Songwriting Tips, News & More

Songwriters' Versions Of Original Songs

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 @12:01 PM

Songwriters' Versions Of Original Songs

by Jessica Brandon

Ken Hirsch, songwriter
Ever wondered how the orginal songwriters sounded like? These are versions of various hit songs sung by the orginal songwriters, many of them are not music artists but songwriters.


Diane Warren singing "Look Away" and "I Get Weak". "Look Away" is the name of a 1989 #1 Billboard Hot 100 Chart hit written by Diane Warren. "I Get Weak" is a pop song written by Diane Warren and produced by Rick Nowels for Belinda Carlisle's second album Heaven on Earth. The song reached number 2 on the US Billboard Charts

 

Ken Hirsch performing "I've Never Been To Me" at USA Songwriting Competition showcase's at Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN on May 5 2011. He co-wrote this song with Ron Miller (writer of #1 hit ""Touch Me in the Morning"):

 

Shirley Eikhard performing "Something To Talk About", a song that became Bonnie Raitt's biggest hit and highest charted song in her career:

 

Legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach performs "Alfie". "Alfie" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1965 most successfully recorded by Cher, Cilla Black and Dionne Warwick.


USA Songwriting Competition promotes the art & excellence in songwriting. For more information on the 17th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, visit: http://www.songwriting.net

 

Tags: Ken Hirsch, Diane Warren, Burt Bacharach, Shirley Eikhard, Look Away, I Get Weak, Something To Talk About, Alfie, I've Never Been To Me

2012 USA Songwriting Competition Radio Podcast

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 @04:29 PM

 

Tune in to the 2012 USA Songwriting Competition Podcast, featuring of the winners of the USA Songwriting Competition (past & present). Click on the audio player above to listen to the music (See Above)

Music featured in this podcast by:

Alexander Cardinale, singer-songwriter

Alexander Cardinale & Morgan Taylor – Traffic Lights (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize Winner, Pop & Overall 2nd Prize)

Gabriel Mann – Lighted Up (2002 USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand Prize)

Orly Forman & Yagel Sulchiner, performed by Orly – Boy on a Hill (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize Winner, Folk)

Molly Hunt, Troy Johnson & Jack Williams, performed by Molly Hunt – Go There (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize Winner, Country & Overall 3rd Prize)

Simon Spire – A Four-Letter Word (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize Winner, Folk)

Nenna Yvonne - Go Around (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand Prize)

Ed Romanoff, Crit Harmon & Mary Gauthier – Breakfast for One on the 5th of July (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize, Lyrics)

Patrice Pike, Wayne Sutton, Sean Phillips & Darrell Phillips, performed by Patrice Pike and “Sister Seven” – My Three Wishes (2004 USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand Prize)

Nianell - Finally (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition First Prize, Gospel/Inspirational)

USA Songwriting Competition promotes the art & excellence in songwriting. For more information on the 17th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, visit: http://www.songwriting.net

Tags: songwriter, song writer, Song writing, Songwriting, American Idol, USA Songwriting Competition, Billboard Charts, Alexander Cardinale, Radio Podcast, Gabriel Mann, Orly, Molly Hunt, Simon Spire, Nenna Yvonne, Ed Romanoff, Patrice Pike, Nianell

Getting Your First Big Yes In Songwriting

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @12:15 PM

Getting Your First Big Yes In Songwriting

By Molly-Ann Leikin

 Molly-Ann Leikin, Songwriting Co-writer, Song Marketing Consultant

This morning, as I took my walk up the hill behind my house, I realized that if I stacked all the no’s I’ve been told from day one, they would block the Alps.

 

On the other hand, the yeses would barely make it past my ankle.

 

Nonetheless, I am enjoying a great career in the music business.

 

Over the years, I’ve probably heard more no’s than most songwriters, because I wasn’t a groupie, I wore a bra, didn’t do drugs, and I wasn’t anybody’s daughter.

 

But after seven years of “you can’t be serious,” a publisher at Warner Brothers asked me to write a song for somebody, and I was back with it the next day at 7:24 a.m. Waiting on WB's front step, which is totally out of character for drive-around-the-block-once-then-split me, I was cool when WB guy rolled in at eleven. He didn’t use my song that time, but he appreciated my passion. After 398.2 days of this, he signed me a staffwriter.

 

Yes, I am talented. But everybody's talented. I just wanted it more.

 

Do you?

 

© 2012 Molly-Ann Leikin

Molly-Ann Leikin is an Emmy nominee. The author of “How to Write A Hit Song” and “How to Be A Hit Songwriter”, she has written themes and songs for over five dozen TV shows and movies, including “Violet” that won an Oscar. Through co-writing and song marketing consultations, four of Molly’s clients have Grammy nominations, another won an Emmy, and so far, with Molly’s help, over 6000 of her other lyricist and composer protégées have placed their work in TV shows, movies, on CD’s and in commercials. Molly would be happy to discuss a co-write or consultation with you: 800-851-6588 songmd@songmd.com www.songmd.com

For more information on the 17th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net 

Tags: songwriter, song writer, Song writing, Songwriting, Warner Brothers, Molly-Ann Leikin, Song Marketing Consultant, Co-writer, First Big Yes

Songwriting Tip: Sharpen Your Music With The Flat Seven Chord

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @01:18 PM

SHARPEN YOUR MUSIC WITH THE FLAT SEVEN CHORD by Danny Arena

Danny Arena, Songwriter
There are seven standard chords that are part of every key in which you may be writing a song. In traditional theory, these are known as the "diatonic chords", but you can simply think of them as the chords we tend to gravitate towards first when writing music. The reason is simple - they are the ones we hear the most. However there are also some commonly used chords that are called non-diatonic that turn up in many hit songs. One of these so-called non-diatonic chords is called the flat seven (or flatted seventh) chord. It can be a valuable tool to have in your composer's toolbox.

Formation of the Flat Seven Chord 
The flat seven chord is formed by first determining the seventh note of the scale of the key in which you are writing your song. Lower this note by a half-step (also known as "flatting" the note) and you have the flat seven. For example, in the key of C, the flat seven would be a Bb chord. In the key of G, the flat seven chord would be an F major chord. 

How It's Used 
The flat seven is generally used in one of two ways. First, the flat seven chord can also be used as a "surprise" chord, where you set the listener up to hear a certain chord, but give them the flat seven chord instead as a "surprise". This is how Jimmy Webb first popularized the use of the flat seven chord (in fact, the flat seven chord is also known as the Jimmy Webb 7th). The bridge in the Grammy winning song "Beauty and the Beast" (songwriter - Menken/Ashman) uses the flat seven as a surprise chord as does the Faith Hill classic hit "This Kiss" (songwriter - R. Lerner/B. Chapman/A. Roboff) which incorporates the flat seven chord in the verse chord progression. 

An Example 
Let's say you are writing a song in the key of C and have the following chord progression for the verse (1 chord per measure): 

C F C F
Em Am F G

One way to surprise the listener would be to play a flat seven chord (Bb) instead of the F chord in the seventh measure. Another way to surprise the listener would be to play the Bb chord in the 8th measure after the F chord, and use an extra measure for the G chord.

So the next time you're looking for a little different twist on an old progression or just a different chord to start that chorus or bridge on, don't overlook the flat seven chord - it's really pretty sharp (sorry for the pun there...I couldn't resist). 

Hope to see you on the charts. 

-Danny

About Danny Arena

Danny Arena is a Tony Award nominated composer who has worked as a staff songwriter for Warner/Chappell Music and Curb Magnatone Music Publishing. He holds degrees from Rutgers University in both computer science and music composition. He is currently an Associate Professor at Volunteer State Community College in Nashville and has been a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University as well as a guest lecturer at the Berklee College of Music and Belmont University. Together Danny and Sara collaborated on composing songs for the Broadway show "Urban Cowboy: The Musical" which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and a Tony Award for Best Original Score. He is also the co-founders of the online educational website www.SongU.com which provides multi-level songwriting courses developed and taught by award-winning songwriters, song feedback and mentoring, one-on-one song coaching, co-writing, unscreened pitching opportunities and more. For more information on USA Songwriting Competition, visit:http://www.songwriting.net

Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Songwriting Tip, songwrite, Flat Seven Chord