5 Things I've Learned About Being a Songwriter - KeyboardMag

When I was leaving school and all of my friends were going to university, I had already secured a job in a recording studio and record company the day after I graduated. I just wanted to get started! I treated the campus of Zomba Records in London like my own private University. We had recording studios, a record company, a publishing company, a library music company, and an audio hire company. It was there that I got an invaluable overview of the many aspects of the recording industry, and where I learned the things that gave me the confidence to be a recording artist and songwriter signed to my own production and publishing company. One thing I am certain of is that there are no secrets to success. There are no magic tricks. There are just some very simple, basic principles that take people to the top.

1. WORK HARD AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE

If your passion is real, then wear it. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Real enthusiasm in any business always shines. Most people go home when the bell rings. Stay late. Word soon gets around. Enthusiasm can be infectious. If you are excited about what you are doing, other people will be too.

2. FIND OUT WHAT YOU DON’T DO

Being open to things and having a go at working on different projects in different styles is a great way of finding out what you don’t do as well as what you do well. You may surprise yourself. Maybe something you were doing in that rock band gives you an edge when working on a hip-hop project. Don’t get comfortable, and keep challenging yourself. It keeps things exciting.

3. IF IN DOUBT, WORK

It’s not just art. It's art and craft. Having the spark and inspiration of a great song idea may just be the beginning. You have to be prepared to labor over your work. Perfect it. Shape it. Invest in it. No one will or should believe in something you’ve created, more than you. Don’t feel you have to do everything either. Do what you do, and if you need help in a certain area, find that help and get it done. Finish then move on.

4. WRITE UP

Collaboration can be a great way to get a window into the process of other writers. Make an effort to collaborate with people who are better and more successful than you are. It’s a great way to learn. And it will be your enthusiasm (from #1) that can open these doors.

5. BE A PRO

It’s easy to walk around with a book of Walt Whitman poetry and a latte and tell people you’re a writer. It’s easy to watch films and go to shows for inspiration, because you’re a writer. And it’s easy to travel to remote, tranquil parts of the world on a “writing trip.” But the hardest thing to do is WRITE. Face the blank page, but don’t make friends with it. The blank page is your nemesis. Writing something bad is better than writing nothing. (People don't need to hear the bad stuff). Get used to creating. Get used to finishing. Get used to moving on.