Songwriting, is there a secret formula?

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Motown had a songwriting formula which produced hits for years in the 1960s. Stock Aitken Waterman’s hit factory in the 1980s and early 1990s also found a formula for writing great songs with commercial success.

Stock Aitken and Waterman

Stock Aitken & Waterman in their heyday. They say money don’t make you happy but look at their little faces.

Having a formula or methodology for your songwriting isn’t like having the secret recipe for Coca-Cola, you still have to be a decent songwriter to write a good song. This post isn’t about what makes a song great but more about my process, how I write a song and it’s component parts. So at the end of this post you will have a better insight into the approach I use for my songwriting but reading about it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t write songs worthy of the Eurovision reject pile.

Piero & The Music Stars

Making the cut: Piero & The Music Stars are responsible for the worst entry in Eurovision history.

As with anything, hone the craft by writing lots. They say 10,000 hours makes you an expert at anything so if you write for just 1 hour a day it’ll only take you 27 years to write a great song?! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have a few good songs under your belt that you’re happy with, so let’s just perform and record those for the next 5 years. Try writing a song a week or at least one a month, good or bad, it doesn’t matter, the more you write the better the songs will become until you find yourself writing mostly good songs with the occasional great one thrown in.