The Art of Soulful Songwriting
by Chris Porter
Most people can tell right away when an artist is writing from the heart. Soulful songwriting is perhaps the very essence of quality music and unfortunately there just isn’t enough of it.
The truth of the matter is that there is no single way to write pure music but there are some tips that can help get you started in the right direction. If you want to write from the heart and compose music that will give your audience a look into your soul here are a few tips that you can use to get it done.
What matters to you?
When it comes to song writing, the biggest mistake that you can make is to write music because you think it will be popular. Don’t get me wrong, popularity is great but unless you really believe in what you are writing you will have a very hard time convincing other people that they should believe in it.
Instead, take some time to look within. Whether it is a memory, a person or a place, the very best subject for soulful songwriting is the topic that means the most to you.
Focus on an Emotion:
Whether it is love, hate, pleasure or pain, zeroing in on a particular feeling is a great way to set the tone for a song. Just remember to make sure that it is authentically what you are feeling. Many people seem to be under the impression that the sadder a song is the more artistic credibility it has.
This is patently false. It would be much more accurate to say that a sad songwriter writing sad songs is an artist, the same way that a happy songwriter writing happy songs is also just as much an artist.
Remember that your job is not to put on a façade—it is to use your words and music to allow your audience to experience your emotions.
Really bring it home in the chorus:
As writers, we like to think that our audience hears every single word and note of our music but for the average listener, this simply is not true. People listen to music as they exorcize or drive to work and most of the time their attention is elsewhere.
Yes, the ideal listener certainly exists but you can’t assume that they constitute the majority of people who will hear your music.
Many of the people listening to your music may only recall the chorus so be sure to squeeze emotion into every word. It won’t be possible to tell them exactly what your experience is, but it is within these lines that you at least need to try and tell them what it feels like.
As you can see, there really is no one way to elevate your craft. Honesty is the very best approach you can take to bring your music to the next level but remember that you can’t be honest with an audience until you make the decision to be honest with yourself.
Writing from the heart can be frightening—and it will certainly leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed but when you see what that exposure will do to your music you will know that it was well worth it.
Start soul searching to write the best music of your life!