by Kapa Freeman
Talent may be keeping you from your songwriting goals, but not in the way you think.
There's an idea in the songwriting community that's really harmful. It's the idea that you have to have "talent" to write songs that people love. I know, because I used to think that too. It was crippling.
When you run into negative feedback on your songs, you feel like you should quit because you "Just don't have the gift.". We get this idea because hit songwriters make it look so easy, but watch any documentary on a hit songwriter's life and you'll see how many bad songs came before their good ones... and how many drafts went into the classic ones.
Talent can actually be a songwriter's handicap if it's not combined with skill.
The talent-only songwriter essentially relies on inspiration to give them songs that people connect with, but inspiration can be a crutch... a pretty unreliable crutch... and it comes and goes when it pleases. And when you don't have it, you simply can't write a good song without it.
Because you can't control it. In other words, depending on inspiration is basically writing songs on accident. Great songs aren't written on accident. There's an exception to every rule, but do you really want to bet that you're going to be the exception?
The alternative to being a talent-only songwriter is being a skilled songwriter. The talent-only songwriter writes great songs on accident, but a skilled songwriter writes great songs on purpose.
- They know how to write lyrics that connect emotionally.
- They know how to format melodies to make them memorable.
- They know how to combine the two so they flow naturally.
- They know how to use harmony to make a chorus explode.
- They know how to use rhythm to ramp up energy.
- The skilled songwriter has full control over their songwriting process.
- They don't wait for inspiration to give them permission to write a great song. Inspiration takes orders from them.
Talent will only take you but so far. Skill will take you as far as talent can take you, and far beyond.
Kapa Freeman is the Founder and Songwriting Coach of The Intentional Songwriter, whose goal is to help musicians become publisher-ready songwriters so they can access songwriter-only income streams that pay more money for less of their time.
After taking an "assembly line approach" to songwriting, Kepa added consistency to his songwriting and went from song rejections to publishing deals over the course of a year. Now he uses this same approach to help musicians go from beginning to publisher-ready songwriters in a matter of weeks.