How To Write Your Best Music Like The Stars Do

According to successful record producer Gary Barlow you only need one thing to write good music – and it’s surprisingly simple.

Lead vocalist for Take That, Gary is one of the most successful songwriters in the UK today having written 13 number one records, eight number one albums and is credited as a songwriter on a whopping over 145 tracks.

Yet according to the successful record producer who has worked with everyone from Elton John and Lulu to Chris Martin and Michael Ball, you only need one thing to write good music – and it’s surprisingly simple.

“I’ve got a lot of pieces of gear in my collection but the truth is, truthfully, you kind of just need a laptop…and you need to learn how it works.

“If you’re thinking of investing and want to start a music career get a good computer, I’d start there. There are amazing thing you can do now with a laptop and that’s all I have for computing stuff.”

Text to music AI

One of the most intriguing innovations is the use of text to music AI. This cutting-edge technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach music composition. Instead of relying solely on traditional methods, such as manual composition or musical notation, AI is paving the way for a new era of creativity and convenience in music production.

Using AI in music enables composers, musicians, and creators to transform written words or textual input into musical compositions. This technology leverages complex algorithms and deep learning to analyze and interpret the emotions, themes, and intentions conveyed in the text. It then translates these elements into musical notes, rhythms, and melodies, resulting in a seamless fusion of written expression and auditory artistry.

One of the most notable advantages of new AI software is its ability to streamline the songwriting process. Composers and musicians can input lyrics or textual concepts, and the AI system can swiftly generate musical arrangements that align with the intended mood or message. This not only accelerates the creative process but also opens up opportunities for artists to explore unique musical landscapes.

Creating new songs

When you set out to write a new song, there are countless creative paths you can take. Most will lead to places you’ve been before, but some paths will take you to new musical territories. Obviously, new and exciting directions are the places we want to take our music as songwriters, but getting there is rarely easy. It takes work to write great music, but you already know that.

But what you might not realize is that embracing strategies and routines can up your chances of making excellent music in a huge way. Here are four of them:

Define your songwriting practice

How, when, and why do you write music? If you’ve never asked yourself these questions, doing so can be a huge help. You might find that you love making music, but don’t do it that often. Or, you could discover that you’ve been making music for reasons that don’t authentically inspire you. By defining your songwriting practice, you’ll have an easier time making music and opportunities for creating your best work. Whether doing this results with you scheduling more time to create or in you reassessing your priorities depends on your unique needs, writing preferences, and background.

Create goals

If you’re a serious songwriter, you should have serious goals. I’m not talking about pie-in-the-sky goals like selling out arenas and becoming a famous musician. Instead, I think you should lay out ambitious and highly detailed short and long-term goals for your songwriting practice. This could be anything from writing a certain number of songs every month for a year to writing an album’s worth of material exclusively on a new instrument. These goals should be exciting and geared towards boosting your creative growth and productivity as an artist.

Build time to seek meaningful inspiration into your daily life

The sad truth is that it’s completely possible to build an uninspiring and predictable life in music, even if you spend the majority of your time writing, recording, and performing. Writing loads of music will undoubtedly boost your chances of creating great work, but it will be much harder to get there without meaningful inspiration. Since great art imitates life and helps people to understand their own lives, music can’t just be about music. So go out there and live a deep, novel, and human life. Find authentic inspiration in your daily existence, and you’ll have a path towards creating human and relatable music. This often means walking away from the mic, DAW, or piano, and being a non-musical human being for a bit. Take walks alone in nature. Travel. Make amends with an estranged friend. Then, you’ll have something to make music about.

Experiment, explore, and refine

This tip speaks to the grueling work of writing music that happens day after day and month after month for as long as we decide to keep creating. First, you’ll need to experiment and explore to uncover your best ideas. This often means tooling around on our instruments or singing gibberish until concrete ideas start to emerge. What it doesn’t mean is starting in the same place your last 18 songs started with. Writing “great music” is an annoyingly broad and vague term, but think of it this way: If an idea truly excites you and you can’t wait to work on it when you’re away from your writing process, you have true potential and creative energy on your hands. Arriving at these exciting ideas usually requires seeking out newness and risk accepting that failure is an unavoidable part of the work.

While some great ideas are almost fully formed out of the gate, lots of them need development to transform into great finished songs. This is where refinement comes in. Whether it’s you alone in your bedroom or your band holed up in a studio, taking the time and energy to shape and develop your ideas is crucial for allowing them to reach their full potential. It’s the process of seeing what can make ideas better, and it involves a willingness to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s natural to create something exciting and want to preserve it, but countless songs die at this stage through underdevelopment. If you really love an idea, remember that you can always go back to square one with an original demo.

We don’t get to choose whether we write conventionally successful music or not as artists. But we do have a say over quite a lot when we make music. By showing up to the writing process engaged, inspired, willing to experiment and fail, and committed to doing the work, we’ll have the best shot at making meaningful music.

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Hannah Fuller


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