The other half were mostly written by… drumroll… the artist. If you aren’t writing with the artist, you need to write great ideas. And when people show up at a writing session, mostly they think the ideas will be generated in the room while writing or while discussing the topic to write. Just imagine when you already have a huge list of ideas written down and just take your list out when needed and wow everybody! How does that sound to you?
Write high percentage songs. Ballads are hard to get cut. Up-tempo are MUCH easier. Sad songs are hard to get cut. Happy songs are MUCH easier. When you choose what to write, pick ideas that are going to have a broad appeal and that will be easier to get cut. At every turn, pick the option that gives your song the best chance of being recorded. Unless there is a ballad or sad song you REALLY want it to get recorded but still what you want doesn’t really matter to the decision makers, but you can try it anyway.
Writing for broad pitches. If I can make a song work for male and female artists, I do that every time. I want my publisher to have as many pitches as possible for my songs. If my song would ONLY work for Katy Perry and she says “no” then I’m out of luck. Case closed. So, I try to write it so that ANY female pop artist could sing it. Or better yet, so that any artist – male or female could sing it. The bigger the range to be, the higher your chance are.
Don’t get distracted from writing. Pitch meetings, writer’s nights, contests, and the like can be HUGE distractions that get your focus off what is most important – writing hit songs. Spend as much time as possible writing and writing better. That’s the best investment of your time. Of course the connections are really important too but you shouldn’t be distracted from writing otherwise lets say you made the best connections, but you don’t have any great material to present to those people! That will make you connections to be useless too!
Spend your money on getting better at writing. And not on demoing everything you write. I wasted thousands of dollars demoing songs that never got cut. They weren’t good enough to get cut, even though they were my best at the time. I should have spent that money getting someone to mentor me and work on writing better, then when I am ready, I was supposed to start demoing my songs. Unfortunately, I learned this one the hard way, after wasting tons of money! You don’t do that mistake please!