Most everyone has been there. Heartbreak is not fun, but it can also be a great source of inspiration when writing music. Never hesitate to use your personal experiences (even the love-related ones) to inspire your music.
Here are a few things to remember.
1. Don’t be overly direct.
Taylor Swift’s “Dear John” has become infamous for its direct references to Swift’s relationship with singer John Mayer. Mayer later claimed feelings of humiliation and being blindsided after hearing the song.
Most of the time, when writing about heartbreak, it is better to take the high road and avoid humiliating your ex. Try not to be overly direct and leave some of your lyrics up for interpretation.
2. Use descriptive language.
The chorus of Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry” uses the phrase “my tears dry on their own” to possibly signify loneliness, independence, Winehouse’s ability to move on, or perhaps something else entirely. Winehouse’s exact meaning is left up to the interpretation of the listener.
When writing music, use descriptive language to convey strong emotion. Particularly when you’re writing about heartbreak, descriptive language can help make your listeners feel the same emotions you’re singing about.
3. Tell your unique side of the story.
No two heartbreaks are the same. Try using music to explain the less obvious aspects of your story. For example, “Someone New” by Banks explains her conflicting feelings of needing time to be alone but not wanting her partner to fall in love with someone else.
When writing music, especially when writing about heartbreak, try to explain the parts of your story that might have been misunderstood. Explain your point of view.
Heartbreak is rough, but it can also inspire creativity and help you create beautiful music.
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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.