights from BMI’s Creative team right here in The Weekly!


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