What’s the Idea?
Become a professional songwriter. Here is my basic guide to help you get started .
What’s the story
I became a professional songwriter in the early 00’s when I started at music college.
I began by writing toplines for a many different dance music producers in various genres.
And now I write for my multi-genre collective/band, Ambivert.
People should do this because…?
Songwriting is a creative way to share your thoughts and experiences.
This then translates them into universal language: music.
And this can be great for your mental health, as well as expanding your creativity.
To become a professional songwriter you will need to have a fairly thick skin against criticism.
And you must be willing to work hard and navigate the the music industry.
So if you can do that then songwriting can potentially be quite lucrative
Especially if you write a big hit.
How do you do it?
What kind of songwriter do you want to be?
Ideally you should try and focus on one musical genre.
Would you love to be a great Country and Western songwriter like Dolly Parton?
Or Pop like Lady Gaga?
Or rock like Dave Grohl?
Will you be writing songs to perform yourself?
Or do you want to work for a publishing agency to have your material used by well-known artists?
Both? Take some time to consider all this before you proceed.
Write some songs!
For a step-by-step guide in the actual songwriting process, please see my previous article.
Make a compilation of your songs for a demo
One song won’t be enough to show what you’re capable of.
So make a demo compiling your songs, try and include ones that show your versatility.
And if you can enlist the help of musician friends to record your songs for you in the studio, even better!
Get feedback from the trusted friends/colleagues
As a professional songwriter it’s important to get feedback on your work.
In order to remain grounded and get a fair assessment of your music.
And it’s especially important to gain the opinion of those in your circle.
This should counter-balance some feedback you may get from the music industry.
Ideally pick those you have known for a long time and have your best interests at heart.
I use a mixture of personal contacts (trusted friends) and professionals (trusted colleagues).
So play them your work, then ask them for constructive feedback before putting it out there.
Put your songs online
A social media presence is key to becoming a professional songwriter in today’s society.
And don’t forget to set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to share your music!
If people enjoy what you’ve done, they will share it on.
And that will get your name out there.
Make and use any connections in the music industry
To become a professional songwriter, learning to network “the business” is an essential skill.
So send your CV and demos to music publishing houses and record labels.
And try and get in contact with people already in the industry.
Tell them who you are and what you want to do.
And don’t get disheartened if you don’t hear back.
These people get lots of similar letters and demos on a regular basis.
Above all, just keep trying.
Work hard, stay focused and don’t give up!
The 3 P’s, Patience, Proactivity and Persistence are key.
It may take years to get your foot in the door.
Remember, it only takes one big hit to project you into the limelight with a lucrative return.
Grow tough to criticism, don’t lose the passion, and never give up!
Stuff you may need
- Manuscript paper
- An instrument such as a keyboard or guitar.