Aloe Blacc songwriting quote


Be inspired by these words of wisdom from experienced songwriters, producers, artists and performers, including many of our favourite interviewees

“I never censor myself when I’m writing. I write whatever I want, no matter what it sounds like…then curate later”
Aloe Blacc

“Maybe things aren’t meant to be perfect”
Martin Craft

“Maybe things aren’t meant to be perfect”
Martin Craft

“Writing the songs, when you go through things, you don’t just feel one thing.”
Cajsa Siik

“The melody and the chord structure comes pretty quickly, lyrics are the bitch.”
Rufus Wainwright

“It’s like Alice In Wonderland, you have to run like hell to stay in the same place”
Peggy Seeger

“Country is three chords and the truth, punk is three chords and anger.”
Caitlin Rose

“I just assumed writing something in the bath was as good as sitting at a piano and writing it.”
Jason Perry

“I find there is a constant stream on inspiration to found in the ocean.”
Kim Churchill

“I’ll go make a cup of tea and suddenly a melody will come to me”
Nigel Thomas

“You overhear a conversation on the bus and think ‘that’s a great first line’.”
Richard Thompson

“My job is often only to finish a song idea that I’ve been lucky enough to receive.”
Sananda Maitreya, aka Terence Trent D’Arby

“You’ve got to write a bad song to get the good ones out!”
Lizzy Ward, Ward Thomas

“The trick is to get back to when you’re the kid writing songs with your mates”
Benjamin Francis Leftwich

“The best songs are the last ones you write”

“I let the melody dictate what it’s going to be about and let my subconscious figure it out.”
James Morrison

“It’s about discipline and trying to connect yourself with that primary oneness of the world.”
Will Sheff, Okkervil River

“After you’ve come out of your comfort zone you can go back to it with a different approach.”
Eli “Paperboy” Reed

“Every single person can reclaim their ability to access creative flow.”
Beth Nielsen Chapman

“Every night is different with us, we make up songs every single night.”
Ed Robertson, Barenaked Ladies

“The best thing is to just get an instrument in your hand and start developing where your interests lie. The rest will follow on from there!”
King Charles

“My memory is like a dodgy VHS player that I’ve recorded one too many episodes of Countdown on.”
Dan Michaelson

“I try and write unsentimentally about the past, in a more accepting way – we go through things and survive them.”
Ben Watt, Everything But The Girl

“A song is an ever-changing, ever-evolving and morphing thing.”
Simon Tong, The Magnetic North

“I place myself firmly in the fire. I’ll go until I’m pretty much done, step out of the fire and then extract what I’ve been feeling whilst going through the heat.”
Kelvin Swaby, The Heavy

“Recently I’ve been writing songs stupidly early in the morning because my brain’s not screwed on.”
Justin Currie, Del Amitri

“I haven’t written anything down for years… I always think that: if you can’t remember it, then it wasn’t that good in the first place.”
James Skelly, The Coral

“The most liberating way for me to write is when I’m not thinking at all.”
Trixie Whitley

“When you don’t write songs for a while there’s a fear you won’t be able to do it again.”
Tim Wheeler, Ash

“My advice for songwriters? Sit down and work at it! The more songs you write, the more good songs you’ll have.”
Roger McGuinn

“You can be surprised by what a relative stranger might bring to your songwriting world”
Olly Knights, Turin Brakes

“Musical magic is created by human beings: learning their craft, trying things out, practising.”
Joe Jackson

“I can write by myself, but it takes a lot longer to come together and it’s less surprising”
James Morrison

“If I can sum up the whole feeling of the song in one word, I quite like that.”
Miles Hunt, The Wonder Stuff

“I write all the time, I don’t stop. I love it. It’s a fascinating and endless pool of ideas and thoughts.”
Mark Chadwick, The Levellers

“When you write a song… you’re sharing some of your life with the listener”
Nina Baker

“Don’t make it a stressful thing and force yourself to write songs. Sometimes the most impressive stories and phrases come out of thin air.”

“All I do is just try and learn from the best, and realise that however well I think I’m doing, I could always be better.”
Andy Fraser

“Ultimately all you can do is write songs the best you can, then put them out and see if people like them.”
Michael Kiwanuka

“Humour doesn’t have to mean that what you’re saying isn’t serious.”
Jonathan Higgs, Everything Everything

“Come up with a bloody damn good hook and the title… that’s your stand-out piece and what the song is built around.”
Scarlette Fever

“I try to write a song every day… Not every day it’s a good song!”
Loren Benjamin

“I let the music decide what the words are gonna be. But I have spent a lot of time and effort on the lyrics, because I’m not good at it.”
Ben Folds

“Writing a new song is like making a new friend.”
Peter Raeburn

“It’s the ability to recognise valuable accidents that’s the key part of songwriting.”
Dean Friedman

“It’s easier for me to write melodies than play them.”
Rich Hall

“It’s amazing how malleable melody is; you can turn pure melody into anything.”
Stuart Murdoch, Belle & Sebastian

“I think in my case at least, collaborating is a better way to write songs.”
Roger McGuinn, The Byrds

“Writing is all about self-editing; it’s all about being present & being aware of what’s happening”
Joan Armatrading

“If we finished it, we thought it was good, otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten finished.”
Jeff Barry

“Lots of good ideas do come from sitting in the pub!”
Andy Burrows

“The songs have taught me enough over the years. I know they’re smarter than me.”
Trey Bruce, King’s Bullet

“Write until you can’t write any more”
Billie Myers

“I don’t try to make it seem like something magical. It’s our job to be creative.”
Sophie Hunger

“It’s always music first, or melody and words together, but never words first.”
Adam Duritz, Counting Crows

“For me, songwriting has become a practice of finding out what I’m really thinking!”
Kate Dimbleby

“I don’t write about things as they happen, I write about things as I reflect on them.”
Tyler Nail

“When you make tunes and songs, they’re like little people, almost”
Rob Birch, Stereo MCs

“Don’t make writing feel like work, otherwise you’re going to give the experience negative connotations.”
Julian Emery

“If you finish a song, you have to believe it has something or you wouldn’t have gone through the time and effort to finish it.”
Jeff Barry

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”
Van Morrison

“I don’t want to be the gatekeeper of the music – I want to collaborate freely, back and forth.”
Robert Lopez

“I’m always trying to write something new, and that’s a massive challenge.”
Mark Chadwick, The Levellers

“My task as an artist is to stay as close as I can to my own essence.”
Trixie Whitley

“If you’ve got a really strong concept, then it’s easy to write. Whereas if you’re not sure what the true story is, it’s bloody hard.
Shelly Poole

“I think if you don’t evolve you’re probably not that good.”
James Skelly

“Music breeds its own inspiration. You can only do it by doing it. You may not feel like it, but you push yourself.”
― Burt Bacharach

“If you don’t try and force it, a song will find the proper moment to come to life.”
― Valerie Simpson

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
― John Lennon

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
― William Wordsworth

“Those in power write the history, while those who suffer write the songs.”
― Frank Harte

“Songwriting is a bitch. And then it has puppies”
― Steven Tyler, Aerosmith

“People say you make your best work when in despair, but I think happiness is a good place to write from”
― Paul Weller

“Great songs aren’t written, they’re rewritten”
― R.C. Bannon

“Learning an instrument isn’t about becoming a star anymore than learning to swim means you want to become a haddock”
― Nick Mason, Pink Floyd

“For me, songwriting is something like breathing: I just do it. But that doesn’t mean you’re fantastic.”
― Adam Duritz, Counting Crows

“All songs are living ghosts. And long for a living voice”
― Brendan Kennelly

“I tried to look at writing a song almost like solving a mystery. The song was there, buried somewhere in my brain. All I had to do was follow the clues until I figured it out.”
― Jon Skovron

“Songwriters write songs, but they really belong to the listener.”
― Jimmy Buffett

“I might lie a lot but never in my lyrics.”
― Courtney Love

“Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house – the colour of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and mortar of the house.”
― Sir Benjamin Britten

“Being so honest in my writing is cathartic.”
— Brian Molko, Placebo

“Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you’ll suck forever.”
― Brian Wilson

“The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.”
― Eddie Van Halen

“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”
― Gregory David Roberts

“If after two weeks you still can’t write your middle-eight, the best course of action is to see a psychiatrist”
― Ray Davies

“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear.”
— Oliver Sacks

“Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”
— Tom Petty

“Rock’n’roll is not red carpets and MySpace friends, rock’n’roll is dangerous and should piss people off”
― Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance

“All I can be is me – whoever that is.”
― Bob Dylan

“Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand”
― Hayley Williams, Paramore

“Its a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence”
― David Byrne

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Bernard M. Baruch

“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.”
― Tom Waits

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power…the fear of freedom shrinks & vanishes. You are free.”
― Jim Morrison

“You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.”
— Lady Gaga

“When you’re moving in the positive, your destination is the brightest star.”
― Stevie Wonder

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
― Maya Angelou

“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.”
― Osho

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
― Scott Adams

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen

“Speak in extremes, it’ll save you time.”
― David Bowie

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
― John Lennon

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!”
― Dolly Parton

“It’s the damage that we do and never know. It’s the words that we don’t say that scare me so.”
― Elvis Costello

“We wrote a song, while sitting on a trampoline & we loved it so much that we ended up recording it as a duet”
― Taylor Swift (on writing with Ed Sheeran)

“If you don’t want anyone to know anything about you, don’t write anything.”
― Pete Townshend

“Life is so groovy when your record is hot.”
― Ray Davies

“Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up.”
— Pablo Picasso

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
— Charles Mingus

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
— Woody Allen

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out.”
— Charlie Parker

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