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Colbie Caillat: Behind the Song

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Are Your Songs Hitting the Right Target?

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From MusicWorld, posted 1.26.23. When I critique songs at my workshops, I always begin by asking the writers to share their intention for their song. For example, a song might be intended solely for self-expression or catharsis. Another song might be written by a performing songwriter to include on their own recording project, while another… Read more...


5 Common Lyric Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

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From The Weekly, posted 1.17.23. At the BMI Songwriter Workshops that I’ve been teaching for thirty years, I hear some amazing songs written by exceptionally talented writers. But there are five lyric problems I frequently identify. Let’s examine these pitfalls—and the easy prescriptions that can fix them. Avoid Lyrics That Ask Questions That Don’t Get Answered Read more...


Top Songwriting Tips For 2023

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From The Weekly, posted 1.10.23. As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to revisit some of the advice shared in the year that has passed. I hope these tips will help you achieve your songwriting goals! Excerpt from “How to Stretch Yourself Melodically” A common pitfall for non-performing songwriters is writing… Read more...


A Mic for All Sessions

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From MusicWorld, posted 11.30.22. Like most of my engineering peers, early on I endeavored to fill my home studio with as many different types of microphones as my budget would allow, from lovely old Sennheisers to the more workmanlike family of Shure dynamics. Eventually my insatiable appetite for guitars meant selling off many of these… Read more...


How to Stretch Yourself Melodically

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From MusicWorld, posted 11.30.22. When I critique songs in my BMI Songwriting Workshops, I often hear melodies with a range (the interval between its lowest and the highest notes) limited to one octave or less. When I ask the writers to share their intentions for these songs, they sometimes respond, “My goal is to have… Read more...


From Stage to Studio

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From MusicWorld, posted 10.27.22. If you’re looking to take a break from the studio routine, you might consider bringing your songs and recording equipment to a suitable music venue in order to capture the spontaneous energy of a live gig. Naturally, there are all kinds of challenges when attempting to cut band tracks in real… Read more...


Soundalike Suggestions

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From MusicWorld, posted 9.22.22. When trying to compose a new song and nothing is happening right away, occasionally I find it helpful to conjure a particular artist, genre or era, and use that as the basis for crafting something original. For instance, I might think of a riff that hints at early-‘80s techno pop, and,… Read more...


A Day in the Life of a Demo

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From MusicWorld, posted 8.19.22. Having run a professional recording studio as an engineer and producer for close to thirty years, the process of taking a songwriter’s rough recording to a finished master is second nature to me. However, I’m well aware that for songwriters getting ready to demo one of their songs for the first… Read more...


What Makes a Song Iconic?

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From The Weekly, posted 8.09.22. “Great means incredibly well crafted, easily memorable, with a universally relatable sentiment and a sense of authenticity—“from the heart” as they say. Iconic means touching a cultural nerve, standing the test of time and instantly recognizable by many people - that holds true even if it’s not widely considered great… Read more...


Top Tips for Session Etiquette in a Recording Studio

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From MusicWorld, posted 7.22.22. It takes a certain kind of personality to excel at tricky recording maneuvers while simultaneously working with an equally tricky recording artist. Perhaps it’s for that reason alone that I admittedly never sought full-time studio operator status, choosing instead to track guests on a case-by-case basis. But even in a limited… Read more...


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