Have you ever written a song, that meant the world to you, but as you were entering the “evaluating” zone, thought…this isn´t innovate, new, or special enough? Has been done before!
If you take your songwriting seriously and are eager to make it in this business, it is good to be critical, over-critical at times, because yes, the industry is competitive and the competition is fierce! People from all kinds of backgrounds can easily access the tools it takes to write and produce a song at home (!). Heck, they don´t even need to play an instrument anymore! So yes, strive to be your best possible version!
However, don´t try to be different, innovative or cool, just for the sake of landing a hit! This is a sure way to fail! Why? Because authenticity is the key ingredient in any good song! If it weren´t for authenticity, we could let artificial intelligence take over the job! But music is meant to connect humans! So, relax!
Don´t believe me? Fair enough…but you should believe Billy Mann, one of today´s most successful songwriters / producers and publishers! Billy has written songs for and with Pink, John Legend, Céline Dion, Sting, the Backstreet Boys, Art Garfunkel, Jessica Simpson, Kelly Roland and many more…he has been around for decades and has managed to survive in this industry? How? By learning to deal with the gap that lies between creating and being judged! By not giving the no´s too much weight! By learning to accept that 90 % of all song pitches fail, but working continuously on reducing that percentage by a few points and ultimately by staying true to his most important credo: Being honest and authentic in every song.
I recently took his masterclass and the one thing I took away was: Be authentic and don´t overthink it! If the lyrics aren´t the strongest, but they convey your truth, they will work! If the music is simple, but brings across your point, it will work!
He said: “Think about going to a nightclub! You are all dressed up, with tons of accessories and fancy, glittery clothes…then, as you enter the club, the lights are really low, and noone really sees the effort…” It´s the same way with songs…you can add all the fancies, but they might not even be recognized! Keep then, if you feel good with those, but don´t think you have to dress up like that! Simple will do 99% of the time!
If you are struggling with self-doubt and fears, overcome those! Don´t write for the money, don´t write for the recognition, write for the truth! The rest will come!