Which do you do first when creating a song? Most of the time, I start a song with the music only. I don’t have a melody in mind, and I don’t have a song topic in mind. But it’s worth noting that I come up with full songs as a part of my job, so it’s not like I write most of my songs on a whim. I’m forcing myself to be creative, which surprisingly doesn’t take away from the quality of the song.
The less common times when I am struck with a melody at random, I do record that melodic idea on my voice recording phone app or a video, then I create a beat around it later. On even rarer occasions, I take a song I’ve written on someone else’s beat, focus on the vocal production only, then create an entirely new beat and mood just from those lyrics and melodies. As you can imagine, it’s a fun challenge.
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When you start with lyrics and your melody, you’re likely to have a more topic-driven track. You’ll be led to create or find music that purposely fits and highlights the message behind the song. You’re also likely to have a more catchy hook, as it’s likely that the hook can’t come to your mind first abs you just Gad to record it because it would make a good hit.
The downside of doing lyrics first is that you may fall into the creative rut of never being able to find that music that fits your lyrical vision. It’s easier to come up with a lyric and melody than it is to compliment that writing with the perfect matching production. It can be an overwhelming dilemma that causes some writers to completely give up on the song.
In order to avoid falling into that trap, try several different styles to match your lyrics if the first beat doesn’t work out the way you intended it to. You’ll be surprised what energy you can give your creative mind just by thinking outside of the box.
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When you start your song creation process with music first, you have higher chance of coming up with a unique sound. Starting a beat or some instrumentation can be a daunting task, but writers and producers often push the limits where. Working this way, their focus is more broad in general. The possibilities are endless when it comes to sound and genre influences! Even if you have q style in mind already, you have a lot of freedom when making music first.
The negative aspect of going beat first is that you may go too experimental to the point where the song won’t even make sense. You could be tempted to try too much that you won’t actually buckle down and pick a consistent theme and sound. Or even worse, you start creating something that just sounds like crap because it was totally uninspired.
It’s great to do for fun and learning purposes or if you have attained enough ear to be able to focus once you have your core idea in place. If you come up with about 4 or 8 bars of something that sounds nice, try not to go too overboard and create a whole track around those 4 or 8 bars.
For writers who are looking to hire a producer based on their lyric and melody ideas, make sure the producer understands your song topic and emotional energy. More importantly, make sure they can create something of quality on the genre(s) close to your vision. Don’t expect someone just to get your idea just because you get your idea. Provide samples of songs similar to the style you’re going for
Neither way is right or wrong when it comes to song creation. You may find that both methods work for you, just like both ways work for me! See where your creativity takes you, and remember, music is a very subjective experience, so get a few friends or family members to give their opinion too, but take it with a grain of salt. Timeless, major hits have been created with lyrics first and music first. The lyrics and the music are both equally important, in my opinion!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
If you are ever in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services for your music project or brand, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her song services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.