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Unique, well-written songs often express the writer’s own emotions and thoughts and share moving topics with others. With songwriting you have the opportunity to express your emotions: to sing or talk about experiences and even to earn money (depending on the success of your hobby). In order to stand out from the crowd you should consider what makes your songwriting different from that of others and how you can create your own style. What defines you as a musician and your songs? In this post, we'll show you how to make your music and songwriting truly unique.
Being authentic in your musical style doesn’t mean just conforming to genre trends and choosing the right words. The focus of songwriting is always on you as a person. Writing with your values and ideas in mind will (ideally) result in a good song. When it comes to songwriting, the first step is good preparation. Choosing suitable topics, content, and musical priorities are all part of the process already. Don't just sing or play straight away, but give yourself a lot of time for your first songs so that you can gradually find your own style.
There are no real rules as to how long this process can take or what steps are involved in songwriting. You decide for yourself in which direction your song will develop, which stylistic devices you use and what you want to point out with your lyrics and your music. So don't ask yourself what they'd like to hear from you, especially with the first few songs. In order to develop your own style, only your personal wishes and your respective taste are in focus. You decide what is important and what you want to sing and play about around your new pieces.
Even though a fixed structure for your song is certainly not mandatory, important passages or recurring elements tend to form a decisive basis and can help you as a framework in the creation process. But whether you decide to follow the typical structure or break away from it, you can stand out from other musicians with your own creativity and ideas. The following areas are ideal for developing a new style for your songwriting and creating your own approaches to your songs:
In addition to the areas already mentioned, you have many other means at hand to emphasize and distinguish your songs, making them unique. For example, if you want to point out tensions or problems, this can come across better via louder vocals or a dissonant melody. The same applies to the choice of instruments, which also convey moods and impressions.
The sound itself can also create recognition value. Numerous rappers who start every song with the same sounds or are known for a particularly strong bass already follow this approach. In addition, the use of non-typical instruments can ensure recognition value.
Ready to write songs on your own now? Here’s ten tips to develop and improve your songwriting style:
Very few songs are created within a few hours. They are based on different moods and experiences, which is why you should focus on quality rather than quantity. On the first day of songwriting, for example, you could focus exclusively on the title or perhaps on your chorus lyrics in order to develop a basis. Or maybe you can write your hook first:
One of the central areas of any song is the hook. Much like the hook on a fishing line, the figurative musical “hook” is supposed to “catch” the listener and ensure that the song stays stuck in their head. Usually the hook repeats itself regularly within the song and complements the many individually written verses and melodies. Altogether this results in a catchy song structure.
Many beginners in songwriting make the mistake of trying to turn several small ideas into one song. What sounds sensible at first glance, however, quickly becomes a burden on quality. A good song always focuses on a specific topic and offers a common thread—both lyrically and melodically.
Even if few artists admit it, many popular songs are written by an external songwriter. In most cases, however, this has the disadvantage that personality and feelings are left out of the final recording. When you write your own song, you give it personality that can be heard and felt in the end result. So develop your own style and write it yourself if possible.
In most cases, artists want to develop as creatively as possible and be better than others. This means writing more individually, and preferably something that hasn’t been done before. But that’s not exactly necessary. You don't have to start from scratch, especially since that might not even be possible with the sheer volume (no pun intended) of music that exists. It's perfectly fine to use existing chord progressions, etc. When accompanied by your style, it’s easy to take an established formula and create something unique that stands on its own. Nowadays it’s also popular to sample (incorporating short clips from one song into another) or use original snippets as such in your own songs.
Predictable songs are boring and rarely lead to the desired success. For this reason, you should incorporate a certain surprise effect, which is feasible with both the linguistic content and the instrumental design. However, make sure to meet the expectations of your listeners and stay true to your style.
In very few cases do good songs come straight from the recording studio. Many topics and ideas are practically waiting on the street and can form the basis of your most successful music. Observe your surroundings, listen carefully when you’re told things, and always have a notebook or your cell phone with you to record ideas. Even your life experiences offer a great basis for your songs. You might even find it easier to process heartbreak, trauma, or other life experiences by putting them into song.
If you decide from the start which style suits you best, you become dependent on certain connections and rhythms. For this reason, if possible, do not commit yourself in advance, but rather be open to changes in style in the process of learning. The feedback from your listeners will quickly tell you what works and which style suits you best.
Spontaneity plays a crucial role in songwriting. Many ideas and approaches for your new songs arise spontaneously and should be recorded as comprehensively as possible. It is best to write down your new ideas directly or create a note on your smartphone. The spontaneous ideas are usually the most successful ones and also reflect your personal experiences. Later you can work them out with intention and turn them into unique songs.
Avoid all types of stress. Nobody is forcing you to release your song next week. Especially with the first songs, you shouldn't put any pressure on yourself or else the quality will suffer accordingly. A really well written and composed song can take months, and that's okay—even normal!
By the way: If you want to get more tips on songwriting, ask in our mukken community. Many other musicians are waiting for you here and are looking forward to sharing their songwriting experiences with you. Can't find the correct answer? Then just post an ad with us and search specifically for help with songwriting.
As mentioned earlier, instrument choice is also an important facet of the songwriting process. This is not just about the musical accompaniment that you have mastered yourself. Try it out, involve other musicians, and open yourself up to instruments that you may not know yet, but which could be a great match for your song. One contact point for this can be, for example, our musicians portal, where you can find great instrumentalists. When writing songs, always focus on the overall effect of your music. Good music is never written and produced in bulk, but comes from the heart. So use instruments that reinforce your message, create an authentic sound, and ideally complement and complete the song.
As already mentioned in our 10 tips: You don't have to reinvent the wheel! With millions of musicians all over the world, it is almost impossible to rethink every note, every chord and every section. Looking for inspiration from other musicians is anything but forbidden in the music industry, which is why you can of course adopt exciting elements and interesting topics. Just make sure to incorporate these elements into your own style. The goal isn’t to copy someone else's music, but pay tribute while creating something of your own.
In order to find role models for your music, you should analyze your preferred genres yourself. Which music inspires you the most? What do you expect from good music anyway? If you want people to enjoy your music, then make the kind of music that you enjoy. Inspirations and role models can be a drive for you to create similar sounds yourself.
What exactly you make of your songs is of course always up to you. With the right elements, however, you’ll ensure that fans remember you and will continue to look forward to your music in the future. Well-structured songwriting can certainly help your fan base grow quickly over time. The following elements can make your songwriting unique:
With all these tips and rules, the following applies: In most cases, a new song is only good if you are also satisfied with your work. Complex regulations for the connection between the song structure, instruments, tempos, pitches and dynamics are important sure, but still not as important as you enjoying what you’ve created. Your individual style in songwriting does not come about through practical experience and not through step-by-step instructions. You always decide in which direction the music should develop. Nevertheless, as a songwriting beginner, we always recommend that you approach the first songs slowly and carefully, and don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from others.
To get started in songwriting, you are also welcome to visit our mukken blog where you’ll find many articles on the topic and other interesting articles about the music world. For example, read more about different instruments, learn how to sing, or how to improve your marketing. Click through exciting musician features such as Billie Eilish and David Bowie. If you prefer to get to work directly yourself, then check out our Want Ads where you will find motivated fellow musicians, producers, music teachers and more.
Originally published on November 23, 2021, updated on January 7, 2022
Main topic: The 10 most valuable songwriting tips