Hit Songs Need Clean Music Production to Be Heard

studio1control01So many talented songwriters and composers love melodies and harmonies so much that they layer as many into their song as they possibly can. They want the best music productions for their songs, but think that adding more and more instruments and parts will make their production sound great.

Unfortunately, it won’t!

Less is more

Have you ever noticed that some of the biggest hits of all time only have three or four instruments on them? Lots of classic Beatles songs just have a couple simple guitar parts, bass, drums and vocals. Nirvana and Green Day have had monumental hit songs, and neither group is more than a power trio. Even “Billie Jean,” one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, is a simple production with few instruments.

If you have too many parts, melodies and counter-melodies, it can prevent your song from being catchy and memorable. If you try singing two melodies that are played together in a song, it’s pretty much impossible… And if you can’t do it, neither can your potential fans.

Don’t let too many parts get in the way of your song’s catchy melody

You should

5 things you MUST know before you enter a local recording studio without a band

111. Choose your session players wisely. Many local (non-commercial) studios will offer you their own musicians, or even to have their engineer play on your album.  But 99% of the time the result is just a mediocre instrumental track that will do nothing to set you apart from the thousands of other singer/songwriters out there. Think about it for a second: do you know of any famous songs that were recorded by a “one-man-band?” It is crucial to the sound of your recording to get yourself the best session players you can afford.  And with today’s easy access to great recording technology, finding the right session player is even more important than the recording studio.

2. Sketch out your song and plan the arrangement before you go to the studio. Songwriters’ biggest mistake is trying to write/arrange/finish their music in the studio. Remember: when that studio clock is ticking and every extra minute is money out of your pocket, it makes it nearly impossible to be creative–especially in an unfamiliar environment.  So plan ahead and record a sketch of your song at home; it can

Secret of Hit Songwriting

Feed+Your+Brain+MusicSECRETS OF HIT SONGWRITING. Study today’s hit songs to learn new skills, stay up-to-date, and get inspired.

Taylor Swift says she got the inspiration for this song when she overheard a male friend arguing with his girlfriend over the phone. You’ll see how this idea even ended up in the video.  Just goes to show that songwriting themes are all around you. Keep your ears open!

I promise you’ll learn new songwriting techniques from this huge Country/Pop hit that you’ll be putting to use in your own songs for months and years to come. The lyric details and melodic twists are exciting, fun, and an essential part of today’s hit songs in all genres.

Recorded by Taylor Swift
Writers: Liz Rose & Taylor Swift
Lyrics are available online.
The “Shortcut” numbers refer to specific chapters in my book Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting.

GENRE (What is a genre?)
This song is a perfect example of the Pop/Country Crossover style that works for both  Country and AC (Adult Contemporary) radio. It reached the #1 spot on both music charts. Why? Well, it has a  melody that features the fun twists

Rebuilding After Your Divorce

When arrangements for the children, the house and your finances are all in place after your divorce, it’s natural to heave a sigh of relief. But you are just at the beginning of a new phase in your life. It’s one that’s going to present you with hard challenges, some of which you may not have expected.

Be Good to Yourself

 

Just because divorce is common now, that doesn’t make it any the less painful. Nowadays, persisting with an unhappy and hopeless relationship is seen as a worse idea than facing up to the truth and getting a divorce. Even so, it’s still a frightening experience to suddenly be on your own.

Expect to feel frightened, lost and lonely for a while, and don’t ask too much of yourself in terms of getting out there and making a new life. First of all, you have to get steady on your feet.

Think about Getting Counselling or Therapy

 

You may need help with the process of coming to terms with the new realities of life. You may torment yourself with regrets and self-reproach or bitter thoughts about your ex.

Choosing the right key for your song

Choosing a key for your song doesn’t just affect how high or low you will sing it. Different musical keys mean different moods and vibes for your song. You may notice one minor key sounds darker than another (Nigel Tufnel famously dubbed D minor to be the “saddest of all keys” in This Is Spinal Tap), or you might find a particular key sounds happier than the one a step below. Additionally, for instruments like guitar, the key can make the difference when it comes to chord structures and available open strings.

Much in the process of choosing the perfect key for your song boils down to personal preference… If you think the song sounds best in this key or your voice really reaches its full potential in that key, it’s probably the right choice for your song. But the most important part about choosing they key is not what you choose so much as when you choose it… You should always pick the key BEFORE you record your song.

Having the key beforehand is surely a part of being generally well-prepared with your music, but it also serves a functional purpose: it can be exceedingly difficult to change the key

How to Tell if Your Demo is Good Enough

When it comes down to it, we all want to know the same thing about our music: Is my demo good enough to get me signed or placed in TV/movies?

In the last post, I talked about the artist press kit–all of the things you need to include, what they should look like, and why they’re important. And of course, I stressed the fact that the demo is far and away the most important part of the package. You might have the fanciest, most exciting looking press kit in the world, but it won’t amount to much if the music doesn’t live up to the hype!

So let’s talk more about the demo… You know it has to be great, but how do you know it’s great? Here are a few pointers that should give you a better idea of whether your demo will make the cut.

Your demo MUST have great songs!

First things first: the songs on your demo should be great. Making a professional demo will be easy if the songs are strong and memorable–but if they’re not so good, it won’t matter how much polish you put on the production. So spend a good deal of time crafting your

All You Need is a Chord Progression and a Melody

Did you know that you probably already have enough music to record your album? Even if you just have the basic sketch of a song in your head, it’s probably enough to get started.  The Beatles once famously said that “all you need is love.”  I’m here to say that if you want to record your music, all you really need is a melody and a chord progression. (A little love doesn’t hurt, either!)

You don’t need every section of your song planned out note by note; you don’t need the intro melody or the solo section completely written. All you need is a “sketch.” The song sketch is a rough outline of your song… And when you get world-class, top-notch session musicians to play on your recordings, they help flesh out your creation with their professional expertise. The chord progression, melody and lyrics are the heart and soul of your creation–they are what the whole rest of the production is based off of.

But the production process involves getting down to every last little detail in the song, whether that’s a cool guitar lick in the bridge or a melodic hook in the background vocals. With Studio Pros, you get to