How To Write Lyrics To A Beat Monday June 21 2021, 1:50 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How To Write Lyrics To A Beat

How To Write To A Beat

My day job is literally singing and writing to beats. It's a beautiful thing, to be honest.

Don't get me wrong, I love live music vibes, but beats these days have such a polished digital and melodic mix that's a perfect sweet spot for creativity.

Sometimes I write song lyrics and melodies and then create a beat around it, but most of the time, I write my lyrics to a beat that is given to me or created by me.

A lot of artists and musicians outside of the r&b, pop, and hip-hop world don't really get to experience this type of songwriting. It's a unique and new process when it comes to the complete history of music.

Think about it; instrumental beats weren't even a thing until the computer age. The lyrics and melodies you write and record in combination with instrumental beats are recent technological masterpieces. 

Okay, maybe I'm hyping the process up a bit too much, but I love it, okay?! I usually go through a five-step process when it comes to writing lyrics to beats that I want to share with you.

This isn't the only way to go about it, but it works for me, and several other rappers, singers, and songwriter's that I've worked with. If the method isn't broken, don't fix it! 

Related Post: How To Write A Melody - 13 Tips For The Melodic Side Of Songwriting

Step 1: Match The Mood With A Topic

The first thing you want to get in your head is the topic of the song. Based on the beat you'll be using, figure out the general idea that your lyrical content will be about.

When you can correctly match the beat's mood to a song topic, you will then be able to write melodies and lyrics that will sound like a perfect fit. You want your lyrics, melodic flow, emotional energy, and instrumental beat to be on the same page.

Related Post: How To Write A Song From The Heart 


Step 2: Identify The Song Structure 

The next thing to do is figure out how long the verses are, the hooks, and any other sections in the beat. Most beats have noticeable changes when the beat switches from the intro to verse, hook, bridge, and outro. Some beats don't.

If your beat is very minimal, with multiple sections having the same instrumentation, it will then be up to you to decide how to structure your song.

When I say structure your song, I'm particularly talking about counting how many bars each section will have. For example, the beat may have room for a 16-bar verse, followed by an 8-bar hook, followed by another 16-bar verse, and then an outro.

If you're using a DAW like Garageband or LogicrPro to write and record, it will be beneficial to use arrangement tracks to section out your song visually. 

Related Post: 5 Music Producers For Hire Who Make Custom Hip Hop & R&B Beats

Step 3: Create Melodic Lead Ideas

The next thing I do is record melodic ideas throughout all the song sections to see what fits. I sing, hum, and freestyle lyrics that I may or may not keep to see what compliments each section best.

Sometimes I get a good melody from one of the first few takes, but other times I have to keep trying several different melodic ideas until I discover one that fits. 

It's best to create a simple vocal melody with beats that have a lot going on melodically. With more hollow and basic beats, you have the freedom to do a lot melodically with your vocal lines.

If you're rapping and not creating a sung melody, it's still a good idea to figure out each section's vocal delivery and energy.

A lot of rap lines include some melodic flows (sing-rap), but even the non-singing rappers still play with their spoken range in certain parts of the songs, depending on what fits. Very seldom do rappers just spit lyrics in mono-tone. 


Step 4: Fill In Melodic Phrases With Lyrics 

Based on how your melodic ideas flow, you can start jotting down the real lyrics you want to match with them.

As I mentioned, sometimes the freestyle lyrics I come up with when playing with melodies stick, especially since I already established my song topic.

You'll usually have a few phrases that have popped in your head that you can start to expand on to create your verses, hook, and any other section that fits the beat. 

Related Post: How To Write A Sad Song

You should already have a loose feel for the rhyming scheme you want to use from your melodic ideas. Most songs do ABAB or AABB, but it's really up to you. You don't even have to rhyme if you don't want to. 

Put in a good amount of time into the lyrical wordplay, and don't just rush through the process.

A lot of pop songs use very basic wording for lyrics, which sometimes works well, but depending on your style and genre, you may want to go deep with metaphors and lyrical ornaments

Step 5: Add Backing Vocals And Harmonies 

Finally, you may want to fill the song out with some complimentary phrases in the form of adlibs, fills, or backing harmonies. Adlibing, which is often freestyled, is a great way to add more lyrical ideas to strengthen the message of your song.

Backing vocals can add to the emotional resonance of the lyrics, so don't overlook this section if you're looking to get a strong message across.

Related Post: 3 Ways That Backing Vocals Can Elevate Your Song 

Some songs work really well without backing vocals if the beauty comes from their simplicity, but most of the time, we aren't going for simplicity when we're talking about instrumental beats.

We're looking to make bangers that hit you with a lot of variety!

Bonus Tip: Judge After Finalizing Your Song

I notice that songs don't really sound polished like I really want them to until after I get the song mixed and mastered.

Sometimes when I'm writing to a beat, the rough mix of my recordings makes me feel like my writing isn't meshing well enough, but what's really missing in my ears is a proper mixing balance.

I also notice that some vocal tuning tricks can make a big difference, especially if the song is in a pop or R&B genre. 

If you record your lyrics to the beat and feel like something is missing before you finalize it with an audio engineer, that may be the only final touch that is stopping your song from sounding like a hit!

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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