Do All Your Songs Sound the Same?
Songwriters aren’t the only ones that get in rut of churning out cookie cutter material. Marketing agencies, architects, coaches, painters – they all face the dilemma of sticking with what is comfortable or diversifying and trying new things.
For songwriters, this tendency to stick with what is cozy and easy leads to predictable melodic combinations, obvious chord patterns, similar tempos, cliché rhymes, overused themes, and canned structures. If you’re songs start to sound the same, it’s most likely a sign that:
You’ve plateaued as a songwriter.
Most likely your best songs are the ones that you write when you’re expanding your horizons, innovating, and challenging yourself to do new things, not when you’re sticking to your existing way of doing things.
You’re market potential is limited.
Every artist has unique tastes in what type of material they want and what songs best fit their ability. If your song catalog is too standardized, you’ll only be able to meet the needs of a few artists at best, which limits how much money you can make. Even if you get a few cuts, you’ll struggle to pitch the same type of material over and over again. Eventually industry professionals will tire of hearing your “new” material. Worse, the market may move on from your style of music, leaving you with a lot of outdated songs.
How to Diversify Your Catalog
Take an honest inventory of how similar your songs are to each other. If you find that you’re constantly traveling down well-paved roads, maybe it’s time to kick it into 4-wheel drive and venture off-road with a few of these ideas.
- Write for males, females, and duets. By forcing yourself to write for men and women, you’ll naturally gravitate towards new themes, melodies, and styles.
- Write material on a variety of themes. Take a new perspective on a love song. Write about different life experiences. Try a story song. There’s no end to the types of themes you can address.
- Write for different tempos. Make sure to write some up-tempo songs, mid-tempo songs, and ballads.
- Write and produce different styles. Try writing traditional country, pop country, southern rock country, rap county, or even dance country!
- Try new melodies. Try new keys, chords, and combinations.
- Try new lyric patterns. Stretch yourself to write new rhyming patterns. Improve your word choice. Try writing more poetically.
- Try new song structure. Stuck in the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus routine? Try changing the length or order of the verses, chorus, and bridge.
By giving yourself creative constraints to work within, you’ll force yourself out of your comfort zone and into the realm of innovation. Your end goal should be to have a large song catalog filled with songs that are completely unique, which will help you grow as a writer, have a stronger pitch catalog, and increase your chances of getting a cut.