Songwriting Magazine Issue 33

Songwriting Magazine Winter 2023

Emeli Sandé, Black Pumas, Ashley McBryde, A.C. Newman, Plain White T’s, Seth Swirsky, Hunter Hayes, Songs Of The Year 2023

Gracing our cover is the always graceful Emeli Sandé. The soulful power-pop star takes us back to the earliest days of her career when she was juggling her opportunities to write for the likes of Alesha Dixon, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle with her desire to sing her own material. Bringing things right up to date, we also delve into her new album How Were We To Know. Inspired by love in all its different guises, the record is a reminder of the voice and talent that made her debut, Our Version Of Events, one of the best-selling albums of the 00s.

Ahead of her upcoming UK tour, Ashley McBryde takes us inside her latest album The Devil I Know. One of the sharpest writers in country music, we gain a fascinating insight into her writing process and how her band helps shape her sound. We also hear from Eric Burton of Black Pumas about how he levelled up his songwriting game for the duo’s second album Chronicles Of A Diamond. Harnessing the energy of his band’s live shows into the writing and recording process the lightning-nabbing results are there for all to hear.

We also have another trio of songwriters spilling the beans on one of their biggest hits. And big hits don’t get much bigger (or hittier) than Plain White T’s billion-streaming Hey There, Delilah. We hear from its creator, Tom Higgenson, before Seth Swirsky takes us back to 1987 when he co-wrote Taylor Dayne’s empowering dance-pop anthem Tell It To My Heart. Completing the set, country-pop star Hunter Hayes reveals the origins of the chart-topping Wanted – spoiler alert, it involves trying to impress a girl.

This quarter’s Technique section is going back to the fundamentals… Rachel Walker Mason has five tips to help you overcome writer’s black. So we can get started on our next unforgettable song, Jamie Lawson shares some of his songwriting secrets. Then we have Benjamin Yellowitz providing insight for anyone who wants to produce their own compositions, Astrid Williamson on how to turn journals into songs, and James Linderman helms our helpdesk to tackle the question of what should come first, music or lyrics?

As always, we’re more stuffed than a festive turducken. Katherine Priddy unveils her Songwriting Survival Kit, King Creosote breaks down a song that forms part of his new album’s “death trilogy,” The View’s Kyle Falconer takes us through his solo album No Love Songs For Laura, and husband-and-wife duo Honey And The Bear impart the lessons they’ve learned on their musical journey together.

We also count down our favourite songs of the year, before speaking with the artist/songwriter behind our winning choice. Enjoy!

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Songwriting Magazine