There are Many Reasons Behind the Songwriter’s Art
Songwriters write for many different reasons. The successful ones, meaning the writers who earn money writing, often write because they have publishing deals or deals with major labels providing content for the labels’ artists. Let’s take Nashville, for instance. I know a few songwriters who get paid a weekly salary, and they have to write 20 songs a week. Let’s face it, these songs are, for the most part, not inspired. It’s a craft they have learned over time, taking a punch line, and writing around it. Or they pick a subject and try to craft music and lyrics to fit the theme.
Most great songs that stand the test of time are not forced. They are inspired by a life experience or given to them by their guardian angels or something other than themselves. Or is it the money? Let’s take a closer look at that. The average Spotify, the average payout for 1 million streams, is around $3000. The cost of recording and promoting and the average recording and mixing price with session musicians is about $5000. The average radio promotion costs $3500. The average PR costs $4500. If you do social media, that’s free. So, the total cost of recording and promoting a single is around $13,000, which means that you would have to have four million streams just break even. That’s not going to make you a wealthy star.
Why I Write
Most songwriters write because it’s a gift they have. They are driven to write regardless of if it ever makes money or not, and this is why I write. I’m Stephen Wrench, and I have worked with many great artists and their band members. The list includes Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tommy Tutone, Missing Persons, Loverboy, Toto, and many others. I write songs for many different reasons.
One I recently recorded was called “Dad.” I wrote this 19 years ago when I was living in Florida, and my Dad lived in New York. I needed to go up and see him one Thanksgiving. I felt it might be the last time I would see him. It was the final time I saw him as he was. He developed Alzheimer’s and passed away within a few years. It took me 19 years to finally record this song without breaking into tears. Here are the lyrics;
You taught me to believe in myself
And that dreams can come true
Little boys wanna be like their heroes
I always wanted to be just like you
Whenever I said that I couldn’t
You always taught me that I can
You knew everything I needed
To grow up to be a man
Great men earn titles and glory and fame
Who was that masked man, what was his name?
What do you call a man who gave you all he had?
I call him my hero I call him my Dad
It’s hard to love something
And then watch it fly away
You taught me so much
You knew I’d be ok
Little boys grow older
Now I have a family of my own
And I’ll keep trying
To be like the greatest man I’ve ever know
So Why Do You Write?
Knowing what inspires songwriters to write can be essential to understand the music better that they create. Sometimes people just enjoy the mystery behind the songwriter’s method. Are you an aspiring songwriter? Why do you write? Understanding why you write as a musician is an integral part of the process because you will write differently depending on your reason for writing. Here are some other reasons why people write:
Sometimes you simply get the urge to write. Inspiration is the reason that you write. You write when something inspires you to, whether or not anyone ever hears the song.
Writing is Therapeutic
When you need to get something out, it can be hard to express yourself vocally. However, writing can be the therapy that you need when you can’t find the words to say out loud. Writing your soul out and transforming it into a beautiful song can sometimes be the best type of therapy.
Love of the Art
Maybe you are just like me, with a love of this art. You love the process of writing. You love the meticulous process of perfecting the song. Then, performing this piece that you put so much of yourself into for your fans. It isn’t about the money when you are so passionate about the music you are creating. You have a story, and you love the entire process of creating a song from it.
You Just Have Something to Say
Sometimes you just have something that you need to say. Maybe you have a message that you want the world to see. Or perhaps you want to inspire change in others. Songs can be one of the best ways to reach your audience and get your message out there.
How to Be a Better Songwriter
These are some brief tips that will help you excel as a songwriter:
Write Every Day
Practicing something every day is the best way to get better at something. As you become more experienced as a writer, you can fine-tune your songs as you develop experience. Writing every day not only helps you hone your skills as a songwriter, but it’s also a great habit to get into as a writer.
Find Your Voice
What this means is that you need to be open if you want to write something impactful. If you’re too timid, your songs won’t work as well. By finding your voice, you can be a much better songwriter.
Understanding the Why
Lastly, you need to understand why you want to write songs. The reason for your songs helps to shape them. You are going to create something entirely different if you wish to write a song for yourself than if you are going to perform it.
Songwriters each have their reasons why they write their songs. To be a better songwriter, you need first to understand why you want to write, and this will help you be the best songwriter that you can be.