Writing Better Songs by Jake Bryant of PLATINUM AUDIO

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Steps to Great Songwriting

As a producer, one of my many jobs is to tell someone whether or not they have a good song and (if possible) how to make it better. This can be difficult because art, by definition, is completely subjective. There are, however, some basic steps that can be taken to really help captivate your audience and make a closer connection with your fans.

Write with meaning

This is rule number one. No amount of producer magic can replace passion in a song. If the emotion isn’t there from the very beginning, everything that follows will only be mediocre. So, when you’re writing, make sure you dig deep into how you’re feeling. Write about something that actually matters to you, whether it be positive, negative, or somewhere in between, because out of the 7.1 billion people on the planet, it’s very likely that many of them feel strongly about it too. Remember, touching someone’s heart and making them feel like they’re understood is the surest way to make a lifelong fan.

Steal like an artist

“Art is theft.” – Pablo Picasso

The truth is that nothing is original. Pick your favorite band that you think started a genre and ask them their influences, you will find that they took those bands, remixed them, and called it their own, so don’t try so hard to be different. Don’t waste time trying to write a song that has never been written, because that is an impossible task. Nothing comes from nowhere. Instead, take what you like and make it your own. Find a song that has the same general feel as what you’re trying to communicate; listen to how the artist used melody, harmony, and structure to accomplish this, and use it as your starting point. Then begin infusing your own influences into the material. This is what defines your creative style; how you selectively apply your influences to create new possibilities. This tip is based off of a book with the same title written by Austin Kleon. I keep a copy of it on an end table for clients to read while recording, because it is that important. I highly recommend everyone read it!

“If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and embrace influence instead of running away from it” – Austin Kleon

Demo as you write

This alone made my songwriting 10x better. There is something special about being able to hear your music play, disconnected from you playing it. It gives you the opportunity to really focus on how your music sounds, without the technical distraction of trying to hit the right notes and stay on time. It also gives you the ability to not only remember the song, but also critique, rearrange, and layer in a way that you couldn’t otherwise. Get a laptop , get a daw (guitar pro is also great for songwriting on the go) and start demoing out your songs. Most of all, always go back to rule number one. Make music that you are passionate about and you’ll not only create more fans, you’ll also enjoy yourself a lot more!

American guitarist, record producer, and owner of PLATINUM AUDIO, a recording studio based in Dayton, Ohio. He has toured the U.S. alongside bands such as Sleeping With Sirens, The Devil Wears Prada, and We Came As Romans as well as shared the stage with Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold, and Korn in Australia.

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6 comments on “Writing Better Songs by Jake Bryant of PLATINUM AUDIO”

  1. Johnny V says:

    Fantastic man! I love this write up, especially as a reassurance to a lot of what I have been thinking about lately. Having started to experience the Nashville area lately I have been hearing almost the opposite of this and to be quite honest, it has left a nasty taste in my mouth about the thing I love most… writing songs. SO I am back to the basics again… writing what I love, what I feel… I don’t know the next steps from here but I do know that I had been already thinking of demoing directly after finishing up a song and so I will be doing that from here on out as you have suggested. I think it’s a great Idea! To capture the very best example of the “feel” of the song…

    1. Jake Bryant says:

      Johnny, yes! So happy this article could encourage you. Demoing before hand is the surest way to make the most of your time in the studio and the best way to write the best song!

  2. Travis Roby says:

    This is exactly what I needed. I’ve been stuck in rut, while writing, lately and this was an encouraging blog. Thanks Jake!

    1. Jake Bryant says:

      So happy this inspired you my friend!!! I really meant every word. If you ever need anything else just add me on FB and I’ll give any advice I can. ^_^

  3. Codi St. George says:

    Jake, thank you so much for this aritcle. Coming from someone who is still learning with the writing process, getting stuck in the technical side of things can really alter your mindset towards a song. Demoing out a song was the best advise! Thanks again man!

    1. Jake Bryant says:

      Codi this makes me so happy to know I was able to help you with this! Thank you for taking the time to read it. 🙂 if you have any questions at all let me know!

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