We get asked often by our client songwriters how exactly to successfully write a commercial radio song. There are several major components to commercial songwriting and each element is just as necessary as the next. And it goes beyond just the actual song itself. The quality of the final product has to be nothing short of exceptional if you want your listeners and music industry professionals to take your songs seriously.
1. Songs have 3 major components. Lyrics, vocal melodies, and music. All of these components must be just as great as the next. A song without great lyrics tells a very weak story. A song without great music doesn’t capture the listener. So keep this in mind when writing a new song.
2. Every lyric has some sort of rhyme scheme. There are no rules in how this is done but try experimenting with different rhyme schemes as opposed to the typical A-B rhymes. Hard rhymes (ie: awake-ache) are not as pleasant to the ear. Try using near rhymes (ie: Awake-stay, today, amaze) for a stronger sounding rhyme.
3. Your lyric can be incredible but if it doesn’t get the listener singing along then your story is lost. Nowadays it seems like pop music is making it’s influence on every other genre. There’s a good reason for this. It’s because the vocal melodies are catchy, repetitive, and easy to sing along to. If the listener isn’t excited about your song after the first verse then it is likely they will stop listening. Need help creating a great vocal melody? Hire an experienced pro to make your melody soar.
4. Music, and not only the music but the song production is just as important, if not more important, to the success of your song. Your goal is to get the listener engaged within the first 10 seconds! So, the music intro and lead into the first verse needs to be very catchy and interesting. You’ll notice that most of your favorite songs have either a lead guitar, piano, or some other instrument that has a “hooky” and distinctive melody that starts the second you press play. This is VITAL.
5. Overall quality of the music production needs to be similar to radio quality. There’s a reason why radio songs sound like they do and listeners are very used to that sound. This is something you DO NOT want to skimp on. The average listener can tell if you didn’t put much effort into the finished recording of the song and it’s a big turn off if not done correctly. And if you sound like you didn’t put much effort into your songs it’s going to be difficult to convince your listeners to take your music seriously. We won’t go into detail in this article but there are several components to recording a great radio quality song. We recommend you hire a professional production company to make sure your final product is nothing less than amazing.
6. Internal rhymes make for a smoother and more interesting delivery of your lyric. A basic lyric might go like this “Tasting that sweet honey on your lips makes me wanna lean in and steal another kiss” You could add some internal rhymes for a little more flavor “There’s nothing like feeling your fingertips and tasting that sweet honey on your lips. Can’t believe you got me feeling like this, making me wanna lean in and steal another kiss.” It sounds repetitive but repeating sounds and rhymes will quickly capture the listener and get them singing along.
7. Similar to internal rhymes, using alliteration in your lyric is an even smoother way to deliver the lyric. Alliteration is when you use the first letter of a word in a line and repeat it with other words starting with the same letter. For example “ They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” Try this in your next song.
8. To add an even deeper and more stylish level of lyric writing we like to reuse the same words in a set of lines when we’re writing songs for our clients. For example “You wrecked my heart with your reckless love.Had me giving in when I thought I’d given up.” While the reused words aren’t exactly the same, they are extremely close. It’s a very catchy and cool way to deliver an impressive lyric.
9. You’d be surprised at how many great songwriters we’ve worked with that are less than perfect singers. You don’t have to be a great singer to write a great song BUT you do need a professional vocalist to sing on your recorded song. This doesn’t mean they own your song, it just means you’ve hired someone that would be more effective at recording an impressive vocal. A singer can very quickly make or break your song so it’s best to hire a pro vocalist.
10. When in doubt hire a professional. It can make the difference between a mediocre song and an extraordinary radio ready tune. All of the greatest hits were created with a team of songwriters, singers, producers, sound engineers, and musicians. It’s still your song so no worries. If you’re ready to take your song to the next level hire a professional production team to work with you on lyrics, vocal melodies, and most importantly the recorded song production.
Find out more about the services we offer to make your songs rise to the top.