Recently I was watching one of very interviews of Max Martin and they asked him why for the past few years he wasn’t as active as he used to be in late ‘90s and early ‘00s. “Because I needed time to practice and get better.” He replied. Remember, this is MAX MARTIN saying these words. At peak of his career, when he was knowns as the biggest songwriter alive, he felt he need to take some time off and practice to get better. Let alone you and me!
They are great with sync and pop pitches, but not really a player at all when pitching film music – which is my specialty in composing and in my heart, it is my personal preference to compose film music more than anything else. So, this writer and I wrote what we thought was a great pitch for one of major artists. I spent about an hour and a half the morning of our write working on ideas and found a great one that we used. I came in with it all mapped out and part of a chorus. We quickly wrote the song. Two days later, he sent me a demo. I got it pitched to that singer we had in mind and she put it on the hold. If we get it cut, we make the same amount of money since we have similar pub deals. So, what do you think? Should I have paid him to track the song? Should he have paid me to pitch it since we used my connections for pitching and he admitted, “never leaves his basement”? Is a great demo that never gets heard worth anything?
On the other hand, I know people living in the same town as those major artists, tried to work with them and still didn’t get a cut on. Yes, I agree it’s hard to work when you are living somewhere far away from the music centers, but it also is far from impossible.
So this is the main lesson I want to leave you with. No matter how much you desire change, you have to take action to get the momentum rolling your way. Here are a few things you can do now to help you change old habits get your writing back on track.
I don’t know which one or maybe both. When I finally decided that the pain I was feeling from not doing things was greater than the pain of trying and failing, I was set free. Not instantly. Not magically. Day by day. Courageous choice by courageous choice – I changed me.
Always write true statements. People can’t argue with truth. It’s real and affects people, even if they don’t like it, it affects them. Even if you’d want to use metaphors in your lyrics, use them the way that sounds real. Stay away from unnecessary exaggerations and be frank with yourself, defining if you’re writing real or just trying to be clever.
Again, not many artists are interested in getting up every night on stage and singing about being a cheater, a drunk, a jerk in general or any negative thing. People buy less t-shirts from cheaters, drunks and jerks. The artists want the audience to think they are hip and cool people. Paint them any other way and your chances go down to almost zero.
Safe people are people that aren’t going to hold it against you if you play them a bad song and they most probably will tell you what they think is wrong with your song and even they might give you some suggestions to make your song better. You can consider their opinion, work on your craft and then show it to them again and see what they will tell you. Publishers are not safe people. They usually give you one chance and it is best for you to use your that one chance wisely.
Just think of how many love ballads you can write with the famous quote of “Offer them something they can’t refuse” from the Mafia movie, The Godfather! Totally unrelated yet can easily turn it into at least 5 or 6 great songs. And this is even much easier to do with the romantic movies. Just keep watching and keep your ears sharp for catching some awesome lines from the classic movies.