Back a few decades ago, it was a common thing for kids to be asked in a classroom setting what they wanted to be when they grew up, as in what they wanted to do professionally. Many wanted to be fireman, policemen, and even adventurous things like astronauts. Do you know what happened to a lot of those kids as they got older and fell in love? Many of them grew up wanting to be country music songwriters, writing excellent songs about meeting their love or driving their trucks, drinking their beer, etc.
Many of these people grew up to write hit songs for country music radio. Many are trying that right now and are joining up with songwriting classes, reading as many songwriting tips as they can handle, and joining communities like SongTown and reading blogs like these looking for advice. Well, speaking of advice, we take country music very seriously and would like to offer the best advice we can, by telling you that you have to love to write.
Not only “love to write” as in having a passion for it. What we mean is that you have to love – then you can write! Love first, then write later. Why do we say that? It’s because no matter what the song topic is, generally speaking, songs come from a place of love. Oh, you doubt that? Okay; think about the worst breakup song you can think of. Maybe “Give it Away” by George Strait, written by Jamey Johnson. It’s about a wife and husband splitting, but her being so done with the relationship that she doesn’t want anything, not even the half of finances to which she’s entitled to under United States law. That’s how over she is with it. Well, how can someone be that over something if they didn’t have love first?
You have to had really, really loved something that strongly to be that put off by it. So, for up and coming songwriters looking to pen a smash hit on modern country music radio, what we’re telling you is that you need to tap into those emotions you have that are centered on love, either past or present. Heartwarming songs and heartache songs are borne of the same emotional core, just different results lead to different writing inspiration.
How Love and Loss Changed the World
Hit country music is far from the only genre that deals in love. Every genre dabbles in love, with some genres entirely driven by it. Though country music is unique in that nothing’s for show. You don’t have to gather up four guys who can dance in time and sing harmonies to deliver a compelling love song. You can have one skinny, drunk man staggering on stage with a Stetson and an acoustic guitar and sing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and develop a fan base of millions upon millions of people, because it’s just real. It’s real stuff that people go through. Finding love, being in love, and losing that love – they’re roads we’ve all walked. The best country music songwriters today don’t need to take songwriting classes to learn how to love. Many just need to learn how to channel that love, how to use those emotions to write hit songs.
Imagine the place you met the current person you love. Imagine how you thought about them when you saw them, or on your first date, or the first time you made love. Imagine that you proposed, or were proposed to, and how you felt. If you’ve been through it, and you can stand dredging it up, imagine when you lost that love and how much it crushed you. Imagine everything falling to pieces. Now imagine you’re a hopeful country music songwriter who wants to reach people with great writing. These are the things you want to draw on to deliver stellar music. It’s the falling in and out of love that really drives country music.
Sure, there’s beer and trucks and dogs and farms and country roads – but all of that comes from love first and foremost. There’s no other way around it. If you want to write better songs, it takes more than just songwriting classes or songwriting tips. You have to love, and then you can write good music.