Welcome to the second installment of MasterClass featuring singer/songwriter, composer David Poe.
Over the course of this multi-part series, David offers us a unique, 10-point blueprint on songcraft carefully wrapped in Mr. Poe’s inimitable wit and culled from his ongoing experiences as one of the most talented songwriters, IMHO, working today.
If you missed Part One of MasterClass:DP it can be found here.
We continue now with Part Two (points 3-5).
On Songwriting: David Poe
3. Shun the “-tion.”
Yes, theoretically “alienation” rhymes with “conflagration” and “pasteurization.” In general, verses made from this lexicon will sound like a TED talk. If you must use one “-tion,” try rhyming it with run, sun, or — my favorite — gun.
4. They call it a hook because it’s catchy.
If your chorus doesn’t stick in your head, it probably won’t stay in anyone else’s. If you find that you’ve stayed on one note for several syllables or lines, try jumping an octave or six notes.
Bonus points for noting the commonality of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” “Lucky Star” from Singin’ In The Rain and Bowie’s “Starman”.
5. Master an instrument, even if it’s Garageband.
It’s the best way to convey your ideas to others and create the ideas in the first place. Singers who only sing are mostly annoying — just look at American Idol. Sure there are exceptions: but did you know Aretha Franklin was a cool piano player? If you have the swagger of David Lee Roth, the lyrical depth of Jim Morrison or the vocal ability of Robert Plant, you’re exempted. Otherwise, take a week and learn how to play your brother’s guitar. You don’t have to become Steve Vai.
Alternatively, if you’re a singer who doesn’t have ideas for songs, don’t feel that you have to write them. There’s enough great songs. Sing those instead.
-Posted by David
David Poe is a singer/songwriter, producer and composer for film, theater and dance. David has seven albums to his credit and has written songs and produced albums for several other artists. He is a composer fellow of the Sundance Institute. www.davidpoe.com