In an hour and a half, we had written what would become our first #1 hit song. Looking back on the experience, I realize that the reason we wrote a hit song in a short period of time when we had been laboring over another idea for two days was that one idea inspired us and the other idea was just being written to try to make a dollar.
The first idea was one that was born from a desire to chase what was on the radio. The second idea was born from what moved us. I realized that day that if the song in the room doesn’t inspire the people in the room, it’s not likely to inspire anyone else. If it moves the people in the room, then it has a real chance of moving other people as well.
Every day when I write, I dig deep to try to find an idea that makes me feel something. Then, and only then, I start writing. If you want to write commercially, you do have to write songs that fit with current radio and you have to write songs that a singer would want to sing. But that doesn’t mean you have to “sell out”. Find an idea that moves you and makes you feel something. Then write it in such a way that it connects to other people. That’s your best chance at a cut.