Songwriter’s Corner: 16 Influential Quotes About the Art of Songwriting

Hey there! My name's Cooper, I am discovering the world while running my online teaching business, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I've spent long periods in Australia, northern Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka and more. Originally I am from Tel Aviv, Israel. I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journey. 🙂

(Last Updated On: November 18, 2018)

Hey!

If you ever tried writing songs, this post is going to make you think, and perhaps even give you some inspiration.

I have gathered a bunch of quotes about songwriting and the process of songwriting – so we can have a look on some insights from people who have already “done it” and perhaps soak some inspiration and tips for ourselves from in between those lines. Enjoy!

If you have any more of those – please share more quotations that you like about songwriting in the comments section! Other people would love to hear it too. 🙂

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16 Influential Quotes About The Art Of Songwriting

“Imagination is the key to my lyrics. The rest is painted with a little science fiction.”

Jimi Hendrix

Makes sense when you think about some of the stuff that Hendrix played like “Hey Joe” and “Little Wing“…

 

“I never sit down to write. When I'm moved, I do it. I just wait for it to come. You just hear it. I can't really describe writing. It's in my head. I don't think about the styles. I write whatever comes out and I use whatever kind of instrumentation that works for those songs.”

Lenny Kravitz

“As a songwriter, Gram (Parsons) worked very much like I do, which is to knock out a couple of chords, start to spiel and see how far it can go, rather than sitting around with a piece of paper and a pen, trying to make things fit neatly together. But he would also work very hard, harder than I ever did — on honing it down.”

Keith Richards

“You wind up creating from silence, like painting a picture on a blank canvas that could bring tears to somebody's eyes. As songwriters, our blank canvas is silence.”

Rodney Atkins

 

“I have a structured songwriting process. I start with the music and try to come up with musical ideas, then the melody, then the hook, and the lyrics come last. Some people start with the lyrics first because they know what they want to talk about and they just write a whole bunch of lyrical ideas, but for me the music tells me what to talk about.”

John Legend

piano yamaha

If you're a guitarist – sitting down at the piano instead of the guitar might be a good way to let some creative ideas flow.

“For a songwriter, you don't really go to songwriting school; you learn by listening to tunes. And you try to understand them and take them apart and see what they're made of, and wonder if you can make one, too.”

Tom Waits

“Each song has its own secret that's different from another song, and each has its own life. Sometimes it has to be teased out, whereas other times it might come fast. There are no laws about songwriting or producing.”

Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

“I wish I were one of those people who wrote songs quickly. But I'm not. So it takes me a great deal of time to find out what the song is”

Leonard Cohen

“I got this cheap little empty plastic notebook at my local drugstore, and bought a little slab of filler paper and the very first title I wrote in it was ‘Proud Mary‘. I had no idea what that title meant. I work hard at that, but the fact that there are a lot of good songs means there are also a lot of really bad songs I've written that you'd never hear.”

John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival

A solid knowledge in music theory would be musically one of the best things you can add to your songwriting skills. Click the promo to learn more

A solid knowledge in music theory would be musically one of the best things you can add to your songwriting skills. Click the promo to learn more

“I think songwriting is the ultimate form of being able to make anything that happens in your life productive.”

Taylor Swift

“Songwriting is an art unto itself, not to be confused with performing.”

Jo Stafford

“I always found very strong images for my songwriting in New York.”

Neneh Cherry

Like Neneh Cherry and probably most other people, I also have different places that spark up my muse. For me it's mostly about beautiful nature spots like this one here - Lake Albert, New Zealand

Like Neneh Cherry and probably most other writers, I also have different places that spark up my muse. For me, it's mostly about beautiful nature spots like this one here – Lake Albert, New Zealand where I wrote a song that I consider one of my best ones so far.

“My songwriting and my style became more complex as I listened, learned, borrowed, stole and put my music together.”

Boz Scaggs of The Steve Miller Band

“If you like someone’s work, the important thing is to be exposed to everything that person has been exposed to.”

Bob Dylan

“It’s therapy. It’s fun. It’s creative. I love getting on a big writing binge and staying up a couple days working on song and knowing at the end of those two or three days that I’ve created something that was never in the world before.”

Dolly Parton

A new chord book will soon be born out of these fresh printed chord sheets.

Playin' around with the capo has also got some cool stuff out of me on some occasions.

“I hope that what it comes down to at the end of the day is that people believe that I believe what I'm singing. It comes down to being believable.”

John Mayer

Great, and now that we're wiser, let's go work on our next song. (;

Peace and have fun!

Who's your favorite songwriter? You can comment below and let us know. 

You are also welcome to check out these other 2 articles about songwriting to get some more inspiration.

The Top 6 Tools For The Beginner Songwriter

The Top 6 Tools For The Beginner Songwriter

 

write songs of your own

Learn about a few big pluses of engaging in some songwriting, if you're still not into it.

Hey there! My name's Cooper, I am discovering the world while running my online teaching business, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I've spent long periods in Australia, northern Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka and more. Originally I am from Tel Aviv, Israel. I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journey. 🙂

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  11. Peter
    February 28, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    Like it

  12. Brian Beavers
    February 7, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    Rule #1)There are NO rules!

  13. William Smale
    February 1, 2019 at 6:18 PM

    I wrote my 1st song in 15 minutes. I was losing my girlfriend, who became my wife. I was at work, beneath my welding hood, as I was welding, both lryics n music came flowing out. Which is how my songs are concieved. One song I enjoy the most took years to finish. Sadly I,ve had writers block for years. Like nothing makes sense anymore. Just generic lyrics come out. So sad.

    • Alon Cooper
      March 31, 2019 at 8:17 AM

      Thanks for sharing William. I wish you tons of creative energy for years to come. (: Cheers – Cooper

  14. Chris May
    January 15, 2019 at 2:15 PM

    I feel like I’m just a P.A system…and when I clear my mind and open my head, the songs seem to poor down from outer space into my body and out my mouth….i don’t control the song..i just relay it…like a loud speaker..and more often then not, when I’m listening back to the words that drained from me, some how it all makes since….

    • Alon Cooper
      March 31, 2019 at 8:19 AM

      I love reading these kind of things like what you wrote here Chris. I wish it felt so natural to me as well.

  15. kev
    January 6, 2019 at 3:09 AM

    for me- all songs written are truth based. Live a while- you’ll then have something to write about.

  16. Justin
    April 1, 2017 at 3:23 AM

    I Have the songs come to me usually in dreams . With the words and music . And I grab my guitar and play it the way I heard the song .

    • Cooper
      April 6, 2017 at 8:07 AM

      That’s cool Justin, I don’t think I have ever heard of something like that where you remember the whole thing when you wake up.

  17. Scott P
    August 21, 2016 at 4:50 AM

    “I do not entertain doubt or fear in my music.”
    -Ryan Adams

    • Cooper
      August 23, 2016 at 3:08 PM

      Nice one Scott, thanks.

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