Writing music is difficult. Feeling adequately inspired is rare. Not every musician or budding musician has a new and passionate relationship, a familial milestone, or some other dramatic thing to inspire them. For most of them, a little push is helpful.
Here’s a little push to take your songwriting to the next level. Take a look at what great songwriters write about.
1. Otis Redding writes about what he’s thankful for.
Not every song has to be about heartbreak or tough times. Try writing a song about something you feel lucky to have. When things get tough, it’s always a good idea to try and focus on something good.
Take a leaf out of Otis Redding’s book (in the case of his song, “I Want to Thank You”) and write about something you are grateful for.
2. Adele writes to give herself closure.
If you have any unresolved feelings, writing a song can be a unique and healing way to resolve them. Adele’s “Someone Like You” expresses her frustration in a somewhat healthy way while still wishing the best for her former significant other and accepting the experience for what it was.
Music can truly heal. If you’re a musician in need of closure, you know what to do.
3. Beyonce writes about social issues that are important to her.
Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” condemns the harmful and oppressive expectations placed on women in today’s society. She speaks about a culture where women are valued only for their physical appearances while their physical appearances are simultaneously being criticized.
Beyonce has often used her platform to speak up about many social issues and concepts, such as women’s rights, feminism, racial equality, etc. Try writing a song about a social issue that matters to you; the results will be passionate and powerful.
It can be tough to find inspiration when writing music, but trying to write about something you are grateful for, something unresolved, or an issue that speaks to you will always get you somewhere.
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Jana DeGuzman is a Communication Studies major and French Studies minor at the University of San Francisco. She loves Mac DeMarco, Beyonce, and the ocean.