Sodajerker, a British podcast devoted to songwriting, produced a great one-hour episode with Disney songwriting legend Richard M Sherman, half of the Sherman Brothers team that gave us everything from “It’s a Small World” to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (and lots more). Hearing Sherman talk about his work is fascinating.
Everyone know that Taylor Swift is inspired by love and relationships — but that’s not all. The superstarlet recently opened up about a few other things that spark her creative side, and they have nothing to do with kissing in the rain.
Apparently, Swift uses good old fashioned books to make sparks fly in her songwriting realm. “You know, you hear storytelling like in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and it just… it makes your mind wander,” she says, according to Big Machine Label Group. “It makes you feel like it makes your world more vast. And you think about more things and greater concepts after you read something like that.”
The ’22′ hitmaker also heads over to YouTube for a little inspiration on occasion, and is especially drawn to the popular TED Talks. “I watch them on YouTube and they’re some of the most inspiring people who give talks on inspiration and shame and vulnerability and all these grand concepts,” Swift explains. “Sometimes I just go and I watch those speeches because it inspires me that there are people that are that emotionally intelligent.”
Former Marine Daniel Dean has seen first hand the hardships our servicemen and women go through on their return to the U.S. He’s coping by putting his experience into song. Here he is performing his song “The Simple Life”.
Wednesday on Tennessee Mornings, WZTV FOX 17 is running a special report, SOS: Save Our Soldiers. From battling enemies overseas, to battling depression at home. The unknown pressure of soldiers returning to the states, and the technology available to help Save Our Soldiers.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I don’t believe in writers’ block so much. I do think you’re gonna have dry spells; periods of being uninspired from time to time. If it goes on long enough, self doubt can creep in until you wonder how you ever wrote a song in the first place. So how do you do your best to keep the well full?
You prepare. One definition of prepare is to “make ready beforehand for some purpose”. Nothing beats that moment of divine inspiration…but if you’re writing songs for a career you know you can’t conjure up these things every time. Sometimes it helps to have done some homework and stockpiled ideas for those days when you need something to get you going.
Keeping a list of ideas/titles has always been my favorite. I can’t tell you how many times these lines that I heard, read, or found have worked their way into a song on a day when I had nothing. I’m not the first to come up with things you can do to be creative when you’re not actually writing; there are some tried and true ways to use your time wisely: writing down bits of conversation, walking down the aisles of a bookstore and jotting down titles that catch your eye, watching movies and television with your paper and pen close by. You can highlight lines in newspapers, magazines, and books until all these things make their way onto a list of ideas for the future. Being intentional in your search for ideas can really pay off in the long run.
One of the secrets for me has been to make sure I get these lines all in one place. Doesn’t matter if they seem disconnected, I found them at all different times so there’s no thread anyway. Keeping them handy has been the key. Being able to throw out lines to a co-writer or just pore over the list while I’m playing guitar/keys or looking for a drum groove has gotten me unstuck more times than I can count. Some of these never turn into anything but can spark something else, some of them become titles, and lots of them find their way into verses or bridges.
If you write music, switching instruments is another lifesaver. Write on something you’re not familiar with and you’re bound to eventually come up with something different and inspiring.
Lastly, just taking a break can help. Give it a rest for awhile and do whatever lets you replenish your mind and body. I’ve taken breaks that range from just taking a quick walk to going weeks without touching an instrument.
Refresh, replenish, and refill the well… before it runs dry!
Molly-Ann Leikin, a hit songwriter says too many Songwriters keep asking her, “How do I sell my songs? Show me and help me to sell my songs!” Maybe you aren’t expecting THIS answer.
Songwriters always ask me, “how do I sell my songs? Can you show me how to sell my songs? Please help me sell my songs.”
As songwriters, we don’t sell our songs. Anybody who tries to buy your music is a thief.
Nobody buys lyrics, either. That, too, is a scam.
As songwriters, we earn royalties when our songs/tracks are recorded and released on CD’s, performed for profit on the air – radio, TV, online, and licensed for use in TV shows, movies, commercials, and downloaded all over the web.
When CD’s of our work are released for sale, the songwriter usually gets half of the royalty income, called a mechanical royalty, which at the moment, is 9.2 cents per track per copy sold. When this money is collected, our publishers send us royalty checks each quarter.
A large chunk of the money earned by songwriters comes from performances for profit on the radio, TV and online. Here’s how that works: there are three performing rights societies in the US – ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. (Most countries outside the USA have their own societies). To collect performance royalties, you have to join one of the societies. They keep track of when and where our songs are broadcast, from a 5000 watt station in Beserk, MI, to a 100,000 watt station in Manhattan, and send royalty checks directly to us based on the number of paid performances logged in their random samplings. As songwriters, we also receive checks for foreign performances in most countries around the world. A few still refuse to pay, but we’re working on that. Domestic royalties are distributed quarterly. Foreign are distributed semi-annually.
Since we rarely know where are songs are performed on the air, and when, it’s always a delicious surprise going to the mailbox and finding a royalty statement, plus a nice, fat check, showing our songs have been sung and performed on the radio, in movies, TV, and downloaded in countries whose names we can’t even spell.
But we don’t sell our songs. Ever. Ever. Ever.
For more information about how to market your songs so they start creating income streams for you, I’ll be glad to set up a personal consultation, either by phone or email. Thank you for understanding that for legal reasons, any material sent to me without my consulting fee, must, regrettably, be deleted immediately.
© 2013 Molly-Ann Leikin