How To Write a Hit Song in Five Easy Steps

I’ve won most of our Industry awards, and through www.songmd.com, have taught a new generation of lyricists, songwriters and bands how to become hit songwriters.  As a Songwriting Coach and Mentor, I work with my clients in one-on-one telephone sessions.  I don’t make up the rules for songwriting success.  It’s all about what the Industry needs. 

I’ve condensed their demands into five easy steps below.   

Melody

Instead of playing chords and hoping a killer melody will pop out, I suggest you sit at a keyboard and deliberately choose the individual notes and rhythm of your new songs. One note at a time. 

No chords at this stage.

Then, record, listen back and tweak your melody. Still no chords.  Do this a few times, to make sure your tune is original, singalongable and surprising.  If it isn’t, keep tweaking it ‘til it is.

Your melody may not pop out whole in one day.  Work for a few hours.  If you’re not finished, no worries.  Put your new melody-in-progress away.  Come back to it with fresh ears tomorrow.   

Only when you’re happy with your new tune, add the chords.  Vary the chord progressions in the verse, chorus and bridge.  They may not come instantly, but when they do, they’ll tell you, “I’m a hit!”  

Lyrics

Without lyrics, there would be no need for singers.  They’d be replaced by zithers and piccolos.

A good lyric has a strong, original title, and tells us something that only you as the writer can say, because nobody but you is you. So write your fingerprint.  Don’t recycle clichés.

A good lyric tells a simple story with a beginning, middle and end.  It answers the five W’s:  who, where, what, when, why plus how.  If you can’t answer all of those questions, you need a stronger title and premise.  Period. 

When you find it, you’ll have enough information to write several songs.  Write the story in prose first, no rhymes.  Then take the strongest, most original story points and use them in your lyric. 

As you write, always ask yourself:  have I heard this before, if so, could I make it a little different, and if not, could I write something else?

You can.

Rhythm

When new songs play, we hear them five or six times before we even realize there are words.  No matter how strong the lyric is, nobody will ever hear it unless you have an instantly singalongable melody. 

By definition, a melody is a series of single notes with rhythm.

So don’t forget the rhythm.

One way to add it to your songs is to vary the number of lines in a section.  So instead of four lines, four lines, four lines in a chorus, make it 5 lines.  Or 3.5 lines, or seven.  Then, vary the number of notes per line.  Instead of eight, eight, eight, eight, do seven, five, eight, two and 3. Also vary quarter, whole and eighth notes. 

Your job as an artist is to surprise your audience.  By adding rhythm, you will do it!      

Recording

Let’s say you have five songs and want to hear them sound like the radio, not just like you in the shower.

But who do you call?

It’s tempting to look for the cheapest place online.  But you get what you pay for.  Avoid the thousands of sleazy “studios” out there that will record with their over-the-hill artists who sing flat and do fifty songs a day for a dollar three eighty.      

What you need to ask a potential producer, by phone, is:  what hits have you recorded this year?  If he hems and haws, hang up.  Fast.

You want master quality recordings that can be synced right into a movie or TV show.  NOBODY wants demos anymore.  Ever.

Always be present when your songs are recorded.  And you need a new sound, not a recycled or generic one.  Do your homework.  Find a producer whose tracks feels like home.  Talk. Not just email, talk.  A few times.  If you feel a creative spark, not just a desperation to get your songs recorded quickly, you’ve found your production team.     

Try one song first.  If that flies, go for the rest.  

Marketing

As a songwriter, you’re great at creating but like most artists, lousy at business.  You’d much rather stay home in your jammies with M & M’s and write songs than go out into the real world to pitch your work.  So you’re quick to hire someone who tells you what you want to hear, to do your hustling for you.    

All kinds of sites claim to do this.  Most are scams.  Before signing up, ask three questions by phone:  how many hit songs have you placed this year?  With whom?  And where?

If a company is email only, pass.  And if you don’t get the right answers, this “marketing” company is another scam. 

You’re not in the music business by hanging your songs/videos on YouTube.    

You need a real marketing team.  First, someone to give you professional feedback before you record your work, to make sure your material is as strong as it needs to be in order to realistically complete in a very competitive marketplace.  Hopefully, that same person knows a great, original producer, plus the marketplace, along with who needs what for which project and the deadlines.       

I know that your life depends on your songwriting success.  Go after it like a pro to get professional results. 

Are you ready to be a hit songwriter?

Book your one-on-one professional Marketing/Evaluation for immediate feedback on your lyrics, songs and tracks with Emmy-nominated songwriter Molly-Ann Leikin. 

A number one song can earn $250,000.00 a week, every week it’s number one, plus an additional $250,000.00 a year, every year after that for your whole life plus 70 years, which is the duration of the copyright.

Are you ready to be a hit songwriter?  Call Molly now: 800-851-6588.

 Related Articles

Molly-Ann Molly-Ann Leikin